Porcupine Tree “Buying New Soul (Instrumental)”
Somebody very dear to me recently asked me a poser. It was requested that I not feel harried into a response and instead ponder the question for a moment, consider the implications of my answer before simply blurting it out. I accepted the terms willingly as reflection is my thing and, over the years, I have learned how to do it in-action. Evidently this was to be significant, I could tell such before the words were even spoken. So I buckled up; listened intently as the poser was relayed to me. It went something like this. “If you were offered the chance to forsake your soul in exchange for a wealth of riches and happiness right up to your final breath uninterrupted, would you do so?” That’s right Grueheads; the big one. The bliss of ignorance or the pain of awareness? No pre-loaded retorts were on hand for this one; I would be required to dig deep.
So what is the monetary value of said soul? My first consideration was just basic economics. My brain fed any primary words through and it seemed only correct that it would have first bite of the cherry on this occasion. Think of the figures, the benefits from a financial standpoint; put into practise all that you learned whilst wiring. Weigh up the advantages and disadvantages to relinquishing this admittedly exclusive piece of gear. I mean, we’re talking of a lifetime of smiles in exchange for those few fleeting moments which populate each day. My brain had it covered and, considering it sits in closest proximity to my vocal chords, it rushed to my aid before either of its opposing number could so much as catch a sniff of the Intel.
I’m gonna miss you soul; thanks for the memories. That’s right, I was already rifling through for gift wrap. I don’t need my soul; can probably pick another up at the local bi-weekly flea market for next to nothing. My brain was well positioned to pull the wool over my eyes and I could already discern the drape tickling my lashes as I commenced with my response. Before the words could hang in the air there was an eleventh hour plea from down South and I knew full well that I would have a fight on my hands. Head vs. Heart. While my cerebellum likes to think it is running the show, my love muscle (or one of two) sees things altogether differently. Think of the children; remember they are our future. Dagnabbit, it was onto something. I knew there were two sides to this argument and the fact that I, Richard Charles Stevens, helped fashion another human life, guaranteed that I would be required to slow my head down and listen to whatever it had to say on the matter.
In this context, what is most imperative is that my little Jacob Nathaniel has the very best life experience possible. I will survive through him; he is my favorite person. His happiness is of far greater importance than my own and I cannot, and will not, allow that to become compromised. Astonishingly my heart was in total agreement with my head and suggested that I sell to the highest bidder as, by accepting anonymity, I would be ensuring his safe passage. That’s just the kind of thing a father would do for their boy. If that meant going to work nine thru five each weekday and every second Saturday for the remainder of my existence in a job I loathe then so be it. As long as he is taken care of then I shall deal with any repercussions for my actions accordingly.
It is commonly known that there are two sides to every argument. I would suggest a third also; heart and head may know how to voice their opinions but, over the past two years of my life, I have learned of another. How could any dotted lines be signed without the consent of the soul in question? It had been chomping at the bit to have its say but respectfully declined as it wasn’t in possession of all factors. The person asking the question freed my soul from its shackles by reassuring me that Jacob’s contentment would not be refused on account of my decision. That meant I would be afforded the opportunity of hanging onto my most precious heirloom, the thing my father empowered me to utilize, at no consequence to him. This fresh Intel was the game-changer.
No. One word. Clear as crystal and followed by another two. I wouldn’t. I spent too much time already ignoring my soul’s existence and it’s everything I am, aside from flesh and bones. When my time comes and it ultimately vacates my mortal shell, both its stablemates shall remain grounded. There is one way in which I am airborne and that is through prose. It is here that the Keeper of The Crimson Quill pops his head through the clouds and feels the breeze lapping against him affectionately. Here I am free; through spoken word, I soar like a kestrel. Nothing to hide, scars worn proudly, truth unerring, faith recurring. It is who I am, everything I have become, what I always was. Somewhere along the way I misplaced it, gave it a rebuff and tucked it in storage. Since I have relocated my soul, I have found my true voice. It was inside me the whole time; both head and, more disparagingly, heart suggested I keep it under wraps.
I will take each lick of pain thanks; regardless of any discomforting consequence. My soul will see me good in the long run; regardless of monetary gain or fame. There will never be a reason to change. It took forty years to finally suss out who I am and I’m ready to cash in my chips. As long as I remain true to myself then everything else will work itself out how it sees fit. I trust that now; one day I will die, it’s a cold sobering fact of life but also the truest. A legacy never need perish however; each word I scribe attests to this. One day Jacob will read this piece of literature and, should I not be around to witness this, then I trust that he will be nudged in the right direction when the time is right.
To you my precious son I say this: live out loud, but accept the comfort of silence. Be you, as only you can be. Love wherever possible; care each time you share. You will know all of this already; I knew as much the moment I held you in my arms for the very first time and kissed your conehead. Laugh Jacob. Laugh until your ribs hurt. I will be right there by your side snorting with you. I’m thankful for the question being posed and can now state with vigor that I shall be hanging on to my soul for the foreseeable. Not everything has a price. Not anymore. For that moment when I created divine life was the one where I remembered how to live myself again and will forever remain…