Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Necessary Useless List: Things I'd Like To Do (Preferably) Before I die

People usually do lists on their blogs, right? Thought I'd get with the program.

Here are a few things I'd be quite happy about them happening before my eventual demise (read: ascension to Valhalla and bro-ing out with Thor and Odin):



1 - Travel to seven different countries. Get hopelessly lost in one, have a life-changing epiphany in another.

2 - Be on the roof of a really tall building at sunset, stay there chatting with friends until sunrise.

3 - Wake up one day to nothing but the sea and the sky. Oh, and a book. Clothes optional.

4 - Punch someone. Doesn't have to be a massive one. Just a punch.

5- Be hugged lovingly by a child, and not just because I just gave them candy.

6- Write a best-selling book. Tease my nemesis endlessly about it.

         Addendum: - Get a nemesis.

7 - Jump off a waterfall. Hopefully not land in shallow water.

8 - Live long enough for someone to discover a drug that would make my parents live forever. And makes them respect my privacy.

9 - Listen to the Kings of Convenience while watching the Aurora Borealis dance its merry way across the Scandinavian skies.

10 - Meet JK Rowling. Convince her to write me into a Harry Potter sequel. Get Neil Gaiman to narrate the audiobook.


Bonus Round (or what it all really comes down to): - Grow old with someone, smiling at her smile, hold her hand and squeeze it reassuringly, have her rest her head on my shoulder on a long bus ride to a place we've never been to, taking a silly photo of her and pinning it to the fridge, losing a snowball fight to her, and maybe even have her read my words aloud to me.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Write. Right?

I write to feel right.

This is - quite basically - the reason I write at all. My brain is often a cauldron, within which thoughts are constantly frothing and bubbling, threatening to spill over the edges, but the cauldron is tightly sealed, and so the thoughts keep percolating endlessly, never surrendering, only giving rise to more thoughts and ideas until you feel like your head is about to burst.

And so, I grab a pen, and with it I carve holes into my skull, allowing all the thoughts to filter through in an orderly (or not so orderly) manner, so that I can simply stop feeling like my head is three times its size, so I can stop grinding my teeth so hard that I feel my jaw giving way.

I write to stop feeling angry, or sad, or tired, or even to celebrate my happiness or random bouts of content.

I write, because I like words.

It's ironic how I've managed to fail to find a word that expresses how I feel about words. There is no word, sadly, to describe that feeling you get, when an intangible thought transforms before your mind's eye into a jumble of letters, that then coalesce into a word. It is beautiful, satisfying, and utterly baffling.

It's nice, to watch the words then interlink into phrases, expressing thoughts and meanings that used to be just at the tip of your tongue, so close and yet so very far. You smile, as you dress those meanings up, in long flowing statements, in bright adjectives and startling, sparkling words.

And then you step back, cupping your chin, and appraise your work in pride and (often hidden) relief.

Congratulations, you've written something, and you'll never be the same again.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Scale

A few minutes ago, I looked out my window, and saw the moon.

Then it hit me; I am on the surface of a planet, looking up at something thousands of kilometers away, reflecting the light of something that is even farther than that.

Scale is such a funny thing. We think the world of our problems, whereas we're really, really small.

Take a moment, look out your window right now, and think about it.

Is it really worth worrying about?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

In Dreams

This was initially triggered by a six-word suggestion from a fellow Twitter user. Thanks, Amenah.

This is also dedicated to Adly, who was one of the first people to encourage me to start this blog, and who's leaving the country soon. You shall be missed!

-----------------





You were in my dreams again yesterday.

You stood there, clutching that lace umbrella you loved so much. I watch in awe, as you twirl it playfully in your hands, and I can see you’ve painted your nails blue, that brilliant azure color that I’ve always loved so much. I smile, you’ve always had a thing for all things Victorian; you called them regal, austere, beautiful. 


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Existence And Definitions


My existence is a series of questions that I attempt to answer everyday, and the answers never really impress me.



I start with the obvious. “What am I?” - that one is easy enough. I am a man, a human being, an assortment of organs linked together by myriad vessels in a body that runs like clockwork. I am a being that is recognized by fellow beings as one of their own, part of a herd, member of the not-so-exclusive club of Humanity.
At least, that’s the physical interpretation of my existence. I am okay with that, it is clear and clean-cut, and it’s hard to argue against. It is what I perceive myself as, and it is close enough to what I perceive others as. So, it’s all right.
Then you move on to “Who am I?”, and that’s where the problems start; how do you know who you are? Do you define yourself, again, by your physical existence? No, because then you’d lose your individuality, that you fought for so valiantly by popping out of that birth canal, and you just become another human being. Is that what you want? Probably not. So, it’s not just the physical existence.
Is it what you do, then? Am I defined by the things that I do in my life? Aren’t those things that everyone does, to some extent? So, to define oneself, do we just mix and match a number of actions, and what adds up is what a person is? Perhaps.
I suppose one of the most deplorable things about the exponential growth in communication technology is that we’re now constantly aware of how tiny we are in the grand scale of things. You’re just one person among billions, one soul among so many more, and what makes you so different then? Once we thought that the things we did were unique and personal, but then you start learning that everyone does it to some extent, and that your actions were merely a reflection of an evolving human nature. Your soul is just a fraction, part of a larger mosaic, and it keeps looking like the little parts repeat themselves every so often.

You are a drop in an ocean. A reed in the marsh. A letter, repeated ad infinitum on a massive white paper, yellowing at the edges.
You are...you.
And I am...me. I am...not you.
Is that what it is? Am I defined through what I am not? Through who I am not?
Is that what makes me unique?
Sometimes, I feel like a character who’s been abandoned by its writer halfway through the story, and the bastard never even thought to leave me a pen to finish the job.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Technological Hyper-reliance And Second-hand Experiences

I'm writing this post because a certain trend has come to my attention, which is no way new or unexpected, but the repercussions of which are truly staggering. We, as humans, have this amazing tendency to abuse whatever privileges we manage to provide for ourselves; various forms of energy, all sorts of ingenious inventions, but no privilege has been more widespread in its disastrous effects on the human race than the exponential growth in technological advancements, and especially the internet.

Consider your life right now; you spend your day connected to the internet, browsing a massive amount of websites, reading, watching videos, checking in to your favorite coffee shop (then whining about how everyone now gets their coffee there and you have to stand in a queue for half an hour...God, those troglodytes!), then you see something nice and you decide to take a photo and maybe share it on Twitter or Instagram, and maybe then you'll record a video of your favorite underground artist during that concert you attend later today, and...

...okay, stop, look at what you're doing here.

See, I have nothing against technology at all. We wouldn't be where we are right now without the amorphous beast that is the Internet, and advancements in tech save lives on a daily basis, so I'm definitely not decrying the fact that we're making progress. I'm just surprised at our tendency to transform our lives into a series of second-hand experiences.

Allow me to explain. Nowadays, when you're looking at something nice in the street, you probably are seeing it through the lens of your phone's camera (or your very own, state-of-the-art DSLR that all your friends secretly crave, and which you're pretty much regretting buying in the first place) instead of just using your very own eyes. You attend a concert, looking through the minuscule viewfinder of your camera, trying not to shake the damn thing too much during the performance. Then you go home and watch the video, and you feel particularly vacuous. You feel nothing.

Why? Because your experience was entirely second-hand. Your unquenchable desire to obtain things which you can share with the world (or at least, the massively large portion of it connected to the internet) got in the way, and thus you - and them - managed to get a shaky video with terrible audio of the artist you admire so much. Well done.

It's so very silly, how we keep doing that, and then we start wondering why we're becoming more forgetful. How can you expect to remember something that you half-experienced, especially when you know that you can get back to it simply by revisiting that photo, video or audio recording. But the problem is that those things might capture how something looked or sounded, but they cannot capture how you felt, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot recapture something that you paid no heed to in the first place. And that's why you keep finding all those nitpicks with the photo or video you once thought was perfect. It doesn't feel the same, you think. It's not the same thing.


Well, yes, because you're the one who managed to alter it, from a personal memory to an digital, soon-to-be-forgotten souvenir.

So, just...make sure your own memory is a bit richer than your phone's or your camera's. That's all I'm asking.

Toodeloo.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Do(ugh)nut

What am I doing here?

I’m in a country I don’t know, working with people I’ve never seen before, discussing a topic that I’m not even sure I’m interested in anymore. And yet, here I am, walking down the only street I know, trying not to feel like it’s all a waste of time.


And then I see this famous donut shop, and I realize that even though I’ve been there for weeks, I haven’t even tried a donut. I never even thought about it, even though I walked down that street probably a dozen times since I got here. Apathy? Perhaps.

Maybe I should just go home.

The thoughts are still circling my head, giving me no respite, as I walk into the shop and decide to maybe try one of the donuts. I walk up to the counter and...

...you know what? I’m sure you’ll think I’m exaggerating, or maybe you’ll roll your eyes when I say it, thinking that I’m just another person spouting off nonsense, or perhaps I was in a deeply impressionable state, but I’m pretty sure that the girl I saw working at the counter that day was one of the most beautiful girls I’d ever seen.

Sure, I was in a country that was quite known for its beautiful women, and I’d seen quite a few of them, but none had grasped my attention in the way that girl did. She had this simple, unaffected air about her, compounded by her natural beauty and that gentle smile she wore as she took my (largely flabbergasted) order. I watched her work deftly, her delicate fingers extracting the donut from amongst its equally delicious brethren, then concoct a strong mug of coffee that was already looking good even before I took the first sip.

I thanked her and walked to one of the empty tables, still unable to get her off my mind. Of course, I start to construct scenarios, about how I might approach her and maybe ask her out. Of course, it was all ridiculous; I’d never asked a girl out before, and my pseudo attempts all ended in failure, so I didn’t really think I’d have a chance with a foreign attractive girl. But, still, my brain wouldn’t give it a rest; kept thinking about how I might act interesting, or funny, or - God help me - interestingly foreign. But, the same brain that kept telling me I should do it, also relished exposing to me the various cruel methods of rejection. She’ll say no. She’ll look it you funny. She’ll laugh and shake her head. Etc, etc..


So, yeah, of course I walked out of there without doing anything, and I never saw her again. What did you expect? A happy ending? Those are for the luckier ones among us, folks.

See you later.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Flash Fiction: Consequence

“All right, you know what? I’m leaving.”

“What? Why?”


“Because I’m sick of this. Of ALL of this. I can’t take it anymore.”


“But, you can’t leave.”


“Why can’t I?”


“Because...I dunno, because you’re not supposed to leave. You need to be here with me.”


“Really? And why is that? What makes you think I’m not supposed to leave?”


“You’ve been here with me since as far as I can remember!”


“That’s not a good enough reason.”


“No?”


“No. You could say that I’ve never...known any better, and so I just resorted to sticking around, seeing how things go.”


“And now?”


“Well, now I can see that this is not the best use of my time, and so I’ve decided to move on.”


“So, it’s like that then?”


“Oh, please. Don’t give me that wounded dog tone. It’s not like you ever paid attention to me in the first place.”


“What?”


“Oh, yeah. When was the last time you thought of me? Talked to me? Even looked at me! Think about it. It’s like you don’t even know I’m there.”


“But, I do know. I just...”


“You just took me for granted, simply because I’ve been here for so long. Well, guess what? I’m done with that.”


“Wait, let me just...”


“Sorry, I’ve wasted quite a few years waiting. No more. Goodbye.”

---
And that was how I was the first man to ever lose his shadow.

However, I would hardly be the last..