Undertaker

Where there is once beauty, now there is grief.

If you’re not going to practice,

Then buy a coffin from me.

I’ll make one for you, I have time in this world.

But the price to pay is high,

More than the gold of your dreams.

Tell me, my darling, why are you crying?

It’s okay if you can’t breathe,

That’s the beauty of grief.

Beauty in Order

“It is impossible for us to break the law. we can only break ourselves against the law.”

Somehow, everyone hates rules. But yet, everyone thrives when there is order. How ironic. In times of chaos and depression, we seek a routine, a method of doing things that will lead to success. In times of disaster and panic, we seek a fixed path out into the light. But yet we laugh at the law and try to destroy it.

When turmoil is all that I see, order is what helps me to fly above the storm. Waking up at a fixed time. Looking at the same thing when I first open my eyes. Knowing that everything is the same, knowing that I can find something in a familiar hiding place, that is how I know that I am safe.

When everything is lost and I am alone in the world, I know when I look up, God is there. What God is doing while I’m suffering doesn’t matter to me, neither does it matter that everyone laughs at my belief in God or treats Him as a curse word, unwittingly, they remind me of that one order in my life that I can count on seeing when I open my eyes from the nightmare.

In the days of calamity, when I open my eyes, He whispers:

“I am here.”

So that is why I treasure order and law. And that is why I will keep trying to stick to my timetable despite my feelings. Because my feelings will desert me but He won’t.

The Theory of 360 Degrees

We all know our vision is limited and we can only see what’s in front of us and certain angles to the side. We invented cameras to act as our eyes, capturing images of what’s in front of us so that we remember them.

But then that’s not good enough. So there are now 360 cameras which can capture pictures behind, things that our eyes cannot see. But why are we so obsessed with having to see everything behind us? Even though it seems like an advancement in technology, we are actually turning backwards and looking at the past.

With our eyes, we only see a few things at once. At times it’s frustrating, especially when you have a cheeky friend who likes to scare you from behind. But by not being able to see what’s behind, we don’t get distracted so easily. Once we set our eyes on the goal, it’s easier to fire the arrow with your full focus because all that fills your vision then will be that goal.

360 cameras tempt us. “What’s around you? What’s behind? You want to see, don’t you?” And we stay in that spot and look. There’s a lot to see. It’s true that life is very complicated and having a wider perspective certainly helps you to see more, but do you realise that at the same time, you’re standing still and not moving forward?

There’s no point in seeing everything when you don’t know where you want to go because there’s one degree that no eye and no camera can see and that is: the future. When it comes to the future we are all as blind as a bat and utterly confounded.

That is why, what you have is enough. Just go forward with the vision in front of you and don’t look back.

After Death

If I have achieved nothing by the time I die,

It’s okay because everyone leaves with empty hands.

Most people they warm up as they go through life and encounter difficulties. Over time, they meet people worth keeping, times worth smiling, and things worth chasing. Despite all their suffering, they find this elusive thing called ‘happiness’.

Why am I different? Every time I fall, I lose the heart to pick myself up and keep moving. My heart doesn’t warm up, it just gets colder and harder. Whether it is people or memories or things, I don’t care about any of that.

It’s tiring to pretend that it matters, this thing called ‘happiness’.

If I leave no legacy or memory when I die,

It’s okay because even time erases the best stories.

There is nothing worth doing when after all the suffering

You’re in a coffin with your eyes closed.

Listen to Mummy

My mother is always right, especially when she’s giving me advice. She also has this uncanny habit of being able to tell what kind of people my friends are just from meeting them once. She once told me my current clique was a bad influence and later, the clique broke up after some drama where I spent a whole semester in the counsellor’s office. The people she said were reliable turned out to be trustworthy and the people she said were suspicious did indeed turn out to be as she said.

Being a teenager, I ignored most of my mother’s advice, thinking, “I know these people much better since I see them five times a week.” So it was only after the best friend she told me was dubious and probably unreliable betrayed me by dropping me like a sack of potatoes with a string of lies tied around the mouth of it, I decided that it was worth listening to what she had to say.

Last night, I was commenting on how much more efficient my brain used to be in making decisions and planning out my life and how after a year of losing it because of anxiety, my brain is now unable to move faster. I told her that the only strategy that works now is to dam up my brain with a wall of blank and let one thought through at a time and that it is such a tedious process compared to when I had multiple strings of thought running simultaneously.

She said this, “I don’t think your brain is less efficient now. I think you’re more mature now and that’s why there’s more to think about.”

“Last time you didn’t have the experience, so there were things you didn’t even need to consider, but now that you know and you’ve gone through a lot more, you have to consider those factors when you plan and make decisions.”

I didn’t even give her a context of what I was planning and she could give this kind of advice. Sometimes, I think she’s very childish for arguing with my dad over something he bought from the supermarket, but then at times like this, I just feel very awed and I think that one day I want to be wise like her.

 

 

 

The Artist Date

The Artist Date is a concept from Julia Cameron’s creative course ‘The Artist Way’ and the essential idea of this is to make time alone each week to do something ‘whimsical’ or ‘enchanting’ to do something that ignites the imagination.

I have not had the chance to set out time to feed my muse so this idea intrigues me. For as certain as time is hard to find, so is it certain that I need to release myself from this year long block.

Here are some ideas I’ve discovered from across the Internet that I would like to try:

  1. Take $5 to a dollar store and see how much fun you can buy with so little.
  2. Go to the library and read a book that’s new to you or one that you wouldn’t normally read.
  3. Spend an afternoon colouring in.
  4. Go to an independent cafe and journal or do Bible study.
  5. Write out the plot-line of a novel you might write one day.
  6. Cook something you have never tried before.
  7. Go to IKEA and take pictures of everything you find beautiful. Compile an image file of your perfect home.
  8. Choose a colour, go out and take pictures of everything in that colour. Create a collage of all your pictures.
  9. Write a poem.
  10. Imagine what your life would have been like 200 years ago, write about a day in your life.
  11. Go accessory shopping and buy something more adventurous than normal.

  12. Dust off whatever musical instrument you used to own (ukulele) and play through a few songs.

  13. Write a bucket list.
  14. Grab a stack of magazines, and clip whatever looks interesting or cool to create your own inspiration board.

  15. Send a care package to your best friend or to a family member.

  16. Make a list of twenty things you’d like to do before your 20th birthday.

  17. Buy a soft toy.
  18. Create a look book.
  19. Visit a graveyard.
  20. Draw a mythical creature.
  21. Go to a botanical garden and photograph or sketch the flowers and trees.
  22. Make a bracelet.
  23. Practice handwriting
  24. Film a video.
  25. Create a playlist of all your favourite songs.

Do whatever your creative soul needs to enrich itself and have fun.”

Aggie Netherbury II

As she wandered along the steel grey corridor of the Cadet’s Wing, a sergeant approached her with a letter. She saluted him. “Best to be quick. He’s waiting.”

It was a simple note from Sergeant Major Osmod himself:

Meet in my office. You are being deployed.

“Finally something to do!” She ran. The shoddy metalwork of the Cadet’s Wing gave way to arching roofs and open corridors, lined at intervals with ornate white columns and marble floors. The white stone that made up the rest of the Cathedral Fortress was originally a walled city for the lords of the Northern lands two hundred years ago.

Now the fortress housed all of the Cathedral Troops like a little armed city. The old architecture was preserved simply because they were impregnable and there was no real need to destroy the meticulously planned defences that have stood the test of time.

Aggie ran past the weaponry buildings and the soldiers’ dormitories, heading towards the main castle at the centre of the city. The guard at the tall metal gate saluted her and did not bother to check her identity. All of Cathedral Fortress knew her.

The Castle, as it is colloquially known, was built into the ground unlike a normal castle. The rooftops were reinforced with metal when the fort was converted but the insides were still full of sculptured balustrades and statues of old lords.

Aggie knocked on Major Osmod’s door, a large room that used to be some lord’s sleeping quarters. “Lieutenant Aggie. At your command.”

She heard a grunt of approval and entered. The room was covered in a lush red carpet, gossamer curtains fluttered in front of the opened windows. Aggie saluted the Major and tried not to laugh.

It was a queer sight to see a large severe man, who had a reputation of being as unmoving as a rock and a frown carved into the red hues of his face, sitting in a room that emitted an air of elegance. There was an ugly scar down the side of his forehead that cut into his hair which was mostly hidden by his military cap.

He had his gun leaning against the edge of the table which was a large light brown desk with sculptured sides featuring a scene of two elves roaming the woods. A bullet was lodged in one of the elves’ eye.

Aggie stood at attention a distance from the table as he picked up the piece of paper in front of him. “I’ve heard of your lack of progress as Lieutenant of the sixteenth platoon. What do you think of it?”

She should have guessed he would want to discuss this. An eighteen year old female failing to command respect from her own troops. Aggie stood even straighter. “I think I am doing a fine job for a Lieutenant my age,” she replied.

Major Osmod’s frown deepened. He stood up. “Indeed. For your age, yes. But this is unacceptable for a lieutenant of the Cathedral troops of Kith.”

“Yes, sir.”

He stood in front of Aggie and held the paper out for her to read. “I am dispatching you to be a guard. You will join the Pillier Contingent currently deployed at a top secret facility. It will be a better use of your physical abilities until you are of age.”

Something snapped inside Aggie. She snatched the paper from the Major and stalked out of the room, slamming the two hundred year old door behind her. The dispatch stung her pride. She was the youngest lieutenant in the Cathedral forces and someone others looked up to.

Even the sixteenth platoon admired her capability. It was simply because she was not smart enough in their recent simulation and the mission ended with casualties. Leadership abilities could be honed, couldn’t they? She crushed the papers and threw them across the hallway with a loud roar.

A passing soldier raised his eyebrow but did not say a word. Aggie wished he did, so that she could tackle someone to the ground.

Just before Aggie turned one of the two hundred year old statues to rubble, a voice boomed through the horn-pipe that was the army’s method of communication within the fortress.

The voice boomed, “Netherbury Command report to Thoren’s Way. Netherbury Command report to Thoren’s Way. This is Jay Carter. We have a date and you are late.”

She could not help the smile that grew over her frown. Aggie picked up her dispatch paper and stuffed it into her pocket. “It’s not a date, duff,” she muttered to herself.