Variations on a Thought

I am having trouble conveying the feelings that I am having, the fact that I want to write, to keep writing, but cannot quite formulate exactly what I want to say.  At the moment I am finding a deep release through music, either through live gigs or listening to albums as I drive across the northern landscape of the country I inhabit.  Often, on a morning when I wake, I play the album in the CD player and wash myself in the tones of whoever is playing.  It is a sweet relief.  There is an immediate sense of  feeling, of a placement on a particular chord or orchestral swell, that rush of recognition that can only come with time when reading the words of others.  Yet I feel there is a deep kindred between these two methods of communication, two of the most important for me.  Yes, of course we talk, we can express our desires, worries, love and anger through talking, we gesture too, we can laugh or howl with derision, but there is something in the beauty of the written word, in the musical note, that is lacking from the babble that vocalizes forth from the mouths of both myself and of others.  What does this say about me?  I am not quite sure I want to know, that maybe I value the thoughts and beliefs of others, but worry about giving a voice to my own?  Perhaps.

This isn’t the piece or the time to give voice to such ill thought out ideas or half formed theories.  I want to keep writing, I want you to keep reading, I want us both to keep being creative, to tap into that font of magic that cannot be commercialized, crunched down to size for productivity measures or customer service satisfaction.  I feel in limbo, between the world of what is expected of us all as individuals, in a market where we have to pull our weight to feed our commercial gain, compared to a more utopian paradise where the value of a person is not placed on their output, or their labor.  It is ridiculous to think of such thoughts, ridiculous to think that I am free to think such thoughts, to moan about a life well lived.  But I do, we all do, no matter our position, social standing or inherent bias built into us.  We are all individuals and we are all a collective.  Together we love, destroy and displace.

I am having trouble writing.  I am staring at the computer screen each and every day. It is, I realize with a disgusted shudder, a proxy for human interaction, for skin on skin.  Yet still I come back for more, in the vain and vapid belief that this is a life well lived, that this is life itself.  Humans need the company of the animals and plants, of the soil itself, to know that we do not share this planet alone amongst our kind.  We are but one of many and I feel that this is forgotten more and more.  Ignorance is bliss until the world collapses around ourselves, and we are left choking on the markers of productivity.

Death has become a familiar friend as of late, in this last year of my life.  This may be the last year of my life, I hope it is not but we never quite know what is around the corner.  Surely we should grab it, if we believe it is so?  Yet still, I lie in bed an extra hour, to soak in the sonic variations and textural tones of the current album spinning in my CD player. Content to know that, for the time being, this is where I belong.  My limbs relax, my eyes flutter and close, finally my breathing shallows.  It is a mere shadow of true sexual ecstasy, but it is close.

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Photography Abroad: People & Buildings

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If these digital photographs are reproduced elsewhere please credit the author of this blog as the photographer.

Surburbia Kills

I was the first born.  Before the the mountains had rose from the sea, before the clouds hung in the sky, I came first.  My brother was the tree, who provided me with its fruit.  Animal was my brother too, feared and respected, watched and observed.

The second born saw what I, the first born, had and craved it for himself.  The mountain rose with his anger, as did the clouds.  The water started to foam and has not stopped since.

No longer do we treat my first born brothers with the respect that we once gave one another.  Now we herd them, both for their meat and for their fruit, until we have destroyed utterly the life that we had always lived.

I used to hold the sacred mud in my hand, and I could feel the fertility in its wet embrace.  Now I weep as the mud has become sodden with black earth blood, leeching the ground and contaminating the green grasses and wild animals.

We herd the land now too, parceling it off into smaller divisions that breed anger and jealously, war and hate.  No longer do we eat facing each other, we eat alone.

Our music, once shared, has now become a singular pursuit in the contours of our identity.

I weep for myself.  I weep for suburbia.

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Photography by the author, if reproduced please credit as appropriate.

Abstract Photo #1

Not a photograph I intended to take, but a happy mistake discovered once the film was processed.  I think I see a person walking away into a land of shadow, where nothing, and no decision, is clear cut.  Shot with the Pentax s1a camera and black and white kodak film.

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On Anarchism

Whatever its future success as a historical movement, anarchism will remain a fundamental part of the human experience, for the drive for freedom is one of our deepest needs and the vision of a free society is one of our oldest dreams.  Neither can be ever fully repressed ; both will outlive all rulers and their States.

– Peter Marshall, in Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism.

The above book is a fine companion to The Rebel by Camus, another book which I have nearly completed.  Again both of the above are books that I am reading slowly, letting the words and ideas from history slowly tumble down and impregnate themselves as my mind wrestles with their concepts.  In this day and age of mass state surveillance, corruption and rank greed, it is hard to think of what one should hold a loyalty to and to why.  This is not just the state but also the social, the personal.

Captured Once, Captured Twice

Once again I’ve recently been putting some of the photographs I’ve taken with my old Pentax S1a film camera into frames, and I think a few of them work rather well.  This is one of my friends, caught we as we were out taking photographs one day around town.  I have to say that, even though I used cheap colour film, I love the way that this photograph has turned out.  There is something in the crispness and texture of film photographs that I just cannot seem to see or feel in examples of digital photography.  Of course the flip side of this is the fact that I used a cheap digital camera to take a picture of the photograph in the frame to enable me to post it here!

The Pentax S1a was made in the early 1960’s and still works like a dream, no batteries needed.  The digital camera?  Broke tonight after only a few years use.  Typical right?

A photograph of my friend taking a photography.  I think with this frame, a nice deep black frame, it really helps to bring the little scene out of it self, as fixed on a wall or a shelf the thick frame gives it a nice depth.  Taken with my Pentax S1a on colour film, if used elsewhere please credit.

A photograph of my friend taking a photography.  I think that with this frame, a deep black frame, it really helps to bring the little scene out of it self, as fixed on a wall or a shelf the thick frame gives the photograph a nice depth.  Taken with my Pentax S1a on colour film, if used elsewhere please credit.

Here is another quick photograph of the sea, how I love the sea.  Again I have put it into a cheap frame but I think the white/cream highlights the colours within the photograph itself.  Also this one has turned out much better than expected.  I expected it to be slightly scuzzy and not really crisp or clear at all, but it has pleasantly surprised me.

Here you go:

How my heart longs to be near the sea, within the sea and deep under the sea.  The fresh salty air is a balm to the roughest of days and always ensures a good nights sleep.  You know that the sea will break you down until you cannot be broken any more, it will not lie to you or try to comfort you.  it is nature at her harshest, at her most beautiful.  Taken by me with a S1a Pentax camera with colour film, if used elsewhere please credit.

How my heart longs to be near the sea, within the sea and deep under the sea.  The fresh salty air is a balm to the roughest of days and always ensures a good nights sleep.  You know that the sea will break you down until you cannot be broken any more, it will not lie to you or try to comfort you.  It is nature at her harshest, at her most beautiful. Taken by me with a S1a Pentax camera with colour film, if used elsewhere please credit.

I’ve also got a few more photographs in frames but as I said the camera has broken so I unfortunately cannot upload them here at the moment.  I also think it is worth putting your own photographs in frames as it is a nice personal touch and evokes happy memories, and it makes you remember that being creative and spontaneous can lead to some lovely pieces of home art.

Kafka Revisited

I think this photograph turned out alright!  I love how the Penguin Modern Classic of Franz Kafka’s ‘The Castle ‘ ends as he left it, the last sentence hanging incomplete.  It tantalises the reader to think of what Kafka possibly had planned for the conclusion of the novel but, as the introductory essay in the Modern Classic notes, it also adds an air of completeness to the novel as a whole helping to fit the overall theme of the novel perfectly.

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My photograph of the last page of Kafka’s 1926 novel ‘The Castle’, taken with a Pentax S1a camera on colour film.  Perhaps not as clear as I’d like it to be, but I love the highlighting the ‘she spoke with an effort’ part which, I think, adds an air mystery.

I have one more novel to read by Kafka and that is ‘The Trial’, a copy of which sits on my bedside table.  In truth I am loathe to start reading it, partly because I have so many other books on the go at once, but truthfully because it would be the last major work of his that I have not read.  Although I’ve never found Kafka’s writings an easy read his work is a rewarding read, burrowing deeply into themes that permeated the 19th and 20th centuries.

A Final Meal

It was a fine calm day to prepare my last meal.  It was peaceful, a time where most families would be preparing their roast dinners at a time of festivity.  I had the place to myself.

The delicate leaves on the nearby row of silver birches fluttered in the the light breeze, a natural calming wind chime for the living.

Some say that eating in the open air unleashes the taste buds, that the fresh air invigorates the tongue itself.  Others say that it makes our ancestral mind recall the eating of flesh outside in the open, that the brain releases neurochemicals of pleasure because of this ancient recollection.

I could not care less.  Eating in the open was delicious, pure and simple.

I had prepared the table, cleaned it carefully and laden the surface with the finest embroidered cloth I could buy.  The cutlery was the best silver I could lay my hands on, the table set for two.

The main course, venison slow cooked with red wine jus, was waiting speared on a silver tray.  It was perfectly cut, thin slices of pure lean meat.

I was surrounded by good friends, long since dead and remembered only in stone.

With the first bite of the meat the juices ran down the side my mouth, tinged red.  I closed my eyes and slowly ate a soft delicious slice of a beautiful creature.

The sun was shining and my heart was howling.  I had come to eat my dignity.

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The stone angel overlooking the eternal place where mortals lie. Taken by the author with a Pentax S1a camera using black and white film. If reproduced anywhere credit as appropriate.

The Walk

The wind howled and the waves crashed.  Carried by that furious wind I felt the salt sprays biting my skin whilst my sodden feet slowly sank into the soft delicious sand that met the waters edge.  I had finally arrived.

Above me, far above my mortal and frayed body, I glimpsed the stars and holy hell were they beautiful, pristine even, a sheer delight in contrast to my sore weeping eyes.

I wasn’t sure how long I stayed rooted to the spot looking out into the universe but it must have been an hour or two, having not seen the stars over my head for at least two months now or so I thought at last count.  My neck became joyfully stiff, my eyes lustfully scanning the night sky for stars that betrayed the depth of reality in this inky blackness of life.

I could barely see in the dark but I knew my hands must have been filthy, they were crusted to the touch and a numbing ache could be felt in their pads but the tips barely had feeling at all.  I had walked a long way to be here.  I had walked a very long way to be here.

It was some hours before I would see the sun rise from her watery sleep, before she would cast her rays across the bitter seas.

I had to keep warm or risk being frozen, naked to the elements as I was on the beach head.

Rummaging in the backpack I found the bits of wooden crates from my journey that I’d salvaged, bulked it out with some relatively dry driftwood found after scouring the beach for an hour, dug a little hole into the sand set back from the sea and started a small fire.  Huddling close I pulled out a dead pigeon from the backpack, carefully plucked it and set it upon my battered metal tray above the fire to slowly cook.

I am not afraid to say that in this time preparing and stoking the fire I salivated quite heavily at the thought of eating pigeon flesh.  The diet to date had been somewhat meager compared to what I had known before, in a life that now seems as distant to me as the stars are above my head.

I tucked into the flesh, biting one breast then the other in quick succession.  I heartily hoped that the maimed bird would forgive me, I having ended it’s life for the prolonging of my own.  It sounds ridiculous now to recount but when I had spotted the creature flapping weakly amongst the ash, in a circle of ruined tree stumps, I had almost yelped for joy.

I made every edible morsel count.

The night was a cold mistress, a black blanket of depression that covered the land while the earth slept.

I drank the last trickle of fresh water from the wooden flagon, my lips greedily seeking the refreshing elixir of life.  My tongue was deceived though, with neither the water tasting of life nor did it feel refreshing.  No, it felt like the last kiss of hope had left a bitter taste in my mouth instead and I swore at how foul tasting the water was.

I had stood up to make the most of this last drink but that taste had broken my back.  My knees crumpled into the sand with a hollow thump and tears ran down my face.  Not today I said, not today.

I shouted into the sky, shouted until my voice became hoarse, until I thought I could no longer breath.

I put my hand inside my clothes and felt my chest, felt it inhaling and exhaling rapidly, felt the ribs through the paper thick skin, felt the coldness of my limbs.  Not today I said, not today.

The stars continued to twinkle in the clear night sky, the wind continued to howl.

Surely they would come this day, surely it would be this day.

Photograph taken by author with a Pentax S1a camera.

Photograph taken by author with a Pentax S1a camera.