I decided to experiment with pop art in this piece with Gerard Way.
Stories, Poems, Art, Science and much, much more.
I decided to experiment with pop art in this piece with Gerard Way.
White light shines over old skin -
crumpled and creased with wear and tear,
pockmarked, freckled - examines
the surface, like an explorer on the moon.
Stripped bare here, in A.S. Cooper's changing room;
grimace faced, festooned in cotton, polyester, lace,
dresses whose tresses balloon at hips,
whose bodice, when an attempt is made
to pull over her bust, barely fits.
Criticisms drip from her lips, like the bead of
drool oozing down hand and wrist of sleepy student.
Under these broadway lights, her
body becomes a word said too many times
until it sounds only like gibberish fragments.
She sees the tire ring round her torso,
her double chin. How is she to know
that in another room, feeble, growing thin,
a woman has lost 14 pounds in
a week following her first chemo treatment?
How can I tell her that fat is better
in old age, how my grandfather's limbs -
barely more than bones - make his whole body
look like a wafer, as thin and brittle,
and fragile and white as paper, and how
the woman in that room would give, indeed is giving,
her head of hair to use her stomach in the morning
and to keep the food in there.
How thinness has never been,
has only turned in the last few centuries, to beauty.
How before, seeing bones meant you hadn't
enough money to eat?
She has known whippets - has said she can't stroke them
for fear of breaking their tiny backbones and
how can she not know that she is
fit and healthy? When back in that hospital room,
she, stick-insect like, knows that to
swallow her anti-nausea pill will cause nausea,
must have a hole cut just below her collar bone
for a liquid diet.
Fluorescent hospital lights bore down,
remind her of her pixie cut in preparation
to lose it all, brightness illuminates her
liver spots, as bright as the changing room,
both examining skin like
the craters of the moon.
Parasaurolophus and baby because Jurassic World was so good
A few sketches of fairies and cyborgs
England university tour
Jersey, Channel Islands
Out my window
dusk is slipping quietly
under a horizon, through warped panes
where white paint is chipping,
savannah sun gold-leafs the sand,
makes molten lava of canals,
raises hum of the sound
by rotting sea weeds and
festering dead sea creatures' bodies.
Gulls rule this domain;
pecking at the tide to retreat,
and leading it, rushing,
back in again.
In the morning I walk from
the steps, canvas-shoed,
to collect yesterday's shed skins,
and in the evening, from the very same steps,
I can swim, though the water's more gray than blue.
Kitchen window frames
France's misty coast,
and, cackling at our view compared to theirs,
the seagulls can't help but boast.
Flapping as my sunshade flaps
when the attic window is open,
laughing their briny laugh
like the lapping of the ocean.
An Amblypygid, or tailless whip scorpion:
Hair - Aquarius:
Twenty One Pilots - Blurryface:
A very Halloween scene:
before there was matter,
there was poetry, or perhaps
they were birthed in unison -
tendrils of existence,
hot as black smoker vapor
escaping into the sea, or space’s void.
words can only come in to play
in one, specific, crystallized way,
exploding out of nothing and shouting
to everyone in Earth’s foetal form;
no-one, as of yet.
in the naked time, before anything
with eyes was around to think of beauty,
there was poetry; in the way atoms collided,
the way particles swirled in elegant
gyre, spiraling colour onto blankness.
in the lumbered locomotion of
amoebas before they had their Greek name,
billowing membranes, oozing
towards a meal.
in the strangling caress of vines
climbing the limbs of
rainforest trees in order for gymnast arms
to reach a drop of sunlight in the canopy.
poetry pushes up from feckless soil
with carnivorous jaws, spiting
the climate, and location, and god;
raw writing with no reader.
I decided to make some tarot cards for art class. Tarot cards have been around forever and there's no set pictures that go on them. They can be used to play games, but are associated with clairvoyance and can hypothetically be used to "tell your fortune." There's some more information on tarot cards here. The "Major Arcana" is a deck of 22 trump cards, differing from the "minor arcana" which has four suits. They include perscribed names including the fool, the magician, the high priestess, the empress, the emperor, the hierophant, the lovers, the chariot, justice, the hermit, fortune, strength, the hanged man, death, temperance, the devil, the tower, the star, the moon, the sun, judgement and world.
It's been a really fun project because I got to develop my illustration style and learn a lot about technique. These are done with watercolour and coloured pencil, but I may redo some of them.
They go with my running theme of mythological/fantasy things, which fits in to the larger theme of viewing the world and yourself from new perspectives in order to learn new things and resist becoming insular.
Some of the colours were a bit off from scanning, so I had to do some editing on the computer.
The Hanged Man
Inspired by this image:
CGI product of a cartographer’s hand,
ceci n’est pas les Bermudes;
ocean and land reduced to pixel-widths,
swallowing waves and erupting verdure
portrayed as singular swatches, labeled,
to assist your comprehension. Your
home has become a single stroke
of pigment, layered on dullness;
dead ocean, devoid of life, and barren
land proclaiming its monuments
like some poor ruin of civilization
inflating its fame after collapse.
This condensed universe, like a femme fatale
on the cover of a magazine, reduced to
a piece of meat in eyes seeing her as a page
instead of width and breadth and shape;
unable to access the white-hot core beneath,
and unaware that this exists atop a
volcano only. To the person who has
never seen her before, Bermuda is
pulp fiction, a painted figure
smoothed over by a salon painter;
a textbook, run-of-the-mill, example
of an island.
As if this collection of rocks jutting
just atop the raging sea is not deserving
of status as an animated, emotional green;
instead relegated to an HTML colour code,
the dregs leftover from a worldwide
Berlin conference. But how shall we show
her true sound and fury? Shall we photograph
her every inch; map her body and become intimate
with each grain of sand?
Or shall we paint a single scene, with human
touch of hand, pouring colour in to her outline?
Even the most lovely of paintings, where gangly,
drawn trees looked more real than the canker
of our live casuarinas would not portray
her as she really is; just as Picasso’s chickens
made the common rooster cower at his lack of chicken-ness,
Bermuda would shrivel at the portrayal of her
crashing waves as lit with more rage than she could ever muster.
Underneath the beauty it remains an image still,
and ceci n’est pas les Bermudes.
William Bouguereau’s “Birth of Venus” depicts the goddess in an almost defiant position. Contrasting with her previous representations as coy and demur, Bouguereau’s Venus confronts the viewer with the simple fact that she is not concerned by her own nakedness. Her smooth body twines up from the seashell upon which she is standing as if there was no one watching her. Perhaps quietly aware of her onlookers, she allows crowds of sea nymphs and tritons to bask in her radiance for the moment the painting captures. This scene for once does not belong to Venus’ body, but to Venus in completeness. Born from the sea, Venus retains a little of the ocean’s power – the knowledge that she is still a goddess, and her universe dominated the wall before Dorian Hardy.
The verbal purpose of the charity ball was to fundraise for the museum. It’s secret purpose was to let people see and be seen rubbing shoulders with the creative elite, but Hardy, disregarding both of these, attended only for the art. Of course, there was a healthy amount of people-watching to be done as well, but this was a secondary interest. People milled about in garbs of varying shades of darkness, mostly speaking English albeit with a French accent.
“What do you think?” Hardy wrote surprise over his face at being disturbed by the tall woman, but in actuality he had heard her every step, smelled her nervousness from across the room, and sensed her decision to finally trot over to him like a lost sheep.
“In a word,” Hardy looked away from the painting and then at the woman, “exquisite. What is your opinion of it?”
“I find Bouguereau’s work…” she began, “ancient. It is a monument to outdated techniques and views on painting.”
“You beg the question then, why speak to someone who seems to be enjoying his work so much?” He spoke playfully. Hardy knew the answer of course; that humans were driven by conflict and to impart her views on to someone of differing spirit would be satisfying to her.
“I believe it is healthy to have one’s views challenged by others from time to time,” she smiled up at him – though she was tall, he was taller, “and on the off-chance someone could change my mind about something I have such a steadfast opinion of, that person would be interesting company indeed.” The determination with which she flirted amused him.
“I shall try, then.”
Though Dorian Hardy despised what the painter and his doting supporters stood for; the non-evolution of modern art, he could not help but appreciate their skill, technical mastery, and vision, and he weaved this explanation in to his conversation with the woman. She was probably one of those typical Frenchwomen completely enamored by the Impressionist movement. Looking at this painting was not simply visual entertainment – it was an entire sensory experience, as much concerned with history as it was with art.
He was reminded that viewing art was not something that could be done comfortably with other people, but that it is not an experience wherein you are alone; there is a profound connection between the artist and the viewer with the painting as a portal. There were amazing painters, amazing poets and amazing composers, but to be a truly brilliant artist one must be besotted with all three – a living, breathing silhouette of creativity; a vessel for imagination’s gardens to germinate. A true artist is tortured because their lives belong to art itself, and this concept is unable to be understood by people who are not artists; whose lives are ruled by their loved ones, or their work, or nothing at all.
Hardy appreciated, however, that the woman was not one of those unfortunate individuals plagued by filling empty conversational space with laughter. She was not a giddy person, but an entertaining one, and she interested Hardy in the same way a cat is temporarily interested by a feather on a string. Her dark hair bounced around her in tight curls, flowing over modest breasts encased in a dark green evening gown. The dress ran a slit down her thigh, exposing the delicate sculpture of her leg muscles, formed so by her stiletto shoes.
Dorian Hardy wasn’t exactly sure what interested him so much about the human body. After all, he found humanity itself quite insufferable. The moods and actions of people resembled insects in his mind; their strange, ungraceful movement, their capacity to be driven by exclusively basal needs like hunger, thirst and the desire to reproduce, and Hardy regarded them thus; as pests. There was altogether nothing enamoring about human behaviour, but their anatomy had been a subject of interest since Da Vinci. The equilibrium of their slim frames, their capacity to stand on two flat feet, their languid or frenzied poses – all ranked next to the finest art, music and writing for Hardy. Emotion could not be written so understandably on a medium other than a human face.
Hardy admired their capacity to truly feel such violent things – as if God or Maybe the Devil himself gripped their hearts inside their chests. The screams of humans were enrapturing; the communicated evidence that the very fire for life burned through them so intensely that perhaps their ribcage, the beams of their flesh-house were beginning to splinter and fall.
“Help me… help me!” they screamed in words, but they could have growled and achieved the same effect – their entire message was written in tone. The woman continued screaming throughout the entire affair – even when Hardy’s hands were inside her, feeling the blood rush around her body as her feeble heart pumped with the enthusiasm of a chased hare. Exposed like this, each cog could be observed working in perfect unison to power her entirety. But she was not a machine; she could not be likened to one because she carried something no machine has – the simple, unpredictable, pleasure of doing things with no other purpose then to be beautiful. She had stopped screaming now, still breathing, but the fight gone out of her.
Her hair radiated about her head like a halo, and her blood barely soiled her clean skin, exactly as Hardy had planned it. One arm rested beside her, as she had no energy to move it. The other clawed pitifully at herself, where the skin of her chest used to be. Hardy looked in to her helpless eyes and began to sever her heart from its vessels, carefully clamping them shut so the still – excited blood inside them wouldn’t burst to ruin the scene. Her animated hand fell softly on her clavicle, as if in surprise.
He placed the heart in her outstretched, open palm and a contentedness washed over him. The canvas already rested on its easel, yearning to be marked. Hardy retrieved the softest pencil he had and began to sketch, glancing between his subject and his surface. It was so terribly inconvenient to paint something that moved. Still, Hardy knew the importance of painting in one sitting – to capture the scene as it lay in that moment, and not a garbled mosaic of it over the course of weeks. His feelings at the time of painting influenced the work as much, or more so than the figure he painted, after all.
“This is… exquisite,” the utterance escaped the young man’s fill lips, like cows lips in the way they rested when closed, as if they were a piece of pottery and its lid that did not quite fit together. “The darkness of the subject combines in such juxtaposition with its painting style, it’s almost a satire.” He spoke facing the painting, depicting a woman clutching her own heart in her hand, almost to himself but obviously fully aware of Hardy’s presence next to him.
“Indeed, and this is what the painter aimed for,” Hardy replied.
“How can you be sure?” the young man asked, imploring, bashful. He was a picture of innocence.
“Because I am he,” Hardy stated, also speaking to the painting as he did so.
The young man turned around to face him, glancing up and down his figure in disbelief and stuttering. “I…”
“It is a pleasure to meet someone who understands my work so well,” Hardy smiled down at him. He was a blond man of average height, but with a strong jawline and an explicitly symmetrical face. And those lips…
They shook hands.
“What is your name, if I may ask?”
“Arthur. And I suppose you are Dorian Hardy…”
“Arthur, forgive me if I am too forward, but would you ever consider sitting for me?”
The "should have been revising on study leave but instead I did art for like 5 hours" special:
Sorceresses and their Dragons
The deep ocean really fascinates me and I wrote this poem because of watching documentaries like. It occurred to me that the organisms at two miles down, in an ocean without any light at all, would never have encountered their own shadow. But then a research crew comes along, shining lights everywhere, and it probably cause a lot of fish to have existential crises.Any feedback on this poem would be much appreciated. I'd especially like feedback on its readability. The deep ocean is smooth, but extremely intricate, and I tried to express that feeling in the poem, but I fear some lines are too long and don't sit well on the tongue... I think it still needs some reworking... Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it!
*This poem has been published in Teen Art Out Magazine, issue no. 31
Nineteen past twelve observes
a flock of avid learners, perched precariously
behind desks; like so many rows of long-beaked crows,
the students take their rest.
Twenty past, however, upon silent meadows brings
a hesitant gust of wind. Shards of crêpe paper
grass jostle and razor-blade against their neighboring stalks,
the room begins to talk; and scuffle ensues as birds take to the wing.
A delicate flick of feathers to close binders,
to return pens. On the down stroke, papers are
upended. Scaly claws scrape away
from enamel ground, straight up out of seats,
a whirl of wing-beats, singing from their beaks
about what half twelve will bring.
The flurry ascends over rippling grass,
a cacophony conducted by the clock’s minute hand,
and soars out of the class.
What fantastic fishes can
passersby spy, leaning
over wooden railings, craning
their necks to detect a spot of colour?
Careening waves flank whirlpools as the
tide plays ring around the rosie,
crystal-clearing the surface to
reveal depths underneath; fish
flashing their scales and colourful
coral-heads congregating as reefs.
Cyclists pause in wonderment and pedestrians
can't help but stop for the chance
to lean against the rail and
observe the springtime chop;
the rushing ocean over fire corals,
and mangrove fingers reaching past land
to caress the top.
Translucent line unwinds from
spinning fishing rod, the catch
of the day stored face down -
tail fluke jutting out of bucket.
Another sort of fisherman
stands, one-legged, neck s-shaped,
staring down jutting beak to
spy the main course of the feast.
And there, the most curious of them all,
gliding through the water column
on languid wings. Spread out, a
pointed nose, flat, speckled back passes
in a lazy fashion, is followed by a whip-like tail.
People leaning over the rail, spellbound,
hold their exhale...
Drawing some inspiration from Matt (inthehallwaynow) here, I think, and also MGMT's Electric Feel. Wanted to do something with a cool perspective and some electric eels. I feel like if someone can shock you, as in astonish you, they have tremendous power over you. To remain truly in control of yourself, you have to resist being shocked (if you don't want to be).
IB art is nice because most of the time, you get to do whatever you want - just have free reign over what you want to pursue and get to generally work as a real artist. As such, I don't really have "personal" and "school" art anymore. Everything can pretty much count towards my course.
As a very rough theme I've decided that I want to do art concerned with mythological things, cryptozoology, pseudo-science, and everything like that. The zombie stuff I did at the beginning of the year went with that theme, but I don't have pictures of it. I have some of my more recent works... which I guess are both still works in progress (is art ever not a work in progress?), but I'll just post them anyway.
Before the Turning - acrylic on canvas
I was inspired to do this piece because I was reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. It's a "tronie" - a portrait of someone who's not a real person. It depicts a victorian-era man before becoming a vampire.
I have a love/hate relationship with this painting......
The World: A Map of Mythological Creatures and Where They Occur - watercolour and pen
Just like the title suggests, this is a map of the world, but instead of countries, there are pictures of mythological creatures. They're placed according to where the species occurs in the world.
And really, this is just a sketchbook thing to practice for when I want to draw insectile fairies, but I liked it.
The world would skip the
wonderland - a blanket of snow,
it'd go straight to the scary cold
that doesn't make it on to postcards;
that ancient frost, opaque, fragmented,
stuck to roads and walls and
clogging up vents; slipped upon by
When it's over, after the chaos,
the scramble, some Canadians would
emerge from somewhere like
British Columbia, calling it a harsh
winter, heavy snow - us islanders
would be the first to go, hypothermic,
discovered with blackened fingers and toes;
nature's scorching by ice
as a final irony.
Scientists would be fascinated with
the bodes; sleeping beauties,
clean with no wounds, no disease,
just icy death by freezing,
appearing to be covered
in a thin sheet of glass.
Appearing as, if they'd only wake
up, they could carry
on with ease.
Would the ocean also freeze?
intermingling facilitated by
ice be only available
when hibernation forced
Canada and Russia
would have a laughing fit;
their toes would shake,
they'd wave their hands in their mits
and nestle in to fur-lined jackets.
This ice age, a
last-ditch attempt by
the earth to cleanse itself
would be little more
than a blip - a bad snowstorm,
a skiing trip.
Between the zeros and the ones,
a paisley tablecloth is spread, and atop it
rests white lace napkins, the yellow butter and
the butter knife, the wine glasses, the teacups,
the water jug filled with ice – a mundane scene
whose colour scheme is a little too uniform
to be organic.
Realize this, but do not panic. The teapot
is still hot! There is still sugar in the dish,
still milk for your drink, at least. And your guests
arrange the conversation so beautifully,
as if it’s scripted, as if that’s their duty.
The television in the next room
blares static into the air, or if you’re lucky
airs the soaps.
The situation grows, from sprout to shoot
and hardens in to bark,
so you dodge trees to chase
a quickly uttered, unconsidered, throwaway remark,
wondering which devices may come in to play
to force the moment to its crisis;
if, indeed, it will get there at all.
Flowers wither in their bowl and
the tea begins to cool.
February’s icy darkness falls
and still every action sets like molasses,
starting strong but slowing to static;
a disposable day.
The night responds;
the showers of palmetto fronds
knock together to produce
a single note, and in the wind
a cacophony of sound’s evoked.
Somehow it means more
than the voices you’ve heard.
Flowers bloom for a spell, like the
mottled siphon of an octopus
that pushes out filtered water,
opening their petal-lips to the sun
and basking in the pleasant weather.
Everything here is a butterfly,
a one-week fretting spectacle,
eventually left to whither, and die.
Where is the drama; the scuffle
in the streets of Verona, the Greek myth
wherein I am the hero? There should have been
a strike of lightning, an epiphany.
We sit with scones, the clinking cutlery, the
conversation of the bourgeoisie,
no longer waiting, but rather sinking comfortably
into life between the zeroes and ones.
It's amazing what you can accomplish while procrastinating. I finally finished this Studio Ghibli mural on my bedroom wall. I started it so long ago... It's got characters from some of my favourite Ghibli movies; Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Here are some photos:
Gaffs attached to the stem
of a scaly yellow leg, the link
between them and mighty dinosaurs,
slash and sing to the jeers
of the crowd.
They’re loud. They think
they’ve got this domestication down
but they forget where roosters get
their legs from. The blade there almost
remakes them into
the dewclaw clacking against the ground
as the birds stalk around,
claws, beak and plume
used for the entertainment of humans.
Their feathers only lend themselves
to a rudimentary flight,
and yet this primitive flurry
should make us bow and scurry
claimed the earth
far before we were alive.
While in the field I was able to make sketches of three fascinating creatures; the Common Sea Serpent, Garden Fairy and Merperson.
Common Sea Serpent
Garden Fairy (butterfly variation)
Merperson (shark variation)
And after many comprehensive autopsies of dead specimens, I was also able to create a diagram of the skeleton of the European dragon:
Hopefully, if I ever get around to setting up a store on Etsy, these will be available.
The introspective knowledge gained by personal reflection is perhaps the most powerful kind of knowledge there is. Without being constrained by outside influences, this knowledge is, if considered carefully, the most objective kind of knowledge we can possess about ourselves. For this reason, reflection is a very important part of my life. I reflect on events after they've happened several times, but the completion of a year is a good time to reflect on the entire 12 months which have just passed, and hopefully learn how to better myself in the future.
When I began the year, I was still at my old MYP school which I miss now that I'm at a new school. A large part of completing the MYP program is the personal project; a self directed undertaking which can entail almost anything. As I was extremely interested in poetry at the time and had a lot of material, I decided to compile my poems in to a self-published book of poems. A large bulk of the work had been done in 2013, but early 2014 was when I actually got to hold the completed book in my hands and see it become available on Amazon.
February brought a new independence with it as I turned 16 and was able to get my motorbike license. I didn't like having my own transportation at first because I was scared to ride on the road and felt as if I would crash and that I was annoying all other drivers on the road. After almost a year of driving, I've come to love it, though, and do not miss the days of riding the bus one bit.
The rest of the year was characterized, as most of mine are, with jumping between school work, artwork and periods of doing nothing and hating myself for it because I'm not moving forward. I like to think that each new piece of media I was exposed to influenced me in some way to create art of my own and live life to the fullest extent my mind would allow. I think that my exposure to so many amazing pieces of literature, artwork, theatre and film allowed me to create some of the best poetry, writing and artwork of my life in 2014. Here's a breakdown of new things I came to love and old ones I continued to in regards to the arts:
IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER:
Some TV shows I got in to in 2014:
(re) Breaking Bad
The Walking Dead
Some stuff I read:
Downtown Owl - Chuck Klosterman (so good)
Macbeth - Shakespeare
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Lots of John Grisham Novels
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones
World War Z - Max Brooks
Some movies I saw:
The Wolf of Wall Street (hated it)
Fight Club (loved it)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (weird movie!)
(re) 8 Mile (still one of the best)
(re) Inception (holyyyy... one of my faves)
Brokeback Mountain (this movie hit me hard)
(re) The Matrix (watched for philosophy in Humanities class)
Les Miserables (I sing this 24/7)
The Lego Movie
(re) Donnie Darko
Prisoners (SO AWESOME one of my top 5)
In Bruges (a must see)
Maze Runner (v impressed)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
(re) Catch Me If You Can
Some musicians I got in to:
Twenty One Pilots
The Front Bottoms
I had the opportunity to attend a leadership conference in April in Vancouver. This was a very interesting experience, but I learned that going to conferences is very hard for me because I'm not an extrovert. Mostly, I loved that I was able to go to Vancouver because it was just stunning since it had mountains and also was surrounded by the ocean. In addition, I met some people at the conference who were really cool and were in to the same music as I was. I also became very interested in philosophy during this time since we were doing a unit on it in Humanities class. This class allowed me to explore ideas I never would have explored without it, and I feel as if that short study period of philosophy greatly improved my life.
I feel like the study of philosophy benefitted me so much that I was able to grow more as a person this year than all other previous years combined. Learning about philosophy meant that I could apply real theories to my own life that were previously hazy and undeveloped. It also made me realize that a lot of things I used to worry a lot about really meant little. The study of philosophy allowed me to also create artwork that I never would have otherwise created, meaning I made many works I'm proud of this year.
In the middle of the year the time at my MYP school ended with me as valedictorian. I was happy about this, but I often tell myself that school is the only thing I'm good at (despite my hatred of it, at times), and so the summer seems bitter sweet. I was able to have a great summer despite this, though, and transition in to my new school quite well. I got to meet my brother's girlfriend in the summer and she is a lovely person. In October I went on an MUN trip with the school. This was really hard for me to do, but I felt really accomplished after I went.
Overall, I treated this year like my life was a movie and everything that happened in it was going to be used for inspiration for something else - something to better myself. I find that this is a really good way to live because it reduces the time you spend hating yourself for not doing anything conscious and deliberate to move forward. It also allows you to stop feeling sorry for yourself and just do something great, which is probably a contributing factor to the amount of material I was able to produce this year in art and writing.
I don't have many goals for next year, but I have a rough idea of what I want to do. Among these ideas are the creation of a graphic novel and the compilation of a collection of my short stories. Perhaps most pressing is the pressure to decide on my career. Earlier this year I wanted to be a graphic designer, and now I want to be a lawyer... tomorrow it will probably be an astronaut and maybe after that a fireman, and then a princess. The weird thing is that I'm not so bothered about this anymore. I've come to terms with it and it's incredibly liberating - not feeling I have to stress over this detail in my life.
For next year, I hope that I continue to worry less and create lots more.
It wasn’t Jessica’s fault. She was the one who told me three months in advance, a month in advance, a week in advance and now, one day in advance of my imminent deadline. She’s a very good personal assistant. It doesn’t matter though, I still find myself here, making this call. I think Jessica knows that no matter how much she tries to help me with this, we’ll always end up here; waiting for my correspondent in Bermuda to answer, to make sure he picks me up in time.
It’s not anything illegal; it’s just avoidance. That’s a nice word for it, just like in high school when you’d not talk to a kid you didn’t like – it’s exactly the same. I’m just making my situation a little more comfortable, that’s all. Jessica knows this, and she accepts it. Well, maybe it helps that she can afford to visit Hermès and buy a new handbag every weekend, but, regardless, we understand each other. She understands that I’ve got to do this so I can continue to do what I do best, and I understand that she knows me better than anyone and could probably make my life choices better than I ever could.
9:47 pm. I rub my eyes with my thumb and forefinger and trail my hand over my face. There’s stubble on my chin and I feel how I imagine a sailboat that’s stranded on a beach must feel. I am in a shiny Porsche, the lights from the city reflecting off the car’s body, and Louis, my driver, is speeding because we have to get to the airport before 11. Jessica is beside me and she’s got that look on her face where I know she’s just bursting to tell my something, but I’ve got that look on my face where I’m too tired to listen just now.
I didn’t pack much, even though I’ll likely spend about a month in Bermuda. I have domicile there, and to maintain it I have to spend a certain amount of days there per year yadda yadda yadda. It’s a quaint little place, but more importantly, a tax haven. Let’s just say I’m the owner of a very big and very successful corporation, and the U.S. tax system steals from it. They’re the ones forcing me out; it’s really not my fault at all. Right?
Anyhow, Winston, the pilot of my jet, says he’s got a prime departure time. They shifted a few flights back just for us. Isn’t that nice? To fly from New York City to Bermuda only takes about 2 and a half hours. Winston’s the wisest guy I know and he’s great at his job. He’s never failed to get me back on time, not once.
When you’re a kid a private jet seems like the be all and end all of a billionaire (not suggesting that I am one, not suggesting anything at all exactly), but once you actually have one it’s not that exciting. It’s just a necessary side effect of the life you lead; it’s imperative that you have one so that you can fulfill your schedule, not so you can show it off to your friends. And now I’m making having a private jet seem like a chore. It’s not, I’m just saying that it’s like a personal assistant, or the fact that you can’t get to your son’s graduation on time because you have a meeting – it’s just part of the job.
Once we’re on the plane and in the air Jessica finally caves.
“You do know what today is, right Andrew?”
“Enlighten me,” I say, but I know full well what she’s getting at. I just don’t want to address it.
“It’s Christmas Eve,” Jessica says, skeptically, because she knew exactly what I was doing.
“Is that right?” I act uninterested.
“Yes,” is all she says, and it hangs there anxiously, like a dress on a washing line secured with only one clothespin.
“I think they have Christmas in Bermuda too, Jessica. There’s nothing to worry about,” I say eventually, grinning. Jessica was having none of it.
“Maybe you’d like to call Amanda…?”
“No,” I say, a little too quickly, “no, I don’t think that will be necessary.”
11:23 pm. We are over the Atlantic and I’m trying to convince myself that I’m not running away from anything (besides my taxes). Maybe there are dolphins and rays and swordfish beneath us right now. I’ve made the right choices in my life, haven’t I? I’ve given Jessica a job. I’ve provided for my family. I’ve done everything someone is supposed to do. Who knew that Jesus had a winter birthday?
The sky is pitch black outside the jet and lights are dimmed. I’m tempted to sleep but I find myself unable to, slumped in my chair and drowsy, but stubbornly awake. I find my mind drifting to my son, Jake, who is probably in bed now. He is 17. Amanda, his mother, is probably still awake. She likes to go for walks at nighttime and there is a safe park near our house that she is probably walking in right now. She still does the whole filling of the stockings thing of course, she’s like that – always holding on to the magic and mystery of life, even if it’s artificial. I should call her and tell her I won't be home, but I don't. I got Jessica to wrap some presents for them and they should be under the tree already, waiting for the morning to unwrap them. I wonder if my stocking will be filled?
I don’t know how I grew apart from her.
A few minutes later, it seems, Jessica is shaking me awake. She says that we’ve landed now, at 11:58 - with two minutes to spare. I jump up at that and pump my fists in the air. Bermuda’s not nearly so abrasive as New York when it comes to lights – Bermuda’s like a Christmas tree I suppose, and New York’s like a car’s high beams.
On the way to the Princess I’m wide-awake, and in no time at all I’m checked in and flopping down on my bed. Distances are so short here; I forget until I come back and it’s pleasantly surprising. I figure I should probably check my emails one last time before I sleep. I note that a mini candy cane has been left on my pillow. How sweet.
It reminds me of when I was here around Christmas a few years ago. Jake is on my shoulders and we’re in front of city hall in Hamilton city. It’s not cold at all, but many people beside me are bundled up as if they’re going on an Arctic expedition, all with their children equally swaddled. Everyone is chatting enthusiastically, and suddenly sleigh bells begin to jingle and a loud ho-ho-ho! echoes over the roof of the great building.
“There he is, do you see him Jake?” I say, pointing. Jake squeals and starts to bounce up and down.
Amanda is next to me, smiling, and when Jake starts to squeal she squeezes my hand and grins at me. She’s wearing this lovely blue scarf and hat and she just looks stunning. Santa on the roof starts to throw down candy canes to the kids, and their squealing grows louder.
Jake wants to get down at this point because he wants to sneak through people’s legs and collect as many candy canes as he can. I tell him to be ruthless and bring back a few for us. Amanda must have laughed as he rushed off, and then I leaned in and kissed her on the nose and then briefly on the lips.
Then I come back to reality and I’m sitting there in my room with a plastic-wrapped candy cane in my hands, tapping my foot a little. Before I can think about it and convince myself otherwise, I take out my iPhone and dial Amanda. It’s ringing.
Then – “Hello?”
“Hi Amanda,” I say, “it’s Andrew.”
Hi guys. It feels so great to write! I wrote this in 1 evening because my dad is an airport manager and he was telling me how some people avoid taxes in this way. I thought it was really interesting and I decided to write a quick little story.
Any and all feedback is much appreciated because I think I may try and enter this in the newspaper's Christmas short story competition.
Sun beckons to phytoplankton as
a dinner bell beckons to guests,
and in their finery, their congruous bodies
bejeweled, charms manifest.
One sports a pocket watch on an ornate
golden chain, but time's forgotten as they
mill about and bask. Meanwhile zooplankton
are anxious for the day to pass
so that, with darkness' disguise,
they may rise to gaze upon the stars.
Segmented carapaces slot together
like armour to cast the evening in
to rancour and right on cue, on their
spindly feet, a copepod begins to
feast upon an autotroph's delicious meat.
A cladoceran in tails inquires as to
what the entree entails, and an
artfully adorned veliger proclaims
her partiality to diatoms in sauce as
an hourglass' grains of sand
quietly keep track of how long
the creatures have.
And when dawn brings light
to kiss the surface, zooplankton
slink down to darker waters, but not
without a few of their party
being claimed as the main course
for another. Upon departing,
the mood is grim, but they could do
no other thing.
As tides roll in and out with
accordance to the moon, so too
do the days roll in and out to
the metronome of the earth's axis.
And now, as long as the sun
exists, the plankton will migrate with it.
How convenient it must be
to rank in infinite hierarchies,
for rules of etiquette to be absolute,
with seaweed dresses and plankton suits;
to live laterally.
Everything looks greener after a good storm. The plants are windswept, bent and broken but they look more alive than ever. Maybe it's the yellowish morning light or the fact that everything still has a sheen of moisture on it from the previous night. This is the first thought that enters my head upon seeing our yard in the daylight after the storm.
Tropical storms and hurricanes remind us that nothing can remain the same forever, and that nature has the power to reclaim all land for its own. Everything, man made or not, is speckled with splotches of green - leaves stripped from their trees have been plastered to every surface by the force of the rain and wind.
On our road, a rubber tree has taken down a power line with it as it fell, blocking the road and blowing the area's transformer. Perhaps the saddest thing is a tall palm tree, its girth exceeding two arms' length, snapped at its base, its ancient growth halted forever. There are many trees which I spot this way as we walk or drive around the island - trees older than me or my parents, ripped from the ground.
When we get back home, mom makes tea on the barbecue since our oven is electric.
It is important for Bermudians to be affected by hurricanes. For a small, isolated island people, its easy for us to get stuck in our ways. Hurricanes can force change of the landscape around us, and then maybe our minds will open a little more to change in other senses of the word. Hurricanes may be debilitating, but they remind us how much we can do as a community and how caring we must be towards one another to survive in our island environment.
People come out of the woodwork brandishing machetes, brooms, gloves, rakes, trucks; anything to help move the debris. By about noon at least one lane on most roads is clear. You can tell it's an island storm with avocados littering the streets, as the fruit tree is in bloom this time of year, and coconuts having been shaken from their lofty heights.
The road facing the harbor took a beating. Walls are wrecked, having been blown over or crushed under a toppled object. A groaning mast juts slightly into the road, its hull about 30 feet below and its wind vane still swinging halfheartedly, as it scrapes a rut in the limestone. The boat's lost its mooring and been pushed so far up against the coast that its sitting diagonally, half out of the water.
More terrifying, perhaps, is the fact that we see a container, a huge metal container floating in the harbor, secured by a few good samaritans to the shore with some rope.
We pick up bits of information from talking with others and drive to see the sights for ourselves. We hear that most people don't have power, that many roads are blocked, that people are trying to check on their loved ones by car since landlines are down and cell towers don't work. No-one was prepared for the storm since its intensity strengthened overnight and turned into a few hours of 150 mph winds. There are no fatalities and schools are closed tomorrow.
I spend a large part of the day parking the large fiddlewood branches that my mom pulls from the dog runs in our backyard. Her dog business will be closed tomorrow since our yard is still in a bit of a shambles.
Hurricanes force us back in time to the use of candles to light our way and the dipping of water from our tanks to drink and wash. It's a pain in one sense, but exciting in another. Candles cast strange, erratic shadows about the room and make you look where you wouldn't normally. The other overwhelming fact is the lack of noise. There is no electrical hum from the TV or computer, the fridge is silenced and the whir of the fan or the gurgle of the A/C are absent. It's a quiet that would be impossible to obtain in any other situation.
This tropical storm was a jolt to everyone because we had no indication that it would be a threat. No-one was prepared to lose power and so there was a rush to the few places that were open to get hot food and supplies. My power is back on now, but there is much cleanup to be done. Not a bad storm to be my (almost) namesake.
Drawing zombies is very satisfying. I want to do one crouching over a body next, but I can't get the positioning right yet. I've got to do something at least mildly interesting to do with art because art class is the most boring thing ever.
Cameron the zombie
Gregor the zombie
Not yet a zombie (self portrait)
Here are some wallpapers I made recently. After getting a mac and then getting my access to Photoshop back, I've been able to do a lot of things!
A Green Day inspired one:
And an Alt-J inspired one:
I'm really liking graphic design (very broad term) at the moment... hopefully I can get an internship at this graphic design place I know and get some experience.
The staccato sound of an
energetic polished shoe tapping
at speed against the floor, willing a second’s length
to match it, or more, so that the
remainder of the period may speed along.
A metallic sploosh inside tin bottle as
a pair of lips sips a drip
of its contents, accompanied by a
desperate desire to break the time left
into manageable pieces punctuated
and washed down by each drink.
The scrape of stump of chair-leg
against bumpy marbled floor to
make the weaker of the two
wear down a little more and scream against each other
in the process.
A subtle brush of fingertip
against thin recycled-paper pages
and as they’re flipped the quivering wobble in the sheet
so akin to the quaver in the voice
of each student expected to speak.
Eyes closed, it’s almost music.
The mechanical locker click.
The heavy sigh that is subscribed to anyone with so full a backpack.
The overlapping voices in the hall.
The keyboard’s dainty clack against fingernails.
A learning institution on the surface
perhaps, but most of all,
school is a curious sort of symphony.
Notes: I started this in English class today because I was so bored. The first two stanzas were an account of things happening directly in that class.