It’s a Metaphor, Fool (Fantasy vs Reality)

This piece is reposted from my old blog, The Thing Itself.


 “The anthropologists got it wrong when they named our species Homo Sapiens (‘wise man’). In any case it’s an arrogant and bigheaded thing to say, wisdom being one of our least evident features. In reality, we are Pan Narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee.”


I’ve always enjoyed science fiction and fantasy, even if I don’t get as involved in things like fandom* as I did as an overly-earnest teenager. Nowadays, when I’m nowhere near as much of a reader as a used to be (and when I spend the majority of reading time on trashy crime novels** about murdered girls – your fave is problematic) I tend to get my fantasy fix through gaming, logging more Skyrim hours per week than I’m willing to confess to in a public post.

But sometimes when I’m getting immersed in fantasy worlds, being emotionally invested in fictional characters, or fixating on small aspects of world-building and mythology, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by a sense of pointlessness. Even standard fiction does this to me at times. What is the point in spending so much of your real life thinking about pretend lives? Why is it easier to cry at a wizard dying because of a magical contract than it is to cry at wars on the news, or at the small unfairnesses of life?

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poemstuck//life roundup

What with all the stress of the last few months, I haven’t had the time or inclination to work on much new material. I’m happy to say that I’m mostly settled now, living in a nice house with a kind friend and working a job that I enjoy.

This morning I tried to work on a few drafts I have stored in my iPhone notes (the unromantic holding area for pretty much every poem I write) and found that my brain is completely dry. I can’t get into a rhythm, can’t find a way in to any of the images I’ve previously thought of… I have tons of rogue stanzas and no idea how to develop them into something larger.

Hopefully I just need a bit more time – I’ve only really been safe from homelessness about two weeks (I’m still legally homeless but to all realistic ends I live in a house) and being sort of neutral-to-happy is still something of a surprise. I keep feeling sad for no reason, possibly because I’m just used to it – left to my own devices, I settle into my bad mood before I remember that there’s no real reason for one at the minute.

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is nostalgia useful?

Gabe Saporta (of Midtown and Cobra Starship fame) once wrote a long post on his now purged tumblr entitled ‘nostalgia is the failure of true emotion‘. The post, which I will have to paraphrase from memory, wasn’t dissimilar in intention to the truism that “remember when?” is the lowest form of conversation. It’s not a real or immediate feeling, it’s a memory of a one. It’s a failure to live in and experience the current moment, and as such, it’s not mindful and it’s not authentic.

I’m not certain I agree with this, but I am a person who has lived the majority of her life drowning in nostalgia. I’m not sure what it is about me that makes me so achingly backwards-looking, but I only need a distance of about six months to romanticise a past that was, at the time, unbearable. In this way, nostalgia has been a curse since my early teens – I have never truly been able to appreciate the time in which I’m living because I’m always certain that other times were infinitely better.

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sometimes you see yourself

Have you ever read something and sort of wanted to burst into flames because you see yourself in it so clearly?

“Should you happen to be possessed of a certain verbal acuity coupled with a relentless, hair-trigger humor and surface cheer spackling over a chronic melancholia and loneliness – a grotesquely caricatured version of your deepest self, which you trot out at the slightest provocation to endearing and glib comic effect, thus rendering you the kind of fellow who is beloved by all yet loved by none, all of it to distract, however fleetingly, from the cold and dead-faced truth that with each passing year you face the unavoidable certainty of a solitary future in which you will perish one day while vainly attempting the Heimlich maneuver on yourself over the back of a kitchen chair” – David Rakoff

Sherlock: The Abominable Episode

After a two year break, Sherlock was back on TV on Friday night, for a one-off ‘period’ special. I want to state, before I get started, that I have been an enormous Sherlock fan in my day. I’m talking fanfiction-writing (eep), theory-making, london-visiting, Moffat-forgiving levels of fandom.

Sherlock was the first show I reviewed when I started my brief student job reviewing pop culture for CultBox, which has blossomed in my absence* into a really reputable, entertaining website.

I went in with high hopes. Like many, I’d felt a dip in quality in the third series, but I’d enjoyed Mary Watson as a character and John’s grudging acceptance that he’s fundamentally attracted to dangerous, dark people. I also found that it improved on the second watch.

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stuff happened

i abandoned my blog as predicted, but i’m back within a month(ish) which is almost progress, for me. i have also requested my old myspace blogs, so prepare for a joyful and terrible blog post of teenage embarrassment when that archive arrives.

i’ve been sick again, with my gallbladder (for which i have a scan on the 14th of december) and a bad chest infection that i stupidly prolonged by going in to work. i had mad fevers and trouble breathing, was sleeping on the desk at lunchtimes because i didn’t want to lose the wages from unpaid sick days, which is ridiculous because i ended up much, much sicker than if i’d just sucked it up, taking the paycut and stayed home.

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i am bad at blogs

i’m not even giving out the address to this blog, because i’m such a disorganised gremlin that it’ll probably be out of use by next week anyway. i just know how sad i was when my myspace blog was deleted, and when i lost my diaries in one of my many relocations, and how important record keeping is to me.

it’s a bit sad, but i’m already memorialising things before they’re over. so i’m going to try to use this as a forum for that – linking out to external pieces or longer form Serious Business posts over at my other blog Not The Myth.

bye blog. nice knowing ya!