Once, in another world, a thirteen year old girl wrote a poem:
Like a disfigured child
—in a transfigured room—
who looks out upon
beauty’s last realm
through an imagined window…
virulent things with superficial smiles
—holding onto fallacious truths—
roam through transfigured doors
like a disease, creeping, creeping…
A disfigured child
—in a transfigured room—
watches the aesthetic view,
through an imagined window.
Elusive thoughts, decisions, depravity
esoteric: a disfigured child
looking upon ephemeral beauty…
—denouncing virulent things—
The girl finishes the poem and life goes on; many things pass. She dances at glittering balls. Her heart breaks in a foreign country. She leaves her home for a city of spires. She finds love on cobblestone streets, marries in a fairy-tale castle, and divorces in a court of tears.
Years later, she finds this poem again and rereads it. Though she no longer knows what her thirteen-year-old self felt as she penned these words, now it opens her eyes to the fact that the world she wakes to every day is full of virulent things.
She and everyone around her are like that disfigured child: they’re damaged products of their society, warped inside by how they’ve been raised and what they’re exposed to, and they dwell in a world that too many of them have permitted to become nasty, ugly, and venomous.
They poise on the edge of beauty’s last realm. In their world, beasts noble and majestic hover on the brink of extinction, and some of its people live in cities that hang under crowns of smog so thick it’s difficult to breathe.
The girl, now a woman who sees the age of her face in the fines lines in her bathroom mirror, meanders among the apathy of those around her: their indifference to the pollution that their kind spits into the atmosphere every day and vomits into the gorgeous earth and its waters. It feels to her they’re doing a balancing act on beauty’s final vestiges, a high-wire routine with no safety net below. Walk that fine line, she thinks as she walks it, too, wavering between melancholy and blips of happiness, and don’t fall, because no one will catch you.
She sees the virulent things with superficial smiles in the rulers of her world, who smile and smile while, behind their masks, they develop plans rife with greed rather than altruism or her kind’s betterment.
No, that isn’t fair, because the rulers aren’t the only virulent things that walk the streets and don benevolent masks. She encounters others every day among the masses: those shallow ones who smile while harboring dark thoughts and darker deeds behind pleasant facades. People who knock down others who are trying to get to their feet. Those who tear apart people who are trying to put their life together. People who insult those with flagging self-esteem, who discourage the ones forging paths to ambitious dreams.
Meanwhile, the criers in the street who spread the news can no longer be trusted. Some cry out the truth, but others are paid in secret by powerful entities who have their own agenda. Once inquisitive and now acquisitive souls are sold into cranking out tales filled with the lies they’re paid to spill; they feed the dumb populace of her world fallacious ‘truths’ until no one knows what ‘truth’ to believe anymore because so much of it is questionable, so much of it is contradictory, and how much of it should she and those around her believe?
Their whole world becomes a maze as she tries to navigate her way between deceitful people and crumbling surroundings, venturing through doors that no longer lead to expected places. Everything’s changing – and fast. Ploys that worked yesterday don’t today – or did they ever work? Everything is a scam, too, it seems. Someone extends an offer of help? Don’t trust it. Or do, and get burned. Learn better next time. That’s how cynicism gets started, isn’t it?
She’s so cynical now.
Can she pinpoint where it started? A precise moment? Can she go back and gently extract that experience and say, ‘You don’t need that’? But in this world, she probably does need it.
Everyone’s thoughts have become elusive, too, their attention spans decreasing as more and more things demand their concentration at increasing rates, dings and pings on their phones informing them of another e-mail, another chat message, another incoming call that they must resolve right now.
It’s like a constant influx that reaches even into her restless dreams, leaving her tossing and turning on sweat-soaked sheets at night, sometimes waking her from nightmares she didn’t want to see to their finish anyway. She pads into her dark kitchen and fumbles around for a glass of water, unaware of how many others share her sleepless vigil.
Because there are others out there like her, aren’t there? Others who care about people being happy, about creativity finding its color and artists sharing their art. People who want their air to stay breathable, their fields to keep blooming, their bees to keep buzzing, their elephants trumpeting, their trees growing, and their oceans teeming with life. There are others who want to fight the tide of indifference or hostility with compassion and kindness.
At least she hopes there are.
And so, in the middle of the night, alone in her city of spires, she sits down with her glass of water, takes up her pen, and she writes. She writes love stories and fantasies, backward fairy tales and poems, books, stories, dystopias about winged races with unexpected powers, epic fantasies about fire-sellers and healers – but all these stories have a backbone of love at their core, because love should make her world go round, not hate.
She wants to find others like her and give them tales that take them away from the virulent things of the world for a while so they can return to it and fight refreshed.
She wants to take herself away from the virulent things of the world for a while. Through that imagined window into realms where anything is possible. A better future.
It’s out there.
Do you believe in it?
Thanks for reading my little tale inspired by an old poem! If any of you out there are trying to make things better, brighter, or more beautiful in the world we’re living in, please keep doing good, no matter how much anyone else demeans your efforts or says you won’t make it or that it’s not going to help. If you write, keep writing. If you paint, keep painting. If you dance, you got it, keep dancing. If you do accounting, I’m sorry (just kidding 🙂 I’m sure some people really enjoy it!).
And if you want to save the world one petition at a time (by signing petitions that will get handed to people who can fight so much more powerfully than we can because they’re in positions to), see my links to a few at the end of this blog post to see if there are any causes you support and care about adding your name to.
And for all the dreamers out there: Don’t listen when people blab about limitations. “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” Mae Jemison says. Or one of my favorites: People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it, which is attributed to Bernard Shaw but actually isn’t his. What’s interesting is that the original version they found of the latter quote reads thus: ‘Things move along so rapidly nowadays that people saying: “It can’t be done,” are always being interrupted by somebody doing it.’ Which just goes to show that what is impossible is always changing, so someone who says that it’s impossible is living in a static world, and this world is definitely NOT static!
Oh, and if anyone wants an update on how my up and coming books are continuing, here is the graph of their current state. Yay, book progress! Once at 100%, it means it is a version that I will only have to read through for minor typos before handing over to beta readers.
And finally, as promised, here are the petitions from the past few days (if you’re reading this blog post at a much later date than when it was posted, these links might be out of date):
- Save elephants
- Save bees:
- Kick polluters out of climate talks
- Stop Dakota Access Pipeline: