Porcupine Tree “Strip The Soul”
 Porcupine Tree “Drown With Me”
Baring one’s soul is not an easy endeavor. There are so many reasons why we should hold our cards close to our chest and keep our guard up. The world is there to kick our ass right? Life’s not fair is it? Ultimately all good things must come to an end so what is the point of trying? I stand before you all now as living proof that, while life can admittedly put us against the ropes and doesn’t always play by the rules to the letter, there is every reason to try, every reason to believe that good people exist and that to trust that their feelings are true, real, clear and sincere. When I began my current pilgrimage I fully expected to be scribing my epitaph. I was lost, so woefully forfeited and hurtling towards my undoing with no idea how to halt the slide. It’s no less than I have explained on numerous occasions before and my wish isn’t to regurgitate shit for the sake of it; instead I wish to speak of any discovery and recovery which has afforded this chance of sharing my most innermost self with you all. I found out fairly swiftly that there was to be beauty in the breakdown and held onto that faith as I plundered blindly into the darkness, unaware of my light sources, and willing to die trying to work the whole sorry mess of my life out once and for all.
“Should I live should I die
Should I give up or try
Should I bleed or concede to continue?
The answer inside you
Can break you or guide you
Let it harness the darkness within you”
Bridge Over Bloodied Water: Crimson Rivers Flow (September 8, 2013)
It is now fourteen months since my life inexplicably changed. Back then I was still finding my feet as a scribe, learning my trade, and battling my demons as had become customary since a breakdown had left all the pieces jumbled. My head was in turmoil; the existence I had come to know and trust was beginning to change before me and I suspected that life was ordained with breaking me, rather than throwing me a bone. My marriage dissolved and not because of a lack of love either; it did so because of an outside influence which threatened to eradicate my sanity. The decision I made to walk away from a situation which was growing more noxious by the day was not one which I undertook lightly and neither did I do so with clear mind. It happened because push came to shove, all exits became obscured other than two and neither of them appeared particularly inviting. I could stay where I was, stand still, and be dead within months as that was where I was headed. Or I could take a leap of faith and walk a path which I had never considered before. There were no guarantees of a safe passage and, indeed, it looked unlikely that I would make it through the darkness to the other side.
I was steadily killing myself the only way I knew how; by no longer loving myself. Instead I detested myself for my actions and their evident repercussions and started self-loathing, a habit which has been incredibly hard to break and which is, by no means, a battle yet won. The difference between then and now is that I have learned the tools of my continuation and know where and how to access them. I never stopped writing the whole time that my life was dissipating before my eyes; I kept on weeping through prose although always mindful that my pain must be turned into somebody else’s hope. If you are putting your soul down on paper then you have a duty to inform, to relate with your readership, and share with them your findings. That darkest hour was particularly bleak; I shut myself off from everybody in my life, fully expecting to close off any options and embrace closure in absolute solitude. I bared all at this time, as has always been the case, although there is a distinct difference between then and now.
Back in October/November 2013 I sat in sub-zero conditions, ceasing any pursuits which could have bettered my situation, often unclothed but not because I felt relaxed and comfortable, more as a cry for help. A number of the pieces of literature from that time, many of which were barely legible, were scribed naked. My body was screaming out at that point; although I wanted nothing more than to be cut-off from the world, I felt the urge to reveal myself in a manner I had never previously considered, in an attempt at resonating with anybody who wished to digest my prose. I was littered with scar tissue although my skin was rarely broken; beaten and bruised by a change of circumstance which I had never envisaged or prepared for. What a difference a year can make. I bare myself now for a different reason altogether; not because I wish to lower the tone although I accept that I’m culpable of doing so on occasion. This just feels right; like everything which has happened in my life has led me to this point. I am comfortable in my skin and, while I cannot turn back time or affect the past, I feel in control of my future.
I am currently in Woodstock, New York; three and a half thousand miles from my hometown, in a place where minds are free and open. It seems fitting that it is here that I have decided to bare all once again as there is so much history here and I feel secure in my decision. Forty years is a long time to take getting-to-know yourself and I’m fairly assured there are no more unpleasant surprises lurking around the corner. Instead I feel as though I can accept any flaws to my character as precious few souls out there have judged me for my imperfections. Acceptance has been key; taking folk warts and all and praying that they will reciprocate. It’s a two-way road and such a gloriously liberating way to operate, made increasingly difficult by the often cynical world we live in. I can’t change the world, neither do I wish to, at least not through means of domination. What I can do is affect a life; touch a fellow soul. It is indeed that two-way exchange which has kept me clinging onto deaths flapping gums as the jaws were clamping down around me. I made it, managed to cling on for dear life, and that is due, in no small part, to the souls which I have glanced across around the globe.
A smile is such a beautiful thing. Too often we ration them and find more reason to frown than to show our teeth. Through the connection we have all forged over the past year I sense beams from all around me. If I am feeling a little off-kilter then one of these inestimable gifts can stop my flame from flickering out. I know as much as I have been to the brink; hell I even set up a deck chair and poured myself a Margarita. When I have needed a lifeline there has always been one there, many as has often been the case. It took some time before I knew how to grab them when they were offered and my grip has slackened on particularly dark days but I never let go, despite often feeling that it was the only course of action available. Happiness is inside of me and not in meager supply either; it hangs out just left of the anguish in a far more jolly locale. Anybody that can coax that out of me with a consolidating smile of their own is considered inestimable and my heart has ample space for all of the love in the world. Unconditional affection is the most resplendent thing and something I strive for habitually. Our souls have learned to smile together and thus I feel wholly justified in maintaining my positive stance.
Anybody who knows me, and I’m assured multitudes amongst you do by now, will know full well of my cheeky side. I was an involuntary firestarter at ten years old and I guess that where there’s smoke, invariably fire will never be too far away. I utilize my right to spring a surprise from time to time and love when my work can spark a debate; it is something which can involve everyone, we can all share our views and do so secure in the knowledge than we will find acceptance. My mind may never be too far from the gutter but right now it has just showered and I feel like divulging. It’s as simple as that; sharing is caring and I just feel so free right now. That mask was stifling, for twenty years I muzzled myself as I lost belief that I had anything significant to say, but now I can discard it and move on. I can be me and that means showing all sides of myself; not holding anything back as heavy baggage can be so over-encumbering and I have no wish to struggle with it any longer. There are things in life which I can change and numerous things which I cannot, and it is tiring always concerning myself with the latter. Thankfully, through bloodied teeth and perseverance, I have learned to let certain things be and focus on that which is within my jurisdiction.
“I’d want to know I’d bared myself
My soul for all to share
Through doing this I’m in good health
Should I be here or there”
If I Should Die Before I Wake (October 29, 2013)
I’m thankful for my imperfections, as numerous as they may be, they make me the person that I am. Mistakes have been made, lessons learned, smiles recovered and happiness reinstated and I much prefer the place that my mind resides now to the spot it vacated last winter. I have discovered how to keep faith in the path before you even when dimly lit; it will never be plain sailing all of the time and to suggest otherwise would be utterly preposterous. However, if I reveal my all to people who genuinely appreciate the gesture then I stand the best possible chance of locating my inner zen. It all ultimately boils down to equilibrium, you have to find that balance and know of your center. I have done that now, still I have no real inkling as to where exactly my prose emanates from but I know of its general ballpark. I remain true, real, clear and sincere and this will be the case unerringly with every step I take from this point forward. I have no clear indication of my eventual outcome as it has never been intended for me to know of such. However, I have found love and acceptance with all manner of beautiful people and that is a comforting thought. So you see, I have no real need for loose-fitting garments right now. Besides, being naked is rather a lot of fun.
Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014