Within. Always.




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It never ceases to amaze how little we actually know about ourselves. We may be able to provide the voice of reason to others whether they endorse this or not but, when the spotlight is turned back on our rafters, there’s a tendency to clam up and change the topic before the twist in our gut intensifies. When reflective by nature, one-way dialogue is seldom in scant supply. However, it’s a completely different wok of stir-fried noodles once you introduce a second party into the mix. Heaven forbid, the numbers swell again as three is neither charm or the magic number when home truths are the dish of the day. Ever felt backed into a corner by not one but two people whose viewfinders are pre-set to OUT OF WHACK? And they wonder why creatives scoff at the whole “safety in numbers” rot. Flying solo ain’t a lifestyle choice; not to us freaks and uniques. It’s self-preservation and the most hassle-free environment to bleed onto our canvas of choice.



It’s the quiet life we really hanker after and this likely has a fair crop to do with the fact that we live out loud and clear through our chosen art. Should the muses have procured their pound of reddest flesh that day then, chances are, we’ll be fit only for a spot of channel switching and the obligatory post-drain zone-out that accompanies each comatose click. Scrutinize the eyes closely enough however and you’ll discern we’re some way from dead behind them. On the contrary, any condensation is merely the gloss of inertia. We’re simply dead outside of them. Reality bites hardest when fantasy is farthest. And deep down we all want to be children again right? After all, things were so much easier back then. When field trips outranked guilt trips. Before responsibility knocked and opportunity docked. Society had not yet slipped on the anklets of conformity. It was fantasy all the way to the magic faraway tree and back again.


We absorb so much data as teeny tots, considerably more than at any other point in our lives. Not all of this intelligence is kosher and it is here where bogus wiring comes into play. The upside to all this compromised cable is that it can be rerouted at a later point. The kicker is that it’s a logistical bleeding nightmare. Ordinarily meltdown becomes imminent around the late thirties/early forties; although some manage to hang blissful ignorance out way into their fifties before the bough breaks. This rite of passage can either make you or break you, dependent on how speedy the recalibration. Suddenly there’s tremendous clarity, of the opaque variety regrettably, as we’re stripped back to the barest of circuitry and threatened with the dreaded factory settings. No one wants that. However, while this choice taunts terminally, it’s still a choice at the end of the day. And it’s with critical mass looming to boom that we discover the tools we need to make this call have been Within. Always.



Bared to the bones of dust and scratch whose chorus is disapproving. Demanufactured by life’s most rancid of ruling. Melted into slag by each failed attempt at refuting. Should you stand an albino’s chance in Chernobyl of disputing, then you’d better put those mad channel hopping skills into practice as it’s no Playboy pool party being left frightfully exposed to the elements. With social networking so prevalent in modern life, free channels only ever need be one click away. Better yet, with the wealth of life experience tucked into our utility belts, the rewire can play out on our own exclusive terms. Sound like fun? Yeah, well we’re not there yet. You see, the virus is aware. It knows every last one of our weaknesses thanks to the decommissioned state we find ourselves in. And it will play on every last vulnerability without a mite of magnanimity. Oh, the impending calamity.


Within. Always. What could that allude to? That the answers to a thousand burly Trojans of inquisition lay inside? How does one prepare for such onslaught? Do we possess the arsenal to deflect the inbound battering ram? Is this the end? Or a means to it? Failure to dig deep, subterraneanly so, promises repercussions of cataclysmic stature. ☣ WARNING! HULL INTEGRITY COMPROMISED. BREACH IMMINENT! ☣  Well that’s cast rather a gloom over proceedings. Looks like it’s do or die. Sink or swim. Splurge or surge. Merge or be purged. Quick, hop out of sleep mode and grab the soldering iron. What do you mean it takes a couple of minutes to heat up? Fine, the blow torch will have to do and what a fine specimen it is too, I might add. Set that shit to facepeeler and let’s ascend to Hades shall we?



On our travels, we could swing by the gardens of Atlantis; toast anything other than fungi beneath the crisp orange skyline. Actually we can do whatever the bloody hell we designate as reality has now become little more than a fleeting acquaintance. It’s here in these lush, plush greens that the truest magic gathers. Here where fantasy can play all day, free of dismay. The soul can but prance in such gamma heavy rays. Enhanced by the Spartan blood that glugs, chugs and sprays. And, wouldn’t you darn tooting know it – it’s been Within. Always. And who says justice cannot be poetic? Who suggests that a phoenix cannot rise? Who decrees that scars are eyesores? Who dictates that our past need define us? Who restrains us come the all-important leap? They never fail. Ever. Not once you’ve solved the most ancient of conundrums. Rattling the soul cage and freeing up the very essence within. And with an independent adjudicator as our witness, it was actually always there.




Richard Charles Stevens


Keeper of The Crimson Quill



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    1. Thank you so much EJ for your comment. We have been so flat out that we are only just getting round to responding but it means so much that you left a comment. WE love them here where we can have and hold them.

      Have you read “Kings & Queens” yet? There’s a little surprise in there just for you.

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