I lived in central Europe, once, in a small city that ebbed with time. During the week, it jittered with energy; on Sundays, and particularly Sundays during holiday periods, it was deserted. It came to life as the sun rose, and died once it set. I loved this city, and still miss it.
One night, around 3:00 AM, I walked along the edge of the old town. It was surrounded by a stone wall that over centuries had disintegrated into a circular mound of dirt and vegetation, with only the occasional remnant of its ancient foundation creeping out where asphalt roads dug through it as the village expanded beyond its stone border. Eventually, I stopped when I smelled wood burning in one of the houses. Living at that time in a country famed for the darkness of its primeval forests, I found myself transported to the 12th century. I could see the stars. The night air was cool. The leaves of the trees swayed subtly. I saw a dark figure hiding within the bowels of the unlit driveway. A devil, perhaps, or a ghost. Maybe an alien. I called it Skohsl, and I became afraid. I thought of the long-dead trees that had populated this driveway, looked up at one of its monolithic brethren that, through sheer luck of location, had survived. I remembered the river that was located nearby, and the village that crept from it banks outward, taking five centuries to extend from that bank to the pavement on which I stood this night, beyond the wall.
One day, a group of travellers had arrived at this village. They rested for a time, then they prayed in the small church on the hill just inside the wall. They looked at this clump of vegetative prey and asked for the best route past. The villagers looked at my direction and shook their heads.
“We don’t go that way.”
A boar’s shriek rose through the temperate canopy. They called it Skohsl. Demon. My body tightened as I walked into the darkness.
I’ve thought long and hard about how to introduce myself on this blog. Two previous attempts at writing it ended in failure. I’m not good with introductions, in any form. Because I find it hard to satisfactorily describe myself in such limited spaces. On the surface, I want to say that it’s because I do so many things; I write, I make music, I make movies, I take photos, and since I none of those things get me paid (such is independence), I edit scientific papers and books for the all-too-few individuals brave enough to tolerate my intensity, and who, incidentally, happen not to be native English speakers. It’s hard to fit all my interests into the sentence following “hello”, especially when each one seems to come with its own caveat and nuance.
Digging beneath the surface, however, reveals that it’s actually because I don’t feel very impressive, particularly in Svbtle’s sphere, so writing this is rather daunting. I lack the accomplishments of many other authors, as well as their insight, so how, exactly, am I supposed to distinguish myself?
Are you are interested in reading journalistic pieces that read like post-modern novels?
Though it has been short, I’ve lived quite a life. I’ve nearly died a few times. I’ve probably forgotten more languages than you’ve learnt to speak (yes, this sounds impressive, but consider that I grew up in a country with 11 official languages. Now that statement doesn’t sound so impressive). So, perhaps I’ll be able to show you something about art while we’re here, or this life will show you something about yours. Perhaps you will be bored, because you, too, nearly died a few times.
All I ask, then, as we stand in this darkness, is that you not tighten your body too much.