Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You love a stone.

Love stinks. But it's also really nice some days. For some us this was just another day. An unforgivable ploy by big business to make us buy chocolate, flowers and paper. A forced obligation to express affection for our significant others when we should be expressing it all the time. Pressure. To others it's day to be romantic, to give yourself over to the fun of it all. To let flowers and cards and little romantic gestures make you feel special. Make you feel loved and wanted. Even if you feel this all the time in your relationship it's a nice way to bring special attention to it. A simultaneous national date night. No matter which side of the issue you're on it's rare that this day doesn't affect you in some way. Whether you're up in arms about it, excited for a special day with a special person or sad as fuck because you don't have anyone. I've always been a little bit of all three. I've never been in a relationship on valentine's day and although I do feel a little down when it comes around I also enjoy it a little. I don't get depressed seeing people walking around town hand in hand with their sweethearts. I love seeing people happy. Seeing them enjoying the ultimate prize. Even if it's fleeting it's still worth it. Even if it's a silly little fling that will never go anywhere it doesn't make the moment any less perfect and important.

Today I had three very different valentine's day experiences in my life. My good friends the married couple, who's love is something I can always look on and not feel envious of but inspired by. My friends starting a new relationship with all the anxiousness, hope and adorability that comes with it. Finally, a friend and co-worker of mine had his girlfriend dump him. Today. Probably one of the most heinous, intentionally hurtful things someone could do. Who fucking does that? People with a special place in hell reserved for them. A place in hell with the people who give you exact change after you've already tendered a twenty in the register or people who don't like the Beatles. That's who.

Today I spent time with people who couldn't stop smiling and people who were probably the saddest a human being can be and it made me think about how this "holiday" is just about emotion. Be it good or bad, blissful contentment or aching loneliness. Today, no matter who you are, you cannot help but feel.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lost in Mossflower Wood.

Brian Jacques died on saturday. For me and a great many of my generation, he opened our eyes to a level of storytelling that we had no idea existed. The Redwall series was, for most of us, the very first introduction to a wide range of very adult literary themes. The Triumph of good over evil. War. Moral responsibility. A very tangible, interactive sense of the creation and meaning of myth. An aspect of his writing that was new to me at the time was the use of multiple subplots and side stories with many of them featuring characters utilizing puzzle solving. These were also the first stories most of us read that featured a realistic depiction of death. Be it from natural causes, in war or by murder. The acts were described in a level of detail that at the time was unnerving but also exciting because it was something I had never experienced before. Words were making me feel. Not just the basic surface emotions, the more complicated ones that make you physically feel. My stomach felt uneasy and no matter how strange it seemed I knew that I wanted to feel this feeling. I wanted something brutal to make me feel queasy. I wanted something heroic to make me feel inspired. I wanted something pure to make me cry. I wanted something that sounded delicious to make me hungry. One part of the redwall series that has most stuck with me over the years would have to be Jacques habit of obsessively describing food with such detail and love that you could almost taste it yourself.

Before these books I had never cared about a fictional character before. I had never waited in anticipation to find out what they would uncover next. I had never cried when they died. I have since done all of those things with countless characters in countless mediums.

Thank you Brian Jacques. I hope that at this moment, You, Abbess Germaine, Constance the Badger and Martin the Warrior and walking together through the halls of Salamandastron. I hope you know what you meant to me. I hope that you know that you were the first of many to make me realize at such a young age, and never forget, what it is I love more than anything else in this life. Stories.