Painting the night

drizzle

Missing the slush (not my photo)

Stepping up from the drizzling darkness that changed snow to slush at my feet, I climbed onto the bus, swallowed by the jaundiced warmth to join my fellow riders, isolated from the world in their cocoons of rayon, wool and leather.

Taking a seat as the bus pulled away from the curb, I too slowly descended into mental torpor, an oblivious partner on a journey across the east end of town, the warm companionship of time spent with a friend leaching from my body like the heat of a dying ember.

But before I entered my traveler’s coma, a brief flash forced its way onto slumbering retinas, drawing my attention to the window beside me. And yet, I saw little other than the salined grime of the city that blocked my view of the houses that I knew rolled past in the darkening night.

grimy-window

A veil of sodden salt and grime blinded me

And then another flash. Or perhaps it was a splash.

Ready now, I waited and watched, and was soon rewarded with flares of green and orange and red and white. An aurora transportis dazzled my eyes, unheard musical notes traversing my optic nerve to tickle my brain.

And as quickly as those colours had passed, white puddles of light twinkled at shoulder height, blebbing through the mire; abstract art painted from the other side of a translucent canvas for my pleasure.

Reds, blues, whites mingled with greens, mauves and yellows. Or blinked out of existence altogether, only to reappear elsewhere before my eyes. Multi-hued ballerinas and dervishes spinning without purpose; colour without design; existence the only goal.

splash

Image doesn’t really capture the diffractive dance

As my conscious brain finally arose from its slumber, awaken by the visceral tarantella that stomped the grey matter, I began to understand what I was seeing.

The salted matting that covered the bus windows could not hold back the shine of the many porch lights, Christmas lights, headlights and street lights that I passed on my journey, instead providing myriad prisms through which the photons waved their many lengths.

The very mire that weighted and closed my world was the vector through which the display existed to dazzle.

Unfortunately, consciousness came at a price as my understanding of what I was seeing meant that I now saw what I understood. And although the display continued until I reached my destination, it was slightly dimmed as mental clarity broke through grimed windows.

But even as I mourn the loss, I am warmed by the memory, and even if I never experience it again, I have been changed by my journey through a tunnel of light and colour.

Bombast of Victoria Day – part one

Although not officially summer, the Victoria Day Weekend (aka May 2-4 weekend) signals the beginning of warmer weather and summer breezes in much of Canada. It is the weekend that everyone starts to plant their gardens, and when people abandon the big city for cottage country.

It is also the first of two weekends of fireworks (the other being July 1, Canada Day), and I am fortunate enough to live down the beach from one of the biggest fireworks shows in Toronto. Here are a handful of shots (blasts) from last night.

Meanwhile, in BC – Nanaimo Region

Not just known for super-sweet bars (eating, not drinking), Nanaimo is also a lush region of Vancouver Island.

These pics were taken around my mother’s new home near Qualicum Beach.

See also photos of: Fort Langley/Harrison Hot Springs, Chilliwack

Blind – A nightmare

The_Darkness_Wall_By_Kon_2560X1600

Just before 5 am on October 14—Thanksgiving morning—I had the sudden feeling that I’d gone blind…in my creative centre. I could think of things, objects, but I could not “see” them in my mind’s eye.

Just moments earlier, I had been asleep, dreaming of the typical nonsense one dreams of when suddenly lines of darkness spread across the dream, at first like large lightning bolts but then growing in width to eventually swallow the entire picture. It was as though the picture tube in my head was failing and then extinguished. .And stranger still, the static was accompanied by a slight clicking sound, and then the screen was blank, black, empty.

The sensation was strange enough to wake me up. I lay there in bed wondering what it was.

I wasn’t literally blind. Even in the near pitch darkness of the bedroom, I could make out shapes—the storage racks in the closet, the dresser, the bedside lamp. So, what was happening?

I tried to close my eyes to go to sleep, but all I saw was darkness, the flashes of light that one sees when closing the eyelids but continues to look. Have I had a stroke?

I tried to think of a duck—I don’t know why a duck, but it was a duck—and couldn’t see it. Still can’t, really, at 5:10 am.

This may sound ironic, but I immediately wondered if my imagination had died. I tried to tell myself a story, in my head, and the words came hesitantly at first, but soon began to flow.

I imagined a man being thrown from a car—again, I don’t know why that topic—and while I could narrate the event, I couldn’t really visualize it.

The door swinging open as the car veers. The man tumbling sideways through the opening, his body crumpling as it hits the pavement, limbs flailing as it rolls. He was already unconscious or dead when he fell out, it would seem.

Even now, as I write out the scene I created earlier in my head, the picture is tentative, furtive. I am somewhat relieved that I get any picture at all, but am still bothered about how fleeting it is.

I’m not struggling for words, which is some solace, but then this is my analytical mind that is speaking, telling the story of what I am experiencing, rather than my creative mind, telling a story of events completely synthetic.

If the thought of having lost my visual imaginative centre didn’t scare me so much, I’d be amused. For the last couple of weeks, as I complained to Leela yesterday, I have found it difficult to get to sleep because my mind has raced with ideas—ideas for scenes and rewrites in my latest screenplay, ideas for the DDNews article I have due shortly, ideas for social media, ideas for my blog.

Hell, I’ve even taken to seeing events in my life as a screenplay.

I am just getting over a cold, and while waiting for sleep the other night, I realized that I was thinking about my symptoms and my experiences with them as though they were written as a screenplay. I would consider them and then try to rewrite them for more dramatic effect. It was odd.

I wasn’t dissociating per se, pretending that it was happening to someone else, stepping out of my body. Rather it was more like I had morphed my reality into a printed page. It’s hard to explain, especially at 5:26 am.

And now, my mind races for exactly the opposite reason. My inner video screen has gone out. The bulb is shot. I don’t see what I think. And that terrifies me.

I have often told people that my writing feels like it is less about my creation and more like I am simply transcribing a movie that only I can see. The movie, story, idea already exists in the cosmos and is merely using me as a conduit through which to express itself.

This is not to denigrate my talents as a writer—or at least, I don’t think it is—but I think the talent is in not preventing that flow, not ignoring the sights, sounds, tastes, feelings as they move through me and eventually out of the nib of the pen or fingertip on the keyboard.

What if that flow just got turned off? What if that nexus of creative spirit just moved on to someone or somewhere else? This doesn’t feel like the standard “I’m a talentless hack” anxiety. I am a very talented hack.

This feels more like a switch has been turned. Like I have gone blind.

Maybe it’s the cold medication taking its toll. Maybe it’s my brain’s way of coping with the recent hyperactivity. Maybe it’s nothing and the switch will turn back on, the system will reboot in my sleep.

I hope so.

Because this is one nightmare I couldn’t live with.

(Image is property of owner and is used here without permission)

Highway 401

Snowflakes hit the windshield / Like a swarm of angry bees

And are swept away as quickly / To make room for their brethren.

 

Clouds of frozen heaven / Scurry across the highway;

Riders on chaotic steeds / Dancing in a winter rodeo.

 

The car is buffeted / By the ever-changing winds,

And Zephyr’s howling wolves / Keep back all possible speech.

 

Ahead in the gloom, / Angry red eyes of devils

Waiver to and fro / Across sheets of black ice.

 

They slide into earthly clouds / Following well-worn lines,

The desperate marks of earlier travellers / In the uncertainty of the storm.

 

The normally limitless universe / Is bound on this night

By the visible few feet ahead.

The pathetic beams of headlights / Are white canes for blind drivers

Reaching cautiously into the unknown.

Doubt

I have doubt.

Not in my skills, thank goodness, or the belief that with the right guidance, I can improve them steadily, but I have doubt.

I have doubt that I will find the right people to see the merits of those skills and help me to convert them into something meaningful. A video, a television program, a film, a novel, a photo exhibit. Something that I can share with all the world. Something that will touch the souls of others as the gestation and creation of the work has touched mine.

I have doubt that I can hold on to my new fantasy life and that reality, oh harsh reality, won’t poke its head into the mix and throw me back to where I was. That I will need to find resources to live, and that the need will draw me away from my art. Perhaps irreparably tearing me from it and setting me back upon the course I once journeyed of discontent and pain.

I have doubt that I won’t continue to find supporters and friends—my oh so wonderful friends—who will hold my hand on this journey. Who will provide a tether to keep me connected and yet free enough not to anchor me to the world.

I have doubt about what is around the next corner. About the shadows in the darkness. About the approaching ground in my free fall through life.

I have doubt.

But I will not let that change what I am doing. I cannot allow my doubt to prevent me from living the life I have finally discovered.

If around the corner is an oncoming train, in the shadows lay a vicious monster, and on the approaching ground shards of glass, I will not allow doubt to slow or still me.

I may not succeed in achieving my goals, but in overcoming my doubt, I will have succeeded in my journey. And for that, I will be eternally grateful and find peace.