no cape no mask

who needs a costume when you have words?

Month: August, 2012

No, seriously, is there a map?

I wake up one evening, a beer and a nap Friday, and have to find a woman.

She had been lying next to me in a bed cleaner and softer than mine, sunstream-lit. Facing me, a melting dream pooling at my edges. “Please?”

So I get up and go. I do check my eyes for sleep before closing the door.

The park is the usual way, past the bars and the street dining, the crowds of revelling faces and the gleaming that could be for me. I walk at a pace between overdue and making the scene, legs saying “passing through”, manner “might stay awhile”.

Friday night. Work sets, Play rises, and all the beasts get to it. Safari has begun, please keep your windows up. Eye contact is at your own risk. Keep anything you wish to hold on to away from the moving parts, at all times. Be alert, watch the fringes. Your safety is your responsibility. There will be no stoppages. No blood no foul. Welcome!

I’m usually asleep by this time. Bypassing all this bullshit via sugar overdose and surrender to sleep. I don’t dig the safari. Nobody knows where the cages end, who’s behind the bars and who’s rattling them. I don’t want to be part of the show.

Fortunately there’s another way to the bridge. Train sidings and orange-tinted asphalt. High fences and dogshit. Other Friday-beasts scurrying past just as fast as you, afraid of staining their sequins.

She didn’t say where she was. She didn’t say anything except that one word.

“Please”.

Nobody says “please” anymore. Nobody I know.

Trust, Who Do Ya? (Apologies to Prince)

In the 90’s pop culture told us to trust no-one. In the 00’s governments, corporations, and major religions were exposed by media (mainstream and otherwise) to be unworthy of the trust many had already withheld. In the 10’s maybe the only people we can trust are the creators.

Go with me a minute. We can’t trust ourselves because we don’t know who we are. Consciousness, Identity, Reality, they’re all abstracts we’ve got workarounds for, but definitive answers? So far… no banana.

We can’t, by extension, trust the authority structures we create because they are composed of us, with our perverse motivations and unfathomable lobes.

We can’t trust in a Higher Power, because most of us (I mean most of the people who’ll ever read this post) were born in a century which witnessed atrocities of faith-defying intensity.

There are no absolutes worthy of total trust. So I propose a conditional trust. Let us trust the creators.

Creators are driven by the closest thing to a divine spark we can fathom, the urge to make. Whatever we think of the results, we can trust that they come from that faraway place where creation began, that some part of it was dragged from the swirling, stinky chaos of potential.

Creators are not the agencies or companies who employ them. I am not suggesting we trust Disney executives or the CEOs of advertising agencies, nor that we mistrust any work that garnered payment. Money is not evil.

But anything created issues a challenge to its non-creators. The challenge is a statement and a question, “Here I am. What do you think?”. Our responses to those challenges add up to life.

Creators, through their creations, offer humanity perpetual possibility. We can trust them to do that even if they’re remarkably similar to the rest of us on all other counts, unfathomable and perverse.

Trust creators. Or Batman.

Trust

I never saw Christ’s alleged miracles.

There is no business which exists solely to do good, and no businessmen who are solely motivated by benevolence.

Batman doesn’t exist.

But my amygdala cries out for something to believe in, something to trust.

So I choose stories.

Storytellers have their own motivations, and Orwell defined them as well as anyone else can. Stories are always told from a perspective, they do not pretend to objectivity or altruism, and they always bear the bias of their creators. They can be trusted to be untrustworthy. You can count on them to elude you by ending, by twisting out of your grasp, or instead to reveal themselves to you in unrelated moments, long after you thought them consigned to the past.

But stories are how we think, remember, articulate, comprehend. Stories are our lifeblood, the swiss army knife with which we whittle experience into… whatever we need to.

Without stories we have nothing to grab on to except each other. And we’re worth more to each other than desperate grabbing, right?