I have spent my whole life half in a dream and half in reality. Men have understood this and have preyed on my defenceless body with their tigers’ teeth, while my soul was voyaging elsewhere.

Edvard Munch
The Private Journals of Edvard Munch: We Are Flames Which Pour Out of the Earth

Photographs

April 18, 2020

These photographs show you as others see you
and it’s unbearable.
I would have liked to see one of myself
but I don’t have one, which is a shame.
It would have been wonderful
to see myself through my own eyes
from inside my scars.

Concita De Gregorio

History repeating

March 7, 2020

The teaching of history tends to be sanitized and distorted to fit whatever political agenda is currently in style. It is appalling how many people have so little grasp of the reality of their national history, and, indeed, on world history as a whole. It is doubly frightening as history seems, in face of this ignorance, to be repeating itself…

P

Time is merely our imperfect perception of a new dimension of space. Time and motion are both illusions. Everything that has existed from the beginning of the world exists now. Events that occurred centuries ago on this planet continue to exist in another dimension of space. Events that will occur centuries from now exist already. We cannot perceive their existence because we cannot enter the dimension of space that contains them. Human beings as we know them are merely fractions, infinitesimally small fractions of one enormous whole. Every human being is linked with all the life that has preceded him on this planet. All of his ancestors are parts of him. Only time separates him from his forebears, and time is an illusion and does not exist.

Frank Belknap Long
The Hounds of Tindalos

Hell

December 31, 2019

What is hell? Hell is oneself, hell is alone, the other figures in it merely projections.

TS Eliot
The Cocktail Party

Peedeel says,

November 25, 2019

I am twenty-four years old when a good friend of mine approaches me with a question similar to the one my mother asked me when I was eleven, all those years ago. But this time she says, “My mother is afraid because of the stories I write. She doesn’t want me to have to go to a dark, sad place in order to write sad, dark stories. What do I tell her?”

Our mothers are always afraid. They want what is best for us, and they know the reality of how horrifying the world can really be. They don’t want us to have to traverse imaginary horrors when the world is already full of real ones.

“Tell her,” I say, staring at the wall above my computer, “that the truth is, we don’t have to go to sad, dark places to write our stories. We write our stories to cope with what we’ve already seen.”

Alyssa Wong
The Darkest, Truest Mirrors

Realism is conservative

October 26, 2019

We live in uncertain times. We have always lived in uncertain times. I think what makes the weird inherently attractive is that it speaks to a part of us that knows, consciously or not, that the rules we play by, the realities we choose to agree to and normalize, have cracks in them. Increasingly, I think that putting realist modes and non-realistic modes at opposite ends of the spectrum does a disservice to both. Realism is conservative in that it tells us what we believe is real is in fact real. But it isn’t. It’s also consensual, questionable, open to interpretation, and often ignorant of other, competing narratives. We are in a moment when the consensus is beginning to shift. Non-realist modes seem to help us get a handle on this faster because they teach us the consensus was never absolute to begin with. People were excluded, people dissented. This breakdown is enjoyable at some level even as it’s also frightening. It means elements of our lives which we lacked the ability or will to question suddenly seem disputable, something we can fight back against. Breakdown gives us an opportunity to see what lies beneath, for better or worse. Increasingly what strikes me as strange about Lovecraft’s fiction is the sense that once the monstrous is encountered, the only options are madness, forgetting or death. And that in its own way is a conservative way of thinking: there are many more options. Resistance, recuperation, remembering, rebirth. This is the energy that comes from the collapse of the consensus — the possibility of change.

Helen Marshall
Interview with David Davis 15th November 2017

dancing rhythms

September 10, 2019

Tonight reality finally repudiated its margins, blurred into dream. We offered a libation to the moor, to the stones, to unknown Gods – to the deep night sky and the drunken poet who listens to the silence around him and the dancing rhythms of his own heart.

Moderation

September 3, 2019

When they tell you, ‘moderation in all things’, I assume they mean reality also?