On every corner of our silent sphere, inside every one of the fluctuating lines invisibly drawn on its landmasses, is some soul looking out a window; thinking. Within his pondering mind exists a galactic cluster of sweet memories, bitter remembrances, fears and solutions to everyday trifles, and the crippling, ever-looming presence of existential inquiries. Between the “Who am I?”’s and the “Why do I exist”’s something else lurks in the shadows of the cranium. A little world (or, worlds) of their own.
Though millions of those places, some simple and grounded, others wild and outlandish, are desperately burning up billions of brains, none of them exist. But the windows those minds are staring out of are very much real. I have a window of my own, finding anything that lasts more than 15 minutes an opportunity to dive into an ocean of quests and vivid places.
I was born and raised in an island amidst a turquoise sea. A place that may never be free to choose its own destiny. Where heroes toiled in the baking sun and then croaked, never to be remembered. Where people don’t know which language to speak or who they are. Where two flags wave together atop government buildings. Where there is no glory to look to nor great human crisis to resolve. A place stuck in a sweaty and perpetual averageness where the world constructed is sunned to the ground and the one around it is ever-vigilant; waiting for its turn to reclaim its rivers and valleys. Where people see their successful selves wearing jackets and furs. A place where human abandon leads to fertility and natural bloom; and populated marches lead to nothing.
In this sticky, watery entrapment, I’ve lived an infinity of additional lives while my body just sat there. Somewhere in the past a young me is pirouetting around with a pack of dogs, waving a stick to slay unseen monsters. But a steady drive into adulthood has brought me many a well-behaved afternoons and dentist appointments. Slow days and distant fathers. The only thing that ever kept me alive throughout the mundanity of life was stories.
In the shadow of my slow, solitary life, I learned to feed the little tales that spun in my head. I found solace in the tales of C.S.s and J.R.R.s but in truth, as I coiled, cried and laid motionless in the barque of my mid-youth, I just kind of kept on goin’. I found life and vivacity in them. There, things had a purpose; they were inspiring or world-changing. There was no big life event to shift my gears or any crazy titanic mandate from Heaven. I write because I found a way to get my voice to come to life in a world that was as silent as a stone. Because with it I can maybe endure in a place where we are so goddamned ephemeral. Inspire some other kid, prancing around in his invisible adventures.
Fuckin’ shit, I write cause I have to! Because I’m bored out of my damn mind in this sweaty island. Cause there has to be more in my life than just sitting around and being polite. Shit, because a million voices are pounding horrendously at the metal gates of my cranium keep!
“Make us!” they scream, as their captains order volleys and catapult launches. And inside the fat nobles of civility and responsibility in their conformity coats are shaking in their boots. I type and I write and I draw and I can’t get it right.
“NOW!” They insist! They will give no quarter. They will not give way; Not even amongst themselves! The barbarians quarrel with each other, striking, gnawing and leaping over their ranks to see who will walk the enriched, paved streets first. They covet it; they covet it with passion that begs at their libido. The guards resist, ringing bells, their boots and chains clacking as they go about. There is fear in their eyes. I try again, and clumsy scribbles and distorted things are born.
Inside dissent swells, and revolutionaries want to seize the day. They gather their own and head for the walls. There are two fronts now! The banners drop within as the stones crumble outside. Ladders rise; officials are stabbed. The lords bite their nails furiously, playing at surrender when the doors burst open! Crowds flood the streets, killing all in their path. There is looting, pillaging! But at the plaza square, where monuments to the heroes of the past had been erected, they stop.
Before them are the revolutionaries. A stand-off seems imminent.
Both sides face forward with anticipation. A man then raises a severed but decorated head-
“We have won!” Jubilant cheers follow. Invaders and traitors embrace and sing vibrantly the dawn of a new day. The head is hurled asunder and it splashes on the warm puddles of blood upon the cobblestone. The statues fall in a united and vigorous effort.
“The kings of old have fallen! Long live our tales!“ They drink and feast and make a scene. They wear the helmets of their enemies and mock them. Mediators and grim faces are not tolerated and are put in chains without a thought. Sitars play and dances follow. Men and women rejoice in their victory.
I am their slave now. They’ve entrapped me with their swords and have beaten me down to a bloody pulp. Now I must write; anywhere at any time, for no reason but the sake of it. Sometimes I take pleasure at it, like some demented stockholm lover, enchanted by the captor and enslaver. Sometimes I loathe it, as I am summoned from my sleep to make council with the new lords of Cranium Keep, and do their dirty work. They have cheerful parades every day I do it and cause violent riots when I don’t, beating me with whips and spiked sticks. They force my head down and tell me to draft maps, describe folks, imagine songs, draw faces. Every damned second of every accursed day I am forced by these pretentious, pompous bastards to work for them. I fear I will lose my sanity, my work — my life, for these heathen.
But alas, it is so. They’ve won, and though I yet struggle to make their dreams and happenings a reality, I’ve forfeited my own. I’ve no whims or desires. No passions left but those they’ve concocted. In prose or rhyme I am their subject and they, my unquestionable masters.