Perception post: Breaking Wood

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“…Superheroes are almost always represented as lone wolves: out in the darkest hours of the night, protecting the city they call home, concealing their identity behind a thick mask and, most importantly, accomplishing everything alone. They can break all three wooden sticks alone.”

I came across a thought-provoking Czechoslovakian folk tale recently. It was about a father, on his deathbed, who wanted to give his sons an important lesson before his passing. He gave each son two wooden sticks and told them to take one of the two and break it. They all did. Then, he told them to give the remaining sticks they had to each brother in turn so they could attempt to break three at the same time. One by one, they all gave it a go. And one by one, they all failed.

His message was clear: when divided, you are weak and vulnerable, but in unity, you are strong, impenetrable even. As long as the brothers stuck together, they would always find peace and security. This was the final lesson he left with them – and rightly so – because it was probably the most important one; let’s just say the end for the three sons in the folk tale wasn’t particularly good…

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Perception post: Embracing scars

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“We are the curves of the mountaintops: smooth from a distance, but jagged in proximity; serene from afar, yet possessing dusty scars when observed closely.”

Upon starting this blog – on April 5th 2016 – there were some thoughts racing through my mind, holding me back: what if this blog reveals too much about me? What if all the judgmental people from my past find it begin to do what they’re best at – judge? What if people don’t resonate with my creativity? What if I overstep the boundaries of my experimental comfort zone and, instead of remaining private, as I have always been, become an open book?

I have found there is only one way to make peace with my worries: I want to be honest – an exposing, confessing, vulnerable honesty. Not because it’s something that this blog or my life demands of me, but because I know it will liberate me. Once you’ve told your truth, openly accepted it, confronted it, you feel its hold over you ceasing, its strength diminishing. Gradually, it becomes so weak and faint, until one day, it’s no longer much more than a reminiscent smile curling at your content lips.

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A short story: Son & smoke

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“…no matter how many faces it possesses, all truth is made of the same substance: the same slippery, elusive smoke, so eager to escape our grasp, yet so eager to reveal its signs.”

As I walked into the living room, to grab my car keys from the coffee table, I spared my father a glance. I felt the familiar agitation that overcame me whenever I found him in such a state: he was huddled in his arm chair, in the far corner of the room, reading an old, dusty book, as he always seemed to be doing in his spare time. His keen, wrinkled hands were moving impatiently over the pages, as though he couldn’t get through it fast enough, as though perhaps he could delve into its very pages if he caressed it in the right way.
“I’m going out dad,” I called to him, already making to leave the room.
“Wait, come sit with me,” he called across the room.
I would have refused, as I normally did, but I saw a light of hope in his eyes, and didn’t want to be the reason it disappeared.

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Excerpt of the day

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“By turning names into things we create false models of reality. By endowing nations, societies, or cultures with the qualities of internally homogeneous and externally distinctive and bounded objects, we create a model of the world as a global pool hall in which the entities spin off each other like so many hard and round billiard balls. Thus it becomes easy to sort the world into differently colored balls, to declare that “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.””

Eric R. Wolf Europe and the people without history (Pp6-7).

 

Excerpt of the day

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‘And what good’s theory going to be in the real world?’ said Harry loudly, his fist in the air again.
Professor Umbridge looked up.
‘This is school, Mr Potter, not the real world,’ she said softly.
‘So we’re not supposed to be prepared for what’s waiting for us out there?’
‘There is nothing waiting out there, Mr Potter.’
‘Oh, yeah?’ said Harry. His temper, which seemed to have been bubbling just underneath the surface all day, was reaching boiling point.
‘Who do you imagine wants to attack children like yourselves?’ enquired Professor Umbridge in a horribly honeyed voice.
‘Hmm, let’s think…’ said Harry in a mock thoughful voice. ‘Maybe… Lord Voldemort?’
Ron gasped; Lavender Brown uttered a little scream; Neville slipped sideways off his stool. Professor Umbridge, however, did not flinch.

J.K Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Pp220).

A poem: Swaying Water

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Come, dip your
feet
in the cold, swaying water
with me.
Allow it to fill you up
and leave you:
cleansed, soothed, renewed.
Let it wash away your
anger and envy.
Let it drown your
grief and fear.
Let it liberate you;
for nothing,
no matter how vast,
beautiful or horrifying,
survives the power of
the sea.

Anam Iqbal 

 

A poem: Blood

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They told me:
‘endless blood must be spilt for peace’
and you are naive if you imagine a
different world.
You must wake to bitter gun shots, and
the soft chirping of birds, alike.
You must find tranquility in the:
indebtedness of your time,
labelling of your body,
exploitation of your beliefs, or
you will never know any at all.
But I told them:
softness is rifled
when there are sharp, unforgiving
bangs.
And bleeding dry won’t bring us
freedom only war.
And they said I would stand alone,
among the perilous bridges
that I’d tirelessly built from our end to theirs,
so there would no longer be ours or theirs.
I waited… waited… waited.
My longing hope painted across my face
in flashing lights.
And then, I saw their dancing silhouettes.
They had come.
And my eyes glazed like the surface of a
thundering ocean.
And then, we were like branches, reaching for the
blossom-strewn sky and humble truth together.
And the only blood that was left
was the one in the sunset
we beheld.

Anam Iqbal 

A poem: Oh, fear of mine!

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Oh, fear of mine!
Come reveal your sharp edges on
my crumbling skin for perhaps then
my feverish soul will witness –
by the dusky whispers of the sky, and
the blistered hands of my father, and
the softness of your deception –
what you are in your truest form:
A haunting, acidic lie, that I may use
to excuse myself from this life.

Anam Iqbal 

 

 

Excerpt of the day

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As for Michael Corleone, he found himself standing, his heart pounding in his chest; he felt a little dizzy. The blood was surging through his body, through all its extremities and pounding against the tips of his fingers, the tips of his toes. All the perfumes of the island came rushing in on the wind, orange, lemon blossoms, grapes, flowers. It seemed as if his body had sprung away from him out of himself.

Mario Puzo The Godfather (Pp444).