Title image by Lívia Alcade
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Rammstein “Reise, Reise”
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Never really saw the sense in that one, to be perfectly honest. I mean, it’s not like I don’t see the logic. Just that I stopped listening to the voice of reason once it suggested throwing in the towel just because it was bloody. Each to their own I guess and, for some more paranoid types, I’d imagine this kind of fighting talk serves them decidedly well. But I’m a docile creature, not looking to lock horns with anyone, merely link arms and march for a cause far more deserving than needless bloodshed. Unless I’ve been muting the wrong news channel, the world is chock-full of both toil and trouble. Religious wars rage on as they historically always do, acid attacks are on the rise, horrific shootings implicate and eradicate the innocent, and heaven knows what kind of natural disasters Mother Earth will have tucked up her lengthy sleeve when she comes to hear of it. Mad world? It’s damn well off the hinges.
So you see, cloak and dagger will never ever be my bag. Just love. Extension of kindness wherever possible, encouragement whenever needed, and a smile for strangers – that’s pretty much my game plan in a nutshell. If I wish to watch others suffer, then I’ll slap on a horror flick. And make no mistake, my stomach is lined with titanium. But that is the coliseum of my fantasy right there, and out in the real world, well actually I find that a fantastical affair also. The key difference is that I far prefer rainbows to mushroom clouds. I have made some wonderful friends through my art, family also, not to mention the none too minor miracle of happening across the great love of a thousand lifetimes. Through all of these deliriously happy accidents, I’ve figured out precisely who I am and it shouldn’t come as a great surprise to anyone who knows my soul to learn that it contains four letters and blows hate a kiss just to be the better person.
Love. There’s the mystery of the universe solved in but a single beating red heart. And it just so happens that mine runs at capacity by default. I broke out of my mask of contempt way back at around the “mid-life crisis” stage and have spent the past half a decade replacing any spilled vitriol with a fluid far more existentially-friendly. At last tally, there were 206 bones in my endoskeleton, and I need not an independent adjudicator to strike up the blank for badness. On her death-bed, my beloved grandmother spoke the words “you truly are a king among men” very gently into my ear and I shall never forget that moment. Therefore, I try my double darnedest to lead by example in the very same way a monarch would. From the very front, with bloody heart pinned to my chest plate, but not a solitary adversary in sight. In that respect at least, I couldn’t actually be a more simple beast.
My mother regularly reminds me that I am the most placid and understanding person she knows and naturally I’m not going to argue with that particular logic. The true ferocity lies in my fiery passion and, should the inferno inside me rage for a true cause, then I will dedicate life and limb to supporting the brittle bones out of it. To no less than the bitterest of ends. It’s impossible to keep everybody chirping all the time, particularly when days have a tendency to slip away like Autumn leaves in a force ten gale. But the one thing I do pride myself on is consistency. And time couldn’t be more immaterial in this respect as it’s ultimately fluid. Should I offer something or one my endorsement and friendship, then they can bank on that until the skies crash down. It’s as simple as that. Granted, there is tremendous darkness residing within, and I’m under no illusion that it won’t always be present in some capacity as I have stared death dead in its eyes and it offered up a knowing wink which, I have to come cleanly, freaked my shit out a tad. But that is where my chosen art lends a ghostly hand. I exist in the light because I know only too well of the quicksand and how easy it is for control to be surrendered, once the shadows creep in as they invariably do.
All I wish for is to know where I stand with those I cherish. Given that extra perception has always been my super power, there isn’t a great deal that escapes my attention. And nothing saddens the soul inside of me more than insincerity. Which is why I stand behind every last word I have scribed since this pilgrimage began. This isn’t to suggest my viewpoints haven’t changed over the years as every day represents reason to learn in my book and that’s not subject to change. But at the time of writing it was very much true, real, clear and sincere. That is unquestionably the thing which kept me in oxygen when the hands around my throat began to tighten their grip. As a result, I now feel part of something utterly imperishable. And I can finally breathe once more. Alas, some days feel as though I have awoken from a lengthy coma, as I fret over how long I was out and what has altered during the interim. It is then that I feel a little haunted as silent whispers know precisely how to articulate to me.
Fuck it. I’m done with feeling haunted. Finding romance in tragedy. Beating myself to a bloody pulp just to preempt the southpaw. As, for all the heart and soul I pour into my art, I have sussed out where the truest fantasy lies. In reality. I know right? Can almost hear the sneers of derision as I tap that one out. The thing is, should you make a bona fide connection, one forged from Crystalline and affording clearest line of sight, then you’re motherfucking cosmonauts and only ever a single suggestion from launch. I may appear to berate my human skin on occasion but it does admittedly fit me somewhat snugly. Better yet, I burst right out of it the very second dual-thrusters are activated. And I am never ever more content than when extracting the fantastical from reality. Took some time to master this technique, but I highly recommend it to anyone perched on the fence here. Make real connections, hold the reins tightly, and just you see where that leads you. I swear down it will be someplace spectacular.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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