Category Archives: Art

The Key to Caerwyn

I am launching my latest work in podcast format with the first chapter set for release this month! I thought you might enjoy a “sneak-peek”.

Chapter One: To Begin:

Let me paint you a picture. There is a single door in the darkness and a man steps through it with something small and fragile cradled in one arm. When the door opens, there is a flood of light in the darkness—a blade, a bullet of shining brightness—but as soon as the door closes, the light is gone. You are suddenly cut off, wondering what could have shone like that, with more colours than stained glass and rainbows put together, more colours than you have ever seen on a shining screen, a few less than you have dreamt.

The man that remains is a stretched-thin black—a dusty, worn black—and in the dim light he blends into the corners of the shadows and reminds you that there is such a thing as darkness.

How do you describe him? Everything you come across in your musings—tall, perhaps, or brooding, or maybe dour, or grim—sounds suspiciously like something you’ve heard or read or dreamt before—but at one glance you can tell that he is not any of these things, and yet he is all of them. He reminds you of the smell of old leather, perhaps, or the stone of an ancient tombstone, or the feel of musty paper in a used-book store. Perhaps, you will think, he looks like your own reflection, on a night when you pass a mirror, half asleep and unawares, and nearly scream at the eyeless, masked apparition that is you.

Yes. He could be that.

He takes a long look around and blinks slowly, squinting and trying to see in this dimness you call light. The bundle in his arm shifts and squirms and tries to move, as if it is in fact capable of escape. It is not. He has made it so, though it will cost him much more than he is willing to admit. Now it is harmless, slowly growing lesser and lesser, as if it is losing the outlines that define it, or as though someone has smudged an eraser over its identity. Soon it will be no more than an idea, blending into an abstract concept—no more than a dull shadow amongst the other shadows. It quiets, and is still, and the man looks up. He tucks something into his pocket, and it disappears in a flash of silver and a fold of shade.

Then the man is gone, in a shimmer of air and a ripple of ink, and you are just remembering that the sky is overcast and it looks like it will rain, and then you recall that you have errands to run and dinner to get back to…

You will not remember me until much later, and then you will sit up in bed and think what was that? I’m certain it’s important.
But it will seem like a dream to you, and by the time you wake tomorrow morning you won’t remember me at all.

 

Interface

It was a cold evening and I sat in the rear seat of my son’s car hugging my coat closer in a vain attempt to keep in some warmth. I was grateful we wouldn’t have to contend with parking or walking in the cold (finally some payback for all of the hours we had spent driving kids around!).green swirl1

We joined the crowd and funnelled into the front doors of the concert hall, everyone squeezing in together and out of the cold. Once inside, the frigid air slowly melted off my coat as we made our way to the box—a new experience: boxed seats. I watched the people milling around. Most were dressed just a little better than workday clothes. Most were smiling and chatting—excited about the show I assumed. And everyone was with someone else—couples, big groups, small groups. I didn’t see a single person who was alone.

We went up a flight of stairs and followed the instructions we had been given to find our seats. Several members of our group were already there and the others showed up almost immediately. We chatted and ate hors d’oeuveres, talking about the performer and sharing what we knew about his music and his career. Everyone knew something—some knew more than others—and everyone shared thoughts and opinions.

The lights went down and we obediently took our seats. The stage lights came up and the performer walked out onto the stage to the bold applause of the audience, shouts and whistles rising up over the clapping.

A couple of songs into the concert the performer stopped the proceedings, calling for the lights to come up over the audience. Some anonymous lights worker turned up the house lights and the performer glanced around, waving at the audience (more shouts and whistles). “Just trying to get a feel for the space,” he said, “I can’t actually see any of you with the lights on me.” He called for the lights to go down (they did) and went on with the concert.

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That bothered me—the sort of one-way-mirror feeling introduced by the performer. The people in our group—and, I’m certain, in the rest of the audience—knew a lot about the performer’s life and work and he knew nothing about any person in the audience. One glance around the room (I could see the audience just fine) told me that there were hundreds of stories present, but the performer’s story was the only one being told that evening.

I’ve been thinking about that idea since the concert—irritated by the thought, actually. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that one-way communication isn’t the sole domain of concerts and performances. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was inherent to every form of communication be it music, art, work, or reading this blog.

Every person reading this blog (or sharing a conversation or watching the same movie) will take away a different interpretation of the experience. They’ll remember different portions and they’ll form different ideas based on the same experience. There’s no possible way to have everyone leave a situation with exactly the same interpretations, ideas, or perspectives—certainly none of our group at the concert did—we compared notes afterward. I’m guessing that all of those other groups of people had the same thing happen in their groups.

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That sort of thinking is something that will drive people like me crazy—I need to know people “get” what I’m saying.

Or maybe not.

Maybe the point of all those interactions isn’t to make someone think a certain thing. Maybe the point is to let them think something.

I’m thinking that maybe the world is a little more interesting—a little more meaningful—if everyone gets to make up their own stories.

Thanks for letting me contribute to yours.