Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not quite #fridayflash fiction: The Muse

She was conceived in the heart of a song that contained about as much tears, blood and visceral matter as most births.

Her arrival surprised the composer, who had been expecting a melody only, not a whole woman with long drapes of birch colored hair streaming down her slightly stooped shoulders. "Are those wings?" he asked.

She blinked, staring at the motion of his lips. Then she parted hers and mouthed a pattern that was close to identical. Open, close, tongue brushing teeth, open again, close, open, close. No sound came. She did not appear to expect any.

"No," he said, rounding the O.

She imitated the motion. Still no sound.

"You cannot speak," he observed. "Can you hear? You are beautiful."'

He led her to the couch. Some of the hair slipped and he saw for certain why she was stooped. "They are wings," he said. "Are you an angel?"

She blinked, then got up and walked over to the piano. Some of the sheets of paper were filled with notes. She smiled, as if something about the melody delighted her. Then she found the pen and wrote, I DO NOT KNOW in large block letters. I DO NOT REMEMBER.

The composer's mind was conflicted. An excited you can write! battled with a protest that he used the music sheets for other types of writing. Trembling fingers, he found a notebook and passed it to her. He retrieved the sheets of paper, past her scribbling, he saw how the rest of the melody would go. The notes just seemed to fall into place and he wrote them down quite fast, lest he forget them, caught up as he was in the unexpected phenomenon of the winged woman.

"Why did you come?" he mused, more to himself.


"Do you have a name?" he asked.

I DO NOT THINK SO, she replied.

"Do you need anything?"


The composer poured her a glass of water and went back to the business of music, which seemed to flow a lot easier in her presence than it did before.

She stayed and hours drifted into days, weeks, months and finally years. The composer wrote many songs, some of which he recorded himself, while licensing others to fellow musicians.

He became famous and aclaimed. The woman sometimes felt she could almost, but not quite remember a life before him, but she felt no need to return to it. Only two aspects blemished their happiness. The first was that no one seemed to notice the woman beside the composer. In the beginning, he tried to argue the reality of her presence, but he soon grew weary of persisting in a debate he never won anyway.

The second grief was hers. Although she fully comprehended him and could communicate fluently through writing, she never learnt to speak or hear anything. It was apparent to her, that their was some important factor in the composer's life that she could not take a part in. Sometimes, she would pore over his work with the intensity of an obsessive and would almost imagine that she could hear the melodies. She would press compact disks to her cheek bones or rub earphones against her lips or ear lobes, but nothing ever came out of these objects.

At the end of his life, as he lay dying, the composer said, "If one wish remains to me, it is this. That somehow you will now be able to share in my gift."

His body stilled and cooled and his spirit returned to the Source of all life. With tears in her eyes, she fingered one of those useless musical devices again. Something assaulted her mind with sharp pinpricks that went chi-chi-chi. There was a loud CRASH! that made her duck for cover and a SCREEEEEEEEEEEE! that grated her inside in a way that was very hard to deal with.

She sat up. Her ears worked. Suddenly these assaults on her nervous system became a joy as she realized that the composer's dying wish (and hers) had been granted.

"Are you the nearest of kin?" asked a nurse, and the words echoed in her ears before blossoming to comprehension in her mind.

"Yes... yes, I think so," her voice sounded odd to her own ears, although she experienced no difficulty producing those first words. That, too, surprised her.

She could not wait to be alone, to enjoy that which had been denied her throughout the composer's life. She stumbled outside and it took several moments before she worked out the reason for her lack of co-ordination. The wings were gone. Music flooded her being, intoxicated her, each note all but leaving her devastated. Was this the music of her beloved companion the composer? Why did it hurt so much? Was this what beauty does?

She kept walking into people, something that had never happened to her before. Each fresh note made her stagger, seemed to rip a hook into her soul, twisting the barb. Each note removed another layer of protection, until she felt naked in a hurricane of sound only. It hurt, and yet the beauty was not lost on her.

She wanted to write YES!!!! I HEAR IT NOW! I UNDERSTAND YOUR GENIUS! but there was no one at her back, no notepad and no composer. At that moment, she realized how truly alone she was within this storm of music.

She removed the earphones and pondered the device. For the first time she remembered the composer's wry smile and his kind blue-green eyes. She missed them. Balm for a wound was good, but being whole was better. Her hands squeezed the music player so hard it cracked. The noise around her became muted. She could not stop squeezing and each subsequent crack was softer than the last.

A vaguely remembered sentence surfaced briefly in her consciousness. You cannot go back.

And then, We are all on a path through life.

The shards of plastic and fibreglass were slowly turning to dust between her palms. She scattered them. Do we not all create out own path? The wind blew them into a line. Bits of copper glinted briefly...

If you want to make it
to this crazy world of mine
The secret's in the shine,
the magic's in the shine...

She began to follow the dust of the shattered music player. She could no longer hear her footsteps, but a path was being created.

After a while, her shoulder blades itched.

Blotches and shadows of people past through her, but she could no longer feel them. Sometimes their lips formed O's or their tongues brushed their teeth, but no sound accompanied the motions. She had become a ghost to their world.

She crossed a bridge that looked like a piano...

Soon her feet no longer touched the ground... She was flying home to wry smiles and kind blue-green eyes.

The secret's in the shine....

(t.y.m. - but this one hurt a lot to write, somehow.... i'm still recovering from it, emotionally)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Not quite #fridayflash fiction: After the Party

"Chaos is entirely a state of mind. So is order, for that matter."

"Hey, you're nuts."

"No, I'm not. It just never occurs to most people that all they have to do is flick a switch in their mind. They want to change things the long way round, because it's the only way they believe in."

The conversation was the only real thing in J's mind, although it may not have taken place at all. The voices were familiar, but no names or faces would claim them in his memory. It could have taken place between the large animal print cushion on the couch and the red kettle with the broken switching mechanism.

For some really strange reason, he could only think in objects as he lay there patterning his cheek to the ridges of the carpet. Even when he tried to think people, they quickly slipped back to expressing themselves as things. Ronda was a pale woven basket with a few strands of rafia at the top fraying. Selbourne was the DVD player that would never accurately play the same disk you inserted, however many times you checked the label beforehand. Ashley was this thin elegant vase with a bottom of water too far away from the stems of the flowers she was supposed to nourish.

Chaos. Order. Flicking a switch.

The words tasted like the heavy syrup of sambuca and smelt like somebody's saliva. They dried on his tongue without his ever using them. They throbbed inside his skull, happily jamming with the hammering on the front door.

It could have been thirty seconds or as long as an hour before he reached the door, but the woman's beauty was something that pierced even his post-inebriated state, but the golden translucence of her skin and the ears that protruded and ended in points not unlike those of Mr Spock must have been the booze still adding little bits to the picture.

She said, "I know this is an unusual request, but can I come in and clean your apartment for you?"

J blinked and glanced over his shoulder. He could not find it in him to deny that it needed cleaning. He sought and found a line half-remembered from a movie. "A fine lady like yourself?"

"This is awkward, but actually I have to do it. One of your guests last night stole something of mine and I have until noon to find it."

"What time is it now?" J asked.


"What if it's not in there?"

"I can feel it."

J took a step back. He had seen stranger things. He made several half-hearted attempts to help her, but she seemed to have such a better grasp of what she was doing and proved totally unshockable, even in the face of several very strange discoveries.

One was that roughly half of the coffee table seemed to have turned into a tree. Roots frays bits of the carpet and the floor was actually lifting in a lumpy halfmoon shape. He could not immediately think of a way of fixing it, but the woman with the pointed ears ignored it.

There was a swarm of five miniature mermaids patrolling the aquarium. J opened his mouth to say 'Wow', but the word never quite got to his tongue. What he really wanted to verbalize was, 'See, THAT's why I drink."

The woman did not even glance at them. She was homing in on something that J now recognized as the epicenter of weirdness, a charred figure - was it a statue or a corpse? - that occupied the center of the couch.

"I found it," she said.

J looked over his shoulder at the mermaids - their tiny breasts actually bobbed - and then forced his eyes to return to the dead body. Yes, it really was a dead body. How was he going to explain that one to the landlord, to anyone?

"That?" he asked.

She reached out and pulled something from the burnt fingers. "This," she said. A few bones tumbled to the floor, smudging the carpet. The woman blew on the object in her hands. Some black dust flew off it. It was a ring.

"Oh," he said.

"Now I will clean the place up for you," she said.

She slipped the ring onto her finger and its shimmering became part of the golden sheen of her inhuman skin. The very air seemed to vibrate around them and for a few moments the throbbing of his head was truly unbearable.

Slowly, the motion of everything wound down. The corpse was gone. So were the smudges, the tree part of the coffee table and every single beer can or glass that had lain scattered across the living room floor. And the mermaids. He realized that, brief as their existence had been, the aquarium would never quite look right without them again.

He blinked.

"Oh yes," said the woman. She touched his forehead and the hangover was gone also.

He spend the rest of the afternoon hunting for something - anything - out of place. Everything was as it should be. Yet, in some strange way, not....

Monday, November 7, 2011

I leave you this...

I couldn't leave you diamonds
I pawned the last of mine
I couldn't leave you pennies
I spent them all on wine
No monuments
No works of art
My soul is empty
and so's my heart
Nothing went
the way it seems
I wish I could have
shared my dreams
But as my minutes
ticked away
Time for my soul
to stray
I left you something
you love best
One last riddle one last game
one final quest...

(t.y.m. as usual)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Magic (a reality check)

You cannot tether magic to a pole. It won't work in the long run. The magic won't change its nature, but the longer the arrangement lasts, the more it will seep into the leash or the chain. Eventually it will touch the pole itself and the pole will stop being a pole. It will lose the ability to hold back the flood. Magic is eternal. Because it is everchanging, it will always stay true to itself.

(btw, my reality checks are NOT like those of other people. Always stay true to who you are in the real world)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Not quite #fridayflash fiction: Flower

Holding onto the flower seemed to be the most illogical thing in the world - both practically and emotionally. Marianne had carried it with her every day of her life. The petals were white, parchment dry and brittle. It was not a particularly beautiful specimen. It came from her marriage bouquet.

According to Marianne, it lost its color on the day Frank first raised his hand to her. She would not tell him what it was originally.

Now, his ass stiff from too many hours on the hard edge of the sidewalk, damaging the flower was the least and most immediate of his worries.

The whitewashed walls of the house across the street betrayed nothing. Somewhere within, Frank Bain had a gun trained on the person of his estranged wife Marianne. Was she dead or alive? There had been several gunshots, one at three o'clock, two at four-thirty and another at a quarter to five, but at five oh five, the cops spoke to her. She sounded strained, emotional, but still very much alive. It was almost six now. There had been no more gunshots, but Frank could have used other means. There were so many. A hangman's noose, a sharp kitchen knife, his bare hands, a cocktail of domestic insecticides. All of those might be soundless.

He tried not to think about them, but the images flooded his thoughts, almost as if he was there in the room with her, listening to Frank Bain tormenting her with the possibilities, asking her to choose. Was he picking up her stream of consciousness somehow?

That had happened before, to the surprise of them both, somehow confirming that soul mate link they had been aware of from the first.

Don't die. His mind was pleading. Don't die.

Live. Take me with you. Live for me.

The words popped into his head. The voice was hers, although the acoustics echoing within his skull sounded odd, as if coming through a long, narrow tube or from underwater.

The very air around him seemed to come alive and it was as if he could feel every ant meandering across the sand, every blade of grass glistening as it unfolded, pushing up towards the sun. The flower in his hands was a deep, dark plum, the color of old blood and promises broken. But the whitewashed house across the street seemed to have given up its ghost.

That was the moment he knew, long before the SWAT team stormed the place and brought out both blanketed bodies.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Worms & apples

Here is yet another analogy about worms. We always talk about worms in apples being a bad thing, BUT just look at it from another perspective. The worm believes it is in heaven and this is the biggest glutfest on earth. The apple is being loved and appreciated. Apples are born to be eaten, whether by a worm or a human being, or a horse, for that matter. The only problem is you and who said it was your apple anyway?


Friday, October 7, 2011

Not quite #fridayflash fiction: Crows

"Look, crows," said the boy. His name was Aidan. He wore jeans and a T-shirt that advertised the amusement park they visited three days ago on his birthday. He had turned nine, which meant that he was exactly three-hundred and sixty-two days away from counting his age in double digits.

One thing puzzled him. His feet were bare. He felt sure he would have worn shoes in a place like this, with the wind continuously whipping up rust-colored leaves and the tarmac scattered with pieces of broken glass.

"Why are they so shiny?" his sister asked. She was five and her name was Courtney. Asking stupid questions was her number one occupation.

"Because their mommies always made them wash behind their ears," Aidan replied. He thought it odd, but quite peaceful that their parents were nowhere in sight. A little way off, some car wreck was burning. Aidan wanted to look at it. Later. Before their mother came back. She always made them turn the other way if there was an accident.

"I think they're scary," said Courtney.

"They're fine," said Aidan. "They're very smart and they live a long time and sometimes people tame them. The Indians believe they are very important."

"Why?" Courtney asked.

"Next time I see an Indian, I'll ask him. The only reason most people don't like them is because they eat carrion."

"What's carrion?"

Aidan sighed. "How must I know? Some junk I think... Or rotten meat." He peered at them. There were five crows. They pecked at something on the road.

"Why are they so close?"

She did have a point there. Most wild birds flew away when you walked up to them, but not these ones. They just kept working their beaks as if the two children weren't even there.

"I dunno," said Aidan.

"Palo says crows eat people's eyes," Courtney said. "Can you see what these ones are eating?"

"Somebody's eyes," said Aidan. He leaned forward. It was true. The orb, tattered with blood, was the size of a marble. The size of a little girl's thumb scrunched up and with the bone sticking out. Almost as big as a nine-year-old boy's big toe sticking out of his Ben-10 sock.

He walked. Closer and closer. Shiny black crow feathers passed through the soles of his feet, but he never felt them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What if...

What if you see him again
And he wears my face
Would you still find him
something to embrace...?

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Once upon a time there was a worm that pooped in the soft fleshy bed of an oyster. The oyster turned it into a pearl. It is in the nature of oysters to turn whatever life gives them into pearls. One day, women will fight over the pearl. One day, a thief may cut off your finger to own it. But the worm was happy enough to be rid of that piece of poop. And so was the oyster....

The moral of the story is.... human morals are questionable... (t.y.m.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Not Quite #Friday Flash Fiction: Angels and Cupcakes

(dedicated to the memory of Matt La Porte)

Five hours of guitar practice, seven days a week, but you are nobody without the same amount of time devoted to a steady and equally repetitive round of virtual ass-kissing - also known as social networking. It was the latter that felt most like effort. The guitarist skipped it a little too often, which explained perhaps why he never really had too many covers of Guitar World or Guitar Player magazine to his name.

This day started out feeling like just more of the same...

The guitarist was in his familiar lesson room at the back behind that rickety set of stairs - a cramped, but happy place where students and friends often just dropped by without needing to. This time, though, the friend on the stool opposite him had been eighteen months dead, so he amended his reality. This is a dream, but it's good to see him again.

Yes and no said the friend. It is a dream, but the waking is a little different.

The guitarist stared. "You read my thoughts."

The friend laughed. Can't you read mine yet?

The guitarist discovered that he could. Definitely a dream. Even playing music was different. He found that merely looking at an instrument brought forth sounds. No effort. No finger work. Just think it and it happens.

The friend stood up and the walls faded. I've died and gone to heaven, haven't I?

More laughter. This time it crept into him and he felt the laughter from the inside out. You've died. Heaven is all in the mind.

So I can make heaven or hell? They've had this conversation before, over many beers. It felt strange to be revisiting the thoughts, but as a practical hands-on experience.

Whatever you will

My old school ground?

Kids walked over them and through them. No one noticed. The guitarist craned his head after each and every kid that came too close, something the friend found hilarious.

"Shouldn't I be wearing robes or wings or something?" the guitarist asked.

You are said the friend. He was practically bent double with laughter. At least, that's how the guitarist saw him.

"Shouldn't we be doing something?" the guitarist asked. "You know, helping people?"

Sure said the friend. Millions of people out there that need help. All you've got to do is pick one.

The school ground faded a little. The guitarist hesitated. He felt like he was being pulled out of shape by a barrage of needs and wishes. "Oh my," he said. "Oh my."

The friend shrugged. It hits everyone at first. You get over it.

"And then?" the guitarist asked.

There's a trick to it. Make a choice. Boy or girl.

"Girl, I suppose," said the guitarist.

Then you follow the pain.

The guitarist found that his eyes adjusted to see things that didn't used to be visible. What color is pain? How can you tell anyone who hasn't seen it?

"It's all over," the guitarist said. "What do I do? Wait - I know. I can tell, now. Some of it's thicker, brighter, more intense."

There you go said the friend. The guitarist caught another stray thought that the friend might not have meant to share. Wonder what mine looked like? Or maybe he did.

The slashes of pain intensified. It became a girl weeping on the grass, a half-eaten cupcake discarded beside her. "Look," said the guitarist. They watched pain ungrowing into its roots. "Fat," said the guitarist. "That's what they called her. Such a small word."

Small words pack the most poison said the friend.

The guitarist said, "Maybe we should just.... no wait! I know what to do!"

He strode across the grass, still in robes and wings. The girl looked up startled and started to back away.

"Don't be afraid," said the guitarist.

The girl began to hyperventilate. "You're not real, are you? I mean, you don't look real, I mean - touch me -wait, don't touch me, just maybe leave me alone, okay? All the others do."

"Relax," said the guitarist. "I just wanna let you in on a little secret. Are you gonna listen to me carefully?"

The girl nodded. "Uh-huh."

"And you promise, pinky swear, not to tell anyone else?"

"Uh-huh. I promise."

"Okay, here's the secret. When God makes people and puts the spirit part in them, well, some of them, the spirit part is so beautiful that they might just float all the way back up to heaven. You got me so far?"


"Now here's the important part," said the guitarist. "Because of, well, this problem with the beautiful spirit, see, what God does is he makes those ones a little heavier than normal. You got me on that?"


"Cause if he didn't make them heavier, they would just float all the way back up to heaven as quickly as you can say cupcake."

The girl smiled. "Yeah, I got that." She did not notice at once that she was now floating about a foot above the grass.

Now look what you've done said the friend.

"I don't think that was supposed to happen," said the guitarist.

The friend touched the cupcake. It liquified into whorls of color before changing into a small flower.

The playground faded. Or maybe the two angels did. I leave that up to your imagination...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beyond the gate...

I was playing my guitar, an acoustic piece called 'Beyond the Gate' which I composed. These thoughts came to me:

The death of the seed marks the birth of the flower. The death of the matchstick gives life to the flame. The loss of innocence implies the gaining of wisdom. Don't fear the loss of what you were. Rather embrace what you will become. Why hold on to the memory of a mortal man when you can embrace the full power and magic of an angel.

One day, we will all pass through the gate... (t.y.m)

two faces
two places
one soul
bridged and whole

(added 24 july 2012)

Friday, September 9, 2011

#Friday Flash - For Two

Alice was phoning around for quotes to get the coffee machine fixed when they came in. It had been two days. Some of the regulars, like Hank and Darla, were good about drinking cola instead, but Marv had to be difficult. It had to be tea, and done just right (which was the way only his dead mother Savoury Lil could do it.)

She hated the device at the best of times. Like a newborn, something always needed feeding or changing. Of late it had gotten so cantankerous that Pete the Sneak had actually gone over to Millie's to have a NO COFFEE sign printed out.

Glancing over from the phone, she saw that the man, mid-thirties, ex-metalhead, was already lighting up.

Now that pissed her off. Why did she have to go out back whenever she felt for a puff?

Slamming the receiver down, she marched over and said, "None of that. No smoking. Don't you know the rules?"

He inhaled deep and blew smoke into her face. "This is an imaginary cigarette," he said, brows raised slightly, eyes beaming mischief. Another time she might have appreciated the attitude along with the not-so-obvious good looks.

His girlfriend giggled. On her own time, Alice might have snapped, "I wouldn't laugh, if my stylist died and left me with half a dye job like that."

On Pete the Sneak's time, she took a deep breath and said, "What will it be?"

The man smiled. "Two coffees, filter, hot milk and sugar. Got that? C for coffee, T for two."

She looked back pointedly towards the machine where the sign was up in five inch capital letters. Were they blind? Illiterate?

Then she thought Imaginary cigarette my ass, I'll show you.

Revived into activity by the thought of a sweet return, she marched straight to the drying shelf where a neat row of empty white coffee cups waited. She took two, supplied them with saucers and tea spoons and whirled around to deliver the order.

That'll show them.

Here you go, two imaginary cuppa's of the best brew.

The guy winked. She smelt it. And saw it. Both cups were filled to the brim with rich brown java.

"Thank you Alice," said the man.

"Thank you Alice," echoed the girlfriend.

She looked down at her chest. She wasn't wearing her name badge. When she look back at the two barstools, they were empty. Only the aroma of filter coffee lingered.

(t.y.m. - dedicated, as always to the one who has become all of my stories)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Making Peace

I don't expect to be understood EVER. I've spent two years making an interesting sort of peace with that realization. But it sometimes aches just a little in the empty void where that expectation used to be

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Get that Quantum Vibe

I found the link to Quantum Vibe's website in a tweet from one of my online connections and have to admit, that, now, about two hours later, I am totally hooked. Anyone who claims that virtual media is killing the comic strip, just hasn't been looking around. The truth is that many good comic strips have migrated to the internet - and they have plenty of babies too, such as this one. Quantum Vibe follows the misadventures of Nicole, an average young female of the 26th century where one outfit fits all occasions simply by morphing to suit your needs, commuters travel by bubble, but heartbreak still hurts as much as it did 500 years ago.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Why we dream of broken things...

Last night I sat at the water's edge and wrote a dedication to someone who changed my life. I meant to throw it in the ocean that lay between my world and his, but then my family said we had to go... so the message remained poignantly unsent... it was typical of the incompleteness that plagues so many dreams... a singer would dream that his band was playing a new song. Everyone knew it except him. He had to get the lyrics but somehow, it was time to go on stage and he still didn't have them... we dream of wrong directions. We dream of broken things that never get fixed... Why... because our dreams are really our souls' message telling us, you are broken, you are not whole... And so when we close our eyes and our souls sees the truth of this reality... we dream the pieces... it disturbs us... we think it is our fears coming out... but meanwhile it is really the desires of our broken souls yearning to be complete, that is coming out...

Friday, July 29, 2011

The ownership of stories

Last sunday I began to write a fable about vultures. Literally, I sat down and began with the words "once upon a time", writing them in a tiny A6 sized exercize book that said Croxley on the outside cover. In another reality, I was sitting cross-legged on the floor, listening to the voice of my deceased twin soul telling a tale that began "once upon a time". The words flow easily, without hesitation. Although he takes breaks, there is no scratching out, no re-arrangement for the physical me that is taking dictation. The story 'happens' to me. It is not the first to to come in this way and won't be the last. Some stories come to me as movies or in snapshots and impressions, rather than physical words, but often the sentences surprise me. For me, writing has really become a form of listening...

Since his physical life ended more than two years ago, and since the stories will be sent out in my name, I suppose I should call them mine, but they feel like gifts...

Before he died, my twin soul created in much the same way as I do now.. and it occurs to me that perhaps its only on this side of the grave that we feel any need to go: mine. mine. mine. That is only the itching of our egos. In truth the stories belong to all of us. We ARE them and they are us.

One day they will bear another name, another mask, another disguise...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

worlds under fire...

Does any remember the movie 'Dark City'? It came out around the time of the first Matrix movie and the theme was very similar, except there was no Keanu Reeves in it. The premise was this: Every night while we sleep, a shadowy group of aliens 'rearranged the furniture' of our world or reality and sometimes when we woke up, things were completely different. Looking around me, this seems like another truth hiding within a fiction. It would not surprise me to learn that the majority of people have their memories completely erased and their realities reset every three months or so. If you are cursed with the inconvenience of a longer memory or, heaven forbid, deaf to the magic pipes of the spindoctors they sold their souls to, they hate you for not seeing the emperor's new clothes...

Don't give in. Reality building should not be a spectator sport. Validation is for people who are unsure of their truths or too sure of their lies.

Nobody can claim supremacy over your reality - only you. Your reality is constructed of emotions much more than anything you touch and see and hear. Your emotions allow or dismiss what you perceive. Your emotions validates the input of one person and discards the input of another. You do play some role in building the reality of another person, but you have no control over how that person uses your contribution. An insult is never given, only taken. Same with a compliment. Reality truly is in the eye of the beholder. (t.y.m.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


If you took a monkey
and dressed him in my clothes
would that make him me?

Would he think my thoughts
Would he dream my dreams
And tell you what I see?

(t.y.m. ~ thank you for sharing & caring)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Heaven... another definition

I don't know how to explain this, but heaven is when it's not "someday" or "somewhere" anymore. Heaven is when it's "here" and "now". Heaven is when your mind moves and your body stands still. Heaven is when your mind flies and leaves your flesh behind. Heaven is a secret room inside your mind. I don't know the way to yours. I only know the way to mine. There is a lock and there is a key... most people call them "reason" and "sanity". And you have to turn them.... have you ever tried to turn "reason" or "sanity" on its head... I'm telling you... it's not easy... not easy at all, but once they are upside down and fall on the ground, and the door is hanging on its hinges.... you might think you've died ... because heaven will rush out to meet you...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Roadkill anyone? A glimpse into the reasoning behind the freegan way of life...

(this piece also appears on my xomba account, but I suppose that is acceptible, in the general spirit of recycling)

I should warn you perhaps that a few people may be grossed out by some of the thoughts expressed in this article.

As a regular signer of online petitions, mostly via the petition site, avaaz and, I also receive newsletters from all three of those organizations regarding alerts for new petitions and also the thoughts of various of their regular bloggers. One topic recently touched on, was the freegan lifestyle, particularly with regards to the eating of roadkill.

For those not familiar with the movement, freeganism embraces the concept of using resources gained through salvage, rather than economic activity. Freegans have no qualms about scraping plates, diving dumpsters, squatting or the creation of guerilla gardens. Although there are some health concerns about eating food gained in this way, these are sometimes balanced by the problems created through consumerism. For example, the growth hormones present in commercially produced meat are said to be a factor in causing cancer. Often supermarkets and food retailers reject perfectly suitable food only because it fails to meet standards regarding size or color.

Even if you do not agree with any of their strategies, take note of the economic problems inherrent in our consumer society that they point out:

- about TEN years ago, I attended a workshop at the premises of our national broadcaster. One announcer pointed out that afterwards that a row of houses situated at the back of their Cape premises have been vacated to be sold off as assets, but that this had, due to administrational mismanagement not yet been done. That was in 2001. Recently, those houses, located in a prime real estate area of Cape Town's Atlantic seaboard, were still empty, showing broken windows and general neglect. All due to corporate mismanagement.

- Recently, a customer to an upmarket clothing retailer in the States discovered that clothing she returned unused, was destroyed before her eyes, rather than being returned to the shelves for resale or donated to charity. With so many people in need, throwing away goods because of company policy should be unacceptable

- About five years ago I worked for a restaurant delivery company and during that time, they engaged in a marketing campaign with the diary company. I witnessed masses of milk products being thrown away on the whims of the bosses. Much later, the true reason behind the campaign became clearer when the company in question was implicated in a 'price-fixing' scheme which involved the artificial manipulation of available milk supplies.

The truth of the matter is, consumerism creates a lot of waste. Take the short life span of the average CD or DVD player, for example. A lot of non-biodegradable garbage is being generated for the sake of meeting sales figures and profits.

We are not always aware of this undeclared war between the 'sellers' and the 'buyers'of this world, although we are its foot soldiers. The world is divided between those who need and those who waste and the real challenge for all humanity should be the building of bridges in between the two. The recent earthquake disaster in Japan should have demonstrated to anyone how easy it is to slip from the latter group to the former one.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gender ambiguity in fiction - three examples

Gender identity has always fascinated me to the point of absorption - allow me to introduce three very different fictional takes on the subject.

When Ursula Le Guin wrote 'The Left Hand of Darkness', her intention was to illustrate the role gender plays in our society, by creating a world where gender divisions seemed irrelevant.

The people of Gethen had the ability to shift into the role of male or female and were usually asexual. When in 'kemmer' they became sexually active and adopted the role which best suited the circumstances. Thus the roles of powerful king and nurturing bearer of life was not necessarily mutually exclusive.

The story was told from the perspective of a man who visited their isolated world as an emissary representing the Ekumen, a federation spanning many worlds across the stars. It could be seen as an experiment in attitudes and theories, dealing with the socio-politics of gender.

The Wraeththu books by Storm Constantine appeared in the late 1980s, almost twenty years after Ursula Le Guin's award-winning book. At the time, youth culture was at its most ambivalent. Punk had given way to the New Romantic Movement and early Goth culture, which celebrated androgyny. Boys wore make-up and big hairdo's with relish. Remember Boy George and Sigue Sigue Sputnik?

Storm Constantine, herself an active participant in these sub-cultures, took its ideals a few steps further, by creating a post-Apocalyptic world where the strains of one hermaphrodite mutant spread quickly through mankind's youths, usurping the place of humanity as we know it. As sometimes happens in gay culture, though, gender roles reasserted themselves, even where the actual biology had become arbitrary.

The hermaphrodites of the Wraeththu cycle called themselves 'hara', (singular 'har'), but their race was called Wraeththu. Youths became 'hara' when infected with the blood of a Wraeththu, but adults subjected to the same treatment, died. The option was not open to females, although in book three, a female variant of the form, called 'Kamagrian', was introduced, probably in response to early feminist criticism of the books. The original Wraeththu trilogy comprised 'The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirits', 'The Bewitchments of Love and Hate' and 'The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire'. Although never best sellers, the books gained a cult following, which led the author to publish a new trilogy, the first of which appeared in 2003.

Storm Constantine manages her own small press, Immanion Press, which had, since its advent, published numerous Wraeththu books by fans and several new Wraeththu books from her own pen

The works of Ursula Le Guin and Storm Constantine had been labelled science fiction, but a slightly more recent publication by Jeffrey Eugenides which also features a hermaphrodite character, made it to the mainstream shelves.

Calliope Stephanides, the hero/heroine of Jeffrey Eugenides' 'Middlesex' inhabits the same world we do. He/she grew up in middle America, the offspring of immigrants, so deceptively normal seeming, so mainstream and yet, she hid a secret. In fact she was a secret, and the end result of a scandalous secret. When her grandparents came to America, they left behind the truth of their family relationship. As a direct result, Calliope, later Cal, is what we now refer to as an intersexual, a hermaphrodite. Unlike the people of Gethen, unlike the hara of Wraeththu, what Cal is, is problematic to our world vision and opens her up to a lifetime of prejudice and misunderstanding.

The theme of 'Middlesex' deals with, is ultimately choice and identity. Although raised a girl, Cal, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery through her family history, later chooses to emulate a more masculine role.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I think of them and I think soft and I think sweet and I think of them as petals and parts, already falling to pieces. A rose, it seems, is born to die, but aren't we all. A rose unfolds, but it is only a rose for a moment. A rose is a memory of sweetness that cannot last. A precious gift, dear because it dies and so we mark our graves with roses, perhaps to mark the way, because soon, soon, we must follow them home.

(This was part of a writing exercise. My dad took a photograph of a yellow rose on the morning of the day he died - 29 September 1973. A little before his death, he planted four rose bushes, and the first rose opened on the morning of his death. The day after he died, which was a sunday, the second one opened. It was pink and the species name was 'Carina' - almost my name.)

Monday, February 28, 2011


'I want to hear you talk, not my insecurities'. That's what I told my muse this morning - because, well, they have been making so much noise... creating interference... and what my muse suggested was: write about them. So here goes... insecurities.

Our psychological need for security manifests in the desire to be romantically loved, but in truth, you can find the deepest insecurity rooted in the quest for that love. And don't forget the fact that we all get kicked out of heaven at the start of our lives, which means that having rejection issues is probably one of the most common diseases among humans being. And then there is that trial-by-opinion we all fear so much, that moment we let the guard slip, when we fully own our words and our dreams and our fears without qualifying them or nullifying them, just in case, we will be help up for ridicule, and ridicule is so frightfully immediate, these days. Okay, here goes, you don't need anyone's permission to feel, to love, or to be human. Opening up can be frightening (to you) but perhaps it becomes reassuring and liberating for the next heavily armoured soul watching silently from the wings.

Your insecurities are there for a reason. Don't NOT listen to your insecurities, but recognize them for what they are. Insecurities. Your insecurities, not someone else's. YOURS!!!!!!! By all means chat to your insecurities, acknowledge their
existence, and set them free.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Amazing Journeys

When I was a child, we has a cat called Passepartout, named after the long-suffering sidekick of Phineas Fogg, the hero of Jules Verne's 'Around the World in 80 Days'.

What I did not know at the time, was that the book was based on the real-life adventures of George Francis Train, railway entrepreneur, author and eccentric, who made his first attempt to travel around the world in 80 days in 1870. The journey included some time spent in a jail in Lyons, but was nevertheless completed within 80 days. The book by Jules Verne, published in 1873, in turn inspired a reporter from the 'New York World', Nelly Bly, to travel around the world. She had at that time already achieved some fame for a well-documented ten day stay in Blackwell's Island Insane Asylum, in order to expose the harshly inhuman treatment that was common at the time in such institutions.

She began her round trip in New York on the 14th of November 1889, arriving back home 72 days, six hours, eleven minutes and fourteen seconds later.

Although he was a vocal supporter of women's rights, George Francis Train promptly undertook another journey around the world, to best Nelly's record by finishing within 67 days. A plaque in Tacoma, Washington marks the start and end point of this journey.

Today, anyone (with enough money) can round the world in just a few days, something Phil Keoghan, host of the television show Amazing Race has done many times. In 2009, though, Phil undertook an amazing race of a different nature when he crossed America, from coast to coast on a bicycle to raise funds for research to combat multiple sclerosis. Starting in Los Angeles on the 28th of March, he reached New York City on the 9th of May. Parts of the journey was videoed and released as a film to generate additional funds for the cause.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Holly Black introduces the worlds of fairy to the mortals of Ironside

Weird exotic looking Kaye has always seen fairies - Spike, Gristle and Lutie when she was young. At sixteen, her life is unconventional in a different way. She is the responsible adult, taking care of her wild rock chick mom Ellen. But when they hit a dry spell and are forced to move back in with Kaye's grandmother, the faeries return to her life in a big and perilous way. First there is Roiben, knight of the Unseelie court, whom she rescues from an injury. Then the thistlewitch reveals a startling new truth about Kaye's origin, and finds Kaye experimenting with new abilities, while her every move also endangers her friend Janet, and Janet's brother, Corny. Meanwhile, Samhaim nears and with it the time of the tithe, a sacrifice ment to bond the solitary fairies to the Unseelie court for the next seven years. What role will Kaye play in this? And what other double crosses are on the cards? Soon, Kaye is not sure who is friend and who is foe.

And if you enjoyed this, the good news is there's more where that came from. In 'Valiant', human girl Val leaves home after finding out a shocking secret about her mother. In New York City, she befriends Lolli, Sketchy Dave and Luis, who live somewhere in a disused section of the underground, hiding the magical secrets of their existence in the dark. When she herself becomes involved in the affairs of Ravus, who is really a troll, she has to find out who has been killing off the exiled fairies of the city.

'Ironside' returns to the further adventures of Kaye, now armed with new truths about her real identity, but still as confused about where she truly fits in, as her destiny shifts her between two conflicting courts of fairy, and she is charged with solving an impossible riddle to win the love of a king and perhaps save him in the process. Ironside, by the way, is how the fairies refer to our world.