My Tomb at Night

When we sleep we are not dead, nor are we truly alive. And I despise it.

To close my eyes each night and lose myself to the world as it continues on, going about its business without me, is a loss I cannot abide. Yet I have no choice. Our internal mechanics decree that without sleep, we cannot function as we should. Without these long hours lost to the dark din of senseless slumber, we simply will not be as we should be. It is known that the ‘typical’ person, one who gets roughly the necessary amount of sleep that the average person requires, will have slept for a quarter of a century by the time they turn seventy-five. A quarter of a century. That is twenty-five years of a life lost to chasing shadows in the night as our minds wander beyond sense and reason into a world nigh unfathomable to even the most logical minds.

Why?

Why must I strive to make the most of each and every day only to have to surrender myself to the forces of nature? The dolphin can get by with only allowing half of itself to sleep each day. The bullfrog can go for months at a time without it. Yet we must capitulate. If I were to stand tall and attempt to defy my natural state of being, my strength would fade, my mind would crumble and I would eventually come to embody the guise of someone bereft of life. A husk of a man devoid of spark. He who wanders the world holding his lantern low, dimly lit with a quiet wisp of candlelight. Without sleep we forfeit our capability, our sanity and even our lives.

There are many who welcome the rest. They who see their beds as a cradle of comfort, a chance to switch off and give in. To let the shroud of nightly dreams claim their minds each and every passing of the moon as they drift into worlds both strange and familiar. Their beds become their nests. An enticing embrace of warmth and wellbeing to close out the day. To me though, it is a tomb. Not of cold stones or lifeless bones but a tomb nonetheless. Each night I lie, motionless in the dark, waiting as my mind wanders pathways not chosen by me. Waiting for the sun to greet us all each morning, to ‘grace’ me with the permission to rise once more, to walk the world anew.

What do you dream of? I dream of never dreaming for my dreams offer me nothing, yet my waking thoughts give me everything.

I know that I need to sleep but I do not want it. Now or ever. It gives us our rest, at least when blessed enough to maintain it sufficiently, but it is also a loss of time, a loss of life. My time. My life. I am no longer a child gifted with countless years to come, able to waste my days in blissful ignorance of purpose. I am a man now and I desire to command my time as I see fit. My time, my life, has more meaning than that younger version of me could ever comprehend. He knew little of his resolve, his intent, and he had time to burn. I now know my purpose. I now know my desires, and I want my nightly hours, enshrouded in my wasteful tomb, for me.

Give back to me that which is taken. Give me the chance to trade away this need for sleep in exchange for a life truly fulfilled. There is no eternity for man or woman. Only the burning embers of a candle that grows dimmer each year.

I despise sleep. And it despises me. I will sleep when I die. Only then will I truly rest in peace.

Forged from Reverie.

The Year 2016: A Villain or a Victim?

The year 2016 will likely be one that shall be noted in the annals of history as a black year. A blip in the progress bar of human evolution. A soggy, tear drenched scroll of irredeemable squalor. Its ink is rancid and its words are harrowing. How dare such a sequentially organised period of time have deigned to exist and play out as it did. The sheer gall of it! From divisive political upheavals and fear fuelled media outbursts to seemingly not a day passing by where a beloved personality or pioneer hadn’t passed away, this particular year seems to have ‘what the bloody hell just happened?’ written all over it.

Damn you 2016 to the possibly fictional agony of hell you numerical bastard for potentially jeopardising the financial security of my homeland post Brexit. Curse you pitiful prick for bringing to my attention hundreds of posts relating to the ignorant outcries of those whose time is too precious to consider checking the facts before negatively reacting to the deceits of certain organisations’ political agendas. And how dare you rob us of the talents and sheer brilliance of the likes of David Bowie, Ronnie Corbett, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Muhammad Ali and far too many others you absolute swine!

For countless reasons 2016 has garnered the dreadful title as one of the worst years in living memory and possibly all of existence depending on who you talk to or what you read. Yet, the odd thing is this – it is not 2016’s fault. None of it. It just happened to be there when all of these terrible things occurred and has become just as much of a victim as those who have suffered through the events that had transpired this year past. It lies meekly upon a bed of sorrow and regret, haunted and beaten, a decrepit, weary old man whose final days were spent surrounded by the baying mobs begging for it to go away and simply die like it was a horrific monster.

We as a global community have decided that even though we are very much aware of who the true culprits are (at least in regards to many of the events from that year) that purely by association we have also attributed the evils of those 366 days to the year that was the 16th to follow of this 21st century. Some bad stuff happened during that year and so by our own perceptions the year itself was also bad.

Side Note – As I unintentionally misspelled the word culprit written above, I realised that I had in fact spelled out culptit. Culp-tit! I don’t know about you but it has a nice ring to it when spoken out loud. I may use that instead in the future. Anyway….

From what I have gathered regarding how this period of our history is looked upon, we have done what has happened so many times before. We have created a grotesque mask that is the pure representation of all of our hatred and placed it upon the visage of a year that many couldn’t wait to see the back of in the same way one would differentiate a pantomime scoundrel from the rest of the cast by having him dress in the appropriate garb for the role. The 16th calendar year of this millennium became a banner to scorn, a poster to vandalise, an effigy to burn within the pyres of our minds. If last year was a glass jar that had the sole purpose of containing within it all of our collective malice, contempt and utter condemnation then it would have broken into a thousand pieces well before its end.

Many will look back to 2016 and shall likely, for many reasons personal and societal, grit their teeth and maybe shudder a little in remembrance. Time after time I would venture into the world of social media or read/watch segments of news and it seemed that everyday passed where something dreadful had occurred to someone or someplace as if the God of Fuck You had a personal checklist and wasn’t happy until he had done something dreadful by each night’s passing. It is part of our modern lives. Technology and its relentless advancement has allowed us to be connected in such a way that we are able to learn of the woes of individuals and groups both close to us and far away, the famous and the obscure, and after inevitably accepting one way or another whatever tragedy has occurred, we will then begin to utilise one of humanities most useful inventions. Definition. We each of us will choose how something we have experienced will affect us, either in the moment or after much contemplation, and then choose a category that best defines the event based on how we perceive that it should be defined and then we react accordingly. As a result of the events that transpired in 2016, many will choose to define it as an abomination. A bloated mass of grief, rage and utter discontentment.

But personally, I pity old man 2016 and sigh as I think of him alone and shivering in his bed as his life ebbed to the echoes of the people championing the dawn of his younger brother, 2017. In reality, as a pure figment of categorisation he could no more help nor harm us than our very own shadows. Yet 2016 has managed to cast a long and very dark shadow of its own simply for existing and I ask you – is that fair? Is it fair to blame the witness, the innocent passer-by for what happened to each and every one of us last year? Or shall we continue to construct for ourselves a tomb of stones carved from sour memories around that shadow and its owner thus maligning this poor old man as if he were a villain in a horror movie?

Many great things also happened during this time. Just off the top of my head is the fact that Leicester City FC won the Premiership that year to be crowned the Champions of England far ahead of their closest rivals, the perceived ‘Titans of Football’ that fell short below them in the league table. It was pretty bloody fantastic when you think about it. But for this and many other good moments that transpired, we should in equal measure offer no thanks or gratitude just because they happened when they did to the year in which they occurred. Have you ever heard someone say ‘so and so year was a brilliant time for insert person’s name here’ and then go on to list why it is remembered so fondly? The year itself played no actual part in the memory and therefore deserves no praise yet it often garners the title of ‘brilliant year’ just because that was when that specific event happened.

I suppose I just don’t understand why we are unable to separate a figment within our minds based on something of our own species creation (the calendar year) from the realities and truths related to positive or negative events that happened during a particular time. It is not as if I haven’t done it myself in the past. I also have a tendency to attribute my personal feelings to how I remember a certain period of my past and have likely cursed or praised such a time for simply unfolding as it did.

A year is simply a marker that we use to help us navigate the time periods of our lives and our global civilisation. Nothing more. It is we in our ceaseless attempts to categorise our lives who give greater meaning to all-encompassing concepts such as indicators relating to the passage of time. Would you blame the year 1939 for unleashing a world at war upon us? 1346 for the beginning of the Black Death? 1096 for the start of the Crusades? 2004 for the emergence of the X-Factor? I didn’t think so…. well maybe the last one.

Should we really be wasting our energies despising the year itself, which is basically an incorporeal entity of our own making, instead of the real reasons the year was considered to be such a miserable one in the first place? Should we actually be spending any time despising anything at all when it could be considered more positive to any person’s mental wellbeing to focus on the good things that have happened during the 12 months of the past year, absent feelings toward the year itself?

I would be interested to know what your thoughts are on the matter. Was 2016 truly the culptit (haha, I told you!) many folks consider it to be?

Forged From Reverie.

Until The Bell Tolls Twelve

Today shall mark the first post that will appear here at the Forge for the calendar month of December and will likely be my final one for the year of 2016.

I have contemplated for a few weeks now that I could do with taking a step back from this for a little while in regards to the various writings and ramblings that I offer in these pages. I am beginning to feel that the constraints of my limited available time are gradually starting to have on affect on my ability to produce content that I would consider worthy of revealing with any semblance of my capabilities. It’s true that I could probably attempt to churn out a few vapid lines here and there just to keep my presence known for the remainder of the year but that would be both both an insincere gesture to you and a shallow attempt on my part. I’ll be having none of that.

So in conclusion, things may be a little quiet here for the remainder of 2016 but I can assure you that when the bell tolls to greet the new year I shall return to relight the fires of the Forge, renew my passion and reveal my own personal intentions for the the craft of writing we all adore. To those of you who grace these pages with your most welcome and appreciated presence, I say thank you once more and bid you all a fond farewell and merry December. I’ll be back before you can shave a beard into oblivion.

Disclaimer: I shall not be shaving my beard into oblivion, maybe a light trim.

I shall await you in 2017 folks, please take care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Forged From Reverie.