Howdy-hey, guys and gals! Your friendly neighborhood rawrgoyle dropping in!
I keep forgetting to post on here! Truly. I've not been playing Runescape as much lately. The things called "College" and "Homework" and "Projects" have sort of taken over all of my everything. So, you know. That's a bummer.
Anyways! As is my usual custom, I'll toss a few videos from my YouTube channel fruitypheasantboy (shamelessplugshamelessplug) in here, in case anyone's been interested in knowing what I've been doing.
A few weeks ago, I fell on my ass. Twice. The first time was scripted. The second time was not.
, or torture, depending on how you feel about Willow Smith.
Also, I tamed a mighty animal. His name is Bartholomew. He rides on the winds with the strength of a thousand eagles. He also likes to try and put pacifiers in my mouth, and I found him in a park downtown Chicago. (I really didn't. But did.)
Also, someone asked me out. I said yes. We've been dating about a month. His name is Andrew. He's not that much taller than me, truly.
He makes me breakfast, he makes video games, he's pretty cool.
He has a game that's going to be published to the iTunes store in a few weeks, hopefully. I just need to get unbusy so I can write the game description, character blurbs, and the info you see on the iTunes store page when you're looking at an app. More to come on that!
I finished a project for my Producing For the Corporate Client class. We uploaded it to a website. The website is live and people are voting. You should watch the video and vote for it, because I said so. And because I wrote the script for it.
Seriously, I need you to vote for this video. There is a cash prize involved. MONEY. I may have to post a separate thread on this for y'all.
Um. What else has been happening. That's about it, I guess? I'm still working on some Film II scripts. Short stories, that kind of thing. The stress is slowly eating me away. Killing me.
Well, maybe not that dramatic.
Oh! I went to a Mat Kearney concert. He's pretty amazing. He sold out the House of Blues here in Chicago, if that means anything to you guys.
Here is a picture I took.
And here is another.
And yet another one.
He's amazing. And if you haven't seen him live or heard of him, then go do so. I took videos at the concert.
If you've ever wanted to hear me scream like I'm being murdered, then I guess that's a video you should watch. I've got more songs posted if you wanna hear 'em.
Okay. I think I've rambled enough. Although the second I hit "post" I'm going to think of something I should have said.
Thanks for reading.
Cart, you're awesome.
Oh dear. Yes, I vanished from Sal's for like two months. Am I back? Yes. What have I been doing? Well, check out these YouTube videos, and find out ..
I've been letting
I've been singing really loudly and off-key in my apartment. Sorry, neighbors.
I've also been
^ Yep. So there ya go.
Also! Dimo drew a wonderful picture of me punching a pigeon out of the sky. I live downtown Chicago, so that's been a burning desire of mine since I moved here. If any of you have lived/been to a major city, you understand what I'm talking about. They're Satanic.
Thanks again, Dimo! You are a classy fellow.
I'll be trawling the forums again soon! Note - that is trawling, not trolling!
Hi, I'm Tas, and I went to Texas. I took pictures from the inside of a car.
Lots of pictures. Dallas is a lovely city!
The locals look a little sad, though ..
Bronze statue cowboy don't care. Bronze statue cowboy don't give a shizzle.
This is a city of confederates and thieves.
A President was killed here.
Mini-Dallas is mini.
The skyline looks like crooked teeth!
I love highways. xD
This is why I love highways.
I get it now. I wish I had known this sooner. Man + Chocolate cupcake = bliss.
The stoplights are sideways, here!
Take back the city for yourself, tonight!
Definitely one of my best vacations ever. I hope to go back this fall! Thanks for reading.
The grill of my SUV wrapped itself firmly around that telephone pole.
It was dark, but to my bleary eyes it looked like something had clawed its way savagely up from the driver's seat, through the windshield. Tempered plastic puckered outward, stained with something that looked remarkably like blood.
It was my blood, wasn't it? I lay spread-eagled on the pavement, not seeing you, but knowing you were standing there. Knowing you were pointing.
I swallowed once, then twice. The pain hadn't blossomed yet.
"Can you help me?" I asked you without words. You shook your head.
"Why?" This time, my voice was angrier. You stared.
Something was in my palm -- something that wasn't bits of asphalt, or skin. I looked down. It was a twig.
"Do you know what happened?"
You did not reply.
DEEP WILL FALL TO DEEP.
"Who are you?"
OCEANS BEFORE YOU. OCEANS TO GO.
I saw fists sitting no longer like arms on a desk. They had lengthened, and were crawling towards us. Fingers gouged into the soil, dragging themselves like obscene things, wanting no doubt to pull us back to where we had come from.
I felt the icy fingers on my ankles again, and when my face sunk under the water, I did not fight it. The Deep dragged me under until I felt my lungs catch fire -- until the Deep fell to Deep and I felt nothing more than nothing.
And then, clarity became clear.
I was trapped in the Void with nothing to light my way but the trees.
Blackness here, blackness there. The trees were the only thing telling me where the horizon was -- straight as a die, telling me where the sky started and the smooth ground began.
Smooth indeed. No blades of grass, no bumps from scattered stone. Was it soil? I took a moment to reach down and touch it. Nothing. It felt like nothing.
I walked from one tree to the next, seeing the rest spread before me like infinite stars in the sky. Were they all the same? Probably. I eyeballed their curious branches. No leaves. Just delicate boughs of ebony white -- glowing ever-so-slightly and yes, a carbon copies of the ones before.
Huh. Nothing new to see then, eh? I decided to sit with my back to the nearest trunk and figure out what to do next.
I was not particularly compelled to do anything at the moment. Somewhere in the back of my mind was a hospital bed and a late-night drive gone wrong, but that was so far away. That didn't matter. All I knew was that this was a place without sound, without sensation. It was simplicity squared, and it was the only place that I knew my name.
How long I sat there wasn't important. What's important was the idea that popped into my brain, at random. I was up on my feet the next second, looking at my chosen tree, and I mean really looking.
It did not have the usual imperfections of bark, the knotted and rough feel of something from home. I let my fingertips wander the width of the trunk; it was just as smooth and as much nothing as the ground.
But it was bright! Fiery bright. And far above my head where the branches frayed like veins, it was beautiful in a stark, artsy sort of way.
From the trunk to a low-hanging bough, went my curious fingers. I found a young twig, and after the briefest moment of hesitation .. gave it a frightful turn, and snapped it off into my palm.
The effect was instantaneous. I heard a sound like a child sobbing, and the tree's light ceased to be -- snuffed out like a candle. I still had the twig clenched in my fist, and for some reason I was trembling.
I thought I saw something move out of the corner of my eye, and I whirled round at once. Nothing was there, though, of course -- but I think that was why I had noticed it.
A tree some distance away had switched off, as well.
I can't say why that was so significant to me, but the next moment I was stumbling, staggering towards where I saw this happen. The ground was suddenly uneven, and I nearly turned my ankle. Good. This was good. All good signs.
Eventually, I slowed. I could hear something -- and it was constant, now, not just the crack of a twig or that sickened crying ..
Footsteps. My own breathing. The shuffling of my clothes. One step, then two. I could hear something up ahead, as well.
I glanced down. The twig in my hand was glowing.
I looked up. I saw a similar sliver of light up ahead.
Excited, now, I made bounds the rest of the way. I still hadn't worked out how to use my voice, but I had found someone else! It was the only thing that made sense! The twig grew brighter and brighter until it eclipsed any tree around me; I could see the same thing happening.
The other twig cast a shadow on a figure jogging towards me as well. Whether man or woman, boy or girl I couldn't tell -- I just knew I had found someone else in the Void, and I guess for a second I thought it might be you.
But I hauled up short, and so did the person across from me. We were less than four yards apart. The twig was searingly white, now; I had seen the other girl's face, and now I felt that familiar stab of fear.
I was staring at myself.
Step by step, I walked closer until she was standing in front of me. Mirror-image, to the letter. In the light of our gleaming twigs, we looked scared and tired and pale.
We peered into the Void beyond the other, its bright-white trees and bleak nothing. We glanced back at each other, and made eye contact. We raised our arms. We licked our lips. We flared our nostrils.
Either she or I reached out with a twig-less hand, and the other did the same. Our fingertips were mere inches from each other.
I waited for the nightmare to surge, for her expression to sour and for her to drag me in with cold, clammy hands to devour me .. but I was committed, now. Reflection or demon, I closed the gap with a prayer.
Smooth, cold glass. That was all. I pressed my palm against it completely. Just a reflection. I watched my own face crumple into tears.
Hey! The companionship would be nice.
I kept one finger tracing the glass, and followed the mirror for a while -- walking with my reflection against the Void, forever on until we saw stars.
"I can see you."
An odd thing to focus on. Sight. It's something we're all supposed to have normally, right? But hearing the words from your mouth just made everything fall into place.
I was hesitant, though, as I reached out. The nightmares had always kept this moment from me. What if the dream made it vanish? What if I suddenly touched glass? But nothing whirled away. You stayed.
"We won't come back after this."
"I know," I said, and surprised myself by not crying. "I don't care."
So you lifted your hand to meet mine. Our fingers slid together, skin meeting skin. I felt the ridges of your thumb and the heat of your palm. Your face lit up in a smile. I smiled back.
But before I could ask for a kiss, I saw the hazel of your eyes turn blue, then spark to red life like sirens ..
.. And we blinked for the last time.
The game is called Goosebumps, named after the book series. It's called HORRORLAND or something, and it requires you to scream and yell, a lot.
Watch and enjoy.
You can sort of figure out the rules of the game from watching, but we all turn cards over. If a certain card comes up, you have to shriek "GOOSEBUMPS", then shriek again, and grab a token on the table.
If you don't grab a token, you lose one. You start with four.
Sounds simple, eh?
But seriously? Watch out. There's a lot of shrieking in this video.
Feet, Don't Fail Me Now!
The Unity Christian Music Festival is a three-day event held on Lake Michigan every summer for the past, like, ten(ish)? years. They get a ton of big-name headliners to roll on through, but Switchfoot's name has been noticeably absent on the roster. Switchfoot themselves have done backflips to avoid being labeled as a "Christian Rock" band (and don't get me started on that entire thing; that's for another, much longer blog post!) but with a new record on the way, here they are. Big and bold.
I'm aware the above picture doesn't tell you a great deal about Shoreline Drive, but I'm very close to the water right now. What's neat about that part of the lake is that it's all gaping factories on rocky shore instead of sand. The sort of look that you don't see on postcards.
I can already see you wrinkling your nose. These aren't factories that're spewing chemicals. They're old, old, buildings made from stone and old metal. Mostly abandoned, but the freighters still frequent the waters to use the shipping yards. Within sight distance of the lot where I parked, a gigantic ship was lashed up to a dock where a crane was loading on train cars.
Past all the nonfunctional smokestacks, are the hotels. Lots of lakefront hotels, old ones, too. The entire area is a refreshingly .. open blend of the industrial, and the environmental.
And not like Chicago. No. Not their "Lake Michigan", thanks very much. This was legit.
The hotel in that picture is old as sin. It's called the Amazon, or, rather, the AMAZO if you walk by it at night.
Like I said, it's a festival. So bands are playing almost constantly. I got there between five and six -- Switchfoot wasn't to go on 'till about nine. I found myself a spot close to the stage, and literally spread a blanket sat down, and read a book. A few acts rolled by, and by the time I looked up things had filled up.
Ah, see? There are the smokestacks, the industrial buildings in the background. What you can't see above and beyond that structure is the lake. The water, and all the boats bobbing around from the harbor across the way.
I don't know those people looking right at the camera. Freaks.
Group 1 Crew were the first act to play that I stood up and actually watched. They hit the sage just as the sun was starting to set, so I got a few nice silhouette pictures against the orange light. Here's one of my favorites.
This guy. This security guy. Red shirt. Group 1 Crew is a three-piece outfit from LA (I know it's misleading since I'm only showing y'all pictures of their frontman) who bounces all over the stage, popping, locking, and dropping. This guy just stood there with his arms crossed as though completely unaware of what was going on behind him. So that got fixed.
Remember how I said I did a lot of waiting. I got bored of my book pretty quick, and started making grass jewelry. And I'm pretty freakin' good at it, too. When the show was over, I took my epically-woven bracelet, and its now curled around the antennae of my SUV. What up.
Group 1 Crew finished up. The sky was turning a bit darker, a bit more colorful.
"Switch! Foot! Switch! Foot! Switch! Foot!"
^ FML. I swear I'm not a squealing fangirl. But here are the facts.
His name is Tim Foreman.
He's the bassist for Switchfoot.
He's cooler than you.
He's wearing sunglasses, but that's only to hide the fact that he was looking right at me the entire show. Or something.
Jon Foreman, Tim's brother, and frontman of the band always has a guitar for whatever album they're promoting. Their Oh! Gravity one was pretty neat. I didn't get to see Hello Hurricane get toured, but the one for the upcoming album Vice Verses looks pretty badass.
Google Image search Mat Kearney + City of Black & White.
Mat Kearney is easily my favorite singer. I just saw Mat Kearney in concert, and have been salivating over his new album.
Methinks Switchfoot are a bit jealous. Nice look, Jon. And yeah, he had the black pants too. There's just, like, a guitar in the way.
The Foreman jump.
^ I'm thinking he didn't actually hurt himself.
Why do I think so? Because he was up approximately 0.00004 seconds later.
During "This is Your Life", Jon screams into the pickups on his guitar. Creates a really ethereal feeling for the whole audience. I love it. Used to do it on some other songs too.
Lightish blob out there is Jon, pissing off a lot of the Unity security people since the artists aren't allowed to go off the catwalk. Yep.
Stay classy, boys.
If you're still reading by now, that probably means you've read my posts before. So that means you may have read the last one, where I explained a bit of my "me love u longtime" mentality for Switchfoot.
I bought a shirt, and I had something else in my bag for them to sign the entire time. Once the crowd broke, I heard that Switchfoot were signing things in a tent. I had this weird, horrifying moment where I didn't know if I wanted to do it or not. After all my talk of holding out, not wanting to meet them until I was someone worth meeting sort of drifted away, and I found myself heading for the back of the line.
Honestly, I think I would have chickened out. I've been in the autograph lines at Unity before. (Sanctus Real have signed my electric guitar, but no one here listens to Sanctus Real) They're scarily brief.
But the decision was already made for me. I teetered uncertainly to the back of the line, and a volunteer told me she couldn't let anyone else into the line. Because, you know, the SF boys didn't want to be there for another eight hours.
And I think I surprised her by how easily I said "okay!" and doddered away. Maybe because I didn't mind not fighting for it. Maybe because I was going to have a long enough drive back without my head buzzing.
Or maybe just because .. I don't know. But I didn't fight it. Sort of gathered myself, and walked on back.
I won't be going back for the other days, though if I looked at the lineup I'd probably remember a ton of artists from the old days.
Just thought I'd share my memories from one.
My first impression of Kyle Roskamp was a MySpace message. It was brief, but to the point -- explaining how the band Switchfoot were guilty of decapitating/molesting penguins, or something similarly non sequitur.
Yeah. I don't remember any details outside of that, but what I do know is that to my 14-year-old mind, this was an act of war. He had commented on my blazing, glittering, noise-making MySpace profile skin, I'm ashamed to say that for the bulk of freshman year, I took that impression of Kyle, and ran with it. I was stupidly cruel.
From middle school pretty much on, I'll estimate that 36% of all Living Humans have been alienated to some extent by my enthusiastic, obsessive love for Switchfoot. 6th grade saw me angstily jotting lyrics onto notes, binders, textbooks, everything. 7th, I was poring over songboks for The Beautiful Letdown and Nothing is Sound trying to work out the guitar chords. 8th grade came, went, and I was busy writing bad anime fanfiction set to their lead singles. Lamont had the advantage of being small, where I could bounce this energy off the same people who understood me. Cue high school, and there was a whole new group to freak out.
Outside of the band T-shirts and the album pre-release hype, I guess I never really explained why I have such an unhealthy love for the band. Josiah Kuiper asked me once, a few years ago, how in the world a person could love something for so long. So, I'll give it a shot. But I want to talk about something else, too.
For the next few paragraphs, dear reader, I'm going to talk about why Switchfoot means a lot more to me than just music -- and why I will never, ever, ever get backstage/VIP passes to meet the band.
If you don't know I'm a writer, then we've obviously never met before. Telling stories is what I've been meant to do since I could think. I have boxes and boxes of handwritten journals from my years pre-processor; now I have folders and folders full of documents spread systemwide.
Coming to terms with an ability at a young age is a religious experience. Middle school was when I first started thinking -- "hey. I could do this for a living. I love it, and I'm good at it". Of course, then, the writing was shizzle, but I knew I could be better. I knew it was something substantial, that I could get a wedge into. I started playing movies in my head. I started writing fake cast lists in the covers of journals. Josh Drost may remember Frankie Muniz making an appearance.
So when the cinematics started rolling behind my closed eyes the action had a soundtrack. And since I was >14, most of the music available to me was Christian Rock, or whatever my friends gave me. Namely, Switchfoot.
The songs on Nothing is Sound wrote a gorgeous soundscape of tortured characters, epic battles, and .. really .. really bad Mary Sues with names like "Satora Tasogaryn" and "Kurai Ryunosuke". But what's important is that it got me writing for a purpose. I started telling stories that were beyond the settings that they were in. Concepts like tension, foils, build-up, comedic timing all sort of planted baby seeds and sat back a bit. The music was what made them grow.
Following Switchfoot's podcasts revealed that there were real human beings behind the music. Jon and Tim Foreman, Chat Butler, Jerome Fontamillas, and Drew Shirley all had their own distinct personality. It came across in interviews I read, as well. They told jokes. They got annoyed. But most of all, they love what they did.
So I started aggressively planning to live my dream, too. Through that, they became more characterized -- as did a lot of players in the music industry. Does anyone besids Josh rememebr ReflXions, a mockumentary style journal I kept based on a nationwide "tour" that myself and a few friends took? We met characters. We met people. It was probably psychologically unhealthy, but I was roleplaying fame and success through my medium long before it really cemented itself in my head as a future.
On a much more destructive note, I once wrote a fanfiction placing the members of Switchfoot into the Bionicle universe. I was ashamed for a while reading back, but then I realized that as laughable and absurd as it was .. the writing, dialogue, and sense of narrative flow were spot-on.
I hope you see what I'm getting at, here. The band's existance gave me a facet, a hinge for the doors that are opening around me right now. And now we're getting into the crux of the matter.
Hello, August 11. West Michigan is gearing up for Day 1 of the Unity Christian Music Festival. It's gonna be a grand ole time out at Heritage Landing with Switchfoot headlining on their first return to Michigan in .. a while.
They don't play 'till 9:15, but there's an option to show up at the gates at 4:00, and run, shrieking like a banshee (shrieking is actually optional, but you know people are going to do it) over to the JQ99 tent. If you're one of the first 100 people there, you'll get a ticket to go to a private listening party with the band members where you'll get to hear a few tracks from their new album, Vice Verses, which is due out next month.
And I certainly won't be there.
"What?" I hear you all gasp. "Darlene, that doesn't make any sense! You just explained to us about how Switchfoot have been such a massive influence to your development as a creative entity! You're turning down the chance to meet these people?"
Yes. I am. And well done, saying that in unison, everybody.
They've been such a huge part of my growing as a writer, storyteller, as a person .. that to breathlessly meet them for seven minutes, if only to be hustled along for the next group, the next show would absolutely ruin me.
What can you expect? Jon, Tim, Chad, Jerome and Drew meet thousands of fans every evening -- most of these people probably have stories similar to mine. I think it's the selfish part of me that can't bear to meet them for one fleeting instant, and then just be passed on.
In my head (that dark, dangerous, fantastical place) we're best of friends. Have been for years. New albums, old albums got me through tough times, great times, the best of times. CD players, mp3 players, iPods. Vacations, bus rides, writing sessions, hangouts. Those California boys were always around, and in my worrisome way, it just made sense.
I will go to the show tonight, and I will stand in the crowd. I will likely work my way to the front, as well -- or at least off to the side. It'll be an amazing show and I don't mind going by myself. I prefer it that way.
I just can't bear to break the barrier between those guys who are onstage, and the guys whose music got me through all the way 'till Senior year of highschool, when I was listening to "Hello Hurricane" realizing that going to college was going to be like laughing into a storm.
Does it make sense, now?
Thanks for reading.
PS. The only alternative I will accept is if they invite me to become close personal friends with them, their families allow me to babysit their children, go on tour, be in on everything. But that's just as likely as me getting to Muskegon in halfway decent time.
I went back to my old high school after work, today. It's not too far of a drive, and it means I can take Wilson back home instead of fighting traffic on the highway. Aa-aand, since it's such a gorgeous, sunny day I'd rather take the long way back rather than deal with hungry commuters on lunch rush. Roll down dem windows, eh? :(
So! I graduated last year (Sen10rs, baybee-eeh!) but I've still got fond memories of high school. The class below me's moved on, all official-like. I was still in Chicago when the actual ceremony happened, and honestly I kinda regret not being able to make it, but I hear it was stately .. and that our VP's address was hilarious.
Right, back on point. Anyways, it's the dead heat of August so I didn't really know who I'd find on campus, if anyone -- but I still came flyin' into the student lot, lurching over speed bumps and around the circle drive just the same as ever. There's like one or two cars tucked in the back corner of the west lot, but I'm pretty sure those cars have been there the last five years.
There are a couple cars where the teachers/administrative staff get their special little area. One of, like, the biggest mysteries in high school was determining which teacher had which car. Of course, the track/cheer/softball/soccer kids had the distinct advantage of staying after school for practice to know whose was whose, but for the rest of us, it was a wild guessing game. The tan Legacy belongs to the Bio teacher, and the red Corvette belongs (ironically, we thought) to the guy who taught Old Testament Survey.
Um, I mention those vehicles, but they weren't the ones parked. It was a dark sporty-looking Honda, and some sort of van. Noo-oo idea whose they were. I parked in the Guest area, fumbled with the windows, decided not to bother locking my car, and trotted up to the school's north doors.
The "VISITORS MUST REPORT TO MAIN OFFICE!" sign was new. I had a weak inner laugh at the sign's dark green hue, with its gold lettering -- our school colors. I yanked on the handle; the door was locked. Okay. Move on to the next one. Locked. There are four, right in a row. Third, locked. By now I'm checking the reflection in the glass waiting to see someone behind me laughing. You know how it is.
Fourth door. Unlocked. What uu-uup?
Weird how, like, just one moment can bring back a flood of memories, right? And I don't mean in the vivid, full-on flashback sort of way. My life didn't flash before my eyes. But I remember staggering off the bus in the wee hours of the morning, coming up to this self-same door, and jerking it open with as much frustration as possible, stomping inside on the (of course) green throwmat before stepping past another set of doors, and actually getting into the school itself.
The main office is directly to the right of where I walked in. The lights were really low, since I doubted there were many people there. And, anyways, the light was streaming in through the sky-lights every few feet.
I never liked the color of the lockers. Sorry. Super random. They were this God-awful tan color. Like, everything else in the school was a rich, Robin Hood-esque green, or at least something brighter. But the tan. Ugh.
Haha, I digress. So I stand there in the main hall, looking at the trophy cases, seeing the doors to the gym, seeing where they used to post the list for Honor Roll (3.4 GPA average, skaa-aanks!) and only then when I turn on my heel to "REPORT TO THE MAIN OFFICE" do I see him.
It's the man in the baseball cap, the man whose name I cannot say.
I don't even have time to be startled. I have time to register the expression on his face, twisted, raw with fear? But then that is all I know, and the stabbing knife of adrenaline, of pure shock from the sudden moment flushes into actual pain, an actual stabbing. He's killed me before I could even think that he was probably going to kill me. I didn't even get to see a flash of blue.
I remember my head cracking hard against the tile, but then it was over, and I was sitting cross-legged in a world of black and white, staring up at the man who killed me.
"Welcome back," are his first words, and I take his hand to rise.
The back of my head is still smarting, and my chest is still pounding. But I'm here, I am definitely in this realm; there is no question of that. No question. No questions, at all.
I look at the man, as blithe as ever.
"I'm late, aren't I?"
"A little. He'll still see you, though."
Of course he will! I didn't ask who he was. I never asked anything. That would be a question, and questions are bad.
I have gathered myself enough to note my surroundings. The ceiling is low, very low. I could reach up and touch those speckled tiles. The hall is wider, too. It feels pinched, watered-down. But the man begins to walk, and I follow.
The tingly, prickly-needle sensation happens in my legs again, but this time I am filled with understanding that I am meant to follow, that I am meant to trust, and that I am not meant to think. Thinking leads to bad things.
The man whose name I cannot say has a longer stride than I do. He's come to the first curve of the hall, where the door to the teacher's lounge is. He has his hand on the door, and I think that he means to leave me.
But I do not ask where he is going. He turns his back, and he slams the door shut. It echoes, reverberates far louder than it should have. There is writing on the door, in bright white against the gray.
I walk on.
Rounding the first corner, I find more halls. A maze of them. A labyrinth, all shadowy and sprawling, made completely of lockers. I'm standing right where the Mr. Adema's room would have been, staring out into a place that spatially, should not exist. This is massive. Gaping, yawning. One step brings me closer to the first hall, and then another.
"I wouldn't go in there if I were you."
She had been standing at my side the whole time, I just hadn't thought to look. That was the only explanation that lent itself to my brain. She was tall, and if there were color, her hair would have been blonde. She had tan legs, a jean skirt, and a brand-name blouse that said AVARICE. I think that struck me the most. It was written in the same curly font as your Hollicrombie, your American Fitch. The names were scrambling in my brain. AVARICE. AVARICE. APATHY & AVARICE.
She looked like a typical Dutch, Christian Reformed Calvin Christian upperclassman. The kind who got the guy, kept the guy, led the chapel, and then made you feel like you were nothing. She was probably a Van-something, a Klo-thing. Some name with an older brother and a younger sister; a pretty set of grades with a cruel mouth.
But she didn't have a mouth. There was just smooth skin where her face should have been. Smooth as your stomach, and eerie as hell. Teased, curly-twirly colored hair framed the fleshy circle in a way that may have been attractive, in some realm.
I accepted that it was she who spoke, even though I had no way of telling. She stood delicately with her arms at her side. I could have picked her up with one arm. She did not want me to go into the maze, and I would not go into the maze.
A bell, a shrill school-bell, nothing like the two-note chimes we'd had here in these halls, ripped through the air and made me drop to my knees. The frequency dipped and bent, whirling, screeching. I looked up. The girl hadn't moved. Her skin was suddenly glossy; plastic finish. Her hair was now a wig, and it slipped off her head and fell to the floor. I recoiled as though it were a spider. This was a mannequin, nothing more than a doll for clothes -- no longer the person, the living person she had just been before that. Damn. Bell!
I had my hands clamped over my ears, but it did nothing. I looked past the mannequin with her stiff arms, and back down the hallway I had come from.
There were more of them. More people. Students, I imagined, walking steadily towards me with their faces gone, but their arms full of books and backpacks and other intimate things. I'm sure I knew them. I'm sure I knew them, I had to! They all wore shirts with brand names, with logos. Names like CONTRITION and MALADY. I didn't ask, didn't think to question how they weren't bumping into each other, without eyes. All I knew was that they could see, and all they wanted to see was me.
So I ran. I ran down the hall and into the maze. I charged left down a hall that forked into another. Things were black and white, and I remember dimly being thankful that I didn't have to see the tan color. But then that faded from my mind, and all I knew was the running.
I left the shrill bell behind. One hall bled into the next. Some had classrooms I knew, but most were just long, narrow stretches of lockers. I could hear plastic feet dragging somewhere behind me. I didn't dare turn around.
Sometimes the ceiling got lower, and sometimes it got higher. Sometimes the halls were so narrow I could reach out and touch both sets of lockers, and sometimes I couldn't have thrown a tennis ball and reached the other end. I remember not being tired.
And then I saw you.
It was just a flash, honey. Racing through the halls; I saw a classroom with its light on. There was a face on the inside -- a face! And I skittered to a halt.
One step to the door. Then two. Past the latticework of glass, there you were. Junior-year Sheffer, sitting at a desk in a normal classroom. This was Mr. Verbeek's room. Well, it was Mr. Verbeek's room. Other juniors were there, too, but they were from Calvin. But things were normal in there. Bright, happy. No color, still, but there you were. Taking notes. Jotting things down. Looking content. I figured you were good at math, anyways. Look at you, taking Pre-Calc as a junior!
And in the reflection of the glass, I saw something with no face.
Terror struck me like a spear. I could hear the shuffling of clothes, bodies, backpacks. The entire crowd, the entire mob had caught up with me. I was paralyzed. I waited for pain, I waited to feel a hand on my shoulder. Okay, kill me. Again. But I kept staring past the dim, shuffling reflections. I kept looking at you. I took everything in. Look over here, Sheffer! I'm right at the door! I am about to die, again, and I am right at this door!
Why can't you see me?
FLY FLY FLY FLY FLY FLY FLY.
An idle thought, but a question.
YOU FELL UPON ME. I turned, the mannequins did not have faces. There were only claws where eyes should have been. Eyes, tearing at me with a single glance.
YOU ARE NOTHING. YOU ARE NOTHING. YOU ARE NOTHING. YOU ARE NOTHING.
The world fell to pieces then, and I think they devoured me. Oh, they must have. But as I felt teeth, I heard words and as I felt claws, I thought I saw smiles. Whatever this was, it raged against me for questioning. For wondering. For not-knowing, and drawing attention to it. WHO IS THE BREAKER? I heard a desperate cry. WHY IS HE. WHY IS HE. WHY IS HE.
My time for questions was over. I did not think "why is he" to be a peculiar phrasing; all I knew was darkness, the whirling, and the pain.
And then the whirling turned into lights, and the smell of blood turned to sugar. I was tumbling backwards until I fell, until I hit the dirt.
I was at a carnival, at a county fair where the stalls had closed but the rides were still spinning. There was a merry-go-round spinning at a most deadly speed. I stared into it. I stared and I stared and I stared. It was entrancing, and I did not question how I had gotten here.
Someone touched my arm, and I turned. The man whose name I cannot say was there, and he frowned.
"You do not ask questions here."
"I do not ask questions here."
"Why is he."
The man drew back a fist, and I saw white that was meant to be blue.
I collapsed again, and so did that world. Someone upended the floor, ripped away the dirt and the rides and the lights. I was crying, now, apologetic and scared. Thinking of you made me question, and whatever it was bringing me here was just as perplexed at the matter.
WHY IS HE. AND FOR WHAT DO YOU BE? GENTLEMEN, HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN YOUR GOD?
I must hear you ..
"Shake the dust from your trembling fingers. Yes, Cynarae, I will break that easily."
I heard a massive rumbling from the front of the office, but didn't think too much of it. Probably just some leftover thunder from the storm last night. There were updates I needed to be writing, anyways, and I had finally been given an office with a computer whose keyboard didn't absolutely murder my wrists. So, you know. Just let me work in peace.
But there it was again, definitely. Yikes. Bit freaky. Jack, the main manager here, just ran by my office like really fast.
Ahh, hang on. He's shouting for me. Brb.
So I ran to the front, right? And it's all windows so I have a great view out into the parking lot. Jack and a few of the other people who work here are sort of just standing in the main lobby, looking out into the lot. There's this guy standing there in the middle of the lot, and I kid you not, he's just got his hands at his side and he looks completely normal. I dunno, maybe a bit older than me with a Tigers baseball cap snugged low over his eyes .. dressed like he were going to a bar or something.
But the look on his face, holy crap, I can see it from inside. His face is like twisted up. Like, he's standing normal but his face is absolutely twisted up as though he got electrocuted or something, I don't know. It's this terrifying expression. So he lifts his arms and I see this blue flickery, like, set of really faint rings. Like arcs? They just scythe through the air and it's just an instant BOOM.
So that's what the "thunder" was earlier, I realized. It's pure sound, like, what the hell. The entire building shakes again, like I said, and there's a definite ringing in my ears. Even though the glass was there to shield it, my chest still feels like it was punched, right? And then a second later I realize that it's not just a ringing in my ears .. from the force of the wave, the bell on the door was ringing, leftover from the blow.
I'm standing there like an idiot with my jaw hanging practically wide open. But, like, my arms jumped instinctively to cover my ears, so I look kinda folded up and awkward haha. I think Jack started to say something about me, but I didn't hear him. I saw the guy actually make a step towards the building, now, and when his palm juts out, this time I have the sense to duck to the side.
It freakin' rips through the door this time, not blowing it like off its hinges like a crappy movie or something, but it smacks it back against the door stop with enough force to crack the window where it was braced. The more focused, I guess, the more deadly? I'm practically hiding by the table at this point. Lucky I wore longer pants today or my knees'd be all nastified by the carpet. And yes, nastified is a word.
He's walking up to the building now, and his face is still really twisted up. When I first saw him from inside I thought he was holding it that way in, like, a weird sort of leer but as he gets closer and steps up onto the sidewalk I get the really .. haunting impression that it's stuck like that. There's just this savage sort of .. I dunno. There were a lot of levels of emotion to the look on his face, but I was more concerned with the fact that he suddenly had superpowers and was trying to get into the building.
So I just kind of rambled there for a little bit, but it actually didn't take him all that long to get up and walk through the door that he just smacked completely back. I'm hearing sirens now that the door is open to the outside world, and in the back of my mind all I hope is that they're for this guy. This crazy, like, wtf guy.
Jack gets up and steps forward like he's going to talk to the guy, but he looks right at me, sweetheart. Right at me. And he lifts that same arm that blew open the door, and he's thrusting it at me, and I see this flash of blue, and you know how when people say that when they die it all gets slow and your life flashes before your eyes? Not so much. I just remember the sensation of my head snapping back, and I think he killed me.
It's not game over there, though! I promise! Because obviously I got back to this computer so I could finish and tell you what the hell had happened, lmfao.
So the next thing I know I'm sitting cross-legged in exactly the same place that I was before. Sort of by the table to the left of the front part of the office. I'm sitting cross-legged, and everything's in black and white. Peculiar, huh? And there's this buzzing in the back of my mind, in the back of everywhere. And it kinda feels like I'm dreaming; y'know that odd, swarmy, lethargic feel you get?
But I'm not alone in the room. The man from before is standing there, except he doesn't have a hat, and his face doesn't look like something from my nightmares. It's .. soft? Soft. I don't know how else to describe it. It's kind, warm, and it's looking at me with legit concern.
My reply is, of course "yeah" although I have no idea if that's the case, what happened to me, who this guy is .. if I just died or not, anything like that. Anything in the slightest to tell me if I actually am okay or not.
"It can be a little rough at first, but I promise it'll get better," and he's offering me a hand to get up, and I'm taking it, like it's the most normal thing in the world. He hauls me to my feet.
"I'm ________," and he gives this name that I can't figure out how to write in letters, but I hear it, and I'm nodding like that's a normal name.
He turns and walks back towards the door, which is in perfect condition, not bent back or anything, and he gives me this look like I'm supposed to follow. And for some reason I can't move my body. Like, sorry, I can move my body .. I just don't want to leave that spot.
"It's okay," he says, with that same smile. "You can leave. No one will move your body, I promise."
And for some reason, that stupidly makes sense. Although I've still got this .. like, this ingrained reluctance to leave .. leave the place where I died? I still pick up one foot and walk after him. My steps feel really heavy. A lot heavier than I thought they would. Because I'm not that heavy; I'm pretty small. And the shock of that one step makes me stop. And I look at the guy, and he's smiling still.
"Darlene," he says. "Follow me."
Just the sound of my name makes me feel light and airy and suddenly drawn forward after him, like a magnet or something. And the edges of my vision get a little brighter, and that buzzing noise I was talking about went down. And things flushed a bit. Not like color. But .. .. something.
"Sorry," he says, and there's a frown on his face and I don't like it. "I shouldn't have done that to you. But I don't think you would have moved, otherwise. Let's go."
There's something like unease in him now, and for some reason I don't like that either. He pushes open the door, but it gives no ding. I just want to hear him say my name again, is all.
Stepping out into the parking lot was an odd sensation. I don't know if I can describe it to you. You know that tingling feeling you get after your leg or something has been asleep? And every step sort of hurts, but it sort of tickles? It was less of a tickling, and more of an awareness. I think I realized then that I was leaving something behind in that building, and every step further was making it more and more irretrievable.
The office is on, like, an elevated knoll of grass, sort of. A hill, and then 28th street is down in the bottom. Really a busy street, and it's always a nightmare to try and turn left out of this place unless you take a back way and sneak-sneak around. So here I am out in the lot with the man with a name I cannot write, and I'm looking out across the grass which isn't green but gray and down into where the street used to be, and there's just a canyon. A giant gorge. I can see wisps of cloud clinging to the side a bit, but mostly I can just see darkness and depth and falling forever.
But I didn't ask any questions. And this is really hard to explain, sweetheart, but I don't think there were any questions there. I remember my time in that place, and I don't remember .. ever .. being able to wonder about everything. I just remember a lot of nodding. A lot of experiencing.
So the man keeps walking down along the lot, the driveway, along the strip of buildings. I fall in step with him, like I said, not asking about the gorge, not asking who he is or why it hurts to move, why I am so airy and yet feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, I don't ask anything. I just sort of accept it, and I sort of just take in the shades of black and the shades of white.
"We've been really looking forward to having you here," the man says as we're walking. He kicks a rock, and it skitters along ahead of us. Way, way ahead of us. Way further and farther than it should and that was when I realized that there were no cars in the parking lot. There were no yellow lines on the pavement, either. Just the lot, and a lot of loose shale, almost like something went tearing through. And as usual, I'm like, nodding and just sort of accepting it. I don't know anything.
He doesn't say anything else after that for a while, but we walked for a long time. The gorge stayed to my left. I don't know what was to my right. But we just kept walking and we left the strip mall behind. The pavement ended at a certain point, but I don't remember exactly win. I think it sort of tumbled into a bunch of larger rocks, and then the rocks just got larger and larger until they were taller than me, taller than a truck, taller than a lot of things.
They looked like giant, giant .. .. fists. I'm pretty sure they were fists now that I think about it. Maybe it was the fact that the sky was dark and the boulders were dark, but I couldn't make out their shapes very well, but I could swear the rocky ridges in the sides were fingers curled into a palm, and the fist resting like arms on a table. Everything was black and white where I was there, you must remember. And they were everywhere.
"Don't touch them," the man said, his first words after a bit, and I knew that to, of course, be the case and why, like, would anyone want to touch them?
Don't touch them, but they were everywhere. Large, massive fists. None were broken. They were all completely intact, just sitting on the grass which kept getting longer.
At a certain point we started walking uphill. The grass sloped, see. Sloped a bit higher. The fists were now not cramped together as much, and by the time I realized what had happened, we had left them behind. We had walked to the top of the world, the black sky had white twinkles in it, the air was clear, there was no buzzing in my head, there were no painful tinglies in my feet, and staring down at the decline before me I could just see the dark shapes of many, many, many fists bowing to me and I stood there with a man whose name I cannot say.
So I can see the gorge still, and it's split to the side in a craggy, misty sort of V but I can still see it! I can see everything, honey, except the office. That's lost to me.
And then the man whose name I can't say looks at me, and he tilts his head to the side.
"You can swim, right?" he asks, and I nod energetically because, like, of course I can swim and who --
He gives me a frightful, two-handed shove at both shoulders. My center of gravity is nerfed, shot, blasted, whatever you wanna call it. Basically, the world tipped backwards and I'm falling. I'm falling, I'm falling, I'm falling. And the sky is now in front of me, and the cliff and the rocks, and this is the gorge that I am falling into, babe, and I can't scream. Because that would be noise, and that would be bad.
You know what it's like to hit water at a high speed of course? Sure you do; you having a lake and all that. I hit water, from a terrifying distance and it didn't kill me. It felt like slipping into a warm pool, except the pool was rushing very quickly. There was no smack from the impact, and there was no feeling of thrashing, of drowning. I left the man on the cliff behind, and suddenly the water had me grabbed up and was carrying me away. I don't know where. When things are black and white, water is like ink. Dark as sin.
But the echo of the water, that's something that I'll always remember 'till I die. I spent a long time with no light, with nothing but the sound of rock walls and water rushing. I didn't have to gasp for breath, because I floated. But I knew (the same way I knew everything before) that this was the Deep water. Nothing was Deeper, and nothing could ever be as Deep as this water now. My scare five feet of self was nothing. I was a speck to the Deep.
The Deep carried me, though, with tenderness. I think it could have dashed me to bits in a second if it wanted to. I know it could have. It probably had done the same before. Well, I don't know if I could say tenderness. Because I had to keep moving, I had to keep twisting myself otherwise the Deep would put my face right back under the water, and that's bad news for breathing. My hair got wet. My clothes were all plastered to me. But the water was not cold, and it was not searing.
I found light, hon! The Deep rounded a bend, and there was a small island with just one solitary light. I realized, belatedly, that the light belonged to a fist. The fist had an arm, of course, and there was a guy around your age standing at-ease with one fist in the air on the shore of the Deep. But this wasn't where the Deep ended. This was a place where the Deep went by. I saw the light getting closer, and I remember what the man whose name I could not pronounce had said, about swimming. And the Deep swept me along, and I began to swim.
And that was when the Deep turned against me, honey. The water suddenly surged cold, icy as death and I .. felt .. fingers around my neck, arms, shoulders, ankles, everything. If I relaxed, the fingers melted into streams of cool current, but if I surged forward in panic, I could feel something solid intending to drag me down. The thought occurred to me, what if I just relaxed and let the Deep carry me on? Wouldn't that be easier?
But just as I was prepared to let the Deep sweep my way, my head went back up out of the water, and I was closer to the shore. I saw who it was standing there on that rocky cove, and I saw who it was with a fist in the air, a fist burning bright with warmth I could now feel even as the Deep tried to quench me.
It was you.
And I raged! And so did the Deep! But you were standing there with your face placid, staring on ahead, as though you couldn't see me! So I kicked with everything in my body, and when I tried to inhale to scream to get you to notice me, the Deep flung water into my mouth, down into my lungs, and tried to end me that way. But I kept my eyes on the light (when my eyes weren't being rushed with water) and .. everything was on fire. My body would not let me go. The fingers around my ankles, around my neck were getting sharper, tighter, more insistent but I kept seeing your face, I kept seeing you.
I kept seeing you not seeing me.
And then I felt the ground.
The second that my toes brushed something solid, something that wasn't trying to end me, I knew I had won. The Deep had lost. Deep fell to deep, darkness fell away. The cold retreated, and I was left suddenly in the shallows feeling very tired, very miserable, and very wet.
I staggered out and onto the sand, and collapsed. I coughed. I choked. It was very unattractive, so I won't go into that much more. But! I was in that safe circle of light, I could hear the Deep rushing past me, and it had not won me.
And then I looked up into the face of the one with the light, and it wasn't you anymore.
It was still that strange boy around your age, though, but his hair was shorter and darker and he was taller and had broader shoulders. And we looked at each other for a second while I tried to regain my breath.
" .. Interesting," was all that this new kid had to say.
I didn't know what was interesting, and I didn't care. I stood straight up, feeling my head whirl, and feeling (again!) that sort of buzzing sensation in the back of my head.
"Who was he?" this new kid asked again. His arm was still high in the air. I didn't think to ask him if he was tired holding it up. I didn't think about anything at all. "Who did you see?"
"Sheffer," I replied, and when the name dropped from my lips, the buzzing was gone, the light-headedness left as well; I was clear-minded, sopping wet, and yet accepting of these things. "His name is Sheffer."
"You'd better get on with it, then," said the new kid. He stepped to the side, and gestured to a white staircase with the tiniest steps imaginable, heading nearly straight into the blackness. I couldn't see it very well. He meant for me to walk up there alone. I took a step away, ready to --
"Hang on," said the new kid. "You're going to need this!" and then he wound up and punched me in the side of the head.
I didn't fall from the force of the blow, but my head snapped back (again) and I staggered wildly. Reeling, shadows splintered, but I didn't even protest. I accepted that I had been struck in the temple by the new kid. My first reaction, actually, was to reach up and brush the hair out of my face, and I nearly went blind.
I nearly went blind because my right hand was glowing with the same white, fierce light that the new kid had attached to his fist. I didn't ask how I had it from him punching me. All I knew was that it had been given to me, that he was gone, and that I had a staircase I needed to be climbing.
The second that I turned my light onto the staircase, I felt the Deep raging behind me. It was lapping at the edges of this little beach, rising quickly. I remembered the sensation of those .. fingers around my ankles, around my neck, and I lifted my fist over my head, and practically sprinted towards the staircase.
Once my foot touched the stone, I could hear the Deep roaring again. I had a feeling I knew what was going to happen, and I didn't even waste the time to look behind me. I had a light in one hand, and I used the other to try and keep myself steady a I took these baby steps eight, nine at a time. They were that small. That cramped, that small, that narrow. I felt nothing crumble under my feet, however, I could only see what the light gave me -- and the light was making my eyesight go spotty with grays from it burning directly into my iris.
My legs burned. I hadn't left the Deep behind. The gorge was filling higher and higher, and I didn't appear to be making any progress, getting higher up and out. I didn't wonder how far the man whose name I cannot say pushed me off the cliff. I did not wonder how far I had drifted before having my vision of you.
All I knew was that moment. I knew that I was getting tired, slowing down, and that the Deep was only feet behind me, chasing me up this marble staircase into nothing.
That entire place, Sheffer, it shook. It shook, it vibrated.
WHEN WILL YOU BE SOMETHING? ARE YOU SOMETHING? ARE YOU SOMETHING? ARE YOU SOMETHING?
"Always am. Always was. And I still have time to be."
This is for Evan.
So I went up north over the 4th of July.
Colton has taken your missive to protect me very seriously.
While I was there, I bought two squirt guns.
This could only end one way.
"Ain't no man, beast, or otherwise what can best me!
Although sometimes, drastic anti-mosquito measures had to be taken
Despite this, I kept a sense of humor.
I really kept a sense of humor.
After all, being this close to Canada is bound to stir some heartache.
Ontario is on the other side of those cold, iron bars.
I found this in a gift shop; will it lead me to you?
Even on my side of the fence, you are everywhere.
Think about it this way, though, m'dear.
I am a kite. Frail. Fragile. Colorful.
I am finding my wings, I am trying to soar — led on by you, by a thin, gossamer string.
Don’t let me go. You think I don’t need you?
Without that slim, slender line, I would crash to the Earth.
So I’ll wait for you to untangle your end of the line.
Just don’t let go.
.. But lover, if you must? I am in good paws.
as she falls i try to catch her
Sweat out the fever, they tell me.
Seems like life is nothing but loading bars, failed-to-send messages, and discovering that your prince(ss) is in another castle. Has anyone ever taken the time to examine Mario's psyche for the duration of his adventure? Did he get sick of cheerfully climbing into the nearest pipe, and tumbling directly into a pit of spikes? I think I would have given up; just let the mushrooms bump into my knees and fling me away like I am nothing.
They've got me pinned against the wall. Called out, cutting knives until I am flesh no more, but shale. Is that what you want for me? Hardened, craggy, wrapped in moss and time and years and forever until everything closes in? I am wretched and reckless, a crap-covered gargoyle clinging to the Church of God. May I enter? Yes, but you have to fall. Plunge off the sheer face of this cathedral, dash yourself to bits on the pavement below. Shale.
Days go by. I have fingers curled up in acerbic apathy, something I've been fighting as soon as I could walk. Or is that gravity? I'm still chasing my tail, spinning a race through nothing. There is no buffer, there is no guard rail. Engine gunning, I fly.
Crash. If I had to pick how I would die, it would be in a collision. It's beautiful, in a way. A high-speed moment, you are slapped in the face by all the active forces of the world. What better way to remind yourself that you are human, and you are mortal? Physics. Glass. Pain. Plastic. Metal. All of it, at once, ending you like it is trying to make a point!
Or maybe that's just the anger talking again. I spent four years being driven, parked, toted, dropped off, packaged, moved and shifted like an unsigned delivery. I watched friends fly by me on the interstate while I stood waiting for a ride. So, Aberdeen, it should be no surprise that what I want once will end me.
But where are you? I thought we would run until the sun burned out? 'Till its warmth and our hands clasped became the final chapter, 'till the flesh peeled from our skin but our skin was warped into a smile. The pull of gravity, that gravity from before, drawing us closer together but now I am cold.
"You will be a star," you say to me, as you leave me crying in a parking lot. "You will -- " I will tear up. I will reach for my wand and flashes of green will perforate you.
And you, Aberdeen! You are king of your kingdom, just a sandbox where you have kicked up calamity, for no one was watching. It stings. It stings my eyes, my noes, my ears but you are nothing.
You sit and you do nothing because this little tightrope makes you realize how big you are. How clumsy. It stretches from one impossibility to another. The weight of all everything is thrust in your hand, and you are told to walk.
As the storm rages, chasing you from the north by northeast like a beast, like a thing with claws and a thing with its eyes set on you, there is a moment where you do not run. The same old apathy turned to rage as quickly as it came; you are prepared to RAGE and to YELL into the storm as it gathers you up -- as a black streak on the horizon becomes clouds, and as you feel the thunder you feel it pass.
I DREAM TO CHASE THE DAWN. I DREAM TO CHASE THE DAWN. I DREAM TO CHASE THE DAWN. I DREAM TO CHASE THE DAWN.
Charging down the freeway towards a monster you cannot touch, a monster you cannot fight.
I DREAM TO CHASE THE DAWN. I DREAM TO CHASE THE DAWN.
But it does not strike you. You feel its fury miss you. You are not blasted to smoke.
It rumbles on to the east, and you are simply heading home, where home is four walls and missed appointments.
I DREAM ..
Sweat out the fever, they tell me.
you could never call me home
As farfetched and unhinged as these thoughts remain, there's still something that keeps me grounded. I've never sympathized with kites so much until I saw one crash to the ground, still led by its small, silvery string. What has brought you here will bind you; what has started things shall shake you to the core.
The phone is ringing off the hook with apologies and sorrows so shrill that I threw it to the wall. YOU'RE TOO LATE in shining red red letters, hello, like a great plague. But you know me more than angels on the radio. These things I say are said for saying, and no more.
A gasp of pain as he finished me. You cried, you churned, but came back for more -- tied on that silvery string, just a wayward kite soaring where no one can see you. Tied with belts of varied color, tied to a bed far away with a boy who you thought you loved.
But what's thought is through, that four-letter word still standing strong, once crouched, in the corner of me. The clock ticks down even slower and slower, still dragging you on like a kite on a strong. On a silvery, silver string.
Run away. Cross the country, to the golden shore where no one knows you, knew you, or can construe your reason for the rhymes. Do you think dolphins have ever learned to dance? They might if given a try.
Ah, Aberdeen. I am all out of tries. The projections reach further, farther than is allowed. I sit with my hands folded and my legs crossed like a model of what is no longer. Smile!
Pour it on, like the rain, but they are smiles and clammy handshakes for men of peculiar lacerations.
"This?" you say. "Why, it is just my heart! You can have it; it's yours!"
And I will wait, Aberdeen, 'till you call me to you like she who went before with thin eyebrows and a flatter stomach. I will slice her open until I find what has caused me to shudder, to fling open the shutters of your miserable once-home.
Fly! Fly! Fly! The rain does nothing to heal me, no salve, no concentration. I DREAM TO CHASE THE DAWN, but the dawn is so far and I want only to rest. Rest my wings. Fly fly fly fly fly.
but here you stand; i am beyond it
The sound of motors grinding, whining, has grated at me since birth. Is it the system you resist in? No, but when the silence strikes I sort of miss the medley.
Strip me down, and sell me for parts. I am your most faithful contender. Have a cry, for I am a machine, and your tears do nothing to sway me. She has made it home!
Listen, Aberdeen! You take for granted what is handed you! You don't know the fight, you don't know what is uncomfortable besides what is self-obtained. SPOILED CITY BRAT. SLICK, SMOOTH, SUNGLASSES. I will break you, I will find you, and yet I want more than anything to be you.
I am more than a yes-man. I have been programmed with the most delicate fingers to recall, correct, contrive and confide what brings me closer to avoiding. My purpose is not to break walls, not to avoid them, but to find them. And then what?
Errrrrrrk. Your system is dead, overloaded, reduced to nothing. Shower me in perspective, and watch the power spark if only to fade.
she is stirring, now. please do not wake
You are a quivering voice on the other line; I have cast you out and away. There are worms to consider!
IT IS COMING TO AN END. THE CAR IS DEAD. THE DREAMS ARE DEAD. THE FOOD IS ROTTEN. THERE IS NO MONEY. MATT THINKS I'M POOR. MY MOTHER WAITS ANOTHER WEEK TO SEE IF SHE HAS CANCER. EVAN IS STILL IN MY MIND. A LITTLE STUFFED DOG ALWAYS SITS AT MY KNEE.
AND IT IS RAINING.
FOUR POSTS. FOUR FACEBOOK NOTES AND I FEEL NOTHING BUT ANGER.
I DREAM TO CHASE THE DAWN.
My car smells like, and is packed full of more wet cardboard than should be legally allowed to obtain inside the United States. I can't wait for my dad to come home, park his truck next to my Explorer, gaze thoughtfully into the backseat, and then not even ask any questions once he comes inside.
But, dear reader, I will answer your questions.
This summer I'm working on a short film being produced in Chicago, but shot downtown Grand Rapids. I'm PA-ing for the creative team, which basically is a lot of "go here, do this, brings us that, find that, oh and get this done too" if I can use layman's terms.
My producer called me the other day and said that we needed to find a lot of cardboard to lay on the floor of the apartment we're shooting in. Foot traffic is rough on expensive carpet, and so are the boots of our crew.
I pulled in to an appliance store, knowing from high school that the cardboard they have in the dumpster is fair game if you can get it out yourself. I'm coming right from work, of course, so I'm dressed in slacks, a nice blouse, with my hair all done-up. And then it begins to rain.
Let me paint this picture for you from the eyes of the two 20-something-year-old men sitting in the delivery truck, just outside the loading bay.
White Explorer pulls up across from dumpster. Young girl gets out.
Girl examines dumpster. She is just tall enough to get her arms into it.
Girl rummages a bit. Girl glances back at her car. Girl glances at you. You continue chewing your sandwich (it's lunchtime!)
Girl rummages some more, but it's clear she's thinking about something else.
Girl walks over, slowly. You keep chewing.
"Hi! Are you moving anytime soon? Can I .. I wanted to back up. Can I back up? I wouldn't be blocking you in, would I?"
You nod. Girl smiles, walks back to her car.
Girl backs up her car. You wince as she stops inches from the dumpster itself.
Girl gets out of car. Girl realizes she is now too close to open the back hatch of her car.
Girl glances casually at you, hoping you didn't see.
Girl opens side-doors to car, tries to lower her backseats. Girl is successful.
Girl returns to the back of her car, hikes up a leg, stands on her bumper and is now practically climbing in the dumpster.
The rain starts falling harder.
Girl continues picking around for pieces of cardboard. She finds larger pieces from washing machine; pulls. It is at the bottom.
Girl scowls. Girl takes smaller pieces, places them in her car.
And so on.
I managed to get some of the larger pieces after a while, but it was a fight. My weak girl arms can carry cardboard, thank you, but in the end the pieces were probably around twice my general .. size. So it was a bit of an unwieldily fight to get them back in the damn car once I had to pull forward again.
But I got it. And now it's all sitting in the garage somewhere. When it stops raining I'll lay it down and estimate about how much square footage I managed to snag .. but seriously. I think I'd be able to re-carpet my entire house with the stuff. Go figure.
And I bet those two guys in the truck were judging me the entire time, particularly when the wind threatened to blow my collected pieces away. Evidently, I fail at basic geometric/spatial awareness.
I don't like open houses. They seem sort of pointless, to me. It's a lot of smiling, nodding, shaking hands and accepting compliments and cards. Sure, graduating high school is a big deal (if you're not British) but hey. If you want to give me money, then just give me money. I don't need to provide cake and watch you just drop by to feed yourself.
So yes. I say all of that, but I've been to a number of open houses in the past few weeks -- and they weren't actually bad. I went to see some friends of mine from the class of 2011, and it was good to catch up. I went to one on Saturday where I ended up staying after it had ended, and helping to clean up a bit. We realized there were a lot of helium balloons drifting around that needed to be taken care of ..
.. And what better way to get rid of helium than to ingest it?
It's got me hastily quoting what I can remember of "The Raven" by Edgar Allan (Alan?) Poe -- and for the record, I did have the whole thing memorized at one point, but that was many, many moons ago.
^ You'll also find the title of this post is my first quote in that video. Referring to how close I had cut the balloon open, of course.
Returning to how I opened this blog, I guess I have to take back how cynical I sounded. There's actually something nice about looking around the room of the church basement/activity center/your house and seeing it filled with people who are at least in some way emotionally and/or economically invested in your doing well in college, or the rest of your life. Maybe it's just the gala that I don't like. The posterbaord of pictures and achievements all strung up and put on display.
Well, in any case, I just came from an open house today, had one yesterday, and I think that coming to them with a year of college under my belt has sort of brightened my outlook. For instance, my friend looked quizzical when she opened a graduation present, revealing a box of soap, fabric softener, and laundry detergent. While she set it to the side in favor of cards with money, I made a faintly desperate noise of want.
Anyways, I'll probably go to at least one more open house by the time the summer is through. It's a good way for me to sort-of get back in touch with friends from high school I've missed (some of these kids are siblings of peers in my grade) and hey! It made for some awesome pictures.
The two baby-faced ones in the second picture are the graduating seniors. The other boys are college freshmen, like me.
Things change in four years. Things change in four months, too. I guess we'll see what fall has to bring.
Thanks for reading! And, er, watching I guess, too.
The raven never flitting, still is sitting -- still is sitting!
I know some schools are still wrapping things up with exams, but I figure for the most part I'm safe offering my general feelings of goodwill to all those kids who've graduated middle school, high school, or college.
As a recent high school graduate myself (sen10rs, woo!) I remember the excitement and trepidation of being, like, done completely. I'm going to a lot of open houses this summer for senior friends of mine, and they're great fun. The more food, of course, the better.
I went to my best friend's little brother's (try and follow that one!) eighth grade graduation a week or so ago. He went to the same school that Josh (the friend) and I went to, and I sat with their family for the ceremony. The amount of nostalgia that hit me as we sat behind their little class of eleven watching them so young, pre-high school was extraordinary.
And then I felt really, really super old.
I had a hard time leaving middle school. A lot of people cite middle school as the worst time in their lives, but for me it was the opposite. I was in my element there. I could be as oddball as I wanted, and everyone got on well enough. I think that might have had something to do with the fact that my entire K-8 was maybe 100 kids; everyone knew each other, and knew what they were really like.
High school was a different animal. It always is. Congratulations on getting through, and best of luck to you in your future endeavors!
So! If you're reading this bog, what're your plans now that you've graduated? You don't have to post the school you're going to, of course. I just mean what you're going to study, what your career plan is.
Or if you don't have a career plan .. .. what're you at least kicking around in your head?
I'd love to hear it!
Howdy-hey! So, a couple of you've asked me in-game what the story is behind my username. Rather than filling your private chat/friend's chat window with lines and lines and lines and lines of text, I figured I'd just write a blog post about it.
It gets pretty heavy, so wield your troll-slaying swords of cynicism and justice .. settle in, and get ready for a little story!
The first thing you should know about me, is that I'm a Christian. Before you stop reading, this ain't no sermon. In any case, I'm not very good at being a Christian, despite growing up in that community for eighteen, almost nineteen years. My first year away from home (woo, college!) sort of knocked me down a few pegs in terms of what I'm proud of, and what I'm not proud of.
^ Beyond that, sometimes I (and everyone else in the world, I'm sure) just get that odd feeling that I'm a piece of gum stuck to the bottom of the world's shoe. The smallest babushka doll, if you will. And as for that last point, they can get pretty darn small. Seriously.
And so now, finally, we get to the name "rawrgoyle".
So, as you can see, "rawrgoyle" sounds a bit like "gargoyle". Gargoyles are those horrific stone statues on the tops of buildings, made to discharge the water and leaves and other nasty bits that get caught on the roof. This is especially important in masonry, because if you don't run the water off, the stone could erode away.
Gargoyles is also the name of a show that terrified me when I was a kid.
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. No. But seriously. Freaked me out.
I've been to Spain and New York and Chicago a few times, and one thing I always notice is the architecture -- particularly in Barcelona. There are beautiful cathedrals and churches to be seen. Like, immaculate. The finest glass, metal, and stonework you'll ever see and often, there will be these gargoyles perched far, far away from any human contact.
There's no way to get close to them. You wouldn't want want to get close to them, because you'd see them as they are -- all covered in moss, bird droppings; they would be wretched from being left out in the rain, snow, wind. Above all, they're ugly. They're sick and twisted, curled, gnarled bits of stone.
In the last month or so, I've sort of had a major epiphany when it comes to what I'm doing here in life, and what I'm not doing right. My plans have changed, my attitude has changed, all that stuff. It actually started right when I joined Sal's Realm.
I joined Sal's from my iPod touch, standing in the front room of my apartment with my life packed up in boxes .. again. My friend Zach, my mom and my dad were slowly bringing my stuff down two flights of stairs and into my car while I just stared out the window at a beautiful April day .. realizing that for all my confidence going into the year, I had no idea where I was going now.
The username "rawrgoyle" is just a commentary about how sometimes I feel like that stupid stone creature far from God and his people -- forgotten and ugly and harsh and cruel, but still clinging on just because there's no other option but falling and smashing to bits on the pavement below. Which would be a really awful way to start off the summer, if I do say so myself.
Well, this post is sort of a downer.
I'll leave things on a lighter note -- every time I'd Google search "gargoyle" for this blog, it kept kicking back this image:
Oh, Google, you clever harpy. Stop knowing where I spend my internet time! And yes. That'll be my Korasi someday!
Thanks for reading, everyone.
So I'm spending my evening outdoors sitting in a rocking chair in the driveway .. with a laptop, an iPod, and Runescape running hardcore. I'm some kind of warrior, right?
Relient K are crooning in my ears .. but give me just one iTunes shift and we'll be rockin' Hollywood Undead, Johnny Cash, or Blink182. (I don't know if I actually have those bands, but the idea was to show the genre .. you know what? Never mind).
Point is, I have a lot of music. I posted something in the "How Much Music Do You Have On The Playback Device of Your Choice" thread (title edited) and .. I .. just .. realized I got bugspray all over my laptop screen.
But if I may be honest, I love the smell of bug repellant. It reminds me of being outdoors, of being out at night. Of camping. Of campfires, marshmallows .. all that nonsense stuff.
But then I get some in my eyes or in my mouth, and it's just pure misery. Bleh.
I'm also going to fall backwards in this rocking chair, and none of you will be able to see it, to laugh at me.
That's both good and bad. Ha. You'll hear from me again tomorrow, Sal's!
Her mouth was blood-red, and her eyes were wide. Not wide with shock, just wide. Drifting there, face-up. I had a camera in my hands, and I raised it to take a picture but I just couldn't. I couldn't.
I tried calling the authorities, but no one answered. It was just me and her.
.. .. .. ..
Alright, so I'm talking about one of my goldfish. But it's still freaky as heck. Brace yourselves.
This is intense.
LOOK AT IT. LOOK AT EEEEEEEEEEET.
I went trundling into the kitchen for some toast, and just sort of saw her leering at me. Yes, I was upset. Very upset. Her name was Ávila (named for the city I stayed in, in Spain!) and her friend Güell (named for the park in Spain, as well!) and I got them in the summer of 2008.
In reality, that's pretty long for a goldfish to live. I had just change the water and introduced a new fish (to replace Avi's lover), a fish named Sir William the Noble Prince of Silverfish. And no, I did not name him.
Why was her mouth bloody? Will looks okay, just a bit like "o.0" over the whole thing. I tried calling my mom because I sure won't be changing the water and getting her out of there.
So now I'm avoiding my kitchen because there's a dead fish sort of .. drifting, its body watching me warily.
I guess I wasn't hungry for lunch anyways.
So guess what? I went for a jog, today.
*GASP*. Wh -- rawr, no! You can't have!
How are you still alive?
Ahh .. ? Not sure! Felt great, though. I walked a half-mile or so to the Subway down by the cemetery.
That's right. We covered this, like, a few sentences ago.
.. .. .. .. What was it like?
Oh, really nice. About 70° out; that's 21° Celsius for you crazies.
And did you survive?
Sure I did! I used to spend all my summers outside and in the woods before, you know. Internet.
You are a braver warrior than I.
The other night when I was bumming around in-game, chattin' with folks in Sal's, I mentioned that I was sitting on my front porch, playing Runescape. Instead of receiving replies along the lines of -- "ooh! What's it like outside?" or "how many beautiful things do you see" (eh, that last one is a bit of a stretch) I got a chorus of whys.
Because being outside and on my computer makes me feel far less antisocial and potential self-depreciating than when I'm outside, enjoying the weather .. and the massive black ants, and the mosquitoes.
That said, I did go for a long(ish) journey before getting lunch today, and it was great. I think one of my favorite things about spring (summer, now, since we sort of just went ahead and skipped spring, here in the Midwest) is that you can finally smell things.
In winter, all you smell is cold wind stuffing its fingers rudely up your nostrils. Now that the weather is officially beginning to warm up, I can smell leaves and freshly cut grass and flowers. It's fancy, eh? Sure makes me regret sitting inside on my laptop for a few hours a day -- so I make a special point to sit out on the veranda and at least get some sun.
I tan easily, though. I was adopted out of the country, so you can say I came pre-tanned, but still. It's nice to maintain that bronzed look. And no, Hypermark1. I'm not talking about the armor.
Alright, alright. I'll try one of these blog things. I'm an avid enough writer; we'll see if this encourages me to keep a daily (or weekly?) log of what I get up to in Runescape. As for the title of the blog, it comes from my favorite pastime in Runescape -- maging at Castle Wars. When I get snarled at for being a "farcaster" .. why yes. Yes, I am. I'd listen to your taunts a bit more, but I'm too busy stuffing fists of magic down your throat. Yeah.I'm still easing myself into Sal's Realm here. A lot of the features on this forum are nice enough, I just have to figure out how best to use them. Apologies if you see me just posting here and there, or tinkering with coding. It's all coming back to me slowly, friends. Very, very slowly. Does this blog have to just be about stuff that happens in-game? No. Probably not. But if I don't limit my focus here, we're going to have another situation where I create a blog .. and then forget about it. I can't tell you how many bloggers, blogspots (which wants to auto-correct to "bloodspots"), and wordpress sites I've made in the past, and promptly abandoned without any hope. So keep me current. Keep me updated, and I'll start whipping things up and into shape. Muah. -rawr