Suggested Audio Candy:
Porcupine Tree “The Start of Something Beautiful”
Reading, Bleeding, Feeding, Leading, Proceeding. Five little words we have become all too familiar with over the past few months together I’m sure. My cunning master plan here is to dissect and digest all five; thus offering insight into why, at our current rate of knots, the Grueheads are headed to the promised land. Before I commence, allow me to shed a little more light on myself, just to keep us up to date for any new arrivals. My real name is Richard Charles Stevens and I’m a fully fledged man-child who, through a dash of recent turmoil, lives with his mother. No I don’t run a motel before you ask although I have been known to don a frock from time to time, for extracurricular purposes mind. My grandmother, God rest her soul, used to comment on my shapely pins regularly so why not bust out the fishnets behind closed doors? I do, however, draw the line at crotchless panties. That just looks demented. Show me a universe where ballbags aren’t unsightly and I’ll gladly eat a hunk of moon rock.
I have actually been a scribe for several months now and my sole intention when embarking on my pilgrimage was to construct an army of sorts. I’m not speaking of a devastating militia bidding for world domination devised with the sole purpose of crushing the meek like the gnats that they are. The infantry in question would be an army to share and one to care. It just so happens that I to know rather a lot about plenty of seemingly useless stuff and better out than in, so I share this intelligence willingly with anyone that wishes to listen. Nothing pleases me more than flinging that shit out there into the public domain and seeing what sticks and what slides. It’s like one big social experiment. Once the foundations have been laid, as they are at this juncture, the next logical step is transmogrification. We thereby fashion a network for lost souls, after all, I’m trapped in my shell so why not invite a few more in so we can all be trapped together? It’s something of a no-brainer. The kicker is that once we let out a little pain; it clears much-needed space for pleasure. I know right? Genius. And all this from a guy whose worst nightmares consist of flat-packed Ikea furniture and remote controls. Go figure!
Every single soul which pays visitation to this particular river is offered an exclusive opportunity; that being to bleed in a secure environment. Within the banks of grue there is no judgement given as long as the one requisite of kindness is met and, even then, it often takes the bigger person to walk away from conflict. This is a place of communion for all of us. Here we reveal our essence amongst each other, safe in the knowledge that it will be nurtured. More on that later but, for now, I shall press on.
noun: the action or skill of reading.
an occasion at which pieces of literature are read to an audience.
Phase one of this metamorphosis involves opening up to Keeper’s prose for the first time; offering your mental hymen for me to shatter like the proverbial wishbone. I promise to be a most gentle and attentive lover and my words are only ever intended to caress your soul (and occasionally tickle your quims). It won’t take long for you to work out what makes me tick and I am open about how my mental breakdown, as horrific as it has been, has enabled me to see things from a fresh perspective. Every thing society teaches us wrongly needs to be wiped clean. Now I don’t mean wipe your slate clean of everything you’ve learned, that would mean lobotomy, and I’ve already explained that I’m no evil mastermind. Simply discard it for the time being; leave it to one side for a moment and allow my prose to wash over you like Sharknado.
My favorite metaphor, and one I use frequently, happens to be cherry picking. I’ve partaken in this delightful activity since childhood and it didn’t take long for me to suss out that negativity leaves me cold. It’s like a cancer once allowed to spread but, should you cherry pick and let any adversity simply pass you by, then you’re already well on the road to redemption. I’ve armed my mind cannon through picking cherries since I was a small boy and, nearly forty years later, some bright spark has just lit its fuse. Sounds like an explosion waiting to happen right? I assure you that I’m benign to the spine and know that my readership appreciates such as they know of my integrity. I have been known to reveal my innermost secrets on occasion and this has left many open-mouthed as it’s not what you would call standard practise. By working under a pseudonym it would appear that you are searching for anonymity. not Keeper; I choose honesty every time and lay out many cherries for the Grueheads to pick, like psychological breadcrumbs. Nibble those morsels and, should their flavor please you, then you are primed for stage two in your passage.
verb: to ooze or flow out
to exude sap, resin, etc., from a wound.
The bleeding process is where we take a look around, realise we are in cordial waters surrounded by like-minded souls, and enter into our emotional baptism. There’s a revolving door around every last soul, as we bleed out we afford others access and, by creating an environment based on togetherness and understanding, we nourish one another. The deeper the wound, the more access provided. The more lost souls that swim in, the more substantial the healing. In my recent article D.E.A.T.H., I bled profusely for my beloved Grueheads. This piece was scribed when, if I wasn’t knocking at death’s door, then I was at least in the reaper’s zip code. Of all my work thus far, it was the only piece I have held back with intention as I didn’t wish to appear beaten. However, that wasn’t a male pride thing or an attempt to come across alpha.
The thought process behind such a decision was elementary my dear Watsons: I was required to follow the light source out of my own dark place before sharing as, whilst some may merrily pick cherries from within my prose, any impressionable minds may have taken the wrong message. My words are supposed only to inspire and never demoralize; mine is never a bleak house. For anyone afflicted by drugs, domestic violence, body and emotional confidence issues, there needs to be clarity to discourage any discouragement. I have no interest in censoring myself and, although I don’t always explain my intentions, the reason for any explicit content is that sometimes one has to shock. Society bounds us by limitations, therefore on occasion, it is necessary for my work to make an impact. By raising eyebrows, I’m sparking debate, and that’s a healthy thing as it allows us all to use our beautiful voices. I endeavor to read every last tweet on my Twitter page and one of my favorite pastimes is to play spectator and marvel at the tangents conversations take after consumption. Which brings me tidily on to meal-time.
noun: an instance of eating or of taking or being given nourishment.
We all need to feed; it is our body’s fuel after all. By accessing another’s soul en masse, we can all feast on its essence. We can then absorb any positivity and pay it forward by affording nourishment to be reciprocated. Subsequently the wound seals up into a beautiful scar and there is nothing more beautiful than scar tissue in my opinion. Together we form networks which act as feeders back to the main central conduit; in this case Rivers of Grue. Every last network interconnects as they all shovel intelligence back to the mother brain and, in return, it pays out in kind. By drinking in such light essence we arm ourselves for the next stage of the process and this involves us taking the return journey on our arc of enlightenment, my favorite part.
verb: to conduct by holding and guiding.
We all join hands and suddenly never need feel alone or helpless. Once any shared energy has been absorbed, we step out of the shadows and when that occurs we’re unified, endowed with a collective strength which knows absolutely no boundaries. As a leader, and I’m mildly uncomfortable with being labelled as such, I must be prepared to be a martyr for my beliefs. I’m comfortable with that as creative souls are destined to be misunderstood and my creativity leaves me wide open for being burned at the stake. I accept this responsibility as, by standing with chest out and chin aloft, I reveal inner strength and others too may then be empowered to do the same. It’s imperative that power must be put to the right use as conflict only knows one resolution. So we’ve allowed others in, scoffed upon a kick ass banquet, and stood together unified under a collective umbrella. That leaves only one thing left to do right?
verb: to move or go forward
to continue one’s discourse.
Once the time comes for us to march, we do so with liberty intact, and straight towards that blessed light source. Do we swerve? Invariably. However, there are an ocean hands on deck to usher us back towards safe pastures whenever we falter. I stand amongst you all with my bloody sword raised aloft and more than ready to step into the flurry of arrows, protected by the shield we constructed together. A shield of lost souls discovered, nourished and reinvigorated. Together we form a trojan horse of sorts, capable of wreaking widespread havoc, but with no intention whatsoever of doing such.
That’s where the responsibility part is so critical to our advancement. We are parents, siblings, and spouses and all ultimately tasked with leaving the next generation a foundation for hope that they can build upon. I worked with my local community for five years and took the government’s spoon-fed drivel daily when I knew only too well that the system was defective. The difference now is that my skin fits and I can now work on this legacy I’ve been putting off for years as I’m finally shooting from the right hip. I know always of my intentions and consider myself far less of a loose cannon than often regarded, even by myself. Now I’m on the return journey, have seen the darkness, and am disinterested in what it offers it if truth be known. I do, however, acknowledge its existence, as knowing your enemy is another key to advancement in any climactic melee.
So we’ve ascertained that I’m currently on the home straight; my redemption is already underfoot. Now I’m primed for venturing forth, proceeding towards this dazzling Valhalla before me. I don’t wish to perish, but should that occur, then my body has likely buckled under the abuse it has taken over the years. In such eventually then my dying consideration will be of the legacy left to my beloved Grueheads, my brothers and sisters and, of course, my very own son. I’m 39 years young but am I destined to witness 40? I damned well hope so as I have become rather partial to living. Since finding sanctuary myself within these Rivers of Grue, I have become primed to proceed and every last one of you reading this has been responsible in some way for me doing what it is that I love; no matter how trivial that inspiration may seem. Thank you all truly. I may still be a work in progress but Rome wasn’t built in a day. I have, however, located inner peace and vanquished many of my demons while, most critically, my soul remains ever true. The aforementioned five steps have served me well Grueheads and I trust they will do the exact same for you. That is all I could ever ask.