Monday, 4 January 2010

There's No World, That Compares.

Where else could there be a frenzied swordfight, while only yards away, there’s a ballet?

You’ve crossed swords with this fiend before, there’s none that can match him, except for you, and it’s a duel between knights that will decide the fate of two kingdoms…

The ballerina has her own stakes. People have crossed the globe to see her dance. Her performance is exquisite, bringing the most jaded in the audience to tears…

Something stops the dance. Something interrupts the duel. Dinner’s on the table.

You sheathe your sword. She bows before the audience. You go in. She goes next door.

You can’t really complain when you see the meal laid out before me. It’s a spread that Genghis Khan would have given up the globe for. It’s a feast that an Iron Chef would give his right lung to have prepared. Each dish a work of art, each taste magical, layered with endless subtleties and spices. The main course is some great animal, hunted with such awesome skill and precision. In the jungles outside you can hear the others of it’s kind howling for revenge, daring you to come and face them.

But you cant. The dishes need to be washed.

They are clean, and the window over the sink shows the dimming sky. There’s something there, something coming out of the clouds. Planes. War planes. Here they come! The strike is starting! Sure enough! There’s the SAC alarm. You’ve gotta get to your plane. Thousands of lives are in the balance. Hundreds of planes are massing, a veritable cloud of fighters. You have to get up there! You have to get ready!

But you cant. You’ve got homework to do.

It’s the most tedious thing you have ever done. How you get through it you’ll never know, but you finally drop your pen and sit back in your chair. Your eyes stray to the clock. It’s nighttime.

A grin splits your face. Perfect.

You wander into your room, the very picture of casualness. You reach under your bed and draw out a mask. It fits over your face like a second skin as you go to the window. It’s three stories to the ground, but gravity doesn’t apply to you. It’s meaningless, it doesn’t exist.

Below you the city continues in blissful ignorance of your watchful gaze. If they knew you were there, those three men would never have tried to rob the bank.

If they knew you were so fast they wouldn’t have wasted the effort of trying to shoot you.

If they knew you were so strong they wouldn’t have fought so futilely.

There’s more to do. People need help.

But you cant. It’s bed time.


Whenever I have writers block I look out my bedroom window. There are two kids across the street, and every day their front yard, to them, is a new land. A place of mystery. Kids can see everything in nothing, and I think we lose something when that…that second-sight fades. It’s not a game to them, it’s real.

Everyone I know tells me to get my head out of the clouds and stop daydreaming, but I cant, and for that matter, I don’t want to. I turned on the six o clock news tonight, and the first story: a car bomb that killed 90 people, the second: Iran's Nuclear Program, the third: Bush-fires getting close to homes.

Why can’t I get my head out of the clouds? Because the clouds are preferable. There are no rules, no constraints, no boundaries and most importantly, no consequences. We can fight and never lose, we can live and never feel sad, we can have friends that never betray us, family that never leaves.

My grandmother told me that I spend too much time in fantasy, and then she picked up one of those Victorian-era  romance novels. It’s all a fantasy. It’s all illusion, but where they read the world they want, Imagination is not bound to a page, and always becomes something new. Play it out in your mind, then rewind and adjust ad infinitum until perfect.

In that place, that only dreamers and children can reach, every tragedy is one that gives no pain; every problem has the perfect solution. Those of us who can see the world that way are never bored, and never alone. Dreamers and shapers who can see anything from everything. Those of us who can are the people that become writers, artists, philosophers and poets, and on occasion crazed paranoid schizophrenics, but still…

How does the song put it? “If you want to view paradise simply look around and view it. Anything you want to do it. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.”

In a world like this where kids are growing up faster, becoming jaded in a world where they have to be to be prepared, I hope that even adults can keep some of that second sight.

Those who have it live in a world with a ten-foot wall around it, and those who don’t only have eight foot ladders.