Archive for November, 2010

A Special Emphasis

Posted: November 25, 2010 by zacharyandgillian in November 2010

“As a final exercise, I want you to look at someone else in the crowd.  They don’t have to be someone you know, they don’t have to be a friend, or a classmate.  In fact, they don’t have to be anyone you’re even remotely familiar with.  The only requirement is that they’re not looking at you.  They are not supposed to know who you are.  You’re supposed to know them.

“So don’t go looking around to see who’s looking at you.  Stay focused.  I want you to look at someone else.  Really take them in.  Their glance, what they’re wearing, how their sitting, what they’ve done with their hair.  Take a moment to realize that every part of them has been deliberate.  They chose what to wear today, and they chose whether to care whether their socks matched or not.  The person you’re looking at got out of a bed this morning.  They went to school or work.  They do this every day.  They have a life.

“They are a person.  With thoughts and feelings.  They think a certain thing about boys.  They know what love means, and they certainly have a private quirk.  They’ve been hurt, and they’ve been surprised.  They will be happy in the future, and they will be sad.  And they have no idea that you are looking at them.

“And so tomorrow, or the next day, if you’re having a bad day, remember that today you came to know someone else who has bad days.  And it sucks for them too.

“A lot of people ask me about a lot of things.  We all get asked a lot of things in our life.  Am I doing the right thing?  Which college should I go to?  What do you think I would be good at?  Do you think he likes me?  Every day our friends, colleagues and family ask us for advice.  But it’s pretty rare that we get asked about love.  Really, no one asks about love.  And the only time we really hear about it is when we’re at weddings, or singing psalms at church.  Our family and friends often tell us they love us, and we hear about it in every bad joke about the birds and the bees.  And we certainly hear all sorts of relationship advice – from family, from friends and nosey acquaintances.  We ask for our fair share too, on occasion.  But it’s pretty rare to get or give advice about real love.

“Love is overused and under-examined these days.  We cherish it like an idol, but fear really taking a look at it in fear that it might not hold up to our scrutiny.  We all talk about it with clichés and fancy biblical quotes instead of real words.

“Now, I agree that there is something to love that is ethereal and intangible, that can’t be nailed down into words.  But we find many things that are beautiful, and we exhaust the English language trying to describe them.

“I’m not going to waste your time trying to define love to you.  You’re going to have your entire life to find out exactly what you feel love is.  But I am going to leave you with a bit of advice:  When you do start to find love, make sure you examine it.  You may find it in a significant other, or in a hobby, or in a career.  You may find it in nature or in nurture.  But when you do find it, don’t let it sit dormant.  Explore it.  Find out exactly what it means to you, with reckless abandon.  Because love is the greatest treasure that you’ll ever find, and there is no limit to its breadth and depth.

“You do not need to climb the Alps, or serve the starving kids in Africa to discover yourself.  You need to climb the obstacles between your needs and your heart, and you need to serve the starving passions in your mind and body.  That’s how you discover yourself.  A lot of people think that receiving love is the way to solve loneliness, and I believe that there’s a lot of truth to that.  But exploring your own love, regardless of who or what seems to love you, is how to solve the problem of happiness.

“As you grow up, you’re going to find that everyone is doing something in this crazy world.  You’re going to find that there are more things to learn, see and do then you will ever get to in your lifetime.  But as many things that are out there to discover, there is something in here to discover.  And it is just as vast.  Love is universal.  You will never get to the depth of your own capacity and skill to love.  Not in your lifetime.  Not in a hundred lifetimes.  If you take the time to really look at it, it will ceaselessly surprise you.  And it’s beautiful to discover.

“So don’t just love.  Lead with it.  Follow it.  Don’t let it go, and don’t ever let it down.  And trust it.  Because it won’t ever let you down.

“Thanks so much for having me everyone, you’ve been a pleasure.  Good night.”

Writing:  Zachary Webster
Photograph: Gillian Berger

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A Sixpenny Show

Posted: November 14, 2010 by zacharyandgillian in November 2010

Sin rolled off his body as easily as sweat from a freshly fucked whore.

All his life he had twisted and contorted to the movements of a fluid dance.  His body might mosh, but his soul did ballet.  It stretched and strained, lifted and leaped.  And not for one moment did it ever show an instant of effort.  No, it merely interpreted art through movement, and politely accepted applause after every act.

Except his soul was deaf.  Judgment was a figment of his imagination.  A whimsy in a dream he had once.  It was a quaint notation that he only ever bothered to entertain during walks over overpasses, on the edges of cliffs, or a couple of drinks.  He reinvented it at dinners with Christians, along with other fantasy figures – wizards with magic staves and dragons with smoking nostrils.

He didn’t like smoke.  (A mild jealousy he delighted in allowing himself.)  But, like women, smoke liked him.  It hung around him slowly, drifting in the air, fresh from the ash.  It wafted into his senses with the slightest of ease.  It moved only when it wanted.  Intangible.  Ethereal.  Lordly.  Fuck the colours of the wind, he wanted to raise himself like the grey haze.

He knew why women liked him.  Insecure men would joke about what they could do with just their tongue – trying to encourage an imagery of sex to do the job of seduction for them.  Smaller men than him attempted to prove it, bedding woman after woman, seeing to their pleasure and calling it conquest.  Sometimes it worked for them.  Sometimes it didn’t.  Good for them, he’d think.

He did neither.  Women liked him because he let them be something, and there is nothing more powerful than being.  He let them be anything they wanted.  Anything they really, deep down, were.  It was something no one else cared enough to let them be.  And that, had he cared to take note, made them quiver more than fingertips ever could.

He didn’t care to take note.  Notes were meant to be played, not owned.  Life was a cacophony of monotony.  He improvised with the sounds of the universe to make a melody that he couldn’t identify.  He played them while they played him.  But all the noise he could make led him to the same recognizable reverie.  The world was all merely a cheap thrill.  A rose by any other name would still rot just the same.  He moved on.

He liked roses.  “A half smile for every fallen petal.”  The line repeated in his mind like the last advice of an old Alzheimer’s victim.  He found himself there.

A silence for the lover’s leaf,

That ne’er sank to subtle grief.
A half smile for fallen petals,
That knew a haunting, meek relief.

Writing:  Zachary Webster
Photo: Gillian Berger