Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mini Purple Sharpies

In the invisible, swirling spirits and realities surround my deeply oblivious body. But here on the streets of Sydney, all that is visible lies in front of me, clamouring for the attention of my senses. I stride away from Paddy’s Market in my red double breasted jacket, my peacock-eyed scarf, my tall black boots, and my ever-necessary black sunnies. Oh sunnies of mine, you keep the world from staring into my soul. Most days I applaud you for this highly dangerous task, but every so often, I want to rip you off of my face and stare into the eyes of Medusa herself. I’m not afraid of her reported powers.

Alas, today is a day of hiding, and I’m clapping on the inside. Loudly, vibrantly.

As Central station looms on my visible horizon, I begin to notice people around me. This part of town - Chinatown - actually feels more similar to Japan, specifically Tokyo. Or at least what I expect Tokyo to be. The crowd is pulsating, humming, pushing, pulling in all directions. It’s chaos, disorder to the highest degree. There is no emergence, no pattern to the comings and goings of those caught up in the tangle, the web of humanity. The multitudes continue to throb, surging towards their daily supplies. I do my best to shake off the American who lives at my core, who thrives in large personal space and quiet. Oh, she’s screeching rebelliously against such close quarters.

But soon enough, I walk away from Chinatown, leaving its bustle to its own citizens, and I enter the semi-quiet, easygoing, Australian Central Station. Mel is a few steps ahead of me, soon falling a few steps behind, doing her own tango with the Aussies and foreigners who traipse amongst the trains that are quickly arriving and departing. I lose sight of her quite a few times, mostly due to my distraction with the people around me. I see a lady pull 3 coins from her pocket, totaling $4, and I imagine that she’s traveling back to Bondi Junction, maybe to buy that pair of heeled boots that she’s been admiring for quite some time. It’s gonna take more than $4, or at least that’s what I read as I intently stare into her face. I stroll past two backpackers who are standing at the entry stalls of the intercity trains, debating which track their train is departing from. The pony-tailed guy is pointing at the roughly sketched train-maps sprawled above the stalls, and both are ignorant of how they are annoying other passengers trying to inch by.

I carefully step onto the down escalator, ever nervous about missing the step and rolling down 50+ escalator-stairs. As I walk through Central station, I imagine myself in that movie scene (there are so many) where the protagonist in the bright red coat is stopped in the midst of a busy place, people flowing around her. It is one of those elapsed-time scenes that are intended to imply how busy life is, how rarely we stop to think, and how alone we can feel. Sometimes, I think they also use these scenes to show how someone is waiting for something that never comes.

And so all of those story-morals probably apply to me today as I slowly stroll through Central, listening to my iBuds with my ears and listening to the people with my eyes. I see a guy my age hiding behind his sunnies, and I swear he’s staring at me. I’m glad he’s got them on, because I don’t want to know his soul right now. I have pieces of souls floating within my own soul, and I already feel quite overwhelmed by those (oh yes, in a good way.) Maybe another time, another place, Mr. Sunnies.

I sit on the ledge of the escalator - 8 minutes until the Sutherland train, going to Rockdale, arrives. In the meantime, I change my song and lose myself in thoughts. 7 minutes later - an early train! - I climb aboard the train and sit across from Mel. I pull my reporter’s memo pad from my purse (which is now far too heavy with today’s purchases) and begin to write in purple ink. I love this Sharpie, this mini-purple Sharpie. Some days I wish I was a purple or maroon mini-Sharpie. I wouldn’t feel less superior to the bigger sharpies - I could go where no Sharpie has gone before as a mini! The click-Sharpies, though, are an entirely different story. But I suppose we all need something to keep our pride in check, hey?

I’ve had thoughts in my head that I wanted to transcribe to paper the entire walk to the train, but what instead comes out of nowhere is Russian Literature. I ask myself this question: Of the three Russian novels that I’ve read (Anna Karenina, The Idiot, and Crime and Punishment), to whom do I relate to the most? Who would I be, if I were cast as one of those characters based on my own character? I find myself furiously writing about who I am not, and when I surface for air, I am staring absentmindedly out the train window at the concrete, trees, people, and air passing me by.

I’m suddenly thinking of how I feel like I’m in one of those foreign films... the protagonist is staring out the window, considering her writing - its vulnerability, its imperfections. I even hear a voice-over (in French or Italian, of course) in my head echoing my thoughts. I smile at my silliness and wish my life were a movie, or at least a reality show.

I head back to my question and my notepad. I’ve often thought that the Russians are rather extreme in their characters who are burdened by self-loathing, who are bent on self-destruction. What I realized in writing down how I relate to the Russian characters is that the only reason I am not lost in these ideas is Christ.

I love Jesus.

And upon realizing this, I cut those characters a bit more slack. I lament, in writing, momentarily how I am not as gracious, naive, caring, or honest as Prince Myshkin (aka the Idiot). And then, I realize I am a combination of Kostya (Anna Karenina) and Aglaya (The Idiot).

And I’m happy by this revelation, although I want to be more like other characters. It also makes me excited to read Brothers Karamazov when I finish Shantaram, to see if I relate to any of those characters.

God, please make me more like Myshkin. I want to see the good in people. I suppose the correct thing to say would be please make me more like Christ.

And so, I disembark the train, happily alone amongst 50 or so people.

Oh introvert, how I’ve missed you so. And dearest Sydney, I have convinced my heart that I will leave you with no regret - I will not regret our sudden departure. I hope deeply, incessantly, that our paths will cross again, that my children will know you on an intimate level. You are so beautiful, most notably in your citizens. But in the next 4 days, I will love you like you’ve never been loved before.

I am a passionate and sincere lover, dear Sydney. Be prepared to be left longing for me. Oh, be prepared.

Monday, July 13, 2009

the Invisible Hand painted the walls

in the eternity existing before time began, an expert Craftsman set to work about his creation. we've all read the stories of such Creation; some believe the stories, but many have cast a cynical eye towards the 'fairy tale' and have since moved on to science, knowledge involving material and 'proof'.

but have no fear, you believer, because regardless of their unbelief, this Creationist exists.

His World was torn asunder in the moment of independence; hearts were shattered, spirits divided.

and so, this Creationist, an professional Artisan, began His artwork once again, lamenting this necessary task. an expert in combining vivid colors with muted hues, he began to blend them into realities and perceptions of various sorts. once the colors were perfected, the Invisible Hand swept His fingers through the wet paint and began to stain this newly autonomous world with the multitude of pigments.

a wall was created.

and He wept.

the one World then became divided between their world, a suffocating impersonation of freedom, and His World, now invisible to those locked inside their own self-sufficiency.

division was evident for a very long time. the people inside the world would, now and then, have vague visions of the World which the paint guarded. dreams of Utopia, unexplainable longings, unquenchable fires deep within their hearts.

there was talk of reconciliation, but those within repeatedly stumbled into the wall. furthermore, they were often entranced by their reflections within this wall, looking only towards themselves, never beyond themselves to the World past the reflection. they did not and could not know how much more awaited them, for their selfishness prevented them from seeing.

reunion came in the form of a Man - and at once, the painted bricks of the wall became invisible.

but you see, the people inside were rather accustomed to staring at the painted partition, and so they were physically unable to see through to the Outside World. their hearts had grown hard, their eyes dim.

He sent his Love into the reunited World, calling the spirits He so lovingly formed back to him, desperately trying to change their hearts, to open their eyes.

He longed to have his creation return to Him.

that Love, it worked hard upon one heart in particular, one spirit that was seeking to find Him, despite its ignorance to its own search.

that hard heart soon cracked open under such a great Love, revealing a fleshy, love-inspired heart. those eyes, they shone brightly. this man walked, puzzled, to the invisible brick wall he had never before been aware of, seeing only the outlines of the old painted bricks. he carefully pulled down the first paint brick, and a trickle of light flowed forth into the eyes of the others. he looked back to their faces, to see if they saw what he could now see upon the other side of this confusing barrier. their eyes peered and strained, but they still saw not. the man pulled down another brick, set upon tearing down the entire wall! more and more blocks came down by the power of this man's hands, His love, and His strength; the light grew to an blinding glow, and more and more people began to see past him into the other world.

the Glory of the Light flooded their faces, their world, and their hearts.

the lost came out of hiding.

the land, the trees, the grass, the flowers, and the animals belonging to the rebels began to groan loudly, in anticipation of the voluntary, complete destruction of the wall by those who had once refused Him.

words, songs, noises - they poured forth as Enlightenment and Reconciliation were completed.


we will return to You.

Your name is Glorious.
I have fallen in love with the song Tear Down the Walls, by Hillsong United. The song is powerful in its lyrics, beautiful in its unusual structure, and of course, crescendos loudly before it falls grandly.

This writing is inspired by this beautiful song.

About Me

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I live amongst the dragons and the warriors of the 21st century. I surround myself with both the peasants, the aristocrats; the knights and the maidens. For a long time (now quite in the past), I wove the structure of my life around the mold others saw for me. I've since learned to live for God and myself. Freedom comes and goes as I remember this lesson of mine. But my life is MY life: a series of events and remembering such. And this, this beautiful montage, is why I wake up every morning. God willing.