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Milan

Tell me if I remember.

Is it still as beautiful as it was eighteen years ago?

Are there still meadows and are the meadows still green?

Does the terrace still embrace our old heart where the evenings were endless and the nights were warm?

Can you see my shadow as it pushes itself along on a set of training wheels?

Tell me if I remember your sun-kissed faces.

Do your piazzas have room for a small body grown? A pair of feet to twirl around for good luck?

Is it still warm when it’s cold?

Will dinner be waiting on Christmas day? And maybe some poorly hidden presents we feigned surprise for?

Will we dance away the nights in a long conga line under the soft glow of yellow lights and a few stolen kisses?

Will they remember us for the things we did or the journeys we could undertake?

Will the journeys still be long and tiring and sweet?


I was rummaging through some old writings of mine this evening and I found this little gem reminiscing what few memories I have of my time in Milan when I was a wee toddler. Sometimes, short-lined poetry just isn’t enough and you want to write long-ass sentences.

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Let’s GO!

Around the time it was announced that Pokemon Go was released in Australia – those lucky bastards – my hype levels were spiking up and down like a two-year-old waking up from its slumber to cause havoc until it has to give in to the black unconsciousness and shoot right back up until you slowly give in to the existential darkness of the reality that is this screaming, tasmanian devil of a rotten thing and then sweet, sweet bliss when it passes out and you have that one moment of relief before the cycle repeats itself. I kid you not. Between an android tablet with a completely trashed camera and a Windows phone, my hype was a roller-coaster of a thing. For days, I would see screenshots on Facebook from various friends acquaintances saying shit like, “I caught a Bulbasaur on my balcony!” or “Team Mystic!” during which I simultaneously hyped for what could be and de-hyped because Windows phone. I quickly searched for a petition for the development of Pokemon Go on the Windows OS and shared it on my social media, of course. And then occasionally google search “pokemon go on windows phone” to find a list of various petitions and rage-inducing looks-like-you’re-not-going-to-be-as-happy-as-all-these-people-haha articles which, as you’d expect, I would search for just before going to bed at the break of dawn to remind myself yet again how dark this world is.

But all this nonsense aside, I discovered that I did not actually need a camera to play the game, that that was just a silly little feature you could use to screenshot a Diglett on top of your crotch, or an Ekans on top of your crotch, or a Weedle on top of your crotch. You get the idea. I got the game and there I was, right at the cusp of putting on my imaginary cap and slinging on my imaginary bag that somehow can carry the weight of 350 items and 250 Pokemon all encapsulated in their own individual Pokeballs, no sweat. And like a first-time lazy player, I used my incense up on the first try, contemplated going for a walk then decided nah it’s too late for that.

The first outing was grueling. I workout at home. In this Delhi heat, there is no way I’m willingly stepping out for more than 30 minutes just to run around because it’s “good for my health”. So adding Pokemon Go to my workout schedule was definitely physically hard on me but wayyy more fun than deadlifting in a small room that’s about to turn into a Korean spa any time you breathe out. And we humans breathe, a lot. After that first walk around the neighborhood parks, a total of one hour, I would reach home with a pulsating headache that made me feel like my heart was in my throat telling me that this is what I get for playing Pokemon Go. I remember that first day so clearly. It took me about 4-5 hours to make the world stop moving around me and stand up without feeling like my knees would buckle beneath me.

Now before you accuse me of being weak for nearly shitting my pants after one hour outside, let me tell you, I sweat A LOT. An unusual amount for a girl, let alone a human. I sweat more than most men if you want to understand this in stereotypical terms. The term “sweat like a pig” was invented as a foreshadowing of my coming to this earth. So, if you want to feel my pain, multiply the amount of time I spend outside by 2 to 1,000,000 and you’ll get there eventually. When I woke up the next morning, my legs felt like they were lightly slapped throughout the night by entities the size of underwear gnomes like a bajillion times.

After a few more days of going out hunting for Pokemon, the headache subsided, my legs felt like they could walk 500 miles and 500 more and never so much as tremble, and I thought: this is a great time to be alive. Come Saturday, my cousins and I went to a huge park that has a bunch of deer and is appropriately named Deer Park and we caught ourselves a bunch of Horsea and I overheard this conversation, “Poliwag evolves into Poliwhirl, then?” “Uhh, I think it’s Politoed” and nearly died inside because it’s Poliwrath, you silly, silly boys! I mean, it’s both but Poliwrath is the OG. Silly, silly boys. Now that I think about it, I shouldn’t be this proud about that fact considering I’m 22 and those boys were probably still teenagers and they wouldn’t know any better anyhow. Oh well.

WP_20160723_16_10_09_Pro.jpg

See. Deer.

To this day, about two weeks into playing the game, I have walked more than I have this entire year. I feel more fit. My legs feel like they could run across water. I can go out for a long time and come back and still accompany my parents to a brisk walk around the apartment complex. Life is great.

Hallelujah!

(Was that the worst segue into self-promotion you’ve ever witness or what?)

So there you have it! That’s about all I can say about this lovely game so far. I hope to be very ripped by the end of this. And I hope people will understand how the times that we live in with 24-hour media coverage and the need to sensationalize are most probably affecting their perception of ordinary things like this game and I’m sure a lot of other things. Don’t adopt Newt Gingrich’s ‘feelings’ policy for facts. Never forget that facts are right at your disposal and never be too lazy to check for bullshit. Because that shit stinks.

Peace. Let’s GO!

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Veng Tieng

I

After some five years, my mother and I decided to go home to spend the new year. Of course, the term ‘home’ here is one I use with a pinch of salt. I don’t think I have a home per se, except for the one where my bed and my blanket and my adorable stuffed monkey await. The ‘home’ I speak of here is called Sielmat, where both my sets of grandparents live literally across the street (in this case a field) from each other.

As the years go by, I feel the weight of this term ‘home’ slowly anchor me to something somewhat tangible. I’ve spent literally (yes, that’s how you use that word) all my life traveling from place to place, setting up a home in one place only to take things down and move out within three to four years and start anew. So, as a third culture kid, my best bet at defining ‘home’ would be to look at my parents and their home.

My mother and I left Delhi for Imphal via Guwahati on the 28th of December 2015. I was grumpy as a result of last minute packing and my mother’s flustered state. She’ll never admit to this but she’s quite a weary as well as wary traveler; dearest mother, just calm down. I get even more grumpy when she asks where to go next when the simplest thing to do is look up at the signs. Seriously, to anyone who struggles with traveling in the metro or an airport or a transportation station of any sort, look at the damn signs! As a result of all of this, I become concerned for her wondering how the hell she’d ever travel by herself. It didn’t help that when we got the tickets our seats were scattered and my stress meter most definitely spiked up when the tag on my mother’s hand luggage did not get stamped at the security check-in and I sat watching people boarding the flight for what felt like an eternity till she finally showed up.

Normally, traveling for me – especially in an airport – is a breeze. I’ve been traveling alone ever since I started college from Delhi to Hanoi and back for summer and winter holidays. Until one horrible experience where the kid next to me was masturbating in the dark as I watched 47 Ronen – thanks for ruining that movie for me, kid – eventually leaning in and saying something utterly creepy. I switched seats. Moral of the story: don’t let a creepy kid ruin a good movie for you, watch 47 Ronen again anyway. It did not help that as I waited in Bangkok to catch the next flight to Hanoi that a group of assholes did absolutely nothing to help a lady worker struggle to open a gate due to her short height. Literally there was a guy stood right next to her doing absolutely nothing but watch this poor lady, not to mention the rest of the men and women assholes doing absolutely nothing but gawk at her. I mean I can’t stop repeating ‘absolutely nothing’ because that’s just what it was. Infuriated by my dwindling hope for humanity, I went up and unlocked the gate for the woman. Moral of the story: don’t let all the assholes stop you from helping someone in need. By the time I boarded the flight I couldn’t be bothered with the creepy old man staring at me two seats away because I was two hours away from passing out on my bed at home in Hanoi. My father was waiting for me at the airport in Hanoi no longer greeting me with the embarrassing moonwalk he attempted the last time I came on vacation, his face hardened with concern for me. As we stood waiting for my luggage to arrive in baggage claim I told him about the last wave of shit I waded through on my journey and he said, “Where’s this guy? Let’s go stand next to him and stare him down.” Moral of the story: have a kick ass father.

By now you can probably deduce that the scattered seats really bothered me. There I was sitting not in the aisle seat or the window seat but the middle seat potentially next to two creepy people. I can say now that I’m better equipped to handle things in case of a creep-ergency but thankfully it was not needed. When we landed in Guwahati we happened to pick up my cousin Obed which was a pleasant surprise.

II

One of my biggest struggles upon arrival was time management. It wasn’t the kind where you sit down to study at 1:00pm, look at the time five minutes later, and realize it’s already 7:00pm wondering what the hell you’ve been doing for six hours. My problem was quite the opposite.

If you’re a night owl like I am and you’d like to change that habit to integrate yourself better into a society where time progresses from morning to night instead of afternoon to dawn, I suggest you immerse yourself in a place where everyone, and I mean everyone, wakes up bright and early. There I was going to bed at 11 pm when I’d usually go to bed at 4/5 am and wake up at 8:30 am when I’d usually wake up at 12 pm. Side note: even though the latter sounds horrible, really think about it. Is it better to sleep for 9.5 hours or 7/8 hours? (The answer is the second one so all you kids and night owls tell your parents/yourself your lifestyle is completely rational)

I had one constant in-town contact during my stay with whom I confided my struggle. Jonathan told me he never woke up before 9:30 am. Blasphemous, right? I resolved to follow his sound advice but by the end of my stay, I decided to stick with 8 am.

However, the real problem was not deciding when to sleep and wake up, but what to do in the hours between waking up and going to bed. Miles away from the city where you spend all your conscious hours watching movie after movie, YouTube video after YouTube video, or simply attached to an electronic device of some sort, you literally just sit in the sun and that’s about it. So time, taken as a relative and subjective phenomenon, moves slower.

Those initial days were the slowest I think I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’d wake up, brush my teeth and wash my face, then have breakfast, then sweep and mop the house, then eat lunch, then sit in the sun for however long was needed (two to three hours oh what fun), then have tea and snacks, then play some guitar, then eat dinner, then sit by a heat source, then calculate how many more hours until bed time, then sit for eternity because time now is subjective and eternity can exist in this sense, then go to bed. Rinse and repeat.

You need a packed and busy schedule if you’d like to feel like your life is actually progressing. You sort of wish chores upon yourself just to feel like you’re spending your time somewhat reasonably. That’s why when Jonathan asked me to join the picnic excursion that was happening the next day, I went along.

III

The last time I was in Manipur, I was about to finish high school. We didn’t stay long enough for me to socialize i.e. I was still a damn awkward teenager so I didn’t bother socializing with anyone.  And before this, the gap was about three years entering my initial years of teenage awkwardism still not bothering to remember people. So if you add that all up, really the last time I would have properly remembered anyone would have been 8 years prior to our visit; 8 years to completely forget everyone except for immediate family.

So there I was on the day of the picnic, not knowing anyone except Jonathan and my cousins, not remembering anyone and time decided to stand still to let that awkwardness set in a little bit longer. At one point, I was really tempted to make up some lame excuse and go home but I persevered and it turned out to be a really lovely day. If there’s one thing that social settings have taught me it’s that all awkward situations sort themselves out by the end if you’re willing to change your attitude to be more open to the experience. Works every single time. And it also helps to smile and laugh.

We went to Khuga Dam and spent the day listening to music under the warmth of the winter sun. When it was dinner time, we threw our disposable plates into a bonfire, a satisfying end of the day for the pyromaniac residing deep within my soul.

There was so much handshaking and re-introductions – because I’d probably met all these people before – that all I could simply do was smile and nod and answer honestly, “ka hriet ta naw”. I just don’t know you, sorry.

Side-thought: If you’re the type of person that thinks all dogs are scary and out to get you, you should definitely visit Sielmat or the North-East in general. I was in awe at all the beautiful and well-tempered and human-friendly doggies. I mean, friendly is one thing but to have friendly AND healthy-looking, shiny-coated, handsome pups everywhere? That’s a miracle. A doggy miracle.

IV

And then there was the earthquake.

On the 4th of January 2016, around 4:30 in the morning, we were woken up by an earthquake that at first reminded me of one of the scariest train-ride slumbers I ever experienced in Vietnam from Hanoi to Sapa. As if my body was sending a warning to my unconscious state, I was at the brink of waking up well before the earthquake had even started. I shook my mom awake with a “Mama! Earthquake!” then proceeded onto running out of the house with my hands in the air. No, but really, all earthquakes remind me of that one scene in Freaky Friday where Lindsay Lohan’s little brother pranks his grandfather at breakfast, shaking the table as if to simulate an eathquake upon which the old man shouts “EARTHQUAKE!” and promptly runs out of the house.

I was quick to try and the open the door and get to open air but for some reason, the lock wouldn’t give in easily so my mom beckoned me to her side on the bed and we held onto each other until the tremors had passed.

The thing you gotta understand is that a) these damn earthquakes will not stop following me, and b) these houses are not built to withstand earthquakes like the buildings in Japan are. So after surviving the March 2011 tremors in Tokyo and being extremely impressed that nothing broke in our house, you can understand if I go straight into panic-mode when I’m in a country that’s not Japan and whose houses could potentially break with even a magnitude 5 earthquake. So, EXCUSE ME little nieces who made fun of me screaming for my mom in the middle of the night during a scary ass natural disaster.

V

I have come to the conclusion that I am an ambivert. I can handle the social aspect of life and I can also be happy by myself. If ever I find myself in an uncomfortable social situation or there are just too many damn people around, I will quietly slip away and watch some birds, wander about and such. It began when in my final year in college, I decided I couldn’t handle the monotony of following the crowd that I walked past it all and enjoyed solitude instead. It was this wanderlust that sped up the time.

I began to ask my little nieces to go on walks with me. It started with a walk across the field and back and by the end of the trip we’d wander down the river into the wilderness and up a mountain. I had a camera with me as an excuse to go exploring. Everywhere we went I’d take pictures and videos that I told myself I’d edit later into something epic (still yet to do).

My three nieces and I usually started down the set of steps that lead you to Dan Veng, right outside a school. Then we’d be met by a Y-intersection, though it was rather a trident-intersection. We managed to explore all three paths; one went up to New Sielmat, the middle towards a river path that’s slowly drying up, and the last one further into Dan Veng. Usually we’d follow the last path back up and out via the set of steps behind the EFCI church or continue further in and follow another river path back up and out into the wilderness around the entrance to Prayer Mountain. Then before heading home, we’d make a quick visit to the cemetery where my nieces would gather fallen flowers and place them onto their respective grandmother’s and grandfather’s graves. What can I say? Winter is a wonderful time to go walking and exploring, especially for me i.e. a person who’s already sweating in mid-Spring.

There I was in my favorite terrain. How can you not love the mountains? There’s so much beauty to witness and adventuring to do. It so happened that I woke up looking forward to walking and exploring with my nieces and time was no longer slow. I wished there was more daylight because nights felt subzero and all you’d ever want to do is sit by a fire.

By the end of our two-week stay, there wasn’t enough time left to see everything that I wanted to or could have seen. I was just warming up to the place. It takes me a loooong time to get used to something or someone enough to open up. But, as if time and space were telling me it was time to go, I developed a small case of food poisoning on the day we departed. It really didn’t help that the in-flight dinner looked like the most appetizing airplane meal I’d ever seen.

VI

So, what is home?

I’ve yet to understand that term. It confuses me as much as my identity does. I’m Indian, yet not in the sense an outsider would understand the term. I’m Hmar, yet not completely attached to the traditions and customs that go with the tribe. ‘I’m an international kid’ is honestly the most sense I can make of my identity. I may have Indianness coursing through my blood and muscles but my mind is a mix of everything that sometimes is in denial of that very Indianness. Whatever it may be, that is why defining home is such a confusing and complicated subject to me.

I’m not black and white, I’m grey. I can’t ever look at something with concrete certainty when there are so many other factors and exceptions to consider. And that’s why home to me is whatever you make of where you are. By the end of our stay at my parents’ hometown, the place and the people started to bury themselves into my soul and I could see myself slowly integrating into it. The same way that when I watch a YouTube video or a vlog about Japan I feel an aching inside me and a yearning to walk the streets of Tokyo at night like my brother and I used to. The same way that when I think of the best street food I end up reminiscing about Hanoi – and incidentally how I never got food poisoning from eating street food over there. The same way that our Indian Ocean view from our apartment in Maputo has burrowed deep into my dreams as a recurring motif I greet every now and then. The same way that when I step out of the house, I can’t wait to crash onto my tiny mattress on the floor, pass out, and wake up again with a wanderlust to go out and get absorbed by the world again.

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Inktober 2015

October has been a hard art month for me. I wanted so badly to keep up with making art and doing other awesome things but all I really did was watching TV shows and movies and celebrate my birthday.

However, November means turning a new leaf so I am finally feeling reinvigorated and less lazy to make some art.

In any case, there’s this thing called Inktober which I semi-participated in. I couldn’t do it for the whole month but I made sure to dedicate all of my art pieces to digital ink since I couldn’t be bothered with a paper and pen.

Pocahontas

Mulan

merida3

girlLiquid

Sth

Drip

Globe

autumn2

And that’s about it!

My favorite is the teal-yellow piece. A lot of time went into lining all of those little details out.

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Adventures in Haldiram’s Conspiracies

It was at the eve of my 22nd birthday when my father and I decided to take a half-day trip to some remote part of Delhi where we found ourselves lost in a conspiracy.

A Haldiram’s conspiracy.

It started as a simple text message from the university I applied to telling me to pick up some books at one of its regional centres. I got the message at night on the 14th so the 15th was out of the question. On the 16th we went to a wedding. So it had to be on the 17th if we didn’t wish to rush it on the last date which would be the 18th.

The thing is, there’s a centre some minutes away from home but just as I realized the centre I filled in on the online form was somewhere out there I’d never been to, it was already too late to correct it to the former. We were bound to this adventure. Regardless of the numerous emails I had sent to request a change in regional centre –

a change
that could be made so damn easily
with a flick of the wrist,
a click of the button,
a change in a list

– we had no choice but to venture on.

While my music was playing on the car radio and my father and I sat in silent anticipation, I held his phone, Google Maps at the ready in GPS mode. My phone battery was already at the brink of death so there I was, sat with my father’s phone, its on/off button behaving as unpredictably as the other devices that experience similar distress under my father’s compulsive fingers. There’s his current phone, there’s the ‘clock’ button on his car radio, there’s the TV remote, there’s the cursor button on his laptop, and the mouse on the desktop. Despite having pointed out this clear-cut pattern in my father’s button-destructing ways, our journey was not as predictable but one as erratic and confusing as pure chance and luck would have it.

Now, I consider myself a very good navigator. My father and I navigated the heck out of the streets of Tokyo during those early days when we didn’t have GPS on our phones but only a printed sheet off of Google Maps and some location circled in pen with the route highlighted in yellow. And I missed a few turns. Every time it seemed like the turn was in a few metres, there it went. And the damn distances on the phone, you just can’t calculate how far you actually are from where you’re going. I blame my father’s 1G internet connection. Please someone do something about this 1G nonsense, thank you.

Before we reached the destination marked on the phone, my father – having probably been disappointed by the various GPS turn mishaps I failed to announce on time and also being an older male who can’t seem to trust the perfectly good instinctual sense of direction of a younger female – had to first ask a streetside cobbler where the centre was. The cobbler pointed straight towards the main road, which we had now left to join a smaller inner road, and said it will be next to a Haldiram’s. For those of you who don’t know, Haldiram’s is the name of a food company and restaurant that sells various assortments of Indian sweets, snacks and ice-creams and so on.

So of course my father had to go towards the main road. Of course. I suggested rather irritably that we should check out the spot on the GPS first before making such hasty decisions so we did that. There was nothing there. I’d be lying if I said ‘literally’ but since the dictionary definition of ‘literally’ has been changed to something horrible that has led to the unfortunate dismay of millions of clear-headed individuals face-palming across the universe, there was literally nothing there.

Case in point.

Case in point.

Again, we asked around as to the whereabouts of this invisible structure and again we got the same response: down the main road next to a Haldiram’s.

We drove around the area for a little while, even asking some college students – there were a few universities here – where this centre was. And where the heck this Haldiram’s was too. No one knew. Of course.

We then decided that the smart thing to do next was to check out the exact address on the website and type in that exact address in the GPS. It said the location was yet another 7 km away. So we drove on.

My father and I are pretty chill individuals. He doesn’t say much or react much but I can say certainly for myself that when life puts me in a tough spot, I try to see the things around me that are going right. And wouldn’t you know it, we drove by Tughlakabad fort and, though it was only the outer walls we saw, it’s still pretty splendid seeing something a part of a lifetime of centuries ago when the country’s going for a ‘out with the old, in with the new’ kinda look.

A couple of minutes later, we reached an up-and-coming landscape. On the right, there were houses and buildings that looked as if they belonged somewhere in the 90s while on the left there were grand glass buildings hosting various high-end car dealerships. I wish I could rant on and on about the stark contrast of such an image and its symbolic connection to the state of the country, just like the fact that the higher ups all ride in cars out of olde Bollywood movies instead of sleek and shiny Transformers cars, I won’t. That’s all.

There we were, famished with only water to drink. My father spotted a vendor selling drinks and chips and the like. He bought us the fizziest fucking drinks I’ve ever had and asked the vendor where in the heck this invisible centre was. Turns out we were already there.

I got my books and my father and I got to explore a part of Delhi we’d never been in.

The mystery was not over yet though. I told my father after we typed in the new location, if there’s a Haldiram’s next to the centre I will be damn amused. He chuckled. I continued, “Seriously, I bet it’s a conspiracy amongst everyone who lives back there. I bet what they do when someone’s looking for a building that doesn’t exist there any more that they tell you it’s next to the Haldiram’s down the road and then mutter under their breath seven kilometres away. I bet that’s what they do.”

And as we made out for the journey back home, there, just a few buildings away from the centre, was a massive structure with a red sign right on top that read: Haldiram’s.

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Best of September (Art Dump)

Well, seems I’ve been neglecting this blog for a little while. I’m trying my best to think of things to write about but nothing really exciting is happening in my life at the moment.

But guess what? September’s gone by in a flash and that means it’s time for another art dump! This time, I’ll filter out my best pieces of the month because I made quite a bit of art AND I have 300+ watchers on my DeviantArt account now which is a pretty big milestone that I am very thankful for.

Let’s-a-go!

Art

Magneto

Magneto

I made one more X-Men character and that was that.

Gollum

Gollum

One of the things I took on in September was The Lord of The Ring. This is the first portrait I did with regards to the theme. I hadn’t read the books yet so I decided to take it upon myself to tackle the literary universe as well.

Gandalf

Gandalf

Sir Ian McKellan no. 2. This portrait took a few days due to laziness and a ton of lines to draw. I’m very much happy with how this one turned out. I had a whole piece envisioned in my head and the hatching techniques I used with varied shades were very helpful.

bundle_of_joy_by_estherlr-d98cp51

One of the things I wanted to highlight in this series was the orcs and goblins. I play a half-orc in my current D&D campaign so perhaps that’s what brought on this fascination with the earthly race. You will also notice from here on out that I delved into the realm of dark and creepy things.

uruk_hi__how_you_doin___by_estherlr-d99h3qv am_i_pretty__by_estherlr-d98vfwh

Some more lovely orcs ❤

Denala

The other thing I did in September was that I opened requests for a short period for practice and for appreciation for the 300 watchers. This is my favorite piece from the requests I did. It’s based on someone’s Pathfinder character and it’s also the first ever anthropomorphic beast I’ve ever painted and I had a blast doing it and I’m hella proud of it.

TThe Light

Another one of the requests; a recreation of my favorite scene in Tangled which is also my favorite Disney movie. I had no idea if my minimalist style would work with the lanterns but I found a way!

Pocahontas

I made this two days ago and that’s probably cheating considering that it’s already October. This was the last request I did and again I’m hella proud of it. I made it in this style to commemorate Inktober as well. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a little project that Mr. Jake Parker initiated to help him out with inking and to also spread the ink love to artists around the world. For more information – cuz’ I ain’t doin’ it justice enough – check out his website: http://mrjakeparker.com/inktober

Darkness Toto

The third theme for September was The Neverending Story and Legend. I’ve got two very good friends on Deviant Art who requested these pieces and who are very much engrossed in the 80s fantasy movie era WHICH I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO KNOWLEDGE OF. I had no idea all these wonderful movies actually existed. I urge you seriously, if you haven’t seen Legend (1985) go watch it. You will be blow away by the set and the costume and makeup. My mind’s still blown.

Music

I’ve been struggling with writing a good song this past month. Now that it’s October I think I’m finally onto something. In any case, here are two covers that I think are pretty good if I may say so myself. “Dazzle” by Oh Wonder which is a kickass song from an up-and-coming kickass British duo. And “What Sober Couldn’t Say” by Halestorm which is my favorite song from their latest album and which I also think is their best written song.

AND I put up a video. Do a bit of ‘rapping’ if you can even call it that.

And that’s a lot of information packed into one post. Damn. Stick around for the end of the month to see what I’m upto and check out my DeviantArt gallery to see other things I did in September!

Echo out.

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The Viewfinder

He looked through the black viewfinder you would find at some scenic place. It was his idea that on his first date with the woman he met at the book store they’d visit the carnival passing through town. He saw this tent and excitedly dragged her along with him. She did not see the appeal of investigating a black tent with a lone black viewfinder in it.

He pulled back from the viewfinder. “You have got to try this!”

“What did you see?” she asked.

“I won’t tell you,” he said giddily like some school boy about to play the nastiest prank on someone. “You’ll have to find out for yourself.”

She shrugged and stepped in front of the black viewfinder that had “See your DEEPEST and DARKEST fears!” written with the type of squiggly lines you’d only ever find at a haunted mansion. She was nervous; she was easily spooked. For one last time, she looked at him still all smiles, and past him to the excitement of the bustling crowd outside the small tent they were standing in, reminding herself that she needed to loosen up and relax.

“Here goes nothing.”

She looked through the black viewfinder and found herself standing in the middle of an empty street. She could see her hands and her feet and found this a little odd. She didn’t make a big deal out of it but merely thought: technology these days.

The street was empty but the buildings surrounding it seemed emptier, if that were even possible. She walked straight ahead for there was nowhere else to turn which became boring soon enough that it was getting time to end this silly endeavor. She tried to pull herself away from the black viewfinder but hadn’t a clue how. Thinking that perhaps she had to walk back to her starting position, she turned back and started walking and walking until everything looked the same as it did in the other direction. She began to panic.

“Hello?” she cried out.

The doors on the buildings surrounding the street all opened at once and she gasped, holding her hands to her head instinctively. The doors compelled her to enter them. It didn’t matter to her which one she picked, she still felt ridiculous about the situation and increasingly alarmed. But perhaps this strange place was showing her the way out.

She entered the nearest door on her left. It was a room covered with mirrors and nothing more. Some were cracked and some were intact but they all seemed to be covered in a thin layer of dirt or steam or something because she couldn’t see herself clearly in any of them. She left the room and as she did, she pulled back and saw her date standing next to her.

“So did you see it? It’s funny, right?” he chuckled.

“What’s funny about mirrors?”

He was confused so he leaned in on the black viewfinder and laughed.

“You know, I don’t think you were looking properly,” he said. “Try again and this time, really look.”

She didn’t know if she wanted to go back to that creepy empty street but apparently there was supposed to be something very funny in there. Somewhere.

She looked through the black viewfinder again and entered another door. It appeared to be a bar and in the middle of the room there was a woman wearing clothes that looked very familiar. The woman stood with her arms crossed and a very stern look on her face. She noticed there were men sitting all around the bar, faceless. Still, she had a sense that they were all engrossed with the woman in the middle of the room. The woman walked towards the bar and ordered herself a drink, all the while the faceless men mirroring their heads to the way she moved. The woman didn’t seem to care or notice all the attention she was being given but simply flipped her hair carelessly when a man at the furthest corner of the room hissed at her. Then the man next to him did the same until like a chain it spread through the room. She was surprised at the calm that the woman was exuding as the hissing became louder and louder. Then all at once the faceless men faced her and hissed with even more acid than before. She turned and ran for the door.

“That was not fun,” she said as she found herself staring at the black viewfinder.

“What do you mean? It’s hilarious!”

“No, I just want to go. This place is giving me the creeps.”

He rolled his eyes. “Don’t tell me you’re one of those people who are afraid of clowns? Come on, that is such a cliché!”

“Clowns?”

“Yeah, that dancing clown. He’s like this –” he wiggled his hips and waved his arms around his head. “Man, I love carnivals.”

She looked around making sure that they were still standing underneath the black tent. There was a breeze outside and it created waves on the fabric of the tent as if things were lurking outside of it. She shivered.

He noticed. “Look, why don’t I go get us something hot to eat. Maybe you’re hungry or something.”

“You’re just gonna leave me alone here? In this creepy tent?”

“You’re overreacting.” He turned to leave, “I’ll be back in a few. You better be laughing or smiling or something when I get back.”

She grimaced. She wanted to get out of this black tent and rejoin all the normal people outside but she knew from the look in his eyes that he wouldn’t let up until she came out just as self-content as he was.

She wandered back into the black viewfinder and heard a faint little song coming from a door to her right. She recognized that the room was her bedroom. As she stepped through, the door closed and disappeared. She cursed under her breath then swivelled and banged against the wall. The door did not reappear.

She felt a deep dark dread run down her spine as she turned to face a large pile of books in the middle of the room in a burning pyre. She recognized the titles as the texts slowly burned away. The room started to vibrate and move. The walls were pushing everything towards the middle, pushing her towards the funeral pyre. She clung to the wall behind her for dear life, kicked and beat at it for the door to appear again but it was just a wall now. And as the flames engulfed her body along with everything else in the room that she had ever owned, she slowly pulled herself away from the black viewfinder.

She looked back at her date now holding two steaming cups of something, spit a nasty word at him, and stomped off the tent.

He followed but not without looking around the tent one last time trying to decipher what exactly it was that made her uncomfortable. He shrugged and came to the conclusion that the only logical explanation was that she just hated clowns or color or joy itself because there was nothing creepy to him about a multicolored tent with a sign hanging outside that says, “World’s Smallest Dancing Clown!”