Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 The Temper Trap Sweet Disposition (Instrumental)
 Mastodon Show Yourself (Instrumental)
“There’s a city in my mind
Come along and take that ride
And it’s alright, baby, it’s all right
And it’s very far away…”
Who am I? You know, if you’d asked me that question four years ago, I honestly would have had no idea how to answer you. It’s funny how things change. Right now, I could tell you precisely who I am, in some detail I might add. Over that period, I’ve prodded and poked inside myself more times than I care to mention, and not always been greeted by the answers I was hoping for. Needless to say, there have been home truths and grim realizations along the way, some of which have been decidedly uncomfortable to entertain. But I’ve actually kind of done me to death now, if I’m honest. That is to say I’m no longer quite so inquisitive when it comes to yours truly. I’m not claiming for a second that I know it all and neither do I have any burning desire to reach that particular beacon. Every day is still an opportunity to learn, whether the mystery of the ages or the meaning of the word “bumfuzzle” matters not. It’s still going in right?
The thing about dirty laundry is that it tends to pile up on the sly. I had over twenty years of soiled linen to contend with on the big wash day of 2013 and it has taken the last 48 months or so just to get it in any kind of order. What eventually transpires is that you arrive at a point where you just say “fuck it”; I know me now and have dedicated more than enough of my precious time to sussing that out. We tend to think of our imperfections as weaknesses when, in truth, each one is a strength so long as you know how to regard it as such. I’d despise being perfect, like literally the puking through the nostrils kind of loathing. I’d rather know of my flaws and gravitate towards those who are aware of theirs too. Cunning evil masterminds need not apply here as I couldn’t be less inclined to devise a stratagem for global domination. I’m far too placid a fellow for such grand-scale tomfoolery. That’s why I like to keep things more intimate.
Every time I settle down to write, intimacy is an absolute given. You see, holding back just isn’t in my nature anymore. Through prose I can offer it all, hurl myself onto each blank canvas and splash around to my heart’s content. The only boundaries for a scribe tend to be the ones we apply ourselves and I’ve got absolutely no intention of penning my imagination in when it clearly wishes to roam wild and free. Where that leads is anyone’s guess, mine inclusive, and it’s incredibly rare for me to have it all mapped out on commencement. Going with the flow always appealed to me more, playing passenger myself and simply riding each creative wave as it comes. To anyone else aspiring to become a writer, I’d recommend acquainting yourself with your souls, as this particular tool will see you good so long as you’ve figured out how to access it.
There will always be those who consider this exclusive piece of kit as surplus to requirements. After all, they couldn’t hope to reach inside and pinpoint it, therefore it simply doesn’t exist in their eyes. Just another cliché in a world overrun with platitude. Each to their own I say but I’ve always been far more fascinated by things I cannot fully comprehend than what I can. That’s where the mystery comes from; the romance, passion and fire. Without my soul’s intervention, I’d be chump change, just another peddler of piss with precious little meaningful to impart. Making up the numbers disinterests me entirely; as does placing myself on a pedestal and coming across all self-important. What truly gets my pistons firing is the idea of empowering others to reach those higher rungs; which I guess is the purpose of this little exercise.
It’s a common misconception that we should look out for number one at all times and I’ve never heard a bigger crock of shit in all my years. Should a fellow artist and friend receive good news, then I’ll be the very first to offer my congratulations and wish them well. Do I then scurry off to my home voodoo kit and knock up an effigy to stab the shit out of just because their big break arrived before mine? Hell no. If I tell you I’m happy for you, then you’d better believe that shit as I don’t flap my gums for the sound they make. When did the world become too small to endorse the prosperity of others? Is there only one sacred spot at the top going begging? If there is, then we may as well all jack it in right now and do something that actually pays a living. Been there, done that. I like this way more. Saying something and damn well making it sincere. Looking out for number one – give me a fucking break.
No half measures thanks. Top my glass up to overspilling and then make it a double. None of this “I know something you don’t” bullshit or holding my cards close to my chest for the feeling of self-serving superiority this provides. I’d gladly give away every last one of my “trade secrets” if I thought it would serve the greater good. Just so we’re clear, I’ve never been to Calcutta and neither have I ever washed another man’s feet. I’m not looking to snag a Nobel Peace Prize here, just to get a little electricity buzzing, spread it as far and wide as my dialect allows and maybe, just maybe, inspire another to reach deeper for their art. It’s right in there, positively aching to get out and make itself known. Your masterpiece need over be a single piece of channeled passion away and anyone who suggests otherwise obviously doesn’t have the faintest idea who they’re dealing with.
There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance and I know which side my tent is pitched. Any words of encouragement from others are used to inform the next I write, not to bloat an ego that I have no real need or use for. We can still have confidence in our own abilities without being dicks about it and expecting the whole world to wipe our asses each time we have a bowel movement. Similarly, my ferocity should never be misconstrued as anger as I don’t play mind games and neither do I make thinly veiled digs in an underhand manner. It’s never been my style. If there has ever been anything I’ve needed to address and my character has been called into question, then I’ve always looked to do so with dignity and not mistake my words as a weapon. It’s when people are backed into a corner that you really get to see what they’re made of and any insincerity harbored soon rears its ugly head. Thus should you read something in my work that hits a nerve, then rest assured it hasn’t been strategically placed there out of malice. Cheap shots don’t interest me in the slightest.
I feel blessed to have been introduced to so many wonderful souls through my art. I was on a road to nowhere when I started out and, while the way forth may not be signposted, I take tremendous heart from the fact that I’ll never be required to take the pilgrimage solo. Who knows where we’re headed? I’m shrugging my shoulders, in case you were looking to me for answers there. Wherever that may be, it’s somewhere for sure. It’s ultimately all about choosing those travel companions and them doing likewise to you. As for keeping your friends close and enemies closer, well that’s just plain demented, if you ask me. I happen to have a rather intense disliking for arachnids with a body mass larger than the size of a walnut. Should one scuttle into my vicinity all “mind if I join you?”, then I don’t offer it a cup of tea and a biscuit. I grab the fucking hoover, suck it up like chest mucus, and empty its contents into the bin furthest away from my coordinates. That’s why none of my friends possess eight legs.
Anyroad, what do you say we blow this pop stand then and go hit the asphalt? I’ve been plying my trade since 2013 and, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in that time, then it’s that the road I’m taking definitely leads somewhere. Be it fraught with great peril or lined with cotton candy, I’ll still happily put in the legwork regardless and would be tickled to the pink stuff if you’d join me. Whether filmmaker, writer, actor, musician, graphic artist or sightseer matters not a jot; only that you don’t mind giving me a piggy back when my ankles swell up. Fret not as I’d do the exact same for you. Creators Unite, right? Wherever this yellow brick road shall lead is nowhere near as important as the fun we have on the way. I’ve been walking this path for four years now and there’s one thing I can say without flinching – there really is no place like home. Seems like somewhere to me, you see.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Grueheads Films 2017