Excerpt from email I sent to someone looking for artist freeware on Newgrounds. I thought it might even help some folks on here who may be interested in trying out digital art:
As for freeware art programs, you could try Artrage 2.5.2; the free
version has a few things unavailable but it is pretty usable overall.
You can download it from download.com, where it has reviews and ratings
from people who have downloaded it before. There are also lists there
of similar programs and prices where applicable.
The full version costs $25, and might be worth it if you end up using
it a lot. The Artrage program simulates real paint, markers, crayons,
pencils, chalks, etc and has a layers feature. It works on Windows
Another one is Artweaver, which I can't say I've tried, but I have
looked it up and it seems pretty similar. Smoothdraw NX3 has no
limitations, though it is an older version, and works on Windows
98/Me/2000/XP. You could also search out Smoothdraw 3.1.2 (newest
version, I think), but the free download has the saving feature
disabled - so if you are only creating images for web, you could be
cheeky and just capture finished images via screenshots.
There are, of course, things like MS Paint *shudders* and GIMP. You could also try the trial versions of Adobe programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator and more which can be found on their official site at adobe.com/downloads - the programs are quite expensive to buy, so if you don't want to get attached to something you can't afford right now, it might be best to avoid the trials. They are quite good if you need it here and now and want to see what the latest version is like though.
Just pretend I didn't say anything about using screenshots to get past the saving-disabled feature on the limited version of Smoothdraw 3.1.2... Thanks. >_>
Illustrators and graphic designers try to mind read in order to better cater for their clients. Fine artists reflect themselves or their perceptions of the world in their work. Writers are on a calling to inform and address and to give audience to something they feel worthy. Musicians evoke emotions and compassion and empathy.
Art seems to be based on expression and communication - so it cannot be stable. Our perceptions are ever evolving; changing. The meaning of something in one instant or instance can mean so much more or less or something so different the next. If artwork is a form of communication then interpreting it is like some ultimate task. To truly understand something so tangible and chaotic as another person's thoughts brought to life in a piece of artwork... that is some task. It is hard enough to understand each other in conversation - we have to take time to really get the meaning behind the words.
Does a tone of voice come through in artwork? I think it does. When a singer cries in their song - no matter whether you understand those words or sounds, you feel it too. Blocking it out is like some insane ignorance or being dead. When an artist pulls all of their resources into capturing the essence of something that inspired awe in them - you should be able to see that perfect moment that they wished to capture. Or feel the frustration, or the potential and the meaning and the dream they had wanted to share or keep. You should feel that pull.
I really want people to feel that pull. I hope one day I create something that another person really understands. I have an urge to communicate - I hope that one day I have something really worth that effort, and I hope that someone will be able to see it and feel it the way I will. Maybe hope is what I'll be expressing. A hope to connect.
Paying work should never be a contest. It is ultimately disrespectful
to ask someone who is training/has trained to produce skilled work
without guaranteed and worthy compensation.
Regardless as to whether one person may get paid at the end, this
company is expecting a lot of people to spend their time creating work
for free. Speculative work is unfair and this instance is particularly
unfair as they are targeting the people who are most in need of
experience for their work history - students and beginners are more
likely to work any job they can to help build on their resume.
For more information on how to avoid being taken advantage of and
for help with understanding the difference between charitable, pro
bono, and speculative work, check out the NO!SPEC website.
Well, some of my dearly departed family are going to be dug up to make way for a ****ing extra runway and road for Heathrow Airport's Sixth Terminal. Apparently the large cemetery will be destroyed, I'm not even sure about the homes in the area, but I doubt they'll be around on top of the new tarmac - so this petition could help save the community in more than one way. Obviously, I'm pretty sickened by these plans and I would really appreciate it if you could sign this petition to hopefully help prevent it.
Our family is still coming to grips with losing two members over the past few years and this is like reopening that wound. I imagine other families feel the same about their deceased loved-ones in that cemetery.
Lover they will change you though start off as you are
Lover they will estrange you from the person that you are
Lover they'll derange you and you'll burn until you're spent
Dear lover, dear lover Avoid the beasts hell bent...
...and as much as you should've run from those dancing beasts of gore....
...you'll soon lay there in the body of the person you once knew and you'll wonder how you came to be the person they ask, "who?" When you wake up tired and dreary from the nights out in the field You'll realise the beasts inside 've eaten all that's good of you.
Life drawing with a beautiful model doing sexy poses. Not likely, huh? Well *BAM* here it is.
Sketchers in Austin should check out Dr. Sketchy's of Austin.
Our model on Saturday wasBonbon Vivant of Lunatic Fringe Burlesque, but they switch up models every month. She was a really fun and sweet figure model with a hawt body! Anyways, people in the Austin area, check out the announcements - if you're open to naughty life drawing, this could be a good place for you. I've found the poses really useful as they are more dynamic than the more traditional/classical poses usually given in group life drawing sessions.
If that doesn't totally grab you, then the fact that you can drink as there is a bar and you can meet other artists should be enough of an incentive, damnit. Win-win.
Here is one of the drawings I've just started, using one of the sketches done on Saturday. Check out the website for details of future events. I don't usually pimp stuff out, but it was great. ^_^
The individual has free will in so much as their past and present will allow them the options from which they may choose, but these actions are subject to the same laws of determinism. I do not believe that we have free will in the sense that we may choose beyond what is possible for us. My belief is that there is nothing unnatural in reality; everything possible in reality is natural, and everything natural is based upon events prior to the time subject to scrutiny coming together to make that instance. The instant in question could be considered a culmination of events to that point, but there is no true zenith in reality. I believe that we have what we may call free will, but I do not believe we actually have the freedom which it denotes. We are as complex as any culmination in question. Our predetermined sympathies, instincts, learned responses and subconscious expressions - everything that we've done or thought or been exposed to has added up to our action at the event, the choice is made on whatever bias we will have in that situation.
Flipping a coin to make your choices allows you two options. Options that have been predetermined by yourself or another or the event, putting your choices into the flipping of a coin would seemingly take away the human element, but I would contest that it adds to it. For, why would someone choose to flip a coin to make their decision? What were the values they assigned to 'heads' or 'tails'? This is merely another ritual in the decision process of the human mind. Where some will weigh and balance what they believe will work favourably, others will supposedly give up their 'free will' in the tossing of a coin - I argue that flipping a coin is simply another manner of choosing and that determinism will have assigned the values that they place on the face of the coin. Choosing to flip a coin is determined by habit or fancy - I propose that all action is determined by previous actions. I would also say that 'the butterfly effect' theory is one which supports my argument.
I would like to ask you to take a moment to think. If you froze the world right this second, all weather halted, everything stuck in this moment of time, and you could know everything there is to know about the history of each being, object, ect - you would be able to trace back where each desicion was made, where each action led to a reaction, where each event caused another event.
I need to get more sleep. Anyways, I'm always open to changing my beliefs, opinions and/or theories - so if anyone has anything to say, feel free to give me a shout.
They write the stories but they don't know all the history. They don't know the things that passed between you and me. Even kin between don't know what is real. They don't know, like you don't know - there was no betrayal.
It's been over a month since my last journal entry, where they were very frequent before that.
I've been working and haven't had much time to really sit and stew on my thoughts. I enjoy getting a few days off at a time so I can just think clearly. It is an indulgence. Do you ever find that your brain just won't shut off? I wonder if I've been burning my candle at both ends for far too long. Now I'm either stuck in super-fast-don't-stop-thinky mode, or I'm borderline braindead. The only reprieve is being lost in a book, or sex, or asleep. I've had the past two days off to give me a four day weekend and it is really helping me unwind.
It isn't as if I work all the time, but I'd like to be able to leave my work at work if I could. Do you have a creative job? It is harder than I would have thought to switch off that part of me that thinks I could use that in my work. It leaves me with very little for myself.
Having said all of that, I'm merely trying to dust away the cobwebs of my journal and vent a little of some minor frustration. In truth, I really like my job. I just need to learn how to switch off and chill out a little more. Hopefully, I can do that by making more friends here - my solitary hobbies leave my mind satisfied but fairly fried and my body stupid with disuse. It is time for action!
So you're standing there in the pouring rain. You're miserable and look like a drowned rat. The sky opened up its fat mouth a few hours ago and doesn't look like it is ever going to close it - the rain is neverending.
You are standing at a bus shelter with no top, just a pole sticking out of the ground that used to have a bus stop sign on it, and a plastic cage with bars and no roof which provides exactly little enough shelter from the wind that you wish it wasn't there at all. You suspect the roof is in the thickets behind you, sheltering a number of hideous creatures just waiting for a chance to reach out and drag you into the mud, kicking and screaming.
Normally, you'd never wish to subject yourself to public transport, but perceptions and standards can be altered by circumstance. Checking your watch, you realise that it has been an hour and a half. You might have walked to your destination in this time - or at least drowned yourself in a puddle to achieve sweet release.
You weigh your options. You could start walking now and possibly get trenchfoot or fall into hole - freefalling to the centre of the earth. Or, you could stay at the bus 'shelter' and feel life mocking you for waiting around for something that's never going to come.
Suddenly, as if carried by numerous beautiful angels, the bus lights glitter into your watery eyed view. Somehow it seems longer than it should, as if the bus were actually a train. No... Not a train. A caravan. A bloody caravan of buses.
You curse out loud and raise your soggy arm out over the road, signalling the driver to stop for you. All three buses pull up and you get to take your pick of the lot.
Thankfully, jobs can be part time, so I get to pick two.
I've been wanting to create more graphics using clean lines, and I've always been interested in textured backgrounds (although, to date, I haven't used them very often in digital work). So I think I might create a series of digital artworks with textured backgrounds and clean graphics.
It is fairly popular at the moment to have vectorized details, but for now I'd feel more comfortable making paths with a pen tool in Photoshop. I might even do a simple tutorial later today and post it here in my blog.
:edit: I've decided to do two short tutorials. The first will cover creating a background image and the second will be the clean designs and how to integrate them into the background image.
A lot of
people collect things. I collect bottle caps and make fridge magnets out of
them; Clipper lighters; cigar boxes which act as memory boxes for other
keepsakes and cigar bands/labels in a little journal with information on each
cigar. My favorite cigars are Acid Krush Classics - Blue Connecticut, by the
way. But, meh... Drew Estate have a tendency to spoon out of control if you
don't watch the ember.
Clippers! It must be something about the way they are shaped and how colorful
and handy they are. I enjoy things that are practical as well as aesthetically
pleasing. I stopped collecting them when my partner, Sean, gave me his Zippo -
he'd carried it everywhere with him for years and wanted me to have something
of his while I was in England without him. I almost feel bad
about cutting back (and nearly entirely refraining from) smoking. It's too bad they don't seem to sell Clippers over here. I'd still like to continue collecting them, even if I don't get to use them.
"Honestly. My head's everywhere but where it should be in the morning. My dreams don't fade, they melt, and mid-sentence I'll slip into something I said in my dream and I'll sound like a complete nutjob." - Mike
Honestly dude, all I can say is I know how you feel.
I don't know why, but sometimes, when I don't like something I'll make this horrible screaching sound. I go all bug eyed for a split second as this high pitched squawk of ill fate comes burning out of my throat.
Even stranger is the fact that whenever I do this, no matter where I am, I always expect to see miniature Japanese people running out from under things like chairs or whatever, only to disappear beneath other things - as if trying to get to some safer hiding spot.
Sometimes that brings on the fear and I screach again just from the thought of it. What if I one day get stuck in a loop of that? I imagine that is what insanity is like.
The background to my latest digital painting, CosmicDeath.
I have never painted a galaxy in this way before, so this was pretty exciting. Though there wasn't much freedom to really splash out with the brush tool, it did require careful use of number of techniques. I wonder if there is a more simple method for creating digital galaxies? Meh, anyways, I really like this one.
good source of dried herbs, spices and dried flowers can be difficult if you
live out of the way. If you have a green thumb, you'll be well aware of what
can easily be grown in your climate and what cannot (thank goodness for
greenhouses). But it is well worth searching such places out as you might
benefit from some simple homemade remedies, including some tasty teas.
I'm a big fan of tea infusions. I am a creature of comfort, at heart - and I'm
fond of things that I can enjoy with more than one of my senses. The best way
to a man's heart, or anyone's heart, for that matter, is through their stomach.
Ingesting the right things can really put you on a path to good spirits, good
health and possibly even extended longevity. I add honey to my teas too because
I have a sweet tooth and honey raises antioxidant levels, which is always nice!
My current favourite tea infusion:
Jasmine and Chamomile - Dried jasmine flowers, chamomile flowers and
green tea leaves. This is really good for aiding sleep. Chamomile is well
known to sooth and helps relax the body as it has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic
properties. Jasmine smells so sweet and tastes as delicate and lovely as it
smells as long as you don't let it steep for too long, as this can make it
taste slightly bitter. The mixture of jasmine and chamomile could have a
soothing effect on your nerves simply from smell and taste alone. Green tea has
polyphenols which are antioxidants; green tea has been said to help prevent the
development of things like heart disease and cancer. With the antispasmodic
properties of chamomile and the soothing and warming benefits of jasmine
flowers, this tea infusion is really good for settling down at night.
If you want to make the same strength that I use - I tend to use half a
teaspoon of dried jasmine flowers, half a teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers
and a teaspoon of dried green tea leaves to make a strong cup and a half of
tea, then I let them steep together in very hot water. If you have a teapot,
now is the time to use it. Let it steep for about 5 minutes. If you decide not
to use jasmine, let it steep longer. Infusions with a strong amount of jasmine
can leave a slightly bitter aftertaste. Use a strainer to filter the leaves and
blossoms as you pour the tea into your cup. There may be a few tiny flecks of
leaves or flowers, but they are harmless and will most likely settle.
As always, I use honey in my teas. It cleanses the mouth by killing germs as it
has antibacterial properties and it raises antioxidant levels in the blood. And if
you have any problems with a night cough, it can be more helpful than a store bought
cough syrup. Lemon teas with a goodly amount of honey are especially useful for
soothing and helping with coughs accompanying colds.
Well, I'm quite finished banging on about teas and whatnot. For now. <_< Hehe ^_^
I'm selling one of my handcrafted items on eBay. I don't know if whoring the item out in my journal will help sell it - lol, but perhaps the fact that at least 15% (or $5, whichever is greater) of the sale price will be donated directly to Amnesty International (with a small administration fee to MissionFish).
If you are interested in supporting a good cause, but - like me, you are perpetually skint, you could also passively donate by doing any of your Amazon.com shopping through Amnesty's website - the link through the site gives a special code in the url and Amnesty International USA will receive up to 10% of the sale.
A good chunk of my book money has gone to help educate people and protect human rights - plus I still got awesome books to further blind myself with. Schweet. ^_^
Adobe Photoshop CS: Photomanipulation, 2006. Model: S M Bullock.
This was for a face card design project at college a few years ago. This isn't actually the end piece which I submitted on the course, but an interesting image that I created as a centre for the card design. I'm trying to get a portfolio that displays not only the sort of work I'm good at, but what I enjoy doing, so I'll be uploading work that spans over the past few years. I'll also be submitting new work as I go along, so keep your eyes peeled.
I use photoshop for several applications, though I have recently become more involved in digital painting. But photomanipulations can be really exciting too. When I was at college a couple of years ago, I would occasionally just spend a whole day walking around taking photographs of anything and anyone who didn't mind having a camera pointed at them. I'd get back home or to college and upload all my photos and start working out what kind of scenes could be made up from the images I'd captured that day - pick a few and then save the rest elsewhere as source pictures for later projects.
Poogie in the kitchen. ^_^
This can lead to dramatic composit photographs, or even a fantasy layout with realistic details to work from for a painting, using the composit as a reference picture for the painting. It is a good habit to get into, to build a library of images for reference and to work on later. If you need to capture a particular shot when taking a photograph, always make sure to take more shots than you ever intend to use and always take it from several angles, and in different locations and different lights if at all possible. Even if nothing works out the way you had hoped, you may come away with an image that inspires or enlightens you to lighting elements that you may not have picked up on just by looking at the time.
Photographs are freezeframes of your vision that can be inspected at length. Not only that, but sometimes you'll get an anomaly which is breathtaking or sparks further experiments! Some of the best anomalies actually came from working with analogue SLRs (digital SLRs are spectacular, but I kind of feel that they take away a lot of the freedom for experimental mistakes, though the same can be said for digital... meh), if you can get hold of some old box cameras, the medium format and room for error can create some truly unique photographs. My friend, Steve Bullock, has been taking medium format photographs for a few years now with a range of cameras. In my opinion, Box Brownie cameras produce the strangest and most uncontrollable experimental photographs - in case anyone was interested in trying it out. In any case, I've gone off on a tangent...
I have an interest in altering random photographs. Snapshots that I've captured and later look at and figure most people would see and pass by without a second thought. It is interesting to take an image which would probably go unnoticed, and make it stand out.
Nearing the end of one of the digi-paintings I started the other night. Here is a section from the picture. It is about lurrrvvv. *flutters eyelashes*
<>I've removed the image cause it was bugging me.. lol<>
As much as I love Love, I also love not waking up at around 5am every morning for no good reason. I go to bed at a reasonable hour (like.. around midnight) and then I wake up and don't feel tired. Some people would say I'm lucky. But I really enjoy sleeping. Dreaming is something that I have been interested in and excited about for as long as I can remember and I'm missing out on some valueable dreamtime!
Also, I'm freaking starving. Have no idea what to eat. Been working on this digi-painting since I woke up about 5 or 6 hours ago. Didn't realise it was noon until just now 'cause the blackout curtains have been protecting me from the big bad world (especially the big bad sun, grrrr).
I'm sure that is enough information for the time being. Gonna get some food, before my stomach eats me alive.
My favourite author, Laurell K Hamilton, has her next book coming out tomorrow. I have it on preorder. As much as I can imagine she might have nerves right now, I am so anxious to read it. I don't have an addictive personality, but her writing style certainly has me captured. I love opening her books and feeling instantly at home. Comfortable and yet excited. Characters that have been growing over the course of the series are so familiar.
I'm rereading The Harlequin, the most recent in the series, just to get me up to speed again. Only another... 10 hours to go until Blood Noir!
Anyways, just thought I'd share since it is something that actually excites me. I can't winge all the time! Okay, well, I can try. ^_^
Human beings are not born either good or bad, we are born and stay neutral throughout our lives. The concepts of good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate (I could go on) are extreme positives and negatives which correlate to living with each other in such close proximity. Most humans live together in large groups, more often than not we are faced with strangers regularly and so society as a whole adapts its positives and negatives to whatever will help us survive together most efficiently and easily, and helps us maintain and develope a synergistic existence.
Like other animals, we have innate tools as a species that help us survive and thrive. Beavers have a drive and ability to chew wood and build dams; spiders produce silk and string webs; etc. Humans have the ability to communicate and conceptualise, we have emotions and we have the ability to adapt to many types of environment - adapting our beliefs and tolerances for fellow man helps us live in society which ultimately benefit us, for example.
Because we can conceptualise and communicate, we have developed emotions to balance and enrich our communication and reaffirm our relationships with the people that hold the highest impact on our survival, such as family, friends, enemies - anyone we meet day to day. Humans are falable, we make mistakes, we can learn those mistakes and be miseducated by others making mistakes. Those mistakes are formed from an imbalance in the level of value we set a positive or negative. Being a pushover because of a skewed value of a positive rule developed for living in society will allow others to thrive more strongly than you, commanding no respect for your individual existence and putting risk to your survival. When I say survival, I mean the overall of your life. The human lifespan, or what we expect it to be.
...I'm just writing to keep my mind off of a nightmare I just woke up from. When I think of all of this stuff, it helps me distance myself. I had a bad dream about someone I care about. Even though I haven't seen him in months and haven't spoken to him in as long... I still love him and worry about him.
My ex and I seperated early last year but we were still good friends and shared our 2 bedroomed house regardless of our split. Now I've moved to Texas with my new partner. I haven't spoken to my ex in a while and I worry about how he is doing and I guess I feel guilt about something - though I'm not sure exactly what it is. I feel protective of him, even though I know he is capable of looking after himself. I guess when you see the best and worst of someone, you remember their weaknesses as much as their strengths. When you care about someone but don't know how they are and can't protect them even if you want to - the weaknesses nag you. Or at least they do me.
As for the breakdown of humans and our nature of survival. I could probably eventually work out why I feel so strongly for someone (although significant) I may never speak to again - but I don't think distancing myself from my emotions will actually make me feel better, even if it would support adaptation for survival.
He was watching the sky when the stars seemed brighter. That night a lot of people were watching, but only one of them understood. He curled up in his sleeping bag peering from the opening of the tent that he’d set up and continued to stare at the sky long after the brilliance of the stars had faded back to their usual glory. Something was about to happen. Things were about to change.
Carefully, he opened his bag, not looking away from the sky. He dialled a number from memory, never having saved it on the phone, and the automated tones seemed louder than they should have. It was so peaceful out there. The call was answered and his voice was oddly full of dread.
“It is both the power of the symbol and your belief in it, it is both the meaning of the word and the energy of carving it into stone, it is both the sound of it spoken and the breath that carries it from your lungs. Do you understand? Magick is a synergism of energies, of powers, of perceptions – without one, the others are untouchable. Anyone can unlock it, the foundations are everywhere in nature, but you must believe. You must add your own energy. You must feel and breathe and become a part of the power that is already waiting for you to use it, you must dedicate a part of yourself to that marriage of energies. If you cannot do this, if you cannot furnish and harness this gift of magick, you will be as numb as those who have never heard these words, never seen them, but ultimately worse for knowing. Knowledge can be a curse if the means to exercise its benefits are out of reach. Are you sure that this is what you want? I have seen men grow mad with the taste of dreams never to be realised, have you understood my warning?”
There was a click on the other end and he sighed as he closed his phone. Struggling to get comfortable in his sleeping bag, he knew this would be the last night of good rest he'd be getting in a long time. Yes. Things were about to change.
He wished he'd brought a second pillow to sleep on, the ground was unforgiving and lumpy.
You've probably all seen it, and not many of you have realised it unless it directly affects you or someone close to you. There is a struggle going on in job listing.
If you are a graphic designer, you have a whole shed load of extra stress than the next person in line. You know why? No? It is because people have a misconception of what graphic designers do. You'd think it would be the easiest thing to get a job in what with all the products and packaging that needs dreaming up and producing. But employers want two for the price of one. Two words, to be precise.
Seems that if you are a graphic designer, you are automatically expected to know the ins and outs of a dogs arse when it comes to web developement. I have seen only two prospective jobs that don't ask for extensive experience in web design. And that isn't because graphic designers are supposed to know how to do that, or ever train to do that - it is because companies don't want to have to pay two different people when they could have one tech graduate tearing his hair out and doing two jobs at once - for one pay cheque.
Anyways... Rant over. I just needed to vent.
A lot of digitally inclined illustrators are capable of doing graphic design because software programs overlap. Guess I just got angry because I've been looking for jobs and almost every graphic design job that I've seen requires that little extra that I can't give, even if I wanted to.
Yes, I realise life sucks sometimes, and all that jazz. Ta. >_>
This is my third attempt at writing something. Usually I feel that typing something out and then deleting it is like cheating. If you were talking to someone out loud you couldn't just undo what you've said - so why should you edit your thoughts elsewhere? Still, I couldn't leave an entry full of half thoughts and questions that no one would want (let alone be able) to answer for me.
So here is where it starts. My entry. The real entry. Forget all that stuff above. I feel driven to writing something. When you were younger, did you ever try to see things that weren't there? When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I used to huddle under my blankets and stare out the window. I grew up in Ohio, and during the summer it was warm enough to need the windows open at night. We had screens on all the windows and doors to keep the bugs out. But I would push the screen panel away from the window and hop into bed and lay there waiting for some spark of light to try and get in. I remember one time in particular, I was waiting and I could see the deep blue of the sky and hear the wind in the tree in the backyard. I waited to see some spark of life from the outside world. I was so sure that there was something alive out there, something alive and curious and awesome. I was waiting to be struck in awe. I loved the outdoors when I was younger, I wanted to stay out and sleep on the roof of the extension. Sometimes I would climb out there and look up at the sky and feel like I was lifting up and drifting into the night...
My dad would get up in the morning and wonder why there were so many flies and moths indoors. I never 'fessed up because I was always hoping that that night, or the next night would be when I'd see it. And if anyone found out that I'd been propping the screen open, or even climbing out of the window, dad would've made sure I kept it shut.
I wasn't the kind of child that believed in fairies, or angels. But I did believe in ghosts because they seemed more plausible. I was big into ghost hunting and trying to contact spirits - to no avail. I'm still interested in stuff like that, but I'm much more cynical with a few years on me. I'm still not sure how to describe what exactly I thought I would see when I would stare at the window at night. I was sure it would be something amazing. Not necessarily something to be feared, not something to spook or befriend me. Nothing so personal. I guess I was just hoping for some sign that there was an essence of life out there that was able to be seen. Evidence of the night having some life of its own. I was so certain that it would come that one night I saw it.
It was the middle of July. It was dark outside, and warm. There was a pleasant breeze which I can almost feel now as I recall it. I had been looking out the window - missing sleep, as usual. There had been lightning bugs galore over the past week. It was fun going outside and dancing in the yard with all those little fireflies lighting up and going out. They were like slow pulsing fairy lights, free of wires and floating around, doing their own thing. So I was watching them through my window and I must have drifted off at some point - but I woke up with a start. I opened my eyes and there was this beautiful glow in front of my face. It was too close though, and I scooted back and nearly fell out of bed. For maybe a matter of seconds, I was certain that I was seeing what I'd been waiting for. This floating light that swept through my room with its rhythmic beating light... In my newly woken state I was sure that I was finally witnessing the night, alive and thrumming with energy. My heart was beating so fast and I think my eyes must have been as wide as they ever have been.
The lightning bug landed on my dresser and then eventually disappeared somewhere into my room where I couldn't find it. I hope it escaped. After those first few seconds of shock and awe, I realised it was a firefly, a lightning bug that had found its way in through the gap in the screen.
I thought about it over and over as I lay there. I finally realised that I had seen exactly what I had hoped for. That bug was a part of the night. It was a part of the outdoors, of nature. Part of the time that we cannot control, of the time we are meant to sit back and sleep, or observe but not interfere.. I had seen what I needed to see, felt what I'd needed to feel and was sure in myself that there was a truth to those feelings that, although no one could back me up and maybe no one would understand, it was good and right.
When I was a child, I tried so desperately to see something that wasn't there; now I wonder why I'd ever stopped looking.
I've been acting like my pet snake. Snakey-Snake has been holed up in his hiding spot for a couple of days now. He only came out to feed and get closer to the heating pad... He's about to shed. When I see his milky eyes, like moonstone, it reminds me of myself and the way I've been acting lately with my artwork. Some dormant stage. Kind of blind. I've not been forcing myself to do anything.
I'm feeling kind of down because I've been trying to find work since I got here. I've moved from England to the US to be with my partner. And as happy and relieved as I am to be here with him, I have to find my feet again and where I fit in with my artwork. How do I use it here? Can I find work doing what I've been training to do at college and university for the past few years?
I guess the issue would have been the same back home. The training wheels are officially in the bin now - so where the hell is my bike?
Anyone with a handbook or manual on life and how to survive it as an artist, please let me know. Maybe I can trade with you for some of my work.
I have bought my very first car. It's second-hand and a bit of a beater. Primer red with glossy red spray patches. You can scratch the paint off with your fingernails. I freaking love it.
When I was younger I remember really wanting a red, beaten up old Toyota pickup truck, a light duty hi-lux or something. The Jimmy is kind of like that, but a bit smaller and with a bed cover attached. I'm very happy. And so is Sean (my partner). He's restoring a C3 Corvette and the engine is very similar, so he can help me when SHTF. ^_^
Anyways, I've set myself the task of learning to drive within a month. I'm more worried about the initial test than the driving test - my memory is rubbish. I think driving an automatic Jimmy is much like carefully pushing around a huge cardboard box. But made of metal. And capable of causing great damage. *sweats*
Last night we met an Irishman outside the pub. He was sitting with his father in-law having a pint of Shiner Black. We all got talking and it was actually amazing. What was an Irishman, from Cork, doing in a little place like this in a little place like Cedar Park? He'd married an American woman, and his father in-law, Sunny, was with him. So anyways - Tholam might have extended my life.
Sunny is in the vending business and he saw my hat and asked what it said - he was going to buy a cap for when he went to Ireland next week and he thought mine was neat. I told him that it was a Pepsi-Cola hat and I got it from Walmart for $5, but I doubted that they had anymore as this was the only one I'd ever seen. When he was looking at it, my intsant instinct was to let him have the cap. He was 57 years old, sitting there with a lovely drunken smile and a good vibe.
Before I could take it off my head he asked if he could buy it from me. He tried to give me twenty dollars, knowing full well it had only cost me five. He said that Pepsi-Cola had been very good to him, and being in the business that he was in, I could see how that might make sense.
Tholam, the Irishman, said that it was no bother and if I didn't want to then it was fine. And when I said that I didn't want any money for it Sunny tried even harder. He waited until I wasn't looking and stretched forward rubbing his back. As he did so he stuffed money into my handbag, cheeky chap. Tholam could see I would honestly have been offended and offered me a deal - as I'd clearly said that Sunny could have the hat. He said:
"Okay, we have two options. You can accept this money, from either Sunny, or me and we can call it a deal... Or, you can make a promise to me."
I waited to hear what the promise might be. What could he want, and why would it benefit me when I was already out of a hat? lol
"You can promise me that.." he looked at the cigarette in my hand, "..you won't smoke anymore. You 'will not', not 'shall not'. And... how old are you?" I told him that I am 24 and my birthday. He continued, "By ten years from now, you will never smoke again."
I smiled and I wasn't sure that he wasn't being serious but he grabbed my hand and said it again. He was looking me dead in the eye and told me that he wanted to live to see his grandchildren, he wanted to live to see his own children grow up, and life was so short, so why would we want to give any of those precious moments up without a fight?
So I promised him. On the 6th of November, 2018 - I will wake up and never smoke again. I've got just over ten years to decide how I want to approach this, but from that day on there will be nothing - no pot (obviously, since I don't smoke that anyways), no cigarettes, no cigars; nothing in that way of dying.
Last night a hat, an Irishman and a promise saved my life. Or, extended it, at least.
You know that niggling feeling you get when something is almost done?
A painting is almost finished - almost everything you wanted it to be. A photograph of some gorgeous fruit - you can almost taste it, it is delicious and so real. An angry portrait - you can feel the emotion radiating from their eyes...
Sometimes I think I can catch it. I'm almost there so often. But nothing ever truly achieves what I hope to. No picture I create seems to fill me completely. I'm always satisfied, but never full. I think that is what drives us as artists. To feel instinctively that we are close to reaching our subjective perfection in our work.
I don't think it makes it any less awe inspiring to know that every single one of us may live our lives never reaching it - it only makes the journey ahead so much more thrilling. There is always that, "what if?"...
Well, since I've been taking a higher dose of medication to prevent migraines, I've been having less happy dreams. Over the past few days I've also been too tired to wake up properly and end up forgetting my dreams before I've properly recalled them. This to me, is like a living nightmare.
I'm not sure how other people see dreams. I'm not sure what part they play in your lives. But to me it is integral to my very sanity to partake in, as fully as possible, the dreamworld. To sleep is one thing, but to enjoy the relief of dream is another necessity. I've been quite unwell for a few weeks now (my Achilles’ heel is in my head), my sinus problems are causing me all kinds of horrible sleep. That half sleep that drives you mad, you know the one. And that awful sleep that makes you feel all the more tired when you wake up. *hateful growl*
I've been having flits of dreams for the past two or three days. I can remember shards of things that have happened. I will relate as much as possible, after all - that is why I have a dream journal...
This evening, I dreamt :
I was in a semi-truck, someone was talking to me, but I was looking at the road, trying to make sure we didn't hit any of the rabbits on the road, or the owls hunting the rabbits. It was daytime outside, so I couldn't grasp why there were so many owls out - regardless of the fact that barn owls (which were the type in my dream) do hunt during the day too, they are more adaptable than other owls, I think. Anyway... So, suddenly I was driving this truck. I can't remember switching places or even putting my foot on the gas or whatever (I've never been behind the wheel of a car, let alone a semi', so I had no idea what I was doing/supposed to do) but somehow we were still moving. I saw loads of rabbits with eyes that were far too large for their heads (and still adorable) on the road. I nearly hit one, but my slow weaving helped steer us across the road enough to miss the lot. Then a bunch of owls (I don't think they hunt together, in fact, I recon it would be stupid if owls did) swooped down in front of the truck and I tried to slow us even more, but one of the owls still ended up flailing into the window. I stopped the truck and jumped out with my friend. I still don't know who he was, but I knew the person was male.
We checked out the owl to see if it was okay. I think it had damaged it's foot because the claw wouldn't tighten at all and the bird couldn't move it well. We wrapped the owl up in a jumper so that it didn't freak out and end up breaking its wings too, and its little head was swiveling around and it opened its mouth silently as if to nip anything which came near it. We got back into the truck and headed towards the university where my friend was doing a degree in Veterinary Medicine. He was only a first year and wanted to see if anyone was around to help. Personally, I think we should have taken the owl to an actual Vet' rather than the University.
When we'd found someone and they checked the bird out and said they could help it, I decided to find my studio.
The next thing I remember :
I was trying to work in a studio that was new to me. The place was full of second and third year students. I was sitting facing a wall covered in someone else’s artwork.
I got up and looked around, the door opened and a new friend from the course came through with some other people I had spoken to. I wanted to say hi to John (the new friend) but I was having trouble speaking. I grabbed my throat and wondered where my voice had gone. But I wasn't hurt so I left it at that and decided to pack up my stuff and maybe head out to actually find my own studio.
In the corridor I found myself growing more and more confused. I wasn't aware of a school coming to visit today - but we had school children in all of the studios. They were painting and making a mess and generally seemed happy to be there but were taking up space I could have been using and should have been using. I was annoyed. I couldn't find a tutor, there were no adults around and I couldn't fathom why. All I wanted to do was paint, to draw, to think. I wanted somewhere to set up my stuff and chill out. I wanted somewhere to actually make something worth looking at.
But the studios were full of well-meaning and happy children - enjoying art, but never really grasping any thought in it, any real experience. They seemed so preoccupied with how well it related to something else. Like: forgetting how to paint an object because they spent so much time wondering if what they were painting looked like it; I also saw a child that was trying to make their work look like Van Gogh's. Now, I've never been fond of his work, but for a child to mimic it seems ridiculous. What would a child know of his troubles and state of mind when he created many of his artworks? What grasp would the average child have on the fuel of every brush stroke? I do not like Van Gogh's paintings, but to fail to realise how his paintings have captured something beyond the image he's painted - to see why he painted, or what he was feeling, or the distress even in a quiet picture - and yet to attempt to mimic it without even this basic comprehension... Oh, it made me angry and sad.
and I were meeting with our world on a yellow school bus which was travelling
along the sea. We weren’t far out to sea, but a ways off the coast of some
city, it was quiet though; the sky was not very dark yet, but it was getting
I swam without
thinking, there was no push to move, there was only the flowing of water around
me and the sweeping feeling as waves lightly washed over above and brought air
bubbles around me. I felt like I was some sort of surge, naturally curving in
my course as the currents dragged me one way and the other, but I was a power
unto myself as I pushed through with each current to find my course set on the
hear my Mother’s words playing back from memory; she’d told my sister and I to
carry our brooches in plain sight when we neared the bus as the people on board
may not let us attend if we didn’t have them. My sister and I were ‘princesses’
of the lowest class.
had a Mother, and the Mother had children, and took charge of the other
families in their class. Our world was like a triangle of people, the Queen was
at the top and made all of the decisions; whilst at the bottom of the triangle
the lowest class were the strongest physically. We carried out the more
labour-intensive of the Queen’s instructions. There were five classes including
the Queen. I remembered something my Mother had told me, she’d said that the
Queen and the lowest class had an understanding that the three classes in
between could never grasp. We knew that the Queen would never do anything
without a care, whatever she did would be in the best interest of everyone. The
lowest class were the foundations of our world; we held our world together with
our strength of body and our loyalty to the survival of our kind. We looked to
Her for strength of mind and conscience, for the path to follow and her
guidance. It was also well known that Queens were most commonly born in the
lowest class. The three middle classes weren’t allowed to kill us for fear of
killing a ‘Queen-bearer’. Over the last three thousand years, Queens had only been born under into the
lowest class, and this was causing all the more offence in the middle classes.
I knew that if we didn’t have our brooches, we wouldn’t be allowed onto the
bus, if only out of spitefulness.
I could see
the yellow of the bus as it pushed along the water like an oddball boat. I
waded in the water briefly before I attempted to board it. My sister caught up
and we waded together.
“Why do you
wait?” she asked. I couldn’t think of a practical reason. Something felt
ominous, as if something of utter importance were likely to happen tonight. I
asked her if she had her brooch ready and she lifted her hand to show me the
large pearl with a single string of smaller pearls which ran down her palm like
a white eye shedding a glowing tear. I was fond of our lowest class brooches.
The others, with their extra strings of pearl looked too busy. Ours was simple
and quite delicate. As we left the comforting cool of the water and tried to
enter the bus, an arrogant human man told us that we couldn’t come on board. We
showed him our palms and he just looked away and ignored us as we silently made
our way into the bus. My grandmother was already there, she had saved us seats
where we could see the Queen when she arrived. My grandmother looked old. We
didn’t age naturally, but my grandmother had spent enough time away from us and
our power to have lost most of her own. It was a trial for her to make it to
these meetings every fifty to one hundred years. She’d given up her seat in
line to the throne but still held sway because she’d retained any amount of her
power regardless of spending so much time in human society. My grandmother had
fallen in love with a human woman long before I was born. She’d loved this woman
so dearly that she’d left us to be with her, passing as one of them. But humans
had different views at the time. They still didn’t know that we exist, even
now; but at the time it was still a crime to be punished, to love or be in love
with someone of the same ‘sex’. My grandmother had finally found her heart with
a mortal woman and the humans hanged them both. Thankfully, my grandmother
survived. They’d left her tied to the tree with her love. When it rained she
changed shape and held enough of her mind together to escape. She’s been feared
by us ever since for her stubborn body and broken heart, people with those
attributes can be sadistic and fearless enemies.
We took our
seats with our grandmother and kissed her in greeting; others may have been scared
of her, but to us she was family and treasured. Those around us sat back a bit
so as not to touch us. For some reason, the middle classes had begun to look on
physical strength as a vulgar and unattractive feature. We didn’t look any
different from anyone else, but our ability to snap them in two seemed to make
them bitchy. My sister and I looked at each other, our grandmother tut-tuted at
us and told us not to encourage them, but by this point there were two third
class girls standing next to our seats. They looked down at us as they held
one-another’s hands. I could see from their expressions that they were mean
through-and-through, and yet a little scared of us because they were weaker. It
had become custom to slander someone rather than start a fight as they were all
so weak. It was thought to be crude to slap someone if you truly hated them, it
was proper to insult them instead. So they insulted us because we were ‘beneath
them’. I stood and seemed taller than either of them, although I was the same height.
They looked as if they might faint, the girl to the right had such a pale
complexion, I thought she might wilt like a dead white lily as she collapsed.
But they stood their ground and waited for me to make the next move. I simply
smiled and asked them how their families were. They gasped and screamed that I
had threatened their families. My friendly smile didn’t falter; I stood there
and waited for them to stop their whining. Their little hands fluttered as they
pointed from me to my sister and my grandmother, accusing us as a class. My
sister did not rise, my grandmother had inconspicuously grabbed her skirts, she
sat looking up at the girls as if trying to memorise every line of their faces.
I could tell this was going to grow into an ongoing feud from the look on my
sister’s face. I couldn’t stop it, but I could try and calm it before it took
to a new level of abuse. I put my hand out. The girls shrieked and bolted
backwards as if I’d gone to strike them. I simply held my hand placidly as I
extended it out to them to take; they looked at me as if I were mad.
not like to take my hand? Would you not like to accept my apologies for my
careless greeting to you and your families?” I asked in a gentle voice. The
older of the two took my hand and spat an acceptance of my humble apology. The
younger looked at my hand as if it were tainted. I extended my hand to her and
she backed away. I asked quietly, “Is it that you do not accept my apology, or
is it that you would not shake the hand of a daughter of the lowest class?” I
was angry, but I didn’t show it. I tried for something calm to come through in
my voice and I think it worked to a degree. But there was outrage amongst the
others at the implications of what I’d said. I sat down and waited for it to
boil over. I was tired of the mind games and needless arguing. I looked at my
grandmother and she winked at me, a very human trait that I’d grown to love
from her. I winked back and held back the beginning of tears. Under all of the
harsh voices I could hear a whisper rushing around us. I thought it was the
water outside the bus, the thrash of wind and sea rain along the windows, and
the ebbing floods around the doors. But it was becoming more tangible, as if
the air were thickening with sea water – the moisture soothed my throat and I
smiled as the voices hushed and died away slowly at the sweet whispers of our
met our Queen before. We all lived in the same sea, but I’d never actually seen
her in our ‘noble’ form. We’d started taking after humans in our appearance as
they started inadvertently mimicking us in building societies and structured
classes themselves. Our people traded in pretty things. A rare shell, a
brightly coloured pebble, a rusted bottle cap… And so the addition of pretty
clothes had been a natural advancement in our aesthetic appreciation. I wasn’t
sure I liked it though – clothes restrained me. I didn’t like feeling trapped
when I moved. I often tore my clothing while moving rocks or catching food. But
in other ways it was good because I could carry more found objects with me.
Found objects were important and could save your life through trade for help or
even a future favour. Looking at the Queen in her slight dress and beautiful
messy hair, I could see she was extraordinary. No one carries ‘nothing’ upon
them, not even the lesser families of the lowest class. But She was powerful
enough in herself not to need things to trade. She was our leader, she was our
Queen, and beauty was part of her authority.
sat in their places as the Queen took her own seat on the bus. Her hair was wet
and black and her eyes were an aqua colour so intense that I couldn’t look
away. I thought it was the colour that drew me in, but it was her gaze on me
that entranced me. Her eyes were so fresh and young, and yet they held so many
memories. I could not even imagine what she could see. She was the oldest of
our world because each Queen inherited the memories of the Queen before her
when she took her place. All that we had ever been was held within her eyes,
and those eyes were looking at me.
turns up slightly higher on the left side,” the Queen said. There were sadistic
giggles from the girls behind us; they revelled at the criticism directed at
me. The Queen continued, “It is beautiful, perfect in its imperfection. Like a
rose. So pretty,” and She graced me with her warm smile. As she turned to look
at the rest of our world, all of the Mothers and children who could meet, I
could feel her warmth drain away as if diluted by the waters outside. There
wasn’t a sound to be heard among us and we waited for Her voice to fall upon
our ears again. I could have waited forever, happily. The Queen rose and looked
around her and shook her head. I could hear hands smoothing fabric nervously
and I wondered who was so nervous of attention as to accidentally draw it to
themselves. My thought stopped there as Her hand touched my shoulder. The Queen
was looking down at me, and surprised murmurs spouted from around the bus. I
caught snippets of whispers, questions about a choice. Was the Queen making her
choice? I didn’t entertain the thought and worried that I might have done
something to upset our Queen. I fell from my seat to my knees, splashing tiny
tides around the Queens feet. She knelt down to place her hand back on my shoulder and she
looked into my eyes.
chasing a woman through the woods. The high and ripened moon could not hold
back the growing dark. The smells of the ground, the trees and the woman all
mingled together as I tracked her scent, she had been running for nearly five
minutes and I would soon catch up with her as she tired from her sleep-sprung
dash. I could nearly taste her fear. It was so intoxicating. A part of me
wanted to save her and another part of me wanted to get as close to her scent
as possible. To burrow into her flesh until nothing separated us, flesh would
not stay between us; her blood carried her, and in delirious pursuit I pined
for a true taste of her life. But I could feel someone drowning in my head,
someone crying out for mercy. I heard that part of me that loved her, scream
for me to stop. But he could not control me now - I was the dark spark that
sits in all of us, and repressed fantasies had beckoned my tiny flame into a
full, howling fire. I feed on unfed desire.
ahead of me I could smell her, her scent was warm and she was close. I loped silently,
sweeping around the sound of her stumbling and crying. I could hear her pray to
some unseen saviour, some protector who did not exist. I heard that drowning
man imploring me, echoing his loves words. Perhaps I was a God. I was certainly
more real than whom ever the woman prayed to, for they would let her life flit
away, and I would snatch it in my teeth.
on her. I was facing her and the way we’d come and I could see her quite
clearly. She’d fallen, broken her leg badly. Her bone was snapped but her skin
was still intact. I wanted to open her first. Let the rest of nature have their
way with her when I was well and done. As I neared her, she stifled a scream I
wanted to hear – I bore my teeth and she graced me with her song. This woman,
this warmth, this aromatic scent of life… She sang so sweetly through her
inches from her now and she did not fail my ears again. But I could feel a
tugging inside my chest as if someone were pulling a rope connected to my lungs
and heart. I paused and growled. Something was pulling me apart inside. The
woman edged back from me as I swayed like a rabid dog. I snarled and tried to
get closer to her, but every inch snapped muscles inside my torso. My ribcage
began to heave inward and I could no longer breathe. I took a final lunge
towards the woman and she shrieked sharply as I sank my teeth into her blocking
wrist. Blood spouted into my mouth as blood erupted within my chest. My pulse
beat frantically as my heart convulsed and choked me. The drowning man had
pulled himself free by the rope set in my heart, our heart. He’d ripped it out
like a plug and now we both would bleed to death inside his body. The woman
held our head back and kissed our lips. I still wanted to taste her but I knew
my hunt was lost. I sipped her kiss instead and mourned not seeing this
pleasure before as I choked blood into her mouth.
thing I felt was a tear land on my cheek.
I fell asleep early yesterday evening. I had a sinus headache and just wanted to block out the pain, so I tried to sleep. I must have been drifting in and out of consciousness for ages, time seemed to drag and yet occasionally skip forward. I heard the phone ring and I couldn’t be bothered to answer it, so I let it ring. I heard my friend Paul pick it up and tell Dan that it was for him. It all sounded like it was happening downstairs or next door (but Paul and Dan, and most of my friends, live in a big house together in Nottingham now). I heard Dan sound surprised, he was shocked and mildly excited to see or hear someone. It would seem that the bell ringing wasn’t the phone, but the door. Anj replied to Dan’s shocked tone with anger that she should have to, “…apply in writing, with six weeks notice…”, before she could come and visit one of her closest friends. I could hear the argument getting worse and I wondered how long it would last before they just hugged and realised that they were, in fact, happy to see each other.
I went to shake my head at the needlessness of their squabble and found that I couldn’t move my head. I tried to lift my arms and I couldn’t. I could see the room around me and everything was slightly fuzzy as if my eyes were half open. The spat downstairs was inaudible now and I couldn’t think beyond needing to move. I was scared because I seemed to be too heavy to lift my arms or turn my head to face the door. I managed to open my mouth enough to form Steve’s name. I tried to call him, but my voice wouldn’t work. My breathing stayed slow and regular and I couldn’t push the words out through my throat. After several attempts I think I must have managed to call his name because Steve entered the room. He left the light off because I’d mentioned that I was trying to sleep off a headache. When he sat down on the bed he asked what was wrong but I could only try desperately to move my arms and form words with my mouth. I was snapped into movement by a fear beyond being immobile. I suddenly noticed something hanging down from the ceiling by our bed.
The shock of seeing it stunned me into action and I pointed to it and asked Steve why it was hanging down from the ceiling. For some reason I was used to the fact that there was a light fixture above the end of the bed, but I’d never seen it extended down by its wire. I sat straight up and stared at it, waiting for it to move, but it was perfectly static, staring back at me with its spotlight bulb eye at my own eye level. I told Steve that I didn’t think it should be hanging down like that and I was worried that it might be watching us. Just as I voiced my worries, the light quickly coiled itself back up into the ceiling and pointed once more at the bed. I was horrified, it was as if someone were listening and watching. I got out of bed and turned on the light, and then I turned on the light to the attic. The ladder to the attic was at the side of the bedroom and I was going to go up and see if there were any sign of tampering from above.
As I crossed the room I noticed light coming from the ceiling in the alcove beside the bedroom door. I’d never observed this through-area between the bedroom and attic and I was surprised to see a little ladder and some small railing hugging the wall too, so that someone might shimmy up the wall to reach the attic from a different side. It was most peculiar. I asked Steve if he had ever seen it before and he looked guarded. He told me he didn’t want me to go up that way, and insisted I used the normal ladder and entrance as it was obviously safer. I decided to go up the new entrance anyway. I looked up and realised that this went well beyond our attic, this opening in our ceiling went up several levels; I started to climb as I told Steve what I saw. As I reached the first level above our room I could see that this made no physical sense. I stepped up into a hall that stretched from one huge play-pen room to yet another, even more monstrously big play arena. I was delighted. Steve came up behind me, he’d decided to follow. He asked me if I’d seen anyone. I said I hadn’t, but he wouldn’t let it go; he kept asking if I’d seen a girl, if I’d, “…seen her..”. I was a little unsettled by his attitude, it seemed like he didn’t want to explore, as if he were scared or worried about something. I ran into the biggest play arena and started bouncing in one of the many large bouncing pens. It was fantastic. When I asked Steve if he knew about the place he said that he’d wanted to save it until tomorrow, until my birthday. I felt a little bad about it then, it would have been really nice to have this surprise on my birthday, but I was still happy to explore anyway.
I asked Steve if he could look after my knitting needles as I bounced in the pen, there were two short length knitting needles as my waist with grey yarn wrapped around. They’d been secured to the belt hole in my jeans. I took them out and handed them to Steve, then I picked up two longer length needles that had appeared on the pen floor and handed those to Steve too. He pulled over one of the square bean bags, this one was simply the shell of the bean bag, for some reason it was empty, and he began to put my things and his jumper into it and left it where we could come back and find it.
I tugged Steve along to follow me as I went through the hallway to get to the other play arena on the opposite side. He asked me again, this time more pleadingly, if I had seen her. I stopped and really looked at him. “Who is this, her?” I was starting to get worried. What wasn’t he telling me? He looked frightened. In the hall there were two rooms I hadn’t noticed on the first trek through. I popped my head through the doorway to my right and there was a girl of about 15 or 16 years of age sitting in the middle of a circle. She was making a sculpture and the circle was part of it. There was parcel-paper wrapped around it. The girl seemed happy and friendly; I wished her good luck and ducked out again into the hall. On the left hand side, I looked into a big thermoplastic window. Either I was losing my mind, or the girl in the other room had a twin. This twin was inside the room to the left, and I could see through the window that she was also making a sculpture. This one was a spiral or coil covered in mod-rock and she was sitting back from it as she put together a metal cylinder, each metal half-spiral curved into the next piece and it looked as if it were from a giant, shiny new engine. The girl smiled and waved and I did the same in return. I asked Steve if either of these girls were the one he spoke of and he shook his head. I took his hand and asked him what he was worried about and he went to say something – but everything began to fade. Steve looked as if he were desperately trying to say something before I vanished, or he vanished, which ever way round it was happening. But then he was gone.
I woke up and just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. Something about that shouldn’t have happened like it did. A thought occurred to me as I followed this paranoid trail; someone had interfered with my dream. As soon as I thought it there was a brief and quite painful blast of feedback sound in my head. It was intense and I took it as a response to my thought. I thought it again, someone was ****ing with my dream, it wasn’t right… did you mess with my dream? Instantly there was feedback blasting inside my head and I nearly screamed. It died down and I felt like it was ****ing with me, trying to make me scared, but I wasn’t, I was pissed off – not scared. I said, I can take whatever you can dish out, bring it. I wasn’t so sure I could, but I wouldn’t even let myself acknowledge that underlying worry. I didn’t have time to anyway. I closed my eyes and grinded my teeth as the screeching feedback cut into my ears. I thought my head might explode, but I wouldn’t back down, not yet. I thought of things that soothed me, I thought of feelings that made me calm – I thought of the times that my dad would take us out to the countryside and I could feel the wind flowing over my face and the sun burning freckles into my cheeks and over my nose. It wasn’t enough, I could feel the wind rushing over my ears but it wasn’t enough to block out the siren. I moved on to the sound of rain sticks shaking, the sound of my ancestors calling for the heavens to open up and feed the rivers and the sweet smelling ground. I could hear them, but they were drowned out by the siren and as I lay deafened and my head began to pound in warning, I admitted defeat. I sat up and everything was silent. So quiet and still, I could hear perfectly, but there was nothing to hear. I cursed the horrid sound which I had encountered once before in a dream a few years ago.
I realise now that as I sat up in defeat, I was sitting and waking out of a dream simultaneously. It was an odd experience. But I was so absolutely sure when I was laying there fighting the siren, that I had been awake. It was so strange. I hate having chronic sinusitis.