thoughts

~ Castaway ~

~ Castaway ~

“The humans in this world often scared me. It was their faces – the way they talked; the way they walked. It was the magazines they read, the television shows they watched, the fake smiles, relentless consumerism and empty conversations. It was true that there were some humans not like that, but they were hard to track down among the swarming masses. Stuck on this rock with them, I liked to have my own space and to be able to travel away from that grey world of concrete and contracts and citizens. Unfortunately my existence on this planet was subject to the concept of money, and this meant I needed a job to do those few things I liked.

I went online and read their job adverts. They all asked for an ‘outgoing people person’; for a ‘team player’; for a ‘career-minded individual’. Reading the criteria, I had to laugh in despair at my limited chance. I was none of those things, so what was I supposed to do? Lie? Wear a mask? ‘Play the game’ – as they often said? If it really all was a game then it was a bad one. It seemed that there was some sort of fix – that the cold-blooded sociopaths and liars rose to the top while the most intelligent took anti-depressants and sat in therapist offices paying for the right not to go insane. In a world of steely-faced executives and agents, I felt like a castaway soul stranded in the dirt, chained down by gravity – trapped in a cage of slowly decaying flesh and bone. Since I was born I often felt homesick for a place I’d never known; homesick for a place I’d never been. In the worst moments I gazed up into skies above thinking that maybe my species was somewhere out there beyond the neighbouring solar-systems and stars. After all, there was an endless ocean of galaxies and worlds out there, but somehow I had ended up in one full of things I just didn’t understand. The situation was strange, but what else could I do? Where else could I turn? Where else could I go?

I thought some more about it and decided that my only chance of escape was to let myself become a beacon of insanity in the darkness. I decided that my only chance of escape was to set fire to my soul and let my eyes blaze with a brightness so bright, that if someone was out there searching for me, they might just be able to find me and come bring me home.”

(taken from my book The Thoughts from The Wild – available worldwide via Amazon)

short stories

~ Undefined ~


~ Undefined ~

It had been a day of chaotic adventure and now we were back in the hostel, drinking beers and wine around a table in the courtyard. The drinks and good times were flowing along as the air was filled with the sound of Latin music and hearty laughing. We spoke of the day’s exploits; we spoke of travelling and adventure; we spoke of Wim Hof and Zen Buddhism. Suddenly came the question I despised so much. “So what is it that you Do?” one girl asked another across the table. The other girl looked up at her. “You know for work and that back home? What do you do?” I sat back in my chair and swallowed a sip of my beer. Immediately I felt the atmosphere change. The ‘do’ question was out there and I knew it was time to categorise ourselves – to justify ourselves as functioning members of human society.

The girl answered how she was a marketing executive back in Sydney. She explained a little about her role then sat back and smiled. Her box had been ticked off: she was an accepted member of the human race. The girl carried on asking the others on the table. One guy was an accountant, another was a nurse, another a public relations manager. Tick, tick, tick. As the question crept around a table, I breathed an internal sigh of frustration. I knew I was about to be judged. I didn’t have a box to place myself in or label to slap onto myself. I was twenty-four years old and had never held a job for more than a year. I had spent the last few years post education going from job to job; from adventurer to adventure. I was officially unlabeled – a wanderer or vagabond in their civilised eyes.

The question went around the table until finally the spotlight shone down on me. They asked me and I began explaining about my life. I explained how I had worked about twenty different jobs for short periods to fund my adventures – of how I took part in medical research trials to afford those plane tickets. They all stared at me strangely. “But what is it you DO?” the girl said again. “Or what is it you want to DO?…” Their steely eyes fixated on me as they internally dissected me with a calculating look. It was a look I had experienced many times back home, but one I thought I was safe from when out on the road amongst apparent free spirits.

I took a deep breath and tried to explain how I didn’t want a career. I explained that my only aims and ambitions were to see the world, to climb the mountains, to try and create art through my writing. I tried to explain that I wanted to delve down into the depths of the human psyche and explore what it is to exist as conscious creature in the universe. But as I rambled on I realised it was of no use. The looks of dismissal shown my cover was blown; I wasn’t a functioning member of the human race like the rest of them. I didn’t have a box of economic employment to place myself in and for that I was the weird one. My label of seclusion had been slapped on me. I was an outcast, an outsider, an alien.

“Oh well that’s cool” one person said half-heartedly after a few seconds of silence. I sat back and sipped my beer as the question awkwardly skipped onto the next person. The conversation carried on flowing; I tried to join back in but I felt that something had changed in the dynamic of it. As everyone bickered away, I suddenly noticed that I was segregated from the group. I couldn’t get a foothold in the conversation, so I just sat there listening in, dwelling in my own exclusion. Eventually I got tired of it and walked off to go drink my beer alone down by the beach (at least solitude was a reliable old friend who understood me).

I sat there on the shoreline and reflected on what had just happened. The more I continued through life, the more it became clear what was required to be an accepted member of the human race. One had to fulfil some sort of title; to fit themselves into an easy-to-distinguish role. It seemed that the fate of a person was to ‘grow up’ and become an ‘accountant’, a ‘teacher’, a ‘project manager’, a ‘marketing executive’. Integrated into society, it was hard to avoid becoming defined in a box of some sort. Whenever people met each other for the first time, one of the first questions asked was always that merciless ‘what do you DO?’ It was a question that saddened me greatly. The context of it being the go-to question when you first met somebody implied that a human-being’s identity was primarily a job role. What made it worse was that when you answered the other person categorised and judged you on what sort of person you were, how much money you likely had, what sort of car you drove, and even what politics you followed.

Unlike the others, there wasn’t a singular job role out there that interested me. All I ever wanted to do was go on adventures and write here and there. People said: “oh you like writing: why don’t you be a journalist?” I did follow my passion of writing into the profession of journalism, but my introduction to that world only left me disinterested and disenfranchised. I wanted to WRITE, not be sat behind a desk in an office typing up some press release or news story I had no interest in.

As I sat there drinking my beer and staring out into the sunset sky, I decided that I just had to accept that I was an undefined being. I was a man without a label; a citizen without a box. I was a person who belonged to tribe or had no particular trade. As I rode down the highway of life, I was destined to continue being undefined – a wanderer with no role other than to rescue my own truth and bliss from the wilderness. I wasn’t compatible with society, so instead I roamed the earth, I stared up into the skies – I drank beers alone and waited for words of wisdom to pour down onto the page. In all the madness of human existence, I was a solitary gypsy spirit doomed to forever wander with the wind. That – it turns out – is what I did. That is what I do. And that – I guessed as I sat alone scribbling on a piece of paper for the rest of the evening – is what I would always do.”

(Taken from my book The Thoughts From The Wild – available worldwide via Amazon)

 

poetry

~ Caught in Nowhere ~

~ Caught in Nowhere ~

And the people my age were not like me
And the people younger than me were not like me
And the people older than me were not like me

I am caught in nowhere
No place to be
Or job to work
Or woman to come home to

This is how it is:
Approaching the age of 30
Living in a small rented room
Losing my youth and mind
Alone in this shit show

It’s just me and the word
Same as its always been
Hoping that somehow this madness
Will save me from this world

The reality is that I’m just another self-obsessed writer
Who can’t write a good poem to save my life
All I can do is spit out this pain onto the page
To at least feel a little better

There’s not much more to it than that
And believe me, I wish there was
I wish my words were good enough
To be found by some hotshot editor
Who sought to turn me into something
Different from what I am.

But what I am is inescapable
And this I have to accept:

I am alone in this
No job to work
No place to be
Nothing to get out of bed for
Nothing interesting to even write about

Caught in nowhere.

man sitting alone

short stories

~ Hibernation ~

alone man room smoking

~ Hibernation ~

For once, it was a cosy room; an attic conversion in an old Victorian house with a couple of desks, a fireplace, a comfortable bed with paisley sheets, and soft carpeting. I moved into that room at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. I didn’t bother to look for a job when I arrived; the medical trials were still supporting my lifestyle (the most recent one paying a very healthy five grand). The clinic I did them at was just down the road which made it convenient, especially because they had my old address and gave me excessive travel expenses every time I cycled my bike there. So when I wasn’t locked up inside some clinic testing a new drug to treat some disease, I was in that room sleeping, writing, reading, meditating, and talking to people over the internet. In the house there were four other people living there: three guys and the landlady. Oh and a couple of cats. One of the cats was very friendly and came and kept me company in my room, sitting on my bed, staring at me with a look of understanding that I never saw in the eyes of humans. We soon became good friends. Anyway, at this point the country was in a state of lockdown. No pubs or restaurants open, no gyms open, only essential shops allowed to do business. Couple this with the winter weather and short days, then it was fair to say there wasn’t a whole lot to do. I thought about my plan of action and decided the best thing a man like me could do was to move into a state of hibernation while waiting out the pandemic. This I did while spending the days shamelessly carefree, waking up late, avoiding the world, and just generally taking it as easy as possible (aside from a fitness routine I had devised which had me regularly running along the nearby river).

As time went on, I found myself entering a state of total peace and happiness, almost a nirvana-like state of being. This struck me as something quite interesting. All year I had heard about the mental health dangers of closing yourself off and not seeing anyone. Apparently these things were essential to people’s happiness, but seemingly not for mine. The more I avoided society, the happier I became. This was something I first discovered a few years back living in a small room in Brighton – a town I had moved to not knowing anyone. I had felt that peace and happiness then, but this time it was even greater, and I almost felt guilty for feeling this way. It seemed that most people were struggling during this ‘difficult time’. People were fearful, angry, frustrated, lonely, yet there I was – sitting alone on my bed with the cat, meditating my way to a mental paradise. I didn’t need anything else. Well, a bit of human interaction was still nice from time to time, and I got that from my trips to the kitchen where the landlady would be ready to chat away. Other than that I had a new friend in America, Cristina. She had popped up on my blog at the start of the year and we had become pen-pals, and now we were speaking regularly on the phone, sharing our day to day stories, which – from my end – were clearly not too interesting. But it was nice to hear about her life, and even though we had never even met, I considered her a closer friend to the majority of people I knew. 

The guy in the room next to me was also a recluse. He was around sixty and had been living in a treehouse in Mexico for the last ten years until he had to come back to the U.K (for reasons I couldn’t seem to make out). In that room he also lingered in solitude, playing his guitar, talking on the phone to some girl in Mexico who he had promised to go back and see when he could. It was funny; his situation was a lot like mine, even though he was over thirty years older. I considered if that would be me somewhere in the future. At times I did think about going and speaking to him, but ultimately the desire to be left alone was too great, and I felt that was what he wanted as well. Another man in hibernation, avoiding the world the best he could. I left him to it.

Other than him was a guy who lived in a hut at the bottom of the garden. He was also older and unemployed, although he managed to get by with his cheap rent and the occasional day of tree surgery. I only saw him in the kitchen making some healthy meal or smoothie, and the rest of the time he went and got high alone in his hut. He seemed like a nice guy, although his constant need to vent his frustration about the pandemic caused me to be cautious when speaking to him. Anything longer than a one minute conversation would inevitably end in him going on a massive lecture about the conspiracies behind the coronavirus crisis. His rantings disturbed my nirvana, so most of the time I said a quick hello before retreating to the shelter of my room.

The only employed one of the household was a twenty-six-year-old guy who worked in something related to environmental science. We shared a beer sometimes in the kitchen, and out of everyone there, he was the one I had most in common with. Unlike me though, he had a girlfriend and this kept him busy during the pandemic, along with his work which he did from his room, so naturally I didn’t see much of him. 

And then finally was the landlady herself: a retired nurse in her sixties, who loved to bake cakes and host music lessons, although naturally they had ceased due to the pandemic. She was a ‘high risk’ person for the coronavirus due to several health conditions, and this also caused her to become a recluse, although she seemed to be quite at peace with this as she baked her cakes and watched her seemingly endless list of TV series.

So there I was: in a state of hibernation with all these other people in similar states of hibernation. Four people living under one roof who rarely interacted, yet we all seemed fairly happy. Maybe this was just the new way of things. Maybe now society had simply gotten so insane that the way to human happiness was not by interacting with the world and having an active social life, but instead by claiming whatever small space you could find. Of course, this wasn’t how it was for most, but at least from what I saw in that household, it definitely was that for some, and especially for me. The weeks went on and my happiness just increased until the point where I felt the best I had ever felt. I just wanted to stay forever in this cosy space, sitting on my bed, writing random things like this story, and meditating with my cat. That cat had been living this way all its life, and I guess all cats lived that way. They were beings that knew the secret apparently. And I couldn’t help but smile as I watched him sleep in a little ball at the bottom of my bed. No stress, no problems, no drama. A world of apparent crisis and insanity lay out beyond those walls, and it seemed the best way to peace was just to avoid it. That was what I planned to do for that entire winter, and what I planned to do in some way for the rest of my life – finding my peace and happiness by claiming whatever cosy space I could.

Anyway, time to go and meditate for the third time this day.

poetry

Singing or Screaming? (Or Both?)

~ Singing or Screaming? (Or Both?) ~

You’re an angry young man,”
That was all my uncle had to say
after reading my first book.

But I knew he wasn’t totally right
Many people had been moved by my writing
Affected to a good degree
Some expressed deep emotions
And there were even a couple who quit jobs
To go and travel.

But for others like my uncle
It didn’t resonate
Didn’t speak to them
It just came out as anger
As spit and venom
From a jaded individual

I guess some of it was anger
But I really felt
That for most of that book
I was just letting the song of my soul
Play out onto the page

But maybe he had a point
For as others read my writing
I saw that some of them liked it
But most of them
Simply distanced themselves from me
Or pretended they hadn’t read it
Or dismissed me as a nutcase.

I guess there is no way to please them all
No artist has ever been universally adored
And what is singing to some
Is screaming to others

And that’s why I always think twice
When I listen to the birds

Outside my window.

birds branches

poetry

~ Like A True Professional ~

~ Like A True Professional ~

“But what is it you want to DO?” he asked me
It was a friend’s stepdad
In a bar over Christmas
One of those middle-class types
With the flash car and hot wife

I looked into his eyes
And thought about answering the question properly
To tell him about all my heart’s urges
About my crazy dreams
And existential desires

But of course, I knew
He would only understand an answer
That came in the form of a job role

These people often come up to me
They see me: a young man
Someone who speaks well
And even went to university
Surely he must be doing something with his life

For me, I was doing something
I was doing The Thing
Of following my heart
Travelling the world
Writing my poetry
And searching for the essence
Of what life was about
But it seemed that these things
Were not things
To people who measured life
By job titles and bank balances

God, maybe I really am crazy, I thought
Maybe I should just give up this crusade
Get a regular job
Become like that man
Tell people how I work in finance or something
How things are going well
Which holidays I’ve got booked
And what shows I’ve been watching on Netflix

But another part of me, says no, fuck it
I will not be ground down like the rest
I will not extinguish my fire
I will keep my shape
And stay true to who I am

And when they ask me what I do
I will look them in the eye
And tell them all the wonderful things I do
With a smug sense of pride

Like a true professional

Of life.

business

poetry

~ The Act of Expression ~

~ The Act of Expression ~

Maybe you don’t think your voice matters
Maybe you think that you’re just another person
With nothing of any value to say

And this is exactly
What they want you to think
But know that every person on this planet has a unique perspective,
That can be a source of treasure to others

But as we grow up the noise of society intensifies
And many of us begin to believe that our feelings are wrong.
So we learn to silence our inner voice
Out of the fear of judgment and ridicule.

But think about the people who inspired you.

They were once in the same position
Of questioning whether they wanted to share their truth
Before finally discovering
That their emotions and their feelings
Were just as important as any news broadcast
Or school textbook.

So if you can feel something inside trying to get out
Then have the courage to open up.

Write your poetry.
Sing your song.
Dance your dance.
Speak your truth.

Sometimes a few words can change everything.

man writing

thoughts

~ Infected ~

~ Infected ~

“One day in this life you realise you are infected with the condition of being an outsider. The symptoms are revealed to you gradually. As you walk the neighbourhoods of normality you realise your heart yearns for something else. Stability and security only give you a feeling of sadness. You have no interest in the contract of life offered to you. As you stare at the rows of houses and green lawns and shiny cars, as you look up uninterested at career ladders before you, as you stare wistfully into space in the supermarket queue, you gradually begin to realise that something isn’t quite right about it all. Every ounce of your being rejects the things you were told to desire. What gives you fulfilment simply isn’t available in their stores or on their menus. You have no interest in material riches or status. Their television shows and newspapers are toxic poison to your mind. You are allergic to their conventions and expectations. The suits and ties don’t fit you. What is important to them, to you seems utterly meaningless and trivial. In your world adventure and exploration and art rank above all else. Yes, accept it: you have the alien madness – the condition of being an outsider. You are infected. Do not trouble to even try and cure yourself, it will only make you worse. No, no, no: forget the therapists, forget the sensible advice, forget trying to fit into a society which doesn’t fit you. Do not trouble yourself. Here is what you shall do:

Let the infection take over. Let your eyes become bloodshot with blinding passion. Let your skin be shed, let your soul be set on fire – let that heart of yours become filled with poetry and madness. This is it: you were never one of them anyway, and the sooner you accept you never will be, the more powerful your mutant soul will become. You will liberate yourself from society and walk those streets with a rare strength and joy – a feeling of freedom not known or understood by those who define themselves in groups. The world around you will glisten with magic – you will see things they can’t see; do things they can’t do; go places they can’t go. You will attract strange glances and stares – sometimes in secret admiration, sometimes in fear. You will terrify some and inspire others beyond belief – and as the infection spreads further, you will grow stronger and stronger – fiercer and fiercer. Nothing will be able to hinder you. Things like isolation and rejection will only fuel your desire further. No cage or poacher will be able to capture your wild heart. You will be unstoppable like a storm; you will be impenetrable like a mountain. You will live the life of a fearless adventurer and go to the grave knowing that your life was lived with absolute fullness. The flowers around your grave will blossom with an exotic beauty; the birds will sing songs about your adventures at your headstone. You will have been totally consumed by your passion. You will have stayed happily infected till the end of your days. You will have died knowing that this world could never find a cure for your beautiful madness.”

infected

~ A Storm from Within ~

“It takes courage to be yourself. It takes courage to walk your own path. It takes courage to pursue the life you truly desire and not the one expected of you. Too often you will be surrounded by those who want to see you fail; by those who will seek to pull you back into the darkness in which they dwell because your breaking free causes them to reflect on their own choices and limitations. Throughout the ages of human history the mavericks and pioneers and dreamers have faced such a challenge when liberating themselves from cultural conformity and convention. Many are tamed and return to the safe farm of normality with their dreams and desires slowly gathering dust in dark, forgotten corners. Many let those voices of fear and doubt also infect and infest their own minds. It’s no easy feat to break free from the mould to live a life of total authenticity and personal truth, but there will be ways to stay strong to who you truly are as you walk the path through the wild to the shores of your destiny. Stuff your skull full of madness; overload your heart with passion; summon a storm from deep within your soul. Shake some windows, rattle some walls – let the words of your heart rain down mercilessly upon the blank pages of the world. Don’t apologise for the mess and madness. Let your spiritual thunder awaken this world into life.

Let your soul’s lightning ignite the darkness of the night.”

storm

 

thoughts

~ A Secret Space ~

pexels-photo-1679618

The words of mockery came at me and I realised at that point I had broken through to a new realm. People’s thoughts and opinions of me no longer had any power over my emotions. I was my own man, and it struck me how blessed I was to be able to live life without striving for social validation. So many people secretly craved to live life not controlled by worries of what others thought of them. It was no easy thing to do after all. We are all social beings that thrive on others’ acceptance, and it truly takes a bit of insanity to overcome this aspect of human nature. And the bigger the crowd you have to fit into, the more of your own individuality you will have to sacrifice. This is why the true individual thrives on his or her solitude. It’s in that uncorrupted space where the noise of society fades away. It’s in that space where the inner voice is heard, new perspectives realised, and art created. This space becomes more addictive the longer you spend in it, and when you return to the crowd and see the masks being worn and the social game being played, you will inevitably only crave to avoid it as much as you can. Solitude becomes a way of protecting your unique essence. And maybe people will think you’ve gone crazy, but you simply won’t care as you know that you have discovered the great secret – the secret that learning to not be dependent on others’ approval is the key to a life of personal truth, authenticity, integrity, and freedom.

~ The Crazy Ones ~

“Always the crazy ones were discussed with hidden interest. Some were mocked outright, and others were affectionately referred to with lines like “she’s a bit different” or “he’s a bit out there”. Whatever the case, it seemed most people had a subconscious fascination for the alternative mind. People would stand back and observe them as if they were a rare species – some kind of exotic bird with pink feathers. Mostly they fascinated me because they were the creatures who had jumped the fences of normality; they were the ones who hadn’t subscribed to the current version of sanity which helped us all enjoy small-talk down the pub. To me that was a liberating quality I couldn’t help but envy. Without being shepherded on the farm of conventional thought, you were free to invent yourself and be whatever you wanted to be. And what was more desirable than that? In a world that said the winners were the rich people, or the famous people, or the good-looking people, to me it was the crazy ones – the people living life on their own terms – who were life’s greatest success stories.”

poetry

~ Leave It ~

~ Leave it ~

I wouldn’t bother with me
I’ve long walked off the track you are on
You will find nothing of any use in me
And my poetry will repulse you

My words will not be familiar to your script
My behaviour will confuse you
My thoughts will scare you at best
And my interests will have no place in your life

No, I wouldn’t bother with me
I’m damaged goods, beyond saving
And you will feel ashamed
To be seen in my company

This wilderness I roam – it’s not one you want to be in
Although I often fantasise
About dragging you into it
So you can see the pain and madness
I know and endure.

But that would be cruel, so please:
just listen to my advice
keep your distance
and don’t bother with me.

This is the kindest advice
I can give
you.

pexels-photo-764880