Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Beady-Eyed Man

The beady-eyed man with belligerent bent

Berated a boulder until he was spent

Troubled a tree that stood in his way

And cut off its limbs, for which he would pay.

For Mother Nature, not at all amused

By this violent and unwarranted abuse

Of her many children, her flowers and trees

Her unkempt forests and her bumbling bees,

Considered avenging herself on this brute

Who’d pluck from the trees their unripe fruit,

Pull off the petals of the flowers that bloomed

And was prone to more violence (she naturally assumed).

She watched one day as he dawdled along,

Whistling under his breath a popular song,

Suddenly he stopped, he’d noticed a snail,

He stooped to study it in more detail,

Motioning to squash this brand new find,

Mother Nature responded herself in kind,

With a wave of her arm flapping was heard,

And of a sudden a multitude of birds

Appeared instantaneously in the cloudless sky.

The forests and air lit up with their cries

As spiraling down they suddenly flew

Towards the beady-eyed man (who hadn’t a clue).

Straight as an arrow and sharp as a sword,

Their sights set on him, every single bird,

They attacked him unawares as he stared at the snail,

He tried to ward them off but alas to no avail.

They pecked and they poked and they flapped their wings,

The cawed and they crowed while they delivered hurtful stings,

To the beady-eyed man with belligerent bent,

Who ran away from the wood until he was spent.

They let him go with a lesson well learned,

It was enough as far as they were concerned,

He had learned what they meant to teach,

That no man is out of Mother Nature’s reach.

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Villette – Charlotte Bronte

“But solitude is sadness.”

“Yes; it is sadness. Life, however, has worse than that. Deeper than melancholy lies heart-break.”

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Naivara’s Narrative (D&D character backstory)

My history, up until the age of thirteen, remained shrouded in mystery. My utmost attempts to penetrate the secrets of my past were never before gratified by my guardian, my sole friend and benefactor. He was an aged human but vigorous in the twilight of his life. He rose with the sun and labored in his garden until sunset, at which point he would gather wood and then begin preparations for our meager evening repast in the semi-darkness of the one story wooden cottage. I had never met another such as myself at that time. My white hair and skin glowed in the darkness and at twelve I far surpassed the old man in height. I often questioned him about my unusual appearance, having only glimpsed other humans and remarked their dissimilarity to myself. The violet of my eyes alone had already caused a stir or two amongst the more pugnacious of humankind that populated that obscure corner of the earth. My questions were many indeed but the answers less than forthcoming.

One evening at dinner the old man sat down with a groan and began his tale rather abruptly. I gazed intently at his lips as the words fell out one by one, illuminating my murky past until the shadows gained form and my history became real. I did not realize how much of my identity was missing until I heard what I was and who I came from. I could finally find my place in the world, my excitement knew no bounds. I was hardly prepared for the tale of woe but the truth was better than the tortures of uncertainty.

“I was but a small lad when your grandfather saved me from a fate worse than death…that of a lifetime of enslavement.” The low gravelly voice of my guardian flowed through the room, wafting through the nooks and crannies of the darkened chamber, enveloping it like the scent of rose blossoms in the summertime. “I had no protectors in my orphaned state. Your grandfather, Erewan, was a great magician, one of a long line of powerful Eladrin wizards from the Plane of Faerie in the Feywild realm. He brought me to his home there, sheltered me, not only physically but magically since humans are too weak to survive in that world, and made me a part of his family. I grew up under his tutelage, learned much from his wisdom, and watched him rise in reputation. Your father, Arun, and I grew up together practically as brothers, though I was ten years his senior by the time of his arrival. Erewan, too enwrapped in his studies, did not fall in love until much later in his life so when Arun was born, he was an old man. I was there at your father’s birth and charged with the role of guardian should anything happen to him, such was the trust Erewan placed upon a poor human with no family or history.” Here he stopped, as if overcome with the burden of his past sorrows. I could feel his soul in turmoil as he struggled on with his tale.

“Your grandfather eventually became known throughout many lands as Erewan the Wise. As he gained repute and wisdom in his old age he was much sought after by not only his own kind, but those from other lands, far away from your native home in the Feywild. At sunset, when the Feywild appeared in its fantastic beauty to grace the natural world, men, dwarves, elves, and many more came to seek his sage advice. Your grandfather’s vision and intelligence was typical of the members of your family, from the days of your oldest known ancestor, Rawan the Righteous. Rawan studied the magic arts until he became one of the greatest wizards there has ever been in the Feywild. He fought bravely in many wars against the Formorians, monsters that dwell in the Feydark, which are cavernous strongholds beneath the surface of the Feywild. They are the arch nemesis of Eladrins, often sending their spies and Cyclops servants to ransack Eladrin homes for treasures and magical weapons, leaving much destruction in their wake. Legend has it that upon Rawan’s death-bed he endowed an extraordinary ruby amulet in his possession with the bulk of his magic in an effort to preserve all that he had learned for the use of his family in future generations in the continuous battle against the Formorians. The amulet acts as a sort of container, holding within its form potent magic which can wreak either great harm or effect great good depending on the one who possesses it. Supposedly only one invested with the knowledge and skill of a wizard such as Rawan can wield its power. The amulet was passed down from generation to generation until it became the property of your father upon your grandfather’s death. It has always been in your family but its power has never been tested simply because there has never been need of it, for the reign of peace was relatively undisturbed until your father’s birth.

At the time of my rescue however your grandfather was ninety years old, still young for an Eladrin, a race that can live upwards of two hundred years. He was an impulsive wizard with a wife, your grandmother Anathea, whose beauty surpassed any I have yet seen and whose power rivaled her husband’s. Anathea had just given birth to your father when I arrived at Faerie. Arun was a child blessed with the beauty, intelligence, and charm of both his parents and had in him the potential to be as great, if not greater, in wisdom than Erewan. At the time of my rescue Erewan had often ventured out into the Prime, a world occupied by mortals, to educate himself of the nature of the land and races then extant. Humans were beginning to encroach upon the bounds of the forests in which the Eladrin appeared at sunset and he wanted to judge for himself the character of men. He related to me in my later years how shocked he had been at the cruelty and selfishness of men. They were undignified creatures that made war upon their own kind at the slightest perceived fault or for merely mercenary reasons. These creatures, he soon discovered, even enslaved their own kind.

Erewan was strikingly tall, even for an Eladrin. He was at least a head taller than the tallest of men. His stature inspired awe and men cowered before him when confronted with his true form. To prevent recognition and fear from those he came in contact with he would don a long black cloak and shroud himself under the hood where his remarkably clear green eyes could not be seen. He would stoop as much as he could to lessen his height and evade undue notice in his wanderings. One day, in his journeys amongst men he was traversing the marketplace of a human city called Silenius, one of the most debauched cities he had yet come across. He peered around from under his cloak and saw many visions of poverty, disease, and dissipation that sadly deprived him of hope for the future of mankind. One particular stall made him stand still in wonder at the villainy of some men. He saw me, a shriveled, quivering ten year old boy, chained and broken in tattered, dirty clothing being unmercifully whipped by a bald, toothless master who was angered that my tiny frame could attract no buyers.

As your grandfather lifted his eyes to mine I felt as one mesmerized by his great beauty which I had never before seen, having been born into the ugly world of slavery. While the lashes poured upon my helpless body I saw him rise as if by magic from a stooping, dark figure to a regal, towering form with eyes that seemed to penetrate into my soul and skin whiter than snow. His silver hair shone in the sunlight and his luminescent skin seemed to sparkle like so many stars in the clear evening sky. My master ceased whipping as he gazed fearfully at this daunting yet ethereal vision in the midst of dirt, despair, and debauchery. A thunderous voice emanated from the lips of this foreigner and demanded an explanation of such conduct towards a defenseless child. My master grinned toothily at him as his greed overcame his fear and he began negotiations for my sale.

“Well mister if you don’t like what you see why don’t you take him off my hands, eh? I’ll give you a good bargain for him. You can make something of him yet though he looks to be a weakling.”

“Erewan did not look at him as he spoke but kept his gaze on me, as if he sought to reassure me. ‘I do not bargain with filth,’ his voice bellowed from the depths of his throat, striking fear into the cowering figure of my master before him. At this point I noticed that he raised his right arm and pointed with a wand towards my master. He shifted his gaze to him as well and whispered softly under his breath. I could not make out the words but my master appeared frozen in his place. Your grandfather then turned towards me and repeated the ritual. I felt lighter and realized that my chains had fallen off and I was free. He then took my hand and softly tugged me to follow him. I was too afraid to move so he lifted me to his chest and walked away from the stall. From that moment onwards your grandfather never failed to care for me. He taught me all that I now know. He even trusted me with secrets of the natural world to which no other human has ever been privy. That is how I can now heal wounds and make potions to cure illnesses. I have taught you, Naivara, all these secrets so that you may survive when I am no longer able to care for you. Unfortunately that is the extent of my knowledge of the magic arts. The skills I have taught you can heal you but they cannot protect you against those most dangerous to your welfare.”

He stopped speaking and drew a long deep breath. Neither of us had touched our paltry meal. The silence was such that I could hear the crackling of the embers as the flame engulfed the firewood. I did not speak, for I did not want to break the silence or affect the revealing mood in which my guardian was this night. He continued.

“Your father, Arun, and mother, Naima, were childhood sweethearts. They roamed together all over the Feywild; the forest and rivers were their playground, they were friendly to all creatures of the Feywild but were very careful to avoid the Formorians’ dark underground lairs. The two of them practiced their magic together and grew strong together in power and in love. Naima was herself from Eladrin nobility, having come from one of the oldest families in Faerie. She also possessed vast magical power and intelligence. All was as happy as could be until the time of your birth. There was spreading unrest in the Feywild due to the danger posed by the Formorians. They are creatures who, though already possessed of great magical powers, still seek more in their quest to dominate others of their own kind in the Feydark. A powerful but poor member of the Formorians, an arrogant spiteful wizard, craved wealth and position within his world and became increasingly dangerous as he gathered magic items from the Eladrin world, mainly through horrific plunders conducted by him and his servants, to aid him in his attempt to subjugate his enemies. He sought to usurp leadership from another Formorian and take over the Feydark but to do so meant he needed a powerful weapon, the magic of which could be wielded to destroy his enemies. I believe that this Formorian heard the tales of the amulet of Rawan and longed to possess himself its vast power and to manipulate its potential for nefarious ends. So he decided to plunder your father’s vault to find it. Arun was only forty years old at the time and was no match against the superior magical powers of this creature. You were just born yourself when his Cyclops servants raided our home. Arun would have made a wise leader in time but was too young and unprepared for such an attack from this Formorian, who used strong magic to hide his men until they were already within our fortress. They swarmed in upon us in the early hours of the morning, under cover of darkness, and took out our household one by one. Your mother sensed the danger too late and ran to protect you, calling softly to me as she ran past my room to yours. Your father in the meantime tried in vain to defend himself with his sword and magic against the superior force of the invaders.

I was charged with your care, given a few pieces of jewelry and precious papers in a small wooden box, and was directed to go as far away from the Feywild as possible for she sensed that you would always be in danger as long as this Formorian was alive. She told me to hide in the world of men until only she recalled me to that world for no one else could be trusted. That was the last glimpse I had of my home and yours. I did not stop running until I was far from the Feywild. In a few weeks I heard of the fall of the house of Rawan. Rumors circulated that I had betrayed the family to the Formorian for measly gold; that I had them murdered out of greed and envy and that I made off with the family heirlooms to live in luxury for the remainder of my days. No doubt that Formorian was responsible for the lie. Our home was completely destroyed and the amulet of Rawan has never been recovered. So far I do not believe the Formorian has been successful in harnessing its power otherwise he would have caused such destruction that I would not fail to hear of it even in this secluded corner of the world. His magic is powerful but he does not possess the knowledge that has been passed down through generations in your family. He is also not of the blood of the Rawan race, which may be necessary for the possessor to utilize its power.

I have kept you hidden all these years so that you will not be harmed by the his men for he always has spies in this world to report back to him of any new magical weapon that he can use to wage his war. I do not know his face or even his name but he knows of you and he may want to find you either to eliminate the last of the line of Rawan or to utilize your as yet untapped abilities to brandish the amulet’s power. The Formorians hold a strong belief in blood sacrifices to their gods so this one will not fail to employ every means in his power of unlocking that amulet’s potential.”

My mind was reeling with all of this information at once. I knew no magic, I thought to myself, how can I have descended from Rawan? Strange things have happened to me in the past but I thought that my imagination played tricks on me or that I was dreaming. I had only been around humans who knew nothing of magic other than superstition.

“My reason for telling you this history at this particular time,” continued my guardian, “is because I believe you are now mature enough to understand the dangers that you are faced with. I have to prepare you for the life you will lead, one of secrecy and peril. You must learn the magic of your ancestors because you will have to face the Formorian one day. I know this is much to take in but the sooner you practice the magic arts the stronger you will be by the time you are old enough to go out into the world on your own. I will not be on this earth much longer, unlike you who will live hundreds of years, and I cannot leave you ill equipped to face your enemies. Your mother must have had an inkling of this sad future for you for even in her haste she made sure I possessed the ancient Book of Spells that has been in your family since Rawan’s time. You must study these spells and learn the ways of wizardry and you too can become as powerful as your ancestors. It is in your blood and that puts your life in danger as long as this Formorian is alive and retains his hold on your amulet.”

In the years after my first introduction to my history I studied night and day and practiced the spells I learned on rocks, trees, and small creatures deep in the forest, beneath the cover of the evening sky or on soft moonlit nights. I did not harm these beings but used such of my abilities that would ensure no injury to them. I practiced teleporting and making potions to heal the wounded; I created various wonderful illusions that fooled the inhabitants of the woods who soon became so used to my presence that they would gather round me, curious and unafraid. I became one with nature, and roamed the forests and fields far from the sight of men.

Just after my twenty first birthday, while I was still in the midst of my studies, my guardian fell ill. I had no potions strong enough to defeat this illness and he died within a week. He lost consciousness towards the end but while he retained his senses he spoke to me again.

“You must continue your studies,” he gasped as he struggled for breath and reached to grasp my hand, “and you must leave this place. It is time for you to go out into the world on your own to learn the ways of men, as your grandfather and father did before you. You must join the mortal world and seek allies who may be useful to you in the future. Learn from them, benefit from their errors and their knowledge. Always strive for wisdom and be wary of those who seek to know too much of your history. Do not reveal to them your true identity for there are spies everywhere.” At this point he seemed to be on the verge of revealing something else, something important. I could sense his hesitation.

“I have done more than hide you away in this world. I gave you a new identity. I have called you Naivara but you were not born with that name. Your mother called you Aymara. I changed your name to prevent detection. You must never reveal it to any but those who you would trust with your life.”

Soon after this startling revelation the old man, my only friend and companion, lost consciousness and died. The depths of my grief cannot be expressed. I left that place with a broken heart but determined to find my way in the mortal world and gather such knowledge as would aid in defeating the Formorian. During that time I developed a longing to be back at the Feywild and explore the places where my mother and father had roamed in their youth. I felt my loss more heavily with my guardian gone and yearned for companions like myself. My last remaining possessions that I took with me on my journeys and adventures in later years are my Book of Spells, a locket that my guardian presented me with my mother and father’s image, and a wand I had fashioned myself. I traveled many lands and met many adventurers and wanderers such as myself but never spoke of my past. I am now almost thirty years old but have yet to hear of the amulet’s whereabouts in my investigations. However, the hope remains that I will find it and I have many years ahead of me and much power to uncover within myself that will assist in my search for both the amulet, but especially the Formorian that annihilated my family. No matter what it takes, I will not stop until either he or I am dead.

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Baobabs or The Prince’s Lament

The baobabs grew and grew and grew and before I hardly knew the roots overtook my home. They wound their roots around my heart and squeezed and squeezed.

I can’t breathe.

Day and night I toil amongst the stars and dream of a rose, a perfect rose with petals red and thorns to make my heart bleed.

She died of heartbreak and I wielded the hammer.

I hear the echo of her laughter sometimes among the stars. They twinkle with glee and dance impeccably.

I will fly to her one day when once I’ve rooted out the baobabs and all the bad seeds. Only good seeds will I sow. They will blossom in my heart and reach out to the dreamers who live in the desert.

My rose bloomed all alone in the desert. Only the stars were there to see her. As I see her now, finally. She tamed my heart and I tamed hers.

Together in the not too distant future, when I have done my work, we will see each other again and ponder sunsets and sleep amongst the stars and dream.

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Silas Unbound

Is language/communication necessary for consciousness to exist? Or more accurately, without self-expression are we animals operating purely on instinct and impulses? Consciousness needs a medium though which to express itself. Is language the most precise of art forms in the expression of consciousness or rather a hindrance to consciousness, the purity of which is most direct through the medium of music…sound vibrations or art? Consider the Nietzsche essay, “The Birth of Tragedy.”

Hans Sachs – Meistersinger:

“My friend, it is the poet’s task
To mark his dreams, their meaning ask.
Trust me, the truest phantom man doth know
Hath meaning only dreams may show:
The arts of verse and poetry
Tell nought but dreaming’s prophecy.”

What is dreaming? Is it consciousness subtly communicating?

Hamlet’s Soliloquy:

To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.

*

To die, to sleep–
To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.
*
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.

 

***

Stephen Fry:

“There are all kinds of pedants around … They whip out their Sharpies and take away and add apostrophes from public signs, shake their heads at prepositions which end sentences and mutter at split infinitives and misspellings, but do they bubble and froth and slobber and cream with joy at language? Do they ever let the tripping of the tips of their tongues against the tops of their teeth transport them to giddy euphoric bliss? Do they ever yoke impossible words together for the sound-sex of it? Do they use language to seduce, charm, excite, please, affirm, and tickle those they talk to?”

**

Silas Unbound:

A pedant they call me, Silas inwardly fumed.

Why, if a pedant I were, would I not have penalized such grammerly, or rather ungrammerly, provocations that pour forth in cascades of succession from the mouths of misinformed youths who mutilate and massacre meaning?

Who are wont to weave inextricable words in ornate forms that flabbergast the finicky and confound the critic?

My fealty to form, my loyalty to literature, my capacity for correctness cringes in confrontation of the futility of fixing the malfunctioning of language under the power of puerile personages.

I petition the public and personally appeal to prevent the proliferation of this wrong. Beauty lay in symmetry, in concordance, in conformity, in correctness of cant.

To derive meaning from the deluge of dissociative ideas and derivative drollery drives one to the heights of hysteria and is discovered to be impossible for those less inured to the supposedly innocuous but most assuredly insensate utterances of the uninitiated and unimaginative offsprings of ignorance.

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The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“It is such a secret place, the land of tears.”

pg. 18

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

pg. 48

“But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart . . .”

pg. 54

One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be
tamed . . .

pg. 55

“The thing that is important is the thing that is not seen . . .”

*

If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at
night. All the stars are a-bloom with flowers . . .”

pg. 58

Indeed, as I learned, there were on the planet where the little prince lived–as on all planets–good plants and bad plants. In consequence, there were good seeds from good plants, and bad seeds from bad plants.
But seeds are invisible. They sleep deep in the heart of the earth’s darkness, until some one among them is seized with the desire to awaken. Then this little seed will stretch itself and begin–timidly at first–to push a charming little sprig inoffensively upward toward the sun. If it is only a sprout of radish or the sprig of a rose-bush, one would let it grow wherever it might wish. But when it is a bad plant, one must destroy it as
soon as possible, the very first instant that one recognizes it.

pg. 13

“If I ordered a general to fly from one flower to another like a butterfly, or to write a tragic drama, or to change himself into a sea bird, and if the general did not carry out the order that he had received, which one
of us would be in the wrong?” the king demanded. “The general, or myself?”

“You,” said the little prince firmly.

“Exactly. One must require from each one the duty which each one can perform,” the king went on.”Accepted authority rests first of all on reason. If you ordered your people to go and throw themselves into the sea, they would rise up in revolution. I have the right to require obedience because my orders are reasonable.”

***

“Then you shall judge yourself,” the king answered. “that is the most difficult thing of all. It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are
indeed a man of true wisdom.”

pg.25

“I follow a terrible profession. In the old days it was reasonable. I put the lamp out in the morning, and in the evening I lighted it again. I had the rest of the day for relaxation and the rest of the night for sleep.”

“And the orders have been changed since that time?”

“The orders have not been changed,” said the lamplighter. “That is the tragedy! From year to year the planet has turned more rapidly and the orders have not been changed!”

pg.33

“If, for example, you come at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as
the hour advances. At four o’clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you . . . One must observe the proper rites . . .”
“What is a rite?” asked the little prince.
“Those also are actions too often neglected,” said the fox. “They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours.

pg. 47

“You are beautiful, but you are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you–the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.

pg. 48

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AA Monologue #1

You want the truth? Well here’s the truth.

The truth is that I’m trying to see for the first time, really, honestly. Trying to look outside myself and understand that the world doesn’t revolve around me, my being, my presence…my existence. I’m trying to look across the bar, the room, the space that divides that body from this, your body from mine and his from hers. I’m trying to ‘see’ that other, that consciousness just like my own. Sometimes, though, sometimes it’s hard to see past certain things. I mean you’d have to really look, squint almost. Look past the outside, past the gender, past the color, past the nose, no matter how big that thing is. You gotta look hard and long, kinda like when you’re drunk in fact and everything’s kinda blurry. You’re trying to make out where the sink is, and the light is blindingly bright and you wobble this way and that til you somehow manage to grab the cold hard ceramic and vaguely see yourself in the mirror. Boy do you look like shit. Anyways, I’m gettin’ off track here.

The point is, we’re all just individual consciousnesses trying to survive in the meaninglessness that’s life. We’re trying to find a reason, a reason why we’re here. What’re are we all here for? To procreate and die? What does it really mean to be? Personally I’m figuring, like that Descartes fella, that being means being aware. Awareness of the self, of myself, as different from himself and herself and theyselves over there. I am aware that I am, that I was formed, that I am confined in time and space or form and matter and all the limitations that entails. I am aware that I am a slave to the physical, to the needs required for the preservation and continuance of my existence. It’s a choice and a lack of choice to live. The problem is coping once you’ve realized that none of it matters unless you make it matter. But how, that’s the question. Goals, ambition, people? Find what you love to do and do it? Then what? You meet goals, fulfill ambition, leave people. What do you have left? Yourself, that’s who. How do you come to terms with your own self? Supposin’ I don’t like myself? What then?

Faced with hatin’ yourself or losing yourself in the bottle, what would you choose? What do you think I chose? I drank to forget myself but in trying to forget myself I was confronted even more with myself, with the worst parts of myself in fact. I didn’t like what I saw. It wasn’t me. It was this animal flesh taking over. I was desire embodied, impulse personified. But then I thought, what was I if not my body, my weaknesses? But there was another part that seemed separate, my intellect. The part that rises above instinct. It was a consciousness of living, an awareness of the body and it’s functioning but a thing separate from it. It rose above and drifted in and out. But why it’s there and what it’s purpose is I haven’t got a clue. We’re not aware of why we’re aware, just that we are aware. At least some of us, can’t vouch for all of us.

Anyway, here I am going off on another tangent. I hit rock bottom, to be cliché. I woke up one day in a puddle of my own vomit, wondering where I was, how I’d got there, where the heck the bruises came from. I decided then and there that this wasn’t living, whatever that means. Now I had to figure out what it means to live. And not only to live, but to live ‘authentically’, which I read somewhere was the only way to live. What a can o’ worms that turned out to be. Did you know there were all these men and women before me who thought about these things eons ago and we still haven’t figured it out? I started reading these old Greek guys, like Plato and Aristotle. Now they both had some pretty good things to say but one thing Aristotle said made sense: we are what we repeatedly do. So then I had to ask myself, what did I repeatedly do? Is that an accurate reflection of who I am or what I wanna be? What do I wanna do? What am I? Boy, this was tough. How do I wanna be seen? Now this was easier to tackle. I didn’t wanna be seen as a drunk, that was for sure.

But perception, I realized, was a funny thing. You’re letting someone else determine your value. If you think it’s important to be seen a certain way and others don’t see you that way, you view yourself negatively. Now you’ve got your self-esteem tied up in other people’s opinions and ideas and biases. All of a sudden, your reputation becomes more important than what you actually are. Now, I wanna be a good person, a just person, but I realized my ideas were vague. What does it mean to be good, and truly good, not just reputedly good for other ends. I knew that I didn’t care what other people thought, I lost their good opinion a long time ago anyways. I cared most of all of what I thought, that intelligent part of myself, the one that drifted in and out, that judged and judged harshly but rightly. Some call it conscience, some God, some morality, some intelligence. I’m in the latter category. I think we can see the truth but don’t want to so we use all these other things to justify our dishonesty and our hates and anger. Our pettiness and cruelty. I refuse to do that anymore. I will determine my own value and base it on my actions and my thoughts. I’m not sure this is gonna work, I mean, what do you do when you have no one else to blame?

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