Fiction

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Side A

So it fucking happened again, and here I am again, and yes I do feel bitter about it, despite knowing from seemingly a long way off with a dreary predictability that things would pan out like this.
How did it end up this way? I feel wronged somehow. I really tried this time. I really did, and while it may seem childish, I feel like I deserve more of a fucking reward. Am I doomed to quixotic pursuits of loveless futility? Where’s my good luck. Where’s the universe smiling for more than just a moment saying yes, here’s your lasting happiness, this time it’s meant to be, this time it will be more than a flash in the pan, more than a look, more than a sigh, a truncated Memory that isn’t worth the metaphorical paper that it is written on. Let me throw my tantrum and my cliches, I don’t want to behave like an adult.
It began with a photograph. No, that’s not true. It began with a conversation where we couldn’t even remember each other’s names. Not an auspicious beginning, you might say. Now, I can say to you with clear eyed certainty that it felt right, no, that it *was* right, and it felt better and more sure than what had come before it, and the next day when I found myself entangled with her both in reality and in metaphor it still felt right even though the drugs and the euphoria had probably worn off.

The photograph came later. And it was a strange turning point. Why did she want to take photos? I still don’t know. I was ready to walk away, really I was. If you know me well I can hear your snort of scepticism. It’s an Achilles heel, I guess. Impulsivity and a seriously bad case of naive and idealistic romanticism that I simply cannot put to bed, no matter how hard I’ve tried.
But I promise you, this time I was sensible. Level headed. She had made the decision to turn away, to say no, and I was accepting of that. It was still early, nothing had been found yet that couldn’t be lost also. But something must have changed her mind. The same intuition that seemingly pulled my own thoughts towards her. Because there was the photograph, then there was the lunch. Then for a time there was nothing, but it was a strange kind of nothing, perhaps a sort of anticipation or waiting, though really I should have taken my chance then and gotten out while I still could. But it was too late. A seed had been sown, watered and nurtured with excitement, possibility and reckless abandon.
The next time we met it was stormy and turbulent outside. Yet within all I could see and feel was a spark growing and a feeling that my intuition was perhaps right, that this was a grand sensation and not something I should dismiss or run away from. In a rare moment of candidness, I shared my sentiments with her, and expressed my belief that she was feeling this same not entirely ordinary feeling that I was carrying with me. She met my gaze and my declaration with uncertainty and laughter and in that moment my suspicions were confirmed and I knew that she felt it too. We met again soon after and it was here that I found an intense intimacy that I’d not felt for a while, though it was something that lasted for seconds, fleeting, a moment perhaps.
And in that space we struggled through nervous tension to a resolve, I thought. An implicit understanding that yes, this is some kind of moment and feeling, and we ought not be scared of the uncertainty, rather we should be buoyed by it, carried to shores unknown.
Yet when we came together again the doubt had returned for her. The twist in this story was that of another man, and yes perhaps that cheapens the romance of the narrative, and is a sign that really the whole enterprise was mistaken to begin with. But she told me, this man is not love, he is comfort and safety. He is the antidote to a naive belief in the transcendent. He is the cold hard pragmatism that we all need to embrace at some point, reluctantly or otherwise.
So perhaps she was scared, scared of the unknown, which was me. And who could blame her. I would have liked to assure her that leaping forth into the void would have us falling not into darkness, rather into love. But who am I to make that assurance. Uncertainty gnaws at me just as it does for her. And where does it leave me now. Here I am again.

Side B

So it fucking happened again. Jesus Christ almighty. It may not have worked out, and here I am again, and yes I have a smile on my face because despite the dreary predictability of it all, I fucking love leaping into the abyss, taking my chances. I tried rationality once, and it was awful. Not for me the dull simplicities of sensible decision making. How did it end up this way? Well. It began with a conversation where we couldn’t even remember each other’s names. It middled with drug fuelled conversation and it ended with intimacy. Intimacy and the kind of night that is born of boyish fantasy; old records, cigarettes, more drugs, sleep, caresses, smiles and whispers, If you know me well then you know that this is enough for me. Between the joyous cliches and my own naive romanticism, I was gone. Leapt, falling and tumbling.
It didn’t take long for my dreamy haze to be intruded upon by the realities of the situation, but you’d be foolish to think that I was going to let something as mundane as real life ruin the fun I was having. Pragmatism, be damned. And yes, I do yearn for something with permanence, something with longevity. But truly it’s just the moments that matter, and there were moments burned into my mind’s eye that I will not forget in a hurry, not because they were of a recognisable significance but simply because they were intense, they were intimate, and they were ours alone.
And so it didn’t work, at least not in any concrete sense. The uncertainty was too much for her and really who could blame her; the uncertainty can be too much for all of us to bear. But it wasn’t enough to puncture my misty-eyed optimism. Beneath skies that were so sunny and blue on a kind of day that made me want to weep it was so beautiful, I reminded myself that I was lucky, so lucky. These experiences are not new, not for me, not for anyone. They are deeply, painfully familiar, and they do not become easier. But there are other joys in my life, and I need to gently remind myself that there is nothing gained when there is nothing ventured, and that a little perspective will take you a long way. Before her it was someone else. After her, there will be someone too. And perhaps that sounds like it diminishes the importance of those very few moments that we shared, that really we were both just interchangeable pieces and that the *who* of it didn’t matter, only the *what*. But I can’t believe that. She suggested to me that perhaps we were acting solely upon impulses sexual, wanting to externalise those physical desires that made us ache inside. And yes, that was probably true. But I can say with clear-eyed certainty that it ran deeper than that. If I can only hold into one belief, it is this: Two souls meet occasionally in the seas of chaos that make up our world. They can dance and intertwine and maybe only for a few short moments they can connect with one another. And despite this transience, or maybe because of it, the connection *is* meaningful, and wonderful, and not just some truncated flash in the pan. So who am I to be miserable. It does not befit the significance of the moment. I am lucky to have held it in my hands, if only for a second.

White Noise

I never know whether to play Side A or Side B. Really, I don’t. I listen to them both and in the end I think maybe I should just listen to the white noise at the end of the record because it seems a little easier to deal with. It sounds like the ocean, maybe.

Mathematical Drawings

Inspirational Geek

When I first set up this blog, one of the hardest parts was finding a name that suited my interests, personality, and what I intended to write about.

Inspirational Geek seemed to fit well, and if there was a ever a post to sum up a combination of those aspects altogether it is probably this one.

Hitting the nail on the head is Rafael Araujo and his self-titled “Calculation work which encompasses the ‘inspirational geek’ sentiment more than most.

Using only a pencil, a ruler, a protractor and a compass Rafael produces the most intricate and visually stunning mathematical artworks.  And no computer in sight.

Araujo1

The flat paper space is brought to life in a complex and geometric 3D world.  We all know that there is maths in nature, my Doodling In Math mini series demonstrated that, but these drawings prove it in an incredible way.

Butterflies…

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I am not a part of this story.

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So here we are. Do you remember Sigur Ros? You’ll have to excuse the fact that there aren’t the appropriate accents above various letters in their name; there is the capacity to find out exactly what and where they belong, but who has time for ephemera like that, really.

Sigur Ros represents a time and place that seems quite removed from the here and now. What it creates is 2006. Perhaps even earlier. It’s funny that the words don’t make any sense, evidently not to us and not to anyone; a hodgepodge neologistic thing built up from scraps of Icelandic and English.

They probably made sense to him though. Who would write a song with no meaning. It seems nihilistic, almost. It’s probably a good way to write a song. This way, everyone can create their own meaning from the words that they think they hear. Makes it more accessible to a mainstream audience. Not that Sigur Ros is anything but mainstream.

They played at the Enmore Theatre, it might have been Easter or thereabouts; it was definitely 2006. It might have been 2005. There were people stoned, people talking, people enjoying themselves, others not so much. There was a park, after darkness fallen, post-musicality, regrouping and laughter. And there was a room, with bodies crammed in like sardines, resting peacefully and communally.

That’s a memory.

A tale of two pictures

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I took these two photos almost a year apart. The first is Christmas Day, 2012, Flinders, Victoria. The second is September 7th, 2013, Byron Bay, NSW.  There’s nothing particularly remarkable about either photo (aside from the fact that little technological quirks can make just about anyone a half-decent photographer), yet together they form a nice little harmony. Certainly it’s fair to say that when I took the second photo, I had the first in mind. But back then, I didn’t imagine that they might carry as much similarity as they seem to have achieved.

Tonight I took part in a rather unusual gathering, a little shindig entitled No Lights, No Lycra. Imagine if you will, a scene of darkness. The basement of a church, where the windows have been deliberately covered, and only a few strands of light creep in through cracks here and there.

If you think that this first sentence portends some kind of ominous story, you’d be very much mistaken. For upon this darkened Ribeira Sacra (see later in this piece for some self-indulgent intratextuality) washes several hundred people, myself amongst them, ready to dance.

Once the music begins (a weird agglomeration of nostalgia hits, Disney songs and the occasional hip-hop track), we are urged not to speak, and a strange hush descends across the room. And then we dance. 

What a sense of surreality! Darkened silhouettes abound before me, throwing themselves to and fro with careless, carefree abandon. 

I suppose I took myself along to this strange ritual for several reasons. A throwing down of the gauntlet to my inhibitions, to see if they would care to be shrugged off. Mere exercise in its most rudimentary form. A deeper catharsis of sorts. When I first began, I was hesitant and stiff, clumsy and awkward. Much in the same fashion I suppose I must dance when the lights are on. By the end – well, by the end I was probably still all of those things. But possibly less so. And if I return next week, I will again throw down the challenge to myself, and see where it leads. 

Yesterday, for an exciting but brief hour, we were taken up a river of Spain, in search of an ephemeral and somewhat mysterious wine known as Mencia. We began our journey on the Atlantic coast, entering the Rio Sil near Monforte de Lemos. Here she was evanescent and fleet-footed, soft and quiet. This region is known as Ribeira Sacra, somewhat broadly and poetically translated to the ‘sacred shore’.

From there we continued towards Valdeorras – ‘Val de Oras’, where the Romans once searched for gold. We found her once again and as we climbed further into the mountains she became strengthened by day under the clarity and warmth of the sun. By night when it became colder, her figure grew sharper beneath the moonlight.

Finally, we completed our journey in the undulating valley-floors and mountain ranges of Bierzo, where Galicia meets Leon. We met her again here, where she was rich and impenetrable, and just as mysterious as when we had first met.

Whether she was all three, or in fact none, was no matter to us. It was enough that we had travelled the rivers and mountains at all.  

18 Thursday Jul 2013

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Is not today’s date. Nor is it yesterday’s. I’d count backwards, day by day, but I don’t have that many fingers.

When I first set out to write here, it was with an intention to write honestly and explicitly. Which I’ve done to some extent. But it feels egotistical. First world problems don’t equate to much when you think about the bigger picture.

I’ve suffered from some form of pathological anxiety for some time now. I imagine it is a condition that is some part genetics, some part environment, and some part first world. The sensation of feeling mentally unwell is fed by a guilt of knowledge that feeling mentally unwell is a luxury that many can’t afford. Yet it weighs no less heavy for knowing that fact. I’ve sought help for this pathology. Has it improved my state of mind? Undoubtedly, yes. But it is a slippery slope and there are almost as many steps backwards as there are steps forward.

I’ve chewed my nails for over fifteen years now. What does that mean? And what does it mean if I can’t stop?

The current aural backdrop to this written scene is rather aggressive. I’m not sure which I prefer: the angry soundscape, or one that is soothing.

I’m both physically and intellectually undisciplined. Lazy would not be too harsh a word. In the way that I don’t stretch my muscles, equally I don’t stretch my mind. The thoughts are as tired as the fingers through which they are conveyed. 

One has to accept failure, to get back on the horse, so to speak. I’ve never ridden a horse, though. Is ridden even the right word? Rode. Rad. Rided. They all sound wrong.

How much do you chastise yourself? Can you encourage laziness by allowing yourself too much latitude? Don’t go easy on yourself, you cajole and berate. Where do fear and laziness overlap?

I’m done for now. It must be baby steps. They’re steps, all the same.

Title Optional. An Overthwart-thought.

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Adjective

overthwart (comparative more overthwartsuperlative most overthwart)

  1. Having a transverse position; placed or situated across; hence, opposite
  2. Crossing in kind or disposition; perverse; adverse; opposing. 

Noun

overthwart

  1. (obsolete) That which is overthwart; an adverse circumstance; opposition.

Was I narcissistic because I used Facebook and Twitter, or did I use them because I was narcissistic?

I find myself often trying not to end my sentences with prepositions, even though such a prescriptive stance when it comes to grammar seems pretty anachronistic these days. That being said, I guess its not something I insist upon. 

I found a sliver of sunlight in which to sit yesterday. It was a perfect angle, shunting between two buildings, the alleyway and a couple of dumpsters. Then me, my newspaper, my coffee, my sandwich.

I read that there was a study undertaken of 18 – 24 year olds, the purpose of which was to gauge their knowledge of basic science. The results are somewhat depressing. If I were to pose the following two questions to you, what would your response be?

1. How long does it take for the Earth to complete one orbit around the Sun.

2. True or False. The earliest humans roamed the Earth at the same time as dinosaurs. 

The answers are respectively, a year (I’ll take 365 days, or anything within that approximate ballpark) and false, goddamnit!

You shouldn’t even have to think about those answers. They should tumble from your lips like the words that fall as (pro)verb(i)al diarrhea from a keyboard into cyberspace. How many people answered incorrectly? A good 40% to the first question, and somewhere in the realms of a third of respondents to the second.

Perhaps my opinion of 18 – 24 year old intelligence is too optimistic, but I’d say if anything, these facts come less readily to my mind now, compared to when I fell within that particular age demographic.

In other news, an American man, Michael Boatwright, was found passed out in a California motel room. When he awoke, he spoke only Swedish and no English, had no memory of his family or his past life, and insisted that in fact he was a Swedish man named Johan Ek.

I quite like the name Johan Ek. I’m going to add it to the list, which thus far includes Zion Mumbler (seen on a parcel in a post office once) and Velinda DeWeatherly (seen in a documentary about vote tampering in US elections) as unlikely protagonists in even less likely future novels. 

 

Lost Opportunities.

The 30th of June.

That makes it sixteen days since I last wrote. There’s a negative momentum of sorts that develops, though on second thoughts a better way to describe ‘negative momentum’ would perhaps be inertia, and that hits the nail right on the head. Once you hit a rough patch, it’s often difficult to pull the wheel straight again. 

There seems to be a certain lack of self-awareness when it comes to how I spend my days. Trying to recollect the wheres and whats and whys of the past two and a bit weeks, I’m coming up short. 

Which makes this idea of lost opportunities even more strange, and it’s probably why I want to pitch it to you. 

There’s a certain sense that overcomes me most evenings, a fear of missing out. That when my back is turned, when I am absent, that is when the best things happen. The space where the best conversations are had, the best friends are made, the deepest love forged. As a consequence, I don’t turn my back. I throw myself, front-facing and expectant. Night after night, into the same place, habit, routine, drinks, and wait and wait for those best things. And of course, they never come. Instead, as each evening comes to a close, and as my eyes droop within my head upon the pillow, there is the same thought, fleeting but regretful. If there were opportunities there, then I did not see them. 

The unintended consequence of looking for those opportunities in the wrong place means that I’m probably missing out elsewhere. That’s how I lose sixteen days at a time, seemingly without taking a breath. I’m wasting my chances by trying to find them. 

There was an analogy offered to me; it was offered sincerely by her, though perhaps not for the first time. It was too well polished, too rehearsed. And too perfect. There is a concept known as the ‘gambler’s fallacy’. I’m sitting in front of a pokie machine, entranced by the flashing lights, the music, the offer of something better. It’s never explicitly said, merely a suggestion of an intangible win, but it’s enough. I’ve pulled the arm/pressed the button/touched the screen/followed the routine (that same place, habit, drinks, wait) so many times now, and each time there is the same thought. Those best things never come. Which means, surely, maybe, definitely, when I push the button this time, the the odds are in my favour. Having missed out so many times, this time I will win. 

And therein lies the fallacy. We forget that each event is independent of the one before. Each push of the button is a new event with its own measure of probability. Lack of success yesterday does not predict success today.

The outcomes are random. 

Hypotheticals.

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We begin this evening with our protagonist, fictitious, of course. We’ll call him The Boy.

He is a man, but the appellation is evident on account of an emotional fragility; let’s not call it immaturity. It’s too harsh, and it smarts for him when he’s labelled as such.

We all have our ups and downs when it comes to love and relationships. Swingsets and roundabouts, I believe is the phrase that’s thrown about between the young these days. You go up, down, round and round, and all things being equal you ought to finish up where you once began. 

However, it’s often not so simple. There’s a trauma, a scarring that occurs somewhere along the the line. And that’s how The Boy reaches this point where we meet him. Given the hurt of the past, he is seemingly unable to unearth that previously accessible passion which was once his in situations of Love. Now, there are occasions in which Love beckons to him, yet he turns his head, and therein lies the mystery, the symptom of an underlying disease that we seek to cure.

On one hand, speaks the rational voice, he is indeed correct. How could you possibly believe that this time, of all the many permutations and the complete randomness, that something could come where before there was nought? There’s simply not enough, the puzzle pieces do not fit. There may be an initial burst of enthusiasm and excitement, but then, we do not coincide here, at this point, at this point and this. It’s a Venn diagram, and the circles are too far apart. Surely for this to work, the circles must meet, and a perfect storm of the intangible, the emotional and the rational can come together?

Yet there is another voice, one that is a little more troubling. The Boy hesitates to read too far beneath the surface, just as we do.

There are other likely reasons that drive his motivations. Firstly, there is a matter of expectation. What does The Boy expect to find, in this of all worlds, crazy and mixed up? Those two circles will never perfectly align, surely. To advance both the mathematical and intertextual analogy, the odds are surely never in our favour, when it comes to this particular matter. At what point does one settle for less, so to speak? For that’s what it really is, no? Settling. If the two circles have not become one, then there is the inherent space where compromise must be made.

Is it impossible to imagine that somewhere, those compromises need not be made? That the circles truly are bounded by one another?

The Boy does not like compromise, but he also recognises that his conception of compromise is possibly (though he likes to pretend unlikely) also a veneer of self-protection. For if one is always aiming for the unknown ideal, then it becomes easy to deflect those circumstances that are found wanting. Perhaps his disdain for compromise is in fact a means of not progressing beyond a particular Point. Because as we all know, once you pass that Point, there is no return. What is there to be feared, exactly? A multitude, if we look closely. Rejection, first and foremost. If one does not pass beyond that Point, then rejection is simply a hypothetical, a future conjecture that The Boy doesn’t necessarily enjoy confronting.

Yet this line of thought seems simplistic. We know, from first hand knowledge of The Boy that it is not this fear of rejection that drives him. Rather, something more opposite. A sense of conceitedness, perhaps it could be called. He is deserving of that higher ideal of which we spoke earlier, at least that’s what he believes. To be struck like a lightning bolt of certainty, quivering in the space and moment where he was hit, that is the destiny that he deserves. And he fears that compromise will steal that destiny away from him like a thief in the night.

But wait. What if the compromise of his ideals could in fact lead to those very same lofty heights of Love? If there are twists, turns and obstacles, and that the ultimate destination is difficult to see through the fog, is he wrong to doubt that the path will take him there? Wrong, perhaps no. But we could forgive him for his doubt, surely.

So what are our fundamentals.

A true knowledge that compromise is worthless, that a cheapened reality is simply a counterfeit copy of the real thing?

Or that grasping at straws of an imagined perfection will only serve to hinder both a longer and yes, more fickle path to true happiness. Perhaps the ideal is misplaced from the start, an artefact of self-protection, and that The Boy is denying himself true happiness by waiting for a train that will never arrive.

Flights of Fancy for today.

A red man. Don’t walk.

I was waiting at the lights of Nicholson and Alexandra, broad daylight. A presence behind me. A threatening shadow. Suddenly a sharpness pressed into my back, and a whisper.

– Money, now.

I’ve often wondered what we do in these situations. What I would do.

We, of the middle-class bourgeoisie who’ve never been in a fight in our lives, our only knuckle grazes to speak of, taken from a chance encounter upon the rough surfaces of our local’s bespoke coffee tables.

In my mind’s eye, I lull him into a false sense of security. Turn, hands shaking. 

– Please, don’t do anything foolish. I’ll give you everything that I have. 

It’s in this moment of my weakness that becomes his, and lightning quick I grab the wrist that holds the hand that holds the knife. A struggle ensues, he drops it, I kick it away, he runs away. 

It seems despite the daily rush of the intersection, there’s no one there to witness my triumph. I can only mutter words under breath, audible to myself alone.

– You’re damn right, son. You’d better run.

A green man.

Back to reality where in all probability, the outcome mundane would consist of one narrator, out of breath and bereft of a previously cash-laden wallet, reluctantly recounting a story of cowardice and shame.

Walk.