Sunday, January 30, 2005

On a clear night

On a clear night you can see the effulgent skyline of the city from 40 kilometres away. Somewhere amidst that pile of shining glass and concrete is where she lies in bed, reading and thinking, wishing for sleep.

Closing her book, she clicks the lamp off before settling down under the covers to attempt the impossible. What if I had done things differently? What if I had chosen not to chase this dream, and instead chase another? Would I be happier now? Lying in the dark, eyes closed tightly, she asks herself these questions and more.

The sleeper: systems on standby, shut down for service, offline for maintenance. Peaceful, at rest, recharging. But this is not her. The sleeper that is her: a single thought running through the mind like a feedback loop, scrunched-up toes, muscles tight. Fitful, tossing, turning. Awake.

Her eyes won't stay closed, and instead repeatedly return to the digital clock beside her bed - until she covers it up. She gets out of bed every half-hour to wander around her darkened flat, staring out the windows, imagining a hundred other beds on the block each occupied by soundly sleeping people. She researches insomnia on the internet, hoping for cures, finding nothing she hasn't already tried. Eventually she finds herself rummaging around in the medicine cabinet, reading the sides of bottles and boxes, looking for something to knock her out. In bed again, this time trying to count sleeping sheep rather than wigged-out frantic ones, forever jumping the same goddamned fence.

On a clear night you can see the anxiety from 40 kilometres away. Somewhere amidst that pile of worry and botheration is where she lies in bed, ruminating and thinking, wishing for sleep.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Fleeting moment of clarity(?)

This is just a rehearsal, a rough sketch of a blog based on the spotless blog inside my head. More faultless than spotless, more flawless than faultless, more impeccable than flawless, my ultimate blog is everything this one isn't. These are just the words of a character loosely based on myself. I hide behind an absurd alias feeding you lies and exaggerations, untruths and misrepresentations, fabrications and caricatures. I've created more an antiblog than a blog.

Where do you go when you run out of places to run? What do you write when you run out of things to say? Well, in my case, I travel to your home or office, riding a wave of bytes through the ether, only to splash against your screen in a mess of nonsensical pixelated ramblings. (Hmmm, pixilated works there, too.) This is where I come to mutter unintelligibly, to think aloud, to babble abstrusely, (or obtusely as the case may be), and just, basically, hope for some kind of inspiration. And sometimes it comes, sometimes it doesn't.

So, are these more antithoughts than thoughts? Are they what make me lose my way while working, while attempting to work, while trying desperately to shake off writer's block or organise my writings into coherent arrangements? Do I, then, try to extricate the gems from the sewage by sorting through the piles of turds in my mind and laying them here to dry, out of the way, while I search (often fruitlessly) for the gem amidst it all? Maybe. But, then, maybe sometimes this is as good as it gets - there is no gem to be found.

I've accidentally created a blog filled with thoughts while thinking all-the-while that I was creating an antiblog consisting of antithoughts. Or maybe, just maybe, this post is little more than one more turd in an ever-lengthening sewage-pipe dream.

Friday, January 21, 2005

just listen

Unlock the door-
With two hands and eighty-eight keys,
You will lead the way.

-today is a loud buzz in the ear of Yesterday. Time: one of two things to be fascinated by, the other being the ocean. And what does it mean to be fascinated by something? The ocean fascinates because I've never experienced it, and time fascinates because-

-there is timelessness in the chords you play. You - a body trapped in time - can sit across from me at the piano, your fingers striking the keys, poking tiny holes in the fabric of time, itself. A line from one of your songs: " move in and out of time." Of all your lyrics, I hope, most, that this one was written about me. Are we unaffected, then, while you strike those keys? The word has a dual meaning: not affected, and genuine. And both apply to us in this instant-

-just listen...

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

ss ignorance

There's a tiny space between remembering and forgetting in which you live. It's where he chooses to keep you; not so close so as to actually want you, but not so far away so as to actually need you. You don't live within time, you supersede it, existing somewhere else - in un-time? - and he knows that is where he exists for you, too. At any moment, you can both recall an ideal - remember perfection - and that is perfection, in itself.

But you don't know what he's become.

Maybe you remember languid nights spent reading outside on the deck beneath the stars. You'd fall asleep there, you and he, only waking with the rising sun, and you'd laugh to yourselves as you made your way inside. Now, when he's not overcome by insomnia, he sleeps with a fan on because he can't stand the silence, otherwise. And he tosses and turns all night, fighting demons in his sleep.

Maybe you remember him writing into the wee hours of the morning, ablaze with the white-hot heat of inspiration, pulling page after page out of his old Underwood. Nothing could stop the flow of creativity, then. Now, he sits for hours in front of a computer screen doing nothing and calling it research. Or he flips through his old manuscripts trying to capture just a simple glimpse of that past inspiration. Or he reads, once more, the definition of a novel hoping, maybe, that he's just missing something.

Maybe you remember a lad who was satisfied with himself and his surroundings - satisfied to live a small town life. Content with the simplicity of spending the afternoon drinking coffee and reading books in a downtown café, he could waste hours there and not think twice. Now he fears he could waste a lifetime in the city, wrapped up in stimulus, enveloped by society, drowned by expectations.

But he doesn't know what you've become, and he finds solace in that. He keeps afloat on this sea of uncertainty in a ship built of innocence. But he can't see the outside of the hull on which is stamped: SS Ignorance.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


I'm thinking back to a time in my past when my present was so fulfilling that I had no need for a future, and now I'm striving, forever, to make it back to that point, while maintaining all-the-while that I am a forward-thinking creature.

Someone approaches me in a bar, a girl, the kind of girl that my self of 10 years ago would have been all over, and I'm thinking that maybe she's my ticket back to that place. My ticket back to a time when a beer was not measured by volume or dollar amount, but by the answer it gave to a question of mine.

It's easy, you know, picking up girls. Just tell a pretty girl that you think she's pretty. The only girls on which this doesn't work are the taken and the vain - and you don't want them anyway. I tell her this - the girl - and by the way she laughs, playing at brushing me off, I know that I have won.

Walking, later, down Main Street, we talk excitedly about our pasts (not our futures, because that would be silly), palm off brilliant ideas as our own, and breathe in the fresh air of a new friendship. I'm thinking the whole time how analogous conversation with a stranger is to a game of chess between two masters: the first one to make a mistake loses.

We pass a homeless man on the street, and he tells us that he's considering licencing himself as a corporation. He'll take on an alleycat as CEO, a rat as his CFO. I think this an abstruse and careless thing to say, but it's said and nothing can change that. Besides, who am I to fault him for having an idea?

Outside the girl's flat, we find no need for a handshake, a hug, or a kiss. Two strangers might share a seat on the bus or an armrest in a movie theatre, but they'll never share a goodbye. Before I leave her there, she looks at me a moment before saying: "you know, you really don't need to show a person an aspect of herself that she doesn't even know exists."

And like that, I'm taken back to that place ten years ago. We have created a memory, she and I, and we both realise it. Her statement will work like a camera, capturing the moment forever with it's poignancy. And ten years in the future we'll both be trying, madly, to scramble back to this time. Nostalgia.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Where will I be when Death casts its shadow in my direction? Probably doing something stupid and/or embarrassing and/or illegal, no doubt. But, maybe, just maybe, I'll be one of the fortunate few who are lucky enough to live out one hundred years, problem free, to die peacefully in his sleep. Pain free, I'll slip behind Death's back to the Greatest Darkness beyond. I can only hope.

No one here gets out alive. Life. As my own father pushes past two-thirds of a century this month, I'm reminded of my own mortality. Because that's what birthdays have become, you know - reminders that Death draws nearer, the Final Mystery. Gone are the balloons and party hats of yesteryear, and in their stead, dread and anxiety.
Time rushes towards us with its hospital tray of infinitely varied narcotics, even while it is preparing us for its inevitably fatal operation.

-Tennessee Williams

A cursory glance reveals to me that no one is getting older, no one is aging, no one declining. We're in stasis, all of us, everyone I know. Of course, this illusion's integrity is undermined as you, my friend, smile. Then, three faint lines appear at the corner of each eye, where they didn't exist just ten years previous. I have the pictures to prove it. Now, sunlight glints off a single grey hair hidden amidst your blonde, and my heart is racing. Is your skin as smooth as it once was? Your teeth as white? I search your eyes, and find them as lively as ever. Your smile is the same, and as you raise a pint to your lips in the same way you've always done, I am relieved.

I know we all make it to the end - no one will be left behind - and I suppose that is somewhat comforting. Somewhat.

Let's wait together
On this beach of sand;
The tide will carry us home.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005


If only you would have listened to _____. She knew exactly what you should have been doing, when, and even why - she told you all of this nearly a decade ago. Unfortunately - immature that you were back then - you were more concerned with who you were doing, where, and how. Ah, the five Ws. They say that hindsight is 20/20. Well, I guess in this case _____'s foresight was 20/02. (It doesn't quite have the same flow, but you optometrist cats out there will know what I'm talking about.) So, what did _____ know?

It's often the case in life that a single sentence can change your life forever. Whether read or heard, certain words are just powerful when grouped together into a line, and administered to a person waiting to hear them - needing to hear them.

"So, you've graduated - now what?"
"I hear so-and-so's hiring."
"If you don't like your job, then quit."
"You should totally go teach English in Thailand."
"I love you."
"Will you marry me?
"I'm sick of renting; let's buy a house."
"We should write up our wills."
"I think I'm ready for kids."
"Your aunt Marie freaks me out."
"Why can't you just pick up after yourself?"
"I hate you."
"I think we should get a divorce."

Meh, something like that. _____ had a line, too, and you ignored her, ignored it. Maybe she should have stressed a different word. Maybe she should have replaced the word vocation with career. Maybe she should not have wasted her breath on you and just issued that particular line to someone else. And maybe she did. Maybe someone out there was smart enough to use the advice that you were given so long ago. Maybe they're successful now. But maybe not.

The one thing that has helped you get through these decades is your belief that life is nothing more than a series of random events, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Moira cruises the streets of Time with her buddies, doing drive-bys. Call it fate, call it kismet, call it whatever you like. It's called life - life whose timeline is governed more by who slept-in than who awoke on time, who caught more red lights than who caught green, who called in sick and enjoyed a summer's day than who went to work pissed off, who left work early and kissed her kids 'hello' than who stayed late kissing the boss's ass.

It's you, the person who go against the grain, who holds the real power. So, shake things up. Throw out that alarm clock. (In fact, do one better and rid yourself of all your clocks.) Eat breakfast for supper, quit that class you hate, drop by a friend's house without calling first. Ignore that piece of advice _____ gave you. It was worthless anyway. (Trust me.)

Monday, January 3, 2005


I write these words for you. They come to me, building, like a slow, dark dream - a vision's exhale. Inspiration rolls out from the same mysterious place as the ocean's waves; tugged at by the moon, blown to your shore on the winds, before disappearing in the sand. Afflatus: flotsam for the mind.

One reader writes:
"Why blog? I'll admit, I read them, in fact, I'm quite fixated, but I can't understand why people write them."

My initial response is to say that I've always kept journals in one form or another. Whether they be the plastic containers of scrap-paper scrawlings, miscellaneous half-filled notebooks, assorted notes scribbled in the backs of novels, piles of *txt files sitting on a collection of HDDs in my closet - they're all there, but that's not the right answer.

It's more than that, this blogging. (I've always hated that word, blog, but I'm slowly coming to accept it.) Blogging presents a unique challenge, in that I am not just writing for myself. It asks that I present to you the best I have to offer on any given day. It asks that I edit myself. (Both my words and my thoughts to some extent.) It asks that I be entertaining to one, insightful to another, and sensitive to the next. It asks that I be always fresh and original. It asks that I actively participate in a community. Without doing these things, I would be writing to myself, and might as well return to scribbling on scrap-paper.

So I push forward, creating a work whose end I can not see. Am I in the middle now, or am I still near the beginning? Or am I nearing the opposite shore? No, there is no land in sight. Allow me to borrow from myself a few lines:
"An old raft rocking on the ocean, nothing but the sound of waves lapping in my ears. The smell of salt in my nose - its taste burned on my tongue. The feelings of hunger, thirst, and the too hot sun turning my hide a brilliant pink, then brown."

I'm collecting driftwood, afflatus, but what purpose does it serve when I'm in the middle of the ocean? I spend my days carving it into shapes and setting them free - hoping they make it to you.