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My Chemical Romance “Planetary (Go!)”
Far, far longer. Those words will forevermore be etched into my memory. And with sound reason. You see, when a certain Jessica Moon happened across my art courtesy of the only social platform I choose to frequent, and left a genuinely perceptive observation in my comments, I felt compelled to reply with the simple, soulfelt pledge that “you have a friend in me for life” as I knew in a heartbeat I had been seen. Her response? The three words above. And in less than the time it took for my heart to strike twice in the same spot, I saw lightning. Clear as the jaw in my in-tray. For these three words felt curiously like home to me. Almost as though they had been spoken before, perhaps in reverse context. All I knew, all I needed to know in that moment, was that I had returned Home.
Precious few palpatations later, we connected excitedly. For both of us were aware of the magnitude of this exchange. There was evidently a reason why Jessica was drawn towards my verse. The very same reason she felt so compelled to reach out. And why the seemingly tiniest of gestures meant the universe and more besides to me. Far, far longer would suggest that our connection transcends the skin we are in. It also proposes that we may well have been familiar with one another from many cycles passed. Again, we were aware of such, without the need for anything other than simple confirmation to reignite an electricity that had unquestionably been there for a whole host of generations passed. Forget the whole boy/girl dynamic as it wasn’t applicable here, much as cynics would have us believe such is impossible. We were kindred. Friends to no end. Fierce protectors of a realm, the likes of which only the very wildest of imaginations can perceive. Home. Thus, connected up the hoo-hah.
In a video conversation with Jessica and her beloved sister, Mandy Russell, she elaborated on why my art had spoken to both of them so intimately. I write a lot about common theme, habitually mention Home, and have a crystalline view of what this unheralded utopia actually means. Where we can access it, each in our own way. The tools we possess that can pave the road back there. To where freakishly unique souls like ours have always been, in essence. The thing is, for all my homework as such, I only had my own interpretation to bank upon and, being the journeyman I am, chose to represent Home in a variety of guises, most notably Valhalla as I always felt a strong connection to the seas. One can only travel so far without the comprehension that they are not alone on their journey. I still had a multitude of questions unanswered. Confirmation was what I truly yearned for most. And that is precisely what I received.
I’m paraphrasing here but “we see you”, “we believe in you”, and “we know the path you have walked” all spring to mind, as I reclined in the peace of such repeatedly denied. And then, the doozy. “It’s about time someone looked after you”. I swear, my jazz hands could barely contain their need to commence flailing uncontrollably as I frantically searched for the nearest kick drum to pound blissfully. “We will help you make your dream come true” or words to that divine effect were music to my ears, the likes of which made my nose bleed simply to get involved. And guess what? Less than two months later, All of Me Volume I was published. Not just published either. The soul wasn’t ripped out of my words to fit a demographic. This was to be my voice. My way. They would never dream of stunting such swansong with suggested alterations to something that had been chiselled from the deepest ore of me. As far as breaths of fresh meadow air are concerned, I could scarcely fill my lungs fast enough. However could I repay such tremendous faith in my ability and artistic being? That was a no-brainer. To place my entire legacy in their safe-keeping, for keeps. No questions or quibbles. Just one done deal.
Instantly, I made Jessica an administrator on my site. And this invite extends very much to Mandy too, who tirelessly formatted my prose, and Jessica’s husband Chad, who has spent countless hours designing the extraordinary cover art for each colourful volume of All of Me (three of which are already in circulation, three more inbound). Shadow Spark Publishing is Home to me. One leap of faith always deserves another, greater leap. Should anything ever happen to me (ancient gods forbid), then I will be at peace. For I will know, in my soul of souls, that my legacy is in the very safest keep. One fine day, I’ll say as much in an official will, but my word is bond. Is all of me. And all of me agrees that all of me has never felt so seen. So believed. So at ease.
This was my most persistent fear. That my poetry could become lost in the annals of time. When the words need to breathe for sound reason. Having undergone a six-year recovery, and all the PTSD blackouts this had entailed, I just wished to feel that my art meant something more than just a few purty words, wrangled into flirty shapes. For the first time since I commenced this lengthy expedition, my artistic voice had been genuinely heard. Finally, I could conclude the prelude and embark on a whole fresh chapter. And, with every breath I have in me, my allegiance forevermore is with Shadow Spark Publishing.
It’s far from all about me. Indeed, the pair are currently and feverishly working on an upcoming saga, of multiple volumes, that calls to mind the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, to name just one. An entire universe is lovingly crafted, not purely from wild imagination, but bona fide remembrance of the place we call Home. This lore is not merely trundled through at a leisurely pace, it pours out at remarkable velocity, as the tale they are telling is more than even the most outlandish of minds could concoct. Like myself, they feel it their own calling to put out a call to others. Remind their readership that every dash of magic can be gathered, providing we work out where to source it from. And the unique way that this thoroughbred fable unfurls, has had a self-confessed “non-reader” awakening in a manner which can only be described as otherworldly. I still have much of the pilgrimage to take, and shall. But for now, let me just go on record as saying – this is an incredibly important piece of literature being birthed. One that the great many will hold dear. I have undying faith in such.
There are already a number of other authors under their mystical umbrella and watching this space has never been more applicable than it is here. Shadow Spark Publishing are going live, about to show the industry what can be achieved by a handful of like-minded creatives with fire in their bellies and disinclination to conform to the norm. They are looking to provide a voice to the voiceless, which tallies exquisitely with one of my own favoured mantras. And I have every faith that such will be achieved, with passion and brave. I urge anyone who happens across my words here to visit their Home Page and familiarize themselves with a genuine anomaly. We artists can make a difference. With a dash of belief and a healthy splash of confirmation. Shadow Spark Publishing welcomed me Home. And the truth is, I had never been away.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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