Monthly Archives: April 2011

Chohei Kambayashi

“When everyone eats together, the man who cares only about filling his own belly isn’t your friend.”

– from the novel ‘Yukikaze’.

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Posted by on April 23, 2011 in Quotes


Michael E. Marks

“If you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the pavement.”

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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Quotes


Contemplations of Night

I have always been a lover of the night. The stillness calms me and yet calls me to do and think, regardless of the need for sleep or early starts. Simultaneously it nurtures my contemplative instinct, allowing me to draw odd conjunctions from thoughts. In hindsight, I have been a pessimist for a long time and the soft melancholia that night calls forth agrees with me. 🙂
I do not fear the dark, but I am wary of what it can hide. I know, because it has been my obfuscation in the past.
The silence is your friend because you can hear what is coming. I smile when I see the number of people who walk with their headphones in, oblivious to their surroundings. I would like to think that modern policing has given them the surety of safety, but I know that in reality, they do not even consider the risks of being unable to hear what approaches them.
It must be nice to be so blind, to not check a room for exits when you enter, to not monitor a crowd constantly for sudden moves or atypical postures, to not idly catalogue the weaknesses of those around you. I have always been this way and can claim no training at obscure government establishments 🙂 I just naturally expect the worst from people and situations. Which is sad. It speaks poorly of me that I have to consciously let go to relax in any situation except when I am in the company of one or more of a very small group of friends. What is worse is that even in that company, the arrival of anyone or a minor event nearby can kick me back into ‘wary mode’. I have managed to gentle it over the years, but it is an indelible part of me.
The night is in that part of me, and also in my magic. Yes, magic. The creative magic that is my gift for writing and poetry, the divinatory magic that allows me to discern truth or put names or causes to events I am told of yet should have no grasp of, and the magic of the pagan paths I tread, listening to the powers that occasionally offer guidance to prodigal me (honestly, there has been an embarrassing amount of “we told you so” from that direction). There is a truth in the line “if I have to explain then you will never understand”.
If this talk of magic makes you uneasy, apologies. But for me, the stillness of the night is deep and honest, never lying as it inspires me to possibilities and realisations, never failing to restore my faith and calm my soul.
May the night look kindly upon you and yours.
Blessed Be.

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Posted by on April 12, 2011 in Faith & Magic


The Long Road Down

Back in 1981 I had a patch on my ‘learner’ cut-down that said “Live now, Pay later”. A few years later I was in a right state with overloaded credit cards and all the other usual credit obligations of the time. I thought I’d hit the ‘Pay later’ a little early. I had no clue.

Enter a new phase of my life where a girl I met became my wife and supported me through the bad times until my ability with computing brought us to dual-income-no-kids nirvana. A life full of exotic holidays and all the toys you could imagine (for the very well off eccentric rather than the super-rich). We loaded the mortgages and played the credit game well and had the trophies to prove it.

In amongst that solvent time, I discovered several unpleasant facts about me and eventually realised that my ideal future with a loving wife etcetera was actually a long way off. I was just starting to return to my truths from where my compromises had taken me when she found love with another gent and left. No chance for reconciliation, no chance for realisation. In truth, I had no appetite to try, even if there had been a chance. I hurtled into the future with naught but my overweening arrogance and inflated opinion of self for guidance.

I thought I’d come back. I really thought I was back to me again, connecting with old friends and generally doing the single bloke with a big income thing. Then a few hiccups occurred, rumblings of the storm to come, but I shrugged them off as I could always find another job because I was just that good. Big fish in a small pond syndrome.

Then the obligations so long obvious but ignored arrived at my door demanding an accounting. It all went bad but I could handle it. Because I was that good at what I did. Bloody marvellous me. Stupid, stupid, stupid me actually.

As I started to execute my cunning plan, the credit crunch arrived and the wheels fell off my wagon. Only two, at opposite corners, so I could roll on if I kept a delicate balance. So I did. The assumptions made then stagger me even now. Blindness does not even come close. I would call it denial or self-deceit, but it was bigger and so blithely assured that nothing bad would actually happen. Then the third wheel came off…

I am still bouncing down that dusty road. Where I will stop, I do not know.

In amongst the bruised pride and arrogance beaten into manageable, I have discovered many more of my truths. Having a lack of things gives much time for reflection and at least I had the time to rediscover my common sense and finally learn from my mistakes. As those reflections occured against the stark contrasts of the difficulties that some of my friends were going through, the shadows cast revealed more truths and dare I say it, a little wisdom.

I helped my friends where I could, discovered I could fall madly in love, rediscovered my poetry and writing, found I could sell enormous quantities of the toys I had left and not miss them, and most importantly became truer to the me I am happy with than I had been in a long time.

But I kept rolling down the road and have finally realised that it’s a slope. The obligations so easy to accrue are adhesive. The organisations that service them are designed to take you down and take everything, despite noble pledges of help. They are not doctors, they are triage surgeons. They will leave you alive but skeletal, and cannot do anything else. Real assistance is negligible.

On the personal side, I have discovered that love does not conquer all and the very best intentions can bring heartache. Taking their fuel from the lonely engendered by that, the feelings of isolation and being amongst the uncaring have been difficult to deal with, and some days I still struggle. It’s not that no-one cares, it’s just that everyone has their problems these days and each of us has only so much solace to go round after coping with our own issues.

So, in the end, this dusty, ragged figure bounces and rolls down a dimly lit road, the occasional streetlight flickering on his attempts to stand up. He occasionally does so, even managing a few steps, but so far has always toppled over again. In the distance his dreams are waiting; standing, drifting or weeping as he gets further away.

But he is still fighting. He is a better man for this journey on the long road down, although he’s not enjoying it.

“Live now, Pay later”.

Never sign up for it.

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Posted by on April 9, 2011 in Life & Self

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