Featured art by L.H. Grey
Listen to Suggested Audio
Tool “Forty Six & 2”
“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody”
So how about that darkness then? It’s something else isn’t it? Take it from me, I’ve spent the best part of the last half a decade fading to black and have been forced to suck up to some fairly harsh realities during that period. One of which is that I, Richard Charles Stevens, am a decidedly dark fellow. I know right? How could this be when my social interactions are only ever geared towards spreading love, light and hope to the world? Indeed, certain tenebrous types could accuse me of being something of a sickly dish, such is my insistence on veering towards light as opposed to the dark side. I’m not about to argue the toss on that one as often I throw up in my own mouth casting an eye over the cotton candy I put out into the Twitterverse and other platforms. But any astringent bile slides back down effortlessly once I remind myself that every last word is sincere.
I’d imagine the question “is this dude for real?” has cropped up on a fair few occasions as I ask myself the very same poser daily. And the answer that comes back time and again is “yup, sickening ain’t it?” I flat-out refuse to vocalize anything that my soul hasn’t stamped with authenticity beforehand as I spent a good twenty years pulling the wool over my eyes and haven’t either the time or inclination to knit any more pullovers of deception. Through my art, I have found the truth I’ve been searching for all along (not nearly hard enough for a long stint admittedly), and there is no way on God’s earth or any orbiting stars that I’m saying a damn word I don’t motherfucking mean with fire and brimstone. Intense? Yeah, anyone who has met or spoken with me personally will be all too aware of the acute concentration to every transaction I make. The eyes they don’t lie and, failing face recognition, my tongue don’t spin yarns either. Truth or dare? Both actually.
Before we get into the whole light and darkness gig, please allow me to clear something up for anyone suspecting I like the sound of my own voice a little too much. I really don’t. Never have. Indeed, playing any audio of myself back instantly leads to what I now refer to as Nosferatu-time. Fuck, I can barely even lift a phone receiver for the blind terror that comes with having to listen to myself. And if the person on the other end hasn’t got something interesting to impart, well then we’re both soundly screwed and the only thing left to do is mince around in the shadows for fresh game, all Count Orlok-like. Narcissism is an affliction I’m all too familiar with and, believe it or not, some of the most genuine folk I’ve met have been riddled with this particular trait. Do I judge? Nah, judgments are for Judy and apparently him upstairs but 99.9% of mortals dread jury service for a damn good reason.
I’m no narcissist. Not even in the same zip code. Yes I harp on about my own toil and spoils like Carlos Salzedo after one too many stems of Apothic red but, read between these here lines, and you’ll see I’m actually all about the people. Granted, I may have come across grossly negligent by the manner in which I’ve ghosted in and out of plain sight on social networks, but lest we not forget the amount of delightful conversations we have right here in the citadel. It may be my lips flapping like mice ear lobes but they do so unerringly for the majority as I believe lion-heartedly that we can truly rise up together. It’s this cause most common that stokes the fire in my belly acids and the reason I have endured over four years of treading water with nary a bucket to spit in. Together we are better. The most no-numbered brainer ever conceived and that right there is why I do what I do folks.
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars”
Could’ve done without quite so many obstacles strewn in my path, if I’m honest. Actually scrap that, I believe I couldn’t have done without these perilous yellows being tossed under foot the whole way. You see, while deconstruction sucks on more levels than a mall hooker, it also strips us right back down to the barest circuitry. There are wires beneath these pelts of ours, particularly around our head spaces, where no electrician on Craigslist would dare to enter. Should we be languishing around about the forty mark then, chances are, we’ll have a whole lifetime of bogus wiring to reorder once the clouds of personal realization come rolling in. Think the bomb diffusal botch from Lethal Weapon 3 and don’t forget to grab the cat as there’s no way those whiskers are getting crispy on Keeper’s shift. It’s a mindfield I tell you, A MINDFIELD!
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness”
Red or blue wire? Hmm, oddly drawn towards crimson for some reason. Bollocks, which pill did Neo neck? Which one led to the elusive white rabbit hole? Are there no diagrams to refer to? How can I be expected to find my way out of factory settings without the vaguest inkle dinkle how to spark a fuse? Uh-huh, got it – I shall pick all the very sweetest cherries from those I interact with socially and wing it to the best of my abilities. No time for negativity, that’s just begging for a power cut. No, I shall scour the worldwide web for like-minded nodes and become my own webmaster in the process. There is so much light around me and it is you good people who shine with the greatest radiance. A narcissist wouldn’t have that, you’d be lucky to walk away with a 30-70 split with all manner of applied terms and conditions. I really must put my harp away. Focus fool, focus.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that”
Love goes in, hate comes out. Simple enough. That said, I never really was one for love’s greatest nemesis. Thus it seems far more beneficial to weep, seep and sweep that sweet love sap, ensuring this kindly current continues to flow in both damn directions. No time to raise that firewall as there’s a rascally rogue within me and one more than familiarized with the dreaded system crash. If I’m doing this, if a solitary word I spew means anything, then I’m baring to the soul and back. All in. Or maybe all out would fit more snugly here. My scars I reveal every time I reach into the darkness within me. And you’ll see that they’re beautiful once we step back beneath the light; just like every last one of yours. Suddenly recalibration is very much in the offing. The neurons they motor wildly, fusing to each light source that blinds me with its kindness, until such a time as augmentation is finalized. I say finalized when we all need to change those fuses once-in-a-while. But we’re finally ready to step out of our tenebrous trespassed zones and embrace the very air that hangs. Intoxicating right? These lights of ours.
Okay so here comes the cherry on top of this trifle and I swear blindly it’s blood-red. It feels like the right time to speak of a new page under construction at this very moment which shall boast treasures the likes of which I vehemently trust can’t be mined anywhere else right now. In keeping with the whole darkness/light theme, I shall preempt this grand announcement with just the merest of snippets of dark prose quite unlike any other I’ve been exposed to. I stand in the quietest of awe for what I’m about to share and this is but the most miniscule of fragments of the resplendent mural that hangs in my mental gallery. Remember Grueheads, blink and you may well miss it. What am I blathering on about? You won’t miss it.
“Precision … There is this feeling when it pierces the flesh. That which was contained, has been released. Crystalline meditation encased in flesh – a – waking – divination… Separated from that which bled it dry. Joined with that, which sets it free”
Deconstruction in its most raw form. That is what L.H. Grey wishes to bring to the table with cold hands and the warmest of hearts. This visionary artist and magnificent Spartan soul lays herself bare through every last gift that she weaves; whether photography, manipulation, each mixed media puzzle box she concocts, or goddamn words as it transpires. It is always from the soul and boy does that baby shine. Thus, the site is about to undergo the first of its steps into citadel territory. Muse Noir: The Prose Palace of L.H. Grey is under construction and will soon be joined by another duo of dark corners to delight in. Grey has simply reams of this stuff and it has been her wish for years now to provide her words the air they need to breathe. Here they shall breathe. It’s all been about timing; this whole deconstruction deal has all been about timing. Now is the time to fuse shit. Surely that is worthy of an amen.
Trust me, this is the very tip of the iceberg’s teat and I know one thing for shit guzzling sure – I’ll never let go. Not wishing to be a dick Rose but budge over love, your boy Jack’s freezing his dick bag off. What I’m saying with a vague hint of slay is that, come what may, these Rivers shall run at their reddest each day. Whether hosting, posting or toasting – we’ll keep these chestnuts roasting. Embrace us and the group hugs could be truly to die twice for as our truest wish is to shine like you all shine. Tear every slither of dark sinew from our grateful flesh and snarf it down as it’s the most honest veal we could possibly prepare in honor of all those we adore. Please join me in welcoming L.H. Grey to the Rivers of Grue as the darkness to my light and light to my darkness. Like two pieces of an ancient tablet we fuse and do so to transfuse those who have bled out for far too bloody long now. Come take the leap with us into the rabbit hole Grueheads, Spartans, Creators who Unite and let’s take this terrific tumble all together, shall we?
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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