Shake the World

shake the world

gently

’til its birds

come loose

from the trees:

a thunder

of tiny

wings

.

By Jason Anderson

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This is very important

understand

the world does not exist

only we do

.

©2013 Jason Anderson

Crossroads

Father and son fishermen, Fort Adams, Newport RI

Photo: author (2003)

I’ve been dealing with some personal issues the last day or so, so I’m throwing an older poem into the mix. I wrote this ten years ago according to the date in the notebook (October, 2003), which means it was one of the first I ever attempted. Coincidentally, I also took the accompanying photo in October, 2003.

.

Crossroads

What’s left now

The deeds all done?

I could redo them

One by one

.

Or turn away

And think again

Before tomorrow

Turns into then

.

And begin to feel

Accept the sorrow

And the rage

I fight to swallow

.

Dim the lights on

Revenge’s stage

And step beyond

That costly play

.

Into a world

Where love surrounds

The faults of men

And grace abounds

.

Abandon hate

And precious shame

To win my soul

Back again

.

Write not of bitterness—

Leave untold

Any base story

That creates me unwhole

.

And look within

To the morning

Of the heart’s

Incomparable glory

.

Let time’s spring

Thaw nature’s art

And simple peace

Rejoin apart.

.

©2013 Jason Anderson

Writing myself anew

Chair in snow 2007

I write myself a new story

Along the original lines

Some words and phrases

Showing through

.

Old ideas I scratch out

Madly or editorially

Leaving a brief thought

If it reminds me

.

Alone in this room

Kids laughing and yelling

Beneath my window

In the snow

.

Thaw my resolve

I must keep writing

White snow and voices

Clear as bells.

.

Image: author (2007)
©2013 Jason Anderson

Why?

Not long ago I promised that things were going to get darker in here. Have they?

They have behind the scenes. I’ve been re-writing a script that was originally a pretty light-hearted romp across Long Island for two teenage boys, and suddenly, as I rewrote, they started discussing things that happened to them when they were much younger, before a family schism tore them apart. They were not good things. It’s darker.

I’ve been feeling out of sorts the past week while working on it, alternately dismal and nauseous. I don’t actually like those feelings, and I don’t actually like imagining darkness. I don’t enjoy torturing characters. Well, I have my moments.

Why, then?

Sometimes I ask myself that.

Someone else asked me that recently. Someone who pretty much sticks to action movies and comedies and reads Cosmo, and thinks that inducing via writing something that looks and walks like a depressive episode is a sign of insanity on my part. (Disclaimer: I have nothing against such movies, have never voluntarily read Cosmo and can’t find “sanity” in the DSM so it doesn’t exist).

The answer is simple: I have no idea.

Honestly.

It’s a feeling, a feeling of being in the right place and doing something that is required of me. Maybe I feel less restrained when “on a mission” and I “have no choice.” Maybe it’s my desire to try to write stories that might help someone, and this is what those look like to me. Maybe it’s seeing myself in characters in awful situations and being able to make them do amazing things. Maybe it’s just being able to make characters do amazing things.

What’s your passion and why do you write about it? Do you have an overarching philosophy that guides you? Or is each project a new universe unto itself?  When people ask you invest so much of yourself in what you do, what do you say?

These aren’t easy questions, and when I try to force answers they seem to change daily. There’s just that one core feeling that doesn’t change, and maybe it’s poetic justice that I can’t find the words to describe it.

 

It’s going to get darker in here

(a not-very-evil writing manifesto)

The truth is I play it safe when I write, especially if I expect someone might read it. Yeah, I admit it. I’m pretty new to this writing stuff, and not many people have read anything I’ve written (I’ve made sure of that). But I often think, what will you (the reader) think? And everything gets censored by the dictatorship of self-consciousness.

Lately I feel like an archaeologist brushing away topsoil, keeping himself busy enough to ignore the fact that he’s too afraid to uncover the stunning dragons that lie deeper. Or a photographer snapping furiously away but resisting going into the darkroom.

I’m hoping the act of writing this and putting it out there will help me remember to try to live up to it. How’s that for a firm commitment.

There is a darkness. (I actually swiped that from the dust jacket of Batman: The Black Mirror.) It is undeniable. The fabric of every life is shot through with it. It wears different masks – grief, sadness, depression, addiction, abuse, anger, hatred and too many more to name.  We like to categorize – I think it makes us feel like we’re doing something.

I’ve always been a student of darkness. Yeah, I’m one of the quiet ones, but I’ve never been a violent soul, thankfully. My strength has been observing.

I’m really good at it.

I’ve seen some things. Experienced some things, too.

Humanity has a truly terrifying streak, more so than any beast or monster or devil. Not an original observation, I realize.

People say you get desensitized to things like sex and violence and human suffering but I think, if you’re lucky or unlucky like me, you don’t. The opposite happens. You don’t become darkness, you don’t get angry, your heart doesn’t weep for the world. You accept the overarching, undeniable reality of darkness, and learn to love every scrap of light you can see. Seeing people shine reminds you it’s the shining that’s remarkable, and not the darkness. Seeing them stand on their own two feet makes gravity bearable. Seeing them give unconditionally to others makes you want to, too.

The fact that people look to the light, that fact that after all you’ve seen you still look to the light, makes you want to be light.

Back to my point. So far I’ve been brushing away topsoil and taking pictures with no intention of developing them. So far I haven’t been ready to tell you about the things I’ve seen, or what I think they mean.

But it’s extremely important.

Important to me, and to one other person. I don’t know who that is, and I might never meet them. But, in this digital age, I have a fantasy that they’ll send me an email (or a text) someday, and say:

“I read something you wrote. Thank you for telling the truth as you saw it. Thank you for finally taking the risk and doing it. You didn’t save me. You provided a rung in the ladder I built to get myself out of that fucking darkness. And that was enough. Really, that was all I needed.”

More likely they’ll say “Tx, ur story was ok”. Whatever.

Thanks, by the way, for all the rungs. See, I made a ladder. I promise from here forward the stories I write will reveal the darkness in which the base of it is planted, and the magnificent view from however far up it I’ve climbed. Maybe some will also be ok.

 

©2012 Jason Anderson