On dependence

This is just a bit of a thanks for everyone who has contributed to my current survival. Most of this thanks is related to finances, but also encouragement, company, organisation and simply joining me on the mess of a journey it has been.

For others reading, Basically I left Vietnam, but Vietnam stamped a single stamp on my passport on a page I specifically demanded not to stamp, and as a result I had one page short for a visa in China, so I was left with one option; go back to England.

This, and all the complications that came with it cost me thousands of dollars when you include the fact that I also had to go to China initially, and to Hong Kong and back. Hong Kong ain’t cheap. All those flights ain’t cheap. Trains and subways and hotels all over don’t help either. Neither did the hefty price tag on the new passport and visa application.

So, thanks to that little stamp, I became a lot poorer than expected, and in the wrong continent. 

So I want to say thanks to those who helped me financially first, since it’s the money that haunts me the most. I have been almost entirely independent for years now, and it has always been me doing the lending to others. It feels uncomfortable and wrong being the other way around and I’m tired of having to constantly think about what I can and cannot afford.

It overwhelms me when I think in a sphere around me and see all these places with all these people in them that are willing to do so much more for me than I ever expected or imagined, and that gives me a lot of faith in them as family and friends. I feel confident that no matter what mess I get into and no matter what risks I decide to take to push my life a little more in the right direction, there will always be at least one person there to sort me out and get me to the other side, or at the very least, ride the waves with me.

So:

Thanks to my mum for sharing her redundancy money with me, and for helping me journey back and forth on buses in England, and putting me up for ages and feeding me for free while I was there. You already know this of course but it’s cool to immortalize it online.

Thanks to my dad for lending me a big chunk of money to get me by and also taking me on a very memorable day out which took my mind back almost as if I was a kid again down by the locks and cows and horses and blossoms, and generally for putting up with my absurdly long winded emails about practically nothing other than my financial woes.

Thanks to my sister also for putting me up in Leicester for the brief time I was there, joining me in Doom and other inane nonsense, and generally for keeping in touch constantly, more than anyone else.

Thanks to Stippe, Jung, Tyler and others who even so much as hinted at helping with money should I need to, although thankfully I have survived without resorting to that!

Thanks to various people in China, which I don’t need to mention really since they’re right here and I can say it to their faces if I haven’t already 200 times, but you all make me feel very comfortable and at home in a place which is quite frankly very uncomfortable and unhomely in it’s darker days. 

I’ll just thank Navin, even though he’s more broke than I am, but his presence online and his inspiration in creativity and help with various ideas for work and his vivid descriptions of a continent so far away have kept me sane and cheerful, despite the time zone differences. 

If I didn’t mention you, you clearly don’t deserve it. Try harder.

 

As for my future, I have enough work and salary now to become pretty darn comfortable again, as I have been for so long before. It’s simply a matter of waiting for the months to cycle round and cough up what I am owed. 

My life will go like this.

  • Get paid, pay off rent/debts, broke. Stay at home, eat cheap food.
  • Get paid, pay off more debts, money to spare to establish my new home fully etc
  • Get paid, pay off more debts, enough money to start doing the things I enjoy, taking photos and thinking creatively.
  • Keep paying off debt, but otherwise life is lovely again.

None of that seems like particular torture to me. I mean, it’s not like I have an urge to go clubbing or to the beaches of Australia. Pretty content sitting on my sofa writing stuff and planting sunflower seeds. 

 

Desert, Coin, News.

Desert Music wailed. Sirens glowed with tortured howls.

‘Any news?’
Nothin’.
‘Alright, well, it’s November so to follow the sun t’morrow at the crack a’ dawn will lead southeast to this here river’
That there river is a long fuckin’ way.  
‘Yeah well. I ain’t sitt’n through anuva o’ those nights’
Suit yourself.

She re-wrapped her scarf, nice and tight around her skull, the remaining end tucked over the back of her neck. Her makeshift overalls would need to be replaced soon. She made a conscious effort not to trip over and further tear the scraggly parts dragging behind her like a gothic wedding dress, not least because they were covered in shit. Toilet paper was hard to come by.

As the sun collapsed into a flattened blob on the horizon, Desert Music continued its wail. Sirens howled unrelentingly, and wildlife simply couldn’t help but get itself into a frenzied chorus of barks, crickets and hisses. Cacophonous buzzing above portrayed an army of absurdly large beetles emigrating northwest. Below, sand rustled and floated in the wind, an army in itself. Unstoppable, infinite and disorganized, it would perpetually attack her face, with or without scarf protection and silently rub her skin away.

Perhaps those bugs’r runnin’ away from summat.
‘Or doin’ a nightly hunt, jue to return to their luscious southeastern home by sunrise. Whaddyou know about bugs?’
Exackly as much’s you.
HAH, TOUCH
É, MEIN FURHER.
Guys, I wanna sleep. Long day t’morrow, probly’

She took her mind to the stars, the best place to find dreams. She thought about the stars as navigation through the night to avoid the blazing heat of day, but she knew that would just mean a rigorous contest with the blazing freeze of night. Sometimes, burning sunburnt skin is preferable to frostbite. Skin cancer would be preferable to all, if it was quick. She had no idea, but that’s where her dreams took her.

Desert Music howled, sirens wailed, skin crawled. As the ripples in her forearm increased in depth, her throat started to induce vomit. But there was no food. When vomiting without food, large bugs tend to come out. And out they came, in their thousands, flying northeast. As soon as they dispersed, she desperately started sucking up the lake on her forearm to avoid dehydration, but it tasted cancerous. Her teeth instantly started to rot. Knowing they were weakening at the gum line, the sirens wailed harder, and harder, trying to shake them loose. Her head was screaming, the stars were falling. Many dropped lightly into her shit-stained hand, making her conscious of her naked self. Only, she was different. Focussing in the mirror, she saw, to great relief, her body in its original state; clean, white, slender. Above, golden coins continued to drop, making it hard to wade through to get a closer look at herself, smiling –

WAKEY WAKEY, RISE AND SHINE. Y’DON’T WANNA BE SETTIN’ OFF AT HIGH NOON AGAIN, DO YA?

Eyes open, she felt her arm. Burn-associated pain shot through her. She was awake.

‘Shit’.

Granite, Bullet, Bib

A new story based on three randomly generated words. The words must be incorporated in some way into the story. 500 word limit. (Not a final edit – I noticed my irritating habit of changing tense at seemingly arbitrary moments)

As the prion disease spread, millions of artists across the globe were frantically painting their final portraits, writing their final novella and composing their final concertos. They were all infected.

The disease in question is particularly disturbing, and devastating to the creative field. The prion digs into the host’s mind. It forces an altered state in which basic motor function is inhibited, balance decimated and, perhaps worst of all, imagination reduced to mere nursery rhymes and schoolyard puns.

Artists, a population already affected by large bouts of depression and addiction, were immediately warned of this. Unfortunately, the global bullet famine meant it was going to be very difficult for most to end it all before their dignity rescinded; these days, everyone’s an artist.

There are two forms of treatment. The first is psychological. As various scientists published studies around the world, it became apparent that the area of the brain responsible for creative thought is the location the prion resides, and thus, the more one attempts to imagine, the more rapidly their health declines. Needless to say, results were very promising for those willing to immediately give up their artistic careers.

For those more valiant artists, there was the dietary option. When it was discovered that the alcohol famine was a result of a single cult of thieves who believed it was the only sinless beverage provided by God, it wasn’t long until their apparent immunity to the disease was discovered. Without hourly doses of liquor, the cult followers rapidly turned violent and cannibalistic, hence their sensationalized nickname – Cannibal Corp.

For most of the artists, this double edged sword was all that was needed to remedy the pandemic: Give up creative thought, give up alcohol. But there was always going to be the stubborn few. Globally, these few totaled a couple of million. This persistent bunch had accepted their fates and it was only a matter of time before they were all wearing strait jackets and bibs, drooling over a canvas or keyboard.

The solution came when a young scientist decided to spend her Nobel Prize money on an inhospitable and therefore bargain island in the South Pacific Ocean. Not one to miss out on a chance to save humanity, she created the first Island Hospital. With well over a million victims, it was only fair to give the island autonomy, economy and political reform.

The Grand Republic of Amicable but Neurologically Impaired Tenebrose Ergophiles, or Granite, became the new symbol for quick and easy solutions to mankind’s problems. It was also a great way to allow the more promising, less prominent artists of the world to bloom.

Nobody ever knew what became of the citizens of the island. Nobody ever checked. Occasionally, nearby sailors would find a blood-stained bottle floating towards them, page after page of inexplicable nonsense within. Looking up, they would see bizarre sculptures carved into the rocky cliffs, eerie but beautiful melodies echoing through the mist as they sailed away to more civilized lands.