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Starry Complexities

“We could whisper to the stars and tell them what happened to other stars, billions of years ago, tell them how they shattered and turned into people. Do you wonder if stars tell their children that when you die, you become a human? A faraway life, on a small blue planet. “

luviiilove
Art by: LuviiiLove

I can already imagine it, with starry complexity. We will linger at the space station, floating around to haunting piano music softly diffusing across the universe, echoing down lonely black holes and asteroid fields. We’ll hang the clothes to dry on one of Saturn’s rings. On Saturdays (Or however we decide to name it) we’ll have barbecues on the sun and plant artificial roses on dwarf planets and dying stars for a pilot whose plane has crashed to find someday. We’ll pluck stars from space and rearrange the cosmos, play tennis with asteroids and write messages with our fingers across nebulae for Earth to see.

We can hide on the moon, sometime. Lie down in the sea of tranquility and tell corny jokes about how we aimed for the moon. We can close our eyes and move to the dark side, and pretend Earth doesn’t exist. We’ll live out our days in an alcove on a planet no one will ever discover.

We’ll make paperboats, watch them sail and burn in a constellation of stars. We could even reach inside one of them, our hands travelling all the way to the molten core, and touch someone’s consciousness. We could whisper to the stars and tell them what happened to other stars, billions of years ago, tell them how they shattered and turned into people. Do you wonder if stars tell their children that when you die, you become a human? A faraway life, on a small blue planet. So, children if you want to say hi, all you have to do is shine bright and they will know who you are? I wonder if humans are star-ghosts?

We could also hollow out one of the planets, and make home inside.

Trust me, we will never get lost. I have the universe inside of me. Did you know that there are more synapses in the human brain than there are stars in our Milky Way? And there are more possible brain connectivity patterns than there are atoms in the Universe? Our minds are larger and more infinite than the Universe. We are multitudes, eternal matter in perishable bodies.

“When we die,” you ask “do you think we go back to being stars? Do you think that some part of us goes into space? Like, the parts that used to be our eyes, when they rot and become dirt and minerals in the Earth, then feed a tree that later gets turned into wood brought on a spaceship—do you think I could see the universe then? Do you think I could get to be a part of it then? That I will be welcomed, like a missing limb, and I will finally remember? And slowly, like that, the Universe will start being whole again.”

“But you’ll forget me then, you’ll forget Earth.” I say.

“Not if you come with me.” you smile “Then we’ll forget about the lives we had here. But it’s okay, because you and I, we go way back, we were stars together. Then, we can remember who we were meant to be all along.”


Listening to:

Note: This is Day 25 of my NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge. I’m afraid with this one, I totally pretended like Science wasn’t a real thing. Don’t shove your hands down molten cores of stars, kids. You’ll be dead before you even get to try. You can read my previous entry for the challenge here. Also, ‘more infinite’ isn’t…really a thing. But eh, dramatics amirite.

 

Forever ago. (Part 1)

young adult old soul magic realism writing pascal campion
Art by: Pascal Campion

Trigger warning: death, grief

Here it is, below us: the paths of our lives, the layouts of our existences.

It’s 6 o’clock on a Sunday morning and the city is still blissfully asleep, not yet rubbing its eyes nor tossing in a half-awake state. It is so dark out that we need to measure our steps, to scrutinise the path ahead before advancing onto it.

It’s 6 o’clock on a Sunday and we’re climbing a mountain.

It’s not much of a climb, if I am honest. A long, serpentine path has been carved into the mountain, and asphalt laid smoothly on top of it to see joggers safely to the peak. But still, the way up is steep, the early morning air biting.

There are much better things to do at 6 a.m. on a Sunday. There are warmer places to be.

Yet here we are, hearts stuttering, beating briskly in the misty heights overlooking the capital. A cold drizzle has cut through the air and a smell of molasses is rising from the bushes, concentrated in the textured mass of thick, yellowing vegetation.

Fungi.

Dampness.

The smell of a flooded apartment.

Earthy and pervasive yet so very oddly soothing. There is a reminder enclosed in this scent, tugging at a memory in the far recesses of my mind. Remembering it is akin to pulling at a root buried deeply and firmly in the ground — it is tough and unyielding, refusing to be taken from the comfort of its situation. Then all at once, after rigorous tugging that seems to have done nothing to dislodge it, it loosens traitorously and gives way, sending me reeling.

And as I am reeled back, I fall into the depth of a moment passed, a memory once silenced in the graveyard of memories.

“We will all die.”

His voice is deep and rich; long stretches of silence settle between his words. There has always been something about the way he speaks, the way he delivers his thoughts that draws people in. I have never been able to emulate him in that or in much else, really.

“Young or old, rich or poor, today or tomorrow. We will all die. One day, I will die and—”

And it will all have been for naught. The homes we built. The love we harboured. The traces we left.

We make but ripples in the water — thrown by some mysterious Hand, our lives skim the surface of existence, disturb its deep waters before we run out of whatever magic lights up our eyes. Some of us get in multiple ricochets before falling, the kind that inspires awe, that makes you think there was more to us than flesh and bones. For others, it is the exhilarating feeling of flying, followed by a rapid and unforeseen descent. Most of us, though, make quiet ripples, lost in the herd movements of life. But one way or another, we all end up on the ocean floor, nothing but the fading comments (“This was a good one!”, “It didn’t go very far.”…) accompanying our slow descent into the deep unknown.

“One day, I will die and you will stay. And then one day, you too will die, and your children will stay.”

The smell of freshly-turned earth hung all around us, damp and tangy, so strong it bottled the moment, sealing it with this scent.

One day, this smell will get stronger. One day, I will be wrapped in it, in the stiff white robes, indifference and camphor crystals of death.


Note: So this one is going to be posted in several parts, as every part talks about a different theme and it’s all quite long. About this first part: I am very frank about the idea/topic of death. The way I was raised, death was not something that was hidden from me,  it was not seen as something that should not be talked about. Death is a part of life and that’s…that. But it is a heavy theme all the same so I hope it wasn’t too disturbing to read!

As always, sending lots of love and good vibes your way!

Listening to:

 

 

Dreamscape.

In and out, gently, like a whisper lost in the wind…

In and out, in…and….out, in….and…

My breath crashes in shallow waves, distant like the tide in a hidden cove. Slow and warm, this to-and-fro accompanied by a warm rise and fall is the sweetest, most subtle expression of life.

One after the other, the lights of my consciousness flicker; my eyes struggle to remain open, their tireless efforts to make sense of this strange world valiant but in vain. Far away, the curtains flutter and billow, the clock ticks and the indoor fan groans under the strain of a heat wave.

A heaviness cloaks me, pinning me under an unbearable weight until all the world and its sensations have melted in the summer air, joining the scent of wild palm trees and the tinkling of distant laughter the sea breeze often carries. Against my ribs, my heart hammers, unwilling to yield yet falling under the seductive spell of a too-warm afternoon and beautiful words that blur on a page, that slip into my unguarded unconscious — only to later appear in the fevered haze of an afternoon doze that feels like it has somehow lasted longer than a workweek, longer than the whole month of January and longer even than the summer holidays from when I was 16.

I have surrendered to the languor of the summer heat, melted into it as all things do — I have gained a lifetime in sleep, in the sweaty dreams of a 3 p.m. nap. I have lived more, I suspect, in my mind than I have anywhere else.

Between you and me, I sometimes wish I could fade into mist and slip, unknown and unmissed, into one of these drowsy afternoons, staying back forever in the moment instead of rolling on. It’s easier that way. Life would be so much easier if you could freeze moments and live inside of them: the same perfect happiness over and over — the kind of happiness that doesn’t wear out with time but that only deepens, reaching ever closer to your heart and making itself more precious to you.

I wish, I wish. I dream even within dreams.

But for now, this moment is mine.


Quote of the day:

“And take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time
Far past the frozen leaves
The haunted frightened trees
Out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky
With one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea
Circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate
Driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow”

— Bob Dylan

People-watcher.

Art by: René Wiley

The hours between 9 to 5 belong to the working force, the productive percentage of the population. The masons and lawyers, the administrative clerks, teachers, supermarket employees, farmers, small store owners, electricians, graphic designers, journalists, judges, police officers, the casually corrupt politicians, the government employees who always seem to roam about like dead leaves blown by the wind, purposeless.

That world of working hours is their domain, those who run the economy so we may all, in turn, be smoothly run by it. They are society maintaining itself, the cogs that make the clock hands turn so the rest of us may be governed by the all-powerful concept of Time. All day long and even under the unforgiving midday sun, there is no one but them in their casual business attires, taking space, owning the city, circling their rightful orbits.

But when the revered, feared clock in the cathedral square strikes a solemn 5 and the claustrophobic offices of the capital sputter out weary employees, when the city is empty of all herd movements and the atmosphere sweetens, curious little things begin to happen.

I wonder if, one day at the beach, you’ve ever taken a good look at the naked coral reefs, the dramatic, rocky outcrops lining the shore. When the tide recedes, all sorts of strange creatures wiggle and crawl out of tiny openings, cautious yet curious of the wide world that has been left to them. Sand-coloured crabs, inky black, viscous leeches, bright orange mollusks and fascinating little amphibians that swim marvelously in the water and totter curiously on the sand — all manner of unimaginable beings suddenly come into existence, as if conjured from a child’s sleepy summer daydreams. Dreams are, after all, clouds of thoughts: you never know how far they will go, where they will land.

“Is it our turn now?” These little lives ask, tentative, “Is it alright to come out?”

Almost shyly, they go after the remains of the day, chasing the last of the seafoam and the sweetness of fading sunrays, trying to capture all the emotion that had poured overground. At last, it is their turn to observe the world, to live a little, weak and unseen as they otherwise may be.

Something quite similar to this happens in the cities. As golden hour descends on the facades of skyscrapers and light flows in cascades and rivulets, much that is unseen is finally revealed. Tucked away in small houses that are not as lively as they used to be, down roads that lead to nowhere and in anonymous neighbourhoods, the city’s retired and ailing take faltering steps and with a sigh, enter the world.

In the deserted streets, they set up worn, wicket chairs or plastic stools and lean back to observe the world. You will also see them — if you know how to look — on balconies, from behind the barred gates of their homes and around some hole-in-the-wall corner store. Some of them have their evening tea; the men will often gather for a smoke and a round of dominoes played on make-shift stools and rickety chairs. The lone tune of some oldies radio channel will float about in the air, coating the surroundings in light nostalgia and the idea that once, there was something great and beautiful, and now little remains of it. These seasoned people-watchers will observe, without reserve, the last of the working force scrambling to get home, hurrying even during the last part of their day. They will comment on appearances, speculate about these city-dwellers’ lives and often speak of the doom of this age.

It may not seem like it, but their sole purpose in that instant is to drink the moment in before it is gone, unused, unspent. The last hour before sunset, the last of the city life that pulsates so loudly during the day, and perhaps, the last of their time in this world. It is a form of grounded escapism, like wandering without getting lost.

It will happen sometimes that you earmark a neighbourhood with the image of a white-haired woman gazing at the world from her wheelchair or of a weathered man in a hat humming old songs. And then, the next time you come about, they are not there. The week after that, too. And the next one. Until you realise they’re gone. Sometimes they just become too sick to move and are confined to their beds and to the views outside of their windows. Other times, some kind soul, often another people-watcher who knows you from watching you go about, will inform you that the person has been long gone.

And then night falls — slowly, slowly but inexorably. The people retreat into their homes, the tide returns and just like this, a new day is born.


Listening to:

A wild thing.

Art by: Carolyn Lord

Life is a wild thing.

Though we may have broken it in, reined it in with made-up concepts like Time — though we’ve taught Life manners, dressed it up and studied its unpredictable nature, Life is still wild and hysterical, the same pulsating energy that first exploded in the Universe. It plays our games, obliges our whims for a while and then slams the table, leaving us scrambling for the pieces of our existence.

Let us not make Life out to be something it will never be. Life is not good or bad. It is what it is: a wild thing with no notion of itself, let alone the great, troubled depths of ethics and morality.

So Life will give. Life will take. It will sit with us, a comforting warmth, and give us summers and happiness in the scent of a flower. Life will tickle us in the small hours of morning and make laughter erupt deep from our bellies. Then one day, Life will leave us in despair, wrecked by tragedies we could not have imagined.

Knowing that, how can we think that anything — anyone — belongs to us? We hardly belong to ourselves.

So let us not claim ownership over what is fleeting. Let us not brand the flowers of Life with our names, soon enough, the wind will lift them and carry them away. Let us not try to bottle the wind or contain the tides. Let us instead embrace their coming and going. Let us feel the dizzying heights of happiness and fall apart in the lows. Let us become sublime and more truly ourselves in the pursuit of all that we will hold but never own.

It is in the experience and not in the owning that we find meaning.


Note: Happy New Year to you all! Sending you all the best vibes for this year. It’s funny, when I wrote this, it was just a general reflection on life. And then the very next day, I received news that illustrated the point of this piece with a sort of dreadful, cold accuracy.

Love.

Art by: From_May

I am a child when it comes to love.

My eye is attracted to the shiny flame, the exciting spark of something new in this old, worn world. What a beautiful fire; warm and gentle, it burns bright like stars in the night and I want to drink it in, drink it in. I want to pull it apart and understand it, hold it in my hand, keep it at my side, tucked in my heart.

My love is like a small child: curious, insistent, true but unable to handle fragile things with the care they deserve. So without thought or permission, eager to know, my fingers reach, my hands grab for that fire dancing so prettily before me.

My skin burns red, and the air is choked by the smell of something gone dark. A broken spell, a dead fire and a choked out chain of I’m sorrys, drowned by tears.

I wasn’t lying, I am a child when it comes to love. But even children must grow up, one day.


Note: It has been a very long time, hasn’t it? I haven’t even been able to write a birthday post this year, even though I have for the last 3 years. A lot has happened, as it tends to when one disappears like that. I hope you’ve been doing well and that you’re spending your time happily this holiday season.

Listening to:

L’été.

Summer is sweeter this year, something that is very much at odds with the devastation and grief of a raging pandemic.

We have had a case of local transmission here after several good months of hugs and handshakes, masks hanging precariously on ears and no moisture-peeling hand sanitisers. The anxious fear has found me again, sprouting scenarios of endless grief and loss.

So I want instead to count the little things — each of them an argument against fear, a shred of reason to counter the rising irrationality of my reeling mind.

Summer is sweet and soft like a kiss, still clinging onto the last dregs of a delicious winter. Often enough in the past, I had known summer had come when I would have to woefully send my blanket to the wash. You know the kind: thick and fluffy like a risen pancake fresh off the pan, it traps in warmth and banishes the cold from your fingers and toes.

This year, I find myself sighing into this heavy blanket even now, during midsummer nights that should have been sultry and sticky and uncomfortable. Instead, these nights gather me close, they hold my dreams above my head like a mobile, like the universe has unravelled in my room to tell me all about where I am from.

You need only take a single look at me to understand what I’ve become: a creature of summer’s making… Flowy dresses in my wardrobe, pineapple-printed shirts, wandering without fear of getting lost, and — at long last — a little curious about love.


Note: I hope you are doing well, wherever you are. It’s tough times out there and I’m only beginning to realise that all over again.

Homeless thoughts, thoughtless homes.

My thoughts are a little homeless at the moment; I’ve said goodbye to yet another companion, this one endowed with thick, luxurious covers marked and embossed in golden motifs, regal against a smooth, creamy red. Its pages were pre-aged for comfort and delightfully thick, carrying a certain soothing weight to them.

And the size. Perfect for the crook of an elbow or for tucking at your side. Ideal to hold one-handed, to hide from curious eyes, for writing on uneven surfaces.

The new one is a bit too large in comparison. My thoughts swim in a sort of emptiness, with no lines to bring ideas together, to give them any kind of sense. Just an endless ocean of blank pages; a sort of void. It feels like a stripped-bare apartment. No touch of home. No cosiness. Just four blank walls and a lot of space that I am at a loss at how to fill.

Incidentally, the new WordPress editor feels the same now. Too open, too vast. Too much white. I feel a little overwhelmed somehow by its design; sometimes, I find that I am grappling to fill all this blank space with something, to make this blankness disappear. All this space is intimidating. I need corners, nooks and crannies; places to hide, to burrow into. I need bumps and dents in which to tuck my stories, somewhere safe where I can keep my words.

But well, about the new notebook. It’s no surprise it feels so impersonal: it’s just a heap of neat, spiral-bound A4 pages and was originally a company notebook. It’s not faring very well in the creative writing business. Office notebooks aren’t good homes for daydreams and words that only make sense upside-down.

Yes, yes.

It all makes sense now.

So maybe I’ll downsize, who knows. And keep these white, blank pages to draw these colonial-style houses I long to put to paper.


Note: While I am infinitely grateful for even having paper to write on and an internet connection to share this, I will admit to being a little bit of a notebook snob. It is what it is.

Listening to :

Glow up.

young adult old soul magic realism writing

The thing about shaking off the shadows and reaching for light is that it cannot be done in silence.

I had hoped I wouldn’t have to roar to announce that I had arrived, finally, through adversity and darkness, into the version of myself I was always meant to be. Naively, I had hoped that perhaps this transformation could pass unnoticed, like the water that quietly steals away under one of the city’s bridges — drowned out by all the other manifestations of life, melting into an indistinguishable symphony of sounds.

But to be yourself is to create ripples, echoes. And people listen, they pay attention.

The other day, I realised while watering a thriving Zenith the Zealous, that weeds had only started growing my little chia plant when I started caring for it. And I think it’s as simple as that: life attracts life. When you push through the darkness, discontent with the safety of mere existence and seek light, weeds will grow vicariously through you, envious.

So yes, I have attracted a whole lot of shallow attention.

People who call me pretty disbelievingly. Formerly indifferent men who now give long looks. Others who notice every little change as if it had been made on their own bodies.

I stepped into the light hoping to be seen, but instead, I am being viewed.

It’s disconcerting, to be sure. More than that, it makes me want to crawl back to where I came from. To safety. To comforting darkness. To being alone in my own little world, my lonely little planet of thoughts.

But these reactions are just passing distractions. My quest for light goes farther than them. There is more to me than what they see: I cannot be boxed into words like ‘pretty’, I offer no explanation as to why I am the way I am.

“I am not this hair,

I am not this skin,

I am the soul that lives within.”

Rumi

Continue reading “Glow up.”

Insomniacs.

Young adult old soul magical realism writing Pascal Campion
Art by: Pascal Campion

I am bathing in the comforting darkness of a late, late night, caressed by its sweet anonymity.

Beyond the window, leaves rustle, but no one save the insomniacs like me hear them. Somewhere out there, if you follow the dark long enough, you will find the light. Somewhere in this night, there is a daybreak. Not metaphorically. But very much in actuality. If you walk and walk along the deserted highways, if you are able to slip through the narrow pathways that open onto the ocean and if, after that, you reach the horizon, there will be a sun waiting — warm and glorious. A promised day.

Somehow, it is there that I find myself now. In this rising sun, kilometres away from this dark room and the cold circulating inside.

I’ve done nothing in particular to feel like this. At times, these thoughts catch me off-guard and I stay up waiting for the sun to rise, feeling eternal.


Note: So when I was little, I had really bad insomnia. Often I would just wake up in the middle of the night and sit by the window in the dark, waiting 3 or 4 hours for the sun to rise. I’ve tried multiple times to write about these weirdly formative nights but they were just that: attempts. Somehow, this 2-minute midnight scribble is the closest I’ve gotten to describing the feeling 🤷‍♀️

Beach days.

The sea salt is drying on my skin as I write you this, what once was the ocean leaving a taste of this morning’s swim on my lips.

Do you know what the beach is like when the sun has only just risen?

It is quiet, pacifying. New, as though the oceans hadn’t existed for light years prior to that morning.  There we all were, housing beautiful contradictions: we were star-skinned, yet pieces of a ticking clock, rewinding time yet moving forward.

I’ve known them for a very long time, these friends.

We were still tender when we met, eyes wide and cheeks plump, unaware of everything living entailed. We could never have known, 20 years ago, in between petty quarrels, skinned knees and games of tag, that we would ever reach here, now.

But there we were, making history, ignoring Time.

You know, Time is a mirror: when you ignore Time, it ignores you back. When you chase it, it chases you. When you check on it, it checks on you.

So because we did not care for Time, the morning passed slowly. The stories of our lives flowed like streams in the world we had created for ourselves, expanded the bubble that had unwittingly appeared around us. It is uncommon to feel both free and safe at the same time, but that’s exactly how I felt. Unchained yet protected. Another beautiful contradiction to add to the list.

Never let me forget this day, will you?


Listening to:

Note:
So apparently, you can add videos now, so I’m going to add a video just because I can. Did it have to be a vertical video though 😂