Tuesday 29 September 2015

If You Don't Keep Your Feet

It's been a while. So what's the point in coming back?

1.Going full circle.
2. New perspectives of the beginning and where you are now.
3. Never leave something incomplete.

Really, that's three ways of saying nearly the same thing.

Returning to the beginning always brings fresh perspectives which, when you're deep in an adventure, whether it's physical travel, a mental goal post or something else entirely, it's very easy to forget about where you are going. Your feet get swept off.

In other words; sometimes you are so close to a particular situation (your life) that you cannot see where the road is going, or where you actually want it to go, or where you had originally intended it to go.

Since I last wrote I've had a bit of that. Loosing my feet, getting some perspective, going back to the beginning (when I went home for a visit) and loosing my feet some more, getting more perspective and currently still existing in a state of slightly lost feet as the clock ticks on this particular experience.

I've been calling myself a writer and a photographer for a long time now. People give me envious looks. They cheer me on for being a creative individual. (As if it's some sort of select cult that only those with an intrinsic gene can enter. Ha. I'm creative because I like expressing myself differently and I've done it long enough I've had oodles of practice). 

Yesterday I just told someone I am an imaginist. As in, my job, my career, my life. All in one. They looked at me oddly but with envy again.

The ability to freely choose your identity, your time, your life. That's the ultimate for all people (dictated by society to keep us unsatisfied), and yet, very few ever step onto the road and let themselves get lost in the imagination, the wonder, the "who knows what will happen next week or next month."

Letting go of your feet is one of the most frightening things you can do. And this is coming from someone who has only done that halfway. To fully let go of your feet, letting go of friends, family, home and belongings for a time or longer would be more true to that way of life but, despite the ultimate (dictated by society to keep us unsatisfied) belief of freedom to choose your identity, time and life, you really don't, and don't want to, because certain things exist, such as cars, buses, trains, airplanes, theatres, restaurants, parks, pools, books, films, chocolate and computers, that most would not give up.

Thus one must play into ladder of employment, of government documented identity and a life rotated around mental misery because "freedom" and "happiness" are untangible and definitely individual ideals but also, ones which, if you've been born into society, you'll inevitably be influenced by the definitions which society formulates. Even if you scoff at the current ideal of "high-paying job, marriage, car, house, kids" thing which has been around since the early 20th century.

Oh please. All of that is desperately passé. Also, it's the 21st century. 'Bout time we made our own ideal. And it's there. A bit. Struggling along with most of us millenials who saw the lives of older generations and put our feet down. With a stomp.

Thing is, all that stomp is still very much just the moon rune riddle on a map. Not even the map itself, let alone a decent trail.

The first step is solving that riddle.

Start by testing your limits. How far can you give things up? What can you give up? How much control do you want over your freedom, identity and life?

Freedom being defined here as: The ability to create a living.
Identity being defined here as: The overall image you associate yourself with. (Yes we all wear different hats, but ultimately, everyone can boil their identity down to one word which encompasses all the hats. Try thinking of emotive language, of active language; a maker, an inventor, a saver, a helper, a planner etc).
Life being defined here as: The event you choose to make up each day, week, month and year.

Spend an hour this week making a list of all the things you could give up and all the things you could not. Give a reason for each.

Think too about what single word defines you. This is your job. This is what you are here to do and be. Not a chef, not a manager, not a lawyer, not a archivist, not a customer service agent or an artist. No, you are more than that.

You are also your feet. Take a look at where they have taken you this past year. It's autumn and nearing the best time of the year to curl up in a chair with a cup of tea. This time to reflect on where you have been and where you are going.

Don't let your doer feet get wild, don't let your inventor feet get distracted. Focus next on your freedom and life.
Can you create living with at least some of the events you fill your time with?
Do the other events support this living by expanding a part of your identity and freedom through knowledge, connections or other faucets?
Does frustration play into any of your answers? If so, why?
How will you cope with the frustration?
Where will you go from here?

Everything out there means something if you look at it hard enough but also, sometimes a leaf is just a leaf and the wind just blew it in a direction which made it hit your face.

When you step out your door today, don't be afraid to look away from your feet, but know that they will sweep you off toward directions you might never have planned for.

When you step into your door today, look down at your feet. Thank them and then get yourself a cup of tea, a writing implement and get on with drawing that map.


Wednesday 8 July 2015

Lightning Strikes

It is a universally unknown fact that weeks don't pass in seconds, they pass in lightning strikes.

Each day is one count and suddenly, by Sunday you'll realise Monday is only one count, or one day, away from your location of a cliff, with a beach and a few friends.

These ligning flashes are filled with half-full cups of tea gone cold and a trail of hob-nob crumbs marching from the bread bin.

They are overhead in folkfuls of salad and spag bol for dinner during a heatwave of thirty degrees plus.

They keep eyes blinking in after-shock to the speed of peak hour grocery store check-out lines. Hands which snatch that extra bag of crisps or that millionaire bar or snack nuts, layered nearby and waiting for their penultimate moment of existence; being consumed.

Whateer shape these weeks take, the end result breeds only another week. This isn't Jurassic Park. Weeks don't splice DNA of multiple time counters together. Grow up.

It's the seasoning of spring, autumn, winter or summer which enables a comprehensible differentiation between weeks that deosn't resemble the scratches of a physistis theorising light speed or a mathematician clocking shadow lengths.

Those are entirely other issues gone sideways. Shadows are longer and faster than light since light does not exist without them, but neither are as fast as weeks. Nor can they exist without them.

Light and shadow are merely window dressings rolling past backed-up nine in the morning traffic.

Look, a week has just passed again.

Did you see it?

Monday 29 June 2015

Bicycle Tales

You can tell a culture by the way they ride bicycles. Not on the right or wrong side of the road. That's irrelevant to this particular case. Rather, the riding is in where they go and how they stop. Especially in how they stop.

Remember when you first learned how to cycle? Getting started wasn't half so hard as figuring out how to stop the wheels from turning and turning and turning. Turning. It's like narrating a story. Once you start, you cannot stop until you've figured out how to end it and so you ramble on and on and on.* Hoping there exists a deity which might take pity on you and blast a lightning storm of inspiration through your skull, without it having to hit concrete and see the stars first, of course.

That's irrelevant.

Stopping, on the other hand, now that's where everything goes. Newton didn't get hit by an apple for nothing. Even gravity requires a good ending and nothing says a good ending like a solid concussion.

Humans like noise and injury tends to bring a lot of it. Starting with oww and ending in the earth-shattering sound universally known as the eeeoooeeeooo. The ambulance. Except it tends to be more of a hurdler than an ambulator. Even cyclists must nose-dive in the face of that history. It's do or die.

That's today's lesson.

There's an either or to cycling. Nobody in the history of cycling has managed to go slow and steady without falling up and dying and nobody in the history of cycling has managed to go quick and heavy without crashing down and dying.

So what culture is better? The one's who will ring their bells and barrel you over anyway, or the ones who will ring their bells and beeline for the between you regardless?

Considering the cave-men played tic-tac-toe and we still play it today. We must consider cycling will be as incomprehensible as chalk on rock for as long as humans bother to remember history.

Then again, even if humans forget history, like a bicycle wheel, the question of who is better than who will probably come back 'round again.

That's called the circle of life. So, where are you next cycling to?


*This is the point where I tell you to just imagine if I actually did ramble on and on. Imagine lots of "ons" to such a point where the word starts to sound incomprehensible. Unfortunately even though this is pixellated space, I would rather not force you to spend the rest of your portion of cycling** in the unfortunate situation of reading the same word over and over, just so the author can prove a point.

**Cycling: verb. The act of living a mundane life full of laundry and grocery shopping and jobs.

Friday 19 June 2015

Google That Thing

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Google can be a light in the dark. Or is it?

Don't know the answer?

Google that thing.

Sitting down on the curb, on the park bench, the bus stop. Phone out. Phone ready. Just in case.

A thought passes through. Passes by as the cars zip through roads made of concrete and yellow paint. Little green men walking and red lights talking. Stop. A thought passes through.

I wonder. I think. I'm not sure.

Don't know the answer?

Google that thing.

Wandering the wayside of a canal, side by side a friend. You wonder mid-words. What was that again?

Don't know the answer?

Google that thing.

Spending more time on Google than doodling on paper during classtime or drawing words with air or on bath-tubs.

Spending more time on Google than listening to the tales told tall and wide by friend, family and street-side story-spiders.

Words come in many forms. Not just text on Google.

Look it up.

The voices are a countless dozen. Trillion a two.

Not anything like you. But possibly so too.

Don't know the answer?

Just ask your best friend.

Or better yet.

Make it up.

Add your own story to the world. Maybe it will end up on Google, one day, too. 


Tuesday 16 June 2015

Invisibility Exposure

Can you see me?
 Being between two people in a discussion makes for a period of invisibility exposure.

You are a lighthouse beacon being stared at by a crisp's chomping lady on break and two desk bound employees in the position of question and answer for the current project in progress.

To make matters more icing than cake; being temporary makes a case of invisibility exposure between two people discussing overhead as if you were four years old and in the grocery store with your mother running into an old friend, or worse, a teenager trapped over a reunion dinner of family. Being then oggled at for how tall you've gotten but not folowing the debate over business and the nails on chalkboard crunch of more crisps. Again. And again. And again.


In my mind I had many impressions. I have many but most of the time, these tend not to pan out anywhere near as impressed on my mind.

Which leads to that self-doubt of "should I really do this?"

That's your self-confidence talking.

Or as I like to call it, your invisibility exposure.

It makes relunctant pop idols of us all as we sit on public transport, or tumble off, or walk in the wrong direction, twice. Passing the same old man knocking back a coffee. It makes obsessed fans of us all. Dreaming, desiring and wishing for the recognition of others.

See me. See me. See me.

Except, when they see you, they don't really. They mutter profanities when you accidently bump them because you are wearing your glasses and see less better than when wearing contacts. They snicker and mutter under their breaths, not realising your good hearing caught the words when you go the wrong direction thrice.

Except, when they don't actually see you. It is you just thinking they did and the gossip in the back of the bus is actually two teenagers obsessing over Justin Bieber, not snarking at how ridiculous you look. Or how they are totally not going to as worthless as you at the age of 25.

Except, when they do see you. You don't believe them. Because words don't hold weight from the mouth of the other, not matter how close the other may be. You're awesome. Fantastic. Brilliant. Wonderful. Talented. It's a sieve full of sand.

You can't see yourself either.

That's the human condition of invisibility exposure and there is no easy smear of super glue to fix it.

No, all you can do it keep trying. Keep asking. Keep walking. Into fog, flame, moonlight and rain. All the while, hold hands with someone, or many someone's. The journey is the point of life but no one ever said you had to make the journey alone.

What will you do this week to bring people into your quest?


Sunday 14 June 2015

Do the Thing

Been going through the usual downturn of an artist.

"Am I wasting my time? Am I making the right choices? Shouldn't I be focusing on "x" or "y"? Time is running out! What am I doing with my life? Why am I bothering? Failure. Failure. Failure.

Sound familiar?

Whether you actively identify as an artist of some form. Or "imaginist" as I like to call myself. Or maybe you have another term entirely. Or you are just someone who daydreams and dreams under the stars and in moonlight on porches and on the hood of a car or the edge of your desk, you've probaby had a similar sort of running commentary of doubt.

I kicked myself over to England because I felt like I wasn't doing anything with my life. Now I am doing many things. Every day, every evening, every second I am experiencing so much I barely have time to process it all, let alone devote time to creating art.

Like the glorious month I had last February, house sitting for some relations in their nearly "middle-of-nowhere" house, in the middle of winter. I got some of the best writing done that I have ever managed.

Except life can't always be hiding away in seclusion. Certain life choices mean you need to make money to live. Certain life choices mean you have things you require to be sane, even if they aren't things that you need to survive. Though some people choose to just stick to flat survival in the name of The Art. Some people manage to balance everything. Some people flounder and flutter. Scared. Worried. Focused on practicality.

Some people just grab the milk carton. Stand on it and ask.

Recently I had the pleasure of not only meeting an individual who's music and art I have long admired but I also got around to reading her memoir (read over two days, it was that engaging).

Her name is Amanda Palmer.

I won't be surprised if you wonder: Who?

She's a bit of a cult figure. And yet she is one of the most human, human being I have ever met. Wise, honest, witty, and just wanting share the joy of music with other human beings.

This is one of her songs:

And this is her TED talk. The Art of Asking:

She draws on her eyebrows to make people unconsciously look her in the eye because it is through the eyes that people connect.

It is through the eyes that people see eachother.

And in a society that is far too open about looking, we don't really see anyone.

She endeavours to empathise and get into the perspectives of all individuals, whether they are on the right or wrong side of morality or law. Because we are all human at heart.

She is often critised as being too showy and trustworthy, as breaking all boundaries of what is "right" in the music industry by allowing fans to download for free.

She does this because the only way to build a connection is by making yourself vulnerable, by being 100% honest. When that connection is built you don't have to force anyone to do anything.

Most likely they will want to do it.

First though, you need to connect.

Second though, you need to ask.

That requires vulnerability.

And through it all you need the bravery to just do the Thing. Because you want to. Not because you have to or you should.

I've long been wanting to publish a novel. And I do. Want to publish a novel, that is. Except there is much more I also want to do.

After reading Amanda's book I sat back and thought. Why haven't I published the novel yet? I came up with this:

I am afraid no one will read it because no one has yet seemed to read what I do already.

Then again, I haven't shared much of my writing yet. I did have someone read part of my novel-in-progress recently and they laughed in many parts. Just as I had hoped as I wrote it.

That made me happy.

Art isn't about being able to live off of it. Yes that would be lovely but really, art is about sharing a moment with other people. It is about sharing stories around a campfire. Like humanity has done for millenia. Albeit in different formats.

I am going to start sharing more. I am going to keep writing and photographing more. Maybe one day people will laugh, smile, cry and cheer over this art from my heart. Until then...

I have re-started my tumblr which you can find at: alyssaimaginist.tumblr.com

On that platform I intend on sharing my photostories since it is more friendly to photography and here I will continue my life musings and travel blogging. The novel is going to be a work in progress for a while and who knows what I'll come out with next. The good thing about being an imaginist is that I always have ideas for new works. I'm going to be as busy as ever. I live in London. I'm going to build experiences the size of the Great Wall of China thank you very much. And hopefully you'll stick around for the ride. If you're a twitterer do check me out on @TheMoonyDreamer where shorter bits of inspiration, and links to much more creativity are generally found. 

All that I ask is that you enjoy my work, comment when you have the time and share with others if you have a moment.

That is the point of art after all. It brings us together. It reminds us what being human is about; deep down, all we want is to be seen from the inside.

We are all bigger on the inside. Like the Tardis. So don't be afraid. Do the Things. Because you can. Not because anyone says you can or anyone watches. Dance like no one watches. Dance like the world is within you. Or in the words of Amanda Palmer's other brilliant half, Neil Gaiman: "Make good art."


Tuesday 12 May 2015

A Drabbled History in Knowledge

To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. 

From Tennyson's Ulysses

In knowledge we live and die.
 People retreated into distant corners and set up literal walls as the Romans had done many millenia prior. Caravans trekked the lands carrying loads of goods and people as they hurried to safety. Wary of each other of other things. Technology had brought much which was fantastic and forbidden to the forefront.

Shadows of nameless fear. Hidden societies. Secret cults. Inventions gone sour.

Among the chaos came the Druids. From the sky they came, riding upon bulbous clouds. They offered humanity their aid. Led by twin brothers these people from the sky beyond taught humans how to protect themselves from the shadows. They called it alchemy and it followed one sacred rule.

Equivalent exchange. So long as people put in something of equal value to what they wished to create or fix, anything was possible. With possibility in hand, humanity felt safe and in their safety they began to look further. Where did the Druids come from? What other worlds were beyond Earth? What other powers were possible?

The Druids would not tell and so suspicions grew. Just why did the Druids come when they did? Some said. Others stated they knew all along that the Druids were bad business. Technically the lot of insanity was down to a greedy human and a beautiful woman who too many people obssessed over, but that is another story for another day. Either way, what history came to call the Great War erupted and after, the Druids disappeared. Alchemy became outlawed as a new power sought to bring control to the lands. Remember, alchemy and love do not mix.

Under the Emperor Alexander the world prospered once more. Simply, albeit slowly and like life, this comfort was not truly comfort, was not truly felt, strongly and fully, until it was gone. Quickly. A short time it was. Only a hundred years and once again, shadows unknown whispered from the darkness. Alchemy trickled to the surface.

Humanities hunger for knowledge would not long sit starving and soon there was revitalisation of texts and tales. Those who were most hungry for knowledge; the ultimate quest for the truth of existence formed an organisation. The Rosicrucians.

Garbed in red they were. Trapped in gold chains about their wrists and foreheads, in symbol to their devotion to their quest and their duty; the seeking and protecting of all knowledge. As the Great War showed, lesser beings could not be trusted with such power. (Like kings. Or knights. Academics, whether they are alchemists or not, do spend their lives with their heads in towering castles so do try to understand their narrow stair perspective).

Which brings us to a covered wagon that rumbled along a Roman road. Still rutted, winding and narrow after countless millenia. It traveled to the village of Chesterfield, a haven caught between hills, river and forest and segregated from the world's wonders due to a great wall, put up to protect from nameless shadows, that was never felled.

But when the shadows come in human form, what is there to stop them? The human in question was a young man with a neat brown beard and twinkling eyes shaded by a cloth cap. A falcon was perched beside him and a barrel-chested horse pulled his home. Well, home it was to him. To you and me it was a sea of books, loose parchment, ancient scrolls, quill pens, broken clocks and an old gramophone. Caught between the past and the present this young man was admitted, albeit with the narrowed eyes of the gatesman watching him, to one of the last places on Earth to have not yet felt the fear of hungry knowledge.

Oh Chesterfield was full of intelligent people. They didn't lack knowledge. They just didn't have the tower-abiding sort. Or the sort which scrabbled and scrambled, pointing guns and and dropping traps on people for the bits generally belonging in museums. They were the sort who knew the land, knew the seasons and thanked the Earth for its generosity while whipping up in curious chatter when an itinerant tradesman huffed his way in, pushing a broken down lorry full of woven rugs from distant lands or the lady from over the hill came in her donkey cart piled with sweets.

When the alchemist came to Chesterfield this all changed. With him he brought knowledge which the village folk called magic. It simplified things. After all, what else can see a cold cured with a quick mix of a drink, rather than a fortnight of Nan's tangy teas or the your dropped pocketwatch could be fixed with a quick sketch of some symbols and a pile of spare gears to replace the bent ones.

He also brought peeping eyes to his shaded windows, and when he bothered to venture out for a client a wake of gratitude tinged with fear and anger followed his way.

He wasn't particularly polite.

Then again, when one is an alchemist who delights in the puzzle of broken things and can fix them with a quick brow quirk and other necessary bits, who needs to.

He did appreciate Matty's cakes though.

And that is where things went wrong. Well, started too. When she died things when very wrong, but really, haven't humans learned that alchemy and love never mix?

Not my place to interfere. I'm just a spectator. What are you? What will you do? What do you know?

(A/N: Thanks for reading! Just a heads up I am delving more seriously than I yet have in a long time in terms of properly completely a full novel so my blog posts will be relegated to photostory-esque drabbles like what I have been doing on and off. I'll work on fitting in more article-based things but at the moment I am wanting all my focus to go toward writing for the novel directly or expanding the universe it sits within. Hopefully in some months time this will be less of a priority and I will certainly go back to detailing travel-related experiences and tips as usual).