Combination Lock

Three turns to the right. Stop at “Guilt.”

Two turns to the left. Stop at “Self-loathing.”

One turn to the right. Stop at “Guilt for the narcissism of self-loathing.”

Open the safe. Inside, you will find another, small safe.

Three turns to the right. Stop at “Anger.”

Two turns to the left. Stop at “Impatience.”

One turn to the right. Stop at “Self loathing for feeling angry and impatient.”

Open the safe. This time, you’ll find a drawstring bag inside. Open it, and out will flow dozens of small, egg-sized capsules. Each is clear, with a folded up piece of paper inside of it. You can open the capsules look at the writing on the papers if you like. One will say “Happiness.” Another will say “Misery.” Another will say “Oddball.” Another will say “Unique.”

There’s something else in the cloth bag. If you reach right to the bottom of it, you’ll find a needle. The moment you try to pull it out, you’ll find the cloth bag unraveling. But if you leave the needle in place, you’ll be able to put all the capsules back inside. Then you can draw the strings shut tight, and even tie them. You can put the bag inside the first safe, and put that back inside the second. You know the combination now, so it’s no trouble going in and retrieving the bag whenever you like.

But what if you lock both those safes and throw them into an ecologically correct trash heap? Melt them down, use the metal to make… not bullets or guns, no… not spearheads either… and not jail-bars… how about wrought iron railings, delicate and beautiful, the kind you can train vines and flowers to grow around? Then you can still feel safe, but you don’t have to look at a cage or a weapon. You can’t use the railings against yourself, because you can step over them and make them beautiful. Forget the flowers – even without them, they’re beautiful. Just wait, see if other people admire them. I’ll bet you they will.

What about the bag, you ask? Well, that’s still with you, isn’t it? Tie it to your belt. Let people look into it sometimes. Let the people you love go in deeper, and sometimes maybe take a risk with a stranger. Don’t worry, they can’t steal anything. Even if they take one of those capsules in there, a new one will pop back instead of it. But more importantly, spend some time with that bag yourself. Look into it. Sort it out. See what belongs and what doesn’t. See, this is the magic about it – if anyone else tries to take something away, it’ll pop right back. But if you give it to them willingly or get rid of it yourself, it’s gone for good.

Careful, though. Don’t throw away “Compassion,” or “Love,” or even “Fear.” Don’t let yourself throw all of it away, both good and bad. Keep most of it. Just sort out things like “Pointless Guilt” and “Worthlessness” and you’ll have a good start going.

But remember the combination. If you don’t know how to open that first safe, you’ll never get anywhere. What if the combination changes, you ask? Ah, well, if it does, I trust you’ll be able to listen to that little click-click when the wheel hits the right place, so you’ll crack it in no time. Just make sure to try.

“Journal”

According to Google, a definition of the word journal is: diary: a daily written record of (usually personal) experiences and observations.

Such an inadequate definition. The word journal is magical. It conjures up the image of beautiful, classic script embossed in gold upon a leather bound ledger, filled with heavy pages. Another image that comes to mind is the word stamped simply, in bold typeface, on pastel colored notebooks of comfortable size, inviting casual penmanship between their covers. Journal can even raise the picture of a cartoon character brightly painted across the cover of a small notebook, just begging to be filled in with colorful crayons and bright stickers.

Journals are wonderful. They are pages for privacy, of gathering the thoughts that dash across our minds throughout the day. They are a haven, a safe harbor in which to pour out our frustrations, sadness and difficulties. They are a comfort, inviting us to share happiness and pride or rejoice in our blessings and accomplishments. Journals can be friends, sole confidants, secret lairs and hidden treasures.

Journal is a beautiful word.

Hidden Wish

There are wishes that are too dear to the heart to be able to give up. At the same time, however, these same wishes, because of being so dear, are often hidden or lied about or concealed even from their own wisher. Wishes like these are the ones that are important. The wisher conceals them from him or herself because he or she knows that facing the wish, trying to accomplish it, will only make it like all the other wishes before – it will be gloried, it will be striven for, it will be boasted of, but eventually it will fall to the wayside like a dusty old garment, too worn out to be of use to the traveler anymore.

These wishes stay close to the heart, and will unconsciously jump into the mind of the wisher and into his or her actions once in a while. The wisher, if sincere, will do all in their power to avoid the seriousness of the wish, will immediately laugh it off as a fancy, as a thing which can never be, while secretly wanting it so much that he or she would give up almost everything to be able to fulfill it.

Why is it that wishes brought to light are so often abandoned? One cannot presume to know – but what is certain, at least when it comes to this humble blogger’s opinion, is that the more serious one is about one’s wish, the more likely it is to be lost amongst the everyday. Better to supress and let it emerge on one with all the slowness of natural progress rather than force it upon and into one’s life with vulgar flashes of neon light.

Move [Part VI]


Marianne was in a chair that resembled the kind found in dentists’ offices, except that there were no trays full of sticks for fiddling in mouths beside her. Instead, she was loosely strapped into this chair at her wrists and ankles, and she was alone. Opposite her she could see a wall that was one long mirror. She knew that this wall must be a one way mirror and that the people who gave her instructions were, in fact, on the other side and watching her every move. As if it’s not bad enough that they get to see my thoughts, she thought bitterly.It had been three days now since Marianne had been taken from her cold, steel room. Miss Flanders, the woman who had collected her from there, had taken her to a spacious room, steel like the first, but warm and full of comforts. She had a comfortable bed with a thick mattress, a desk with some writing paper and pens on it, and, best of all, a bookcase crammed full of books. There was also a spare bed in the room, but Marianne was quite alone and there didn’t seem to be any other occupant at any time.

Marianne felt that she was now pampered, as if to placate her after the bad treatment she had received. Miss Flanders and the others greatly wanted her cooperation, and she was ashamed that she had given it to them, mostly because she was too weary and too scared to defy them.

But not for much longer… No, mustn’t think about that, or they’ll know. She quickly began to think about her mother again and about her sadness and aching heart and the way she missed her home. But in the back of her mind, which she had learned to hide away, a plan was forming…

Move [Part IV]


Hannah, a forty-three year old woman, sat in her kitchen on a cold winter day and tried to read the paper. She wasn’t very successful, as her thoughts kept straying from the latest accidents and political upheavals and wandering off towards the letter lying open next to her.

She sighed and shoved the newspaper away from her, picking up the letter instead. She read it through once more, and sighed again. This was the sixth week that her Annie hadn’t come home. She had promised she’d be back every week – she’d promised! – but instead, every week without fail, Hannah received a letter from her. This week was no different. The letter read:

Dear Mom,

Hey! How are you? I’m so sorry, but I can’t come home this weekend either. I know, I know I promised, and I WILL be seeing you soon, it’s just that there’s so much to do here that I really can’t miss out on a weekend because I’ll fall dreadfully behind. OK, I know what you’re thinking, Mom, and NO, there isn’t some boy who’s keeping me busy. It’s seriously my studies.

The Set have us working super hard, but it’s all so interesting! I know I nattered on about this last week, but seriously, the internet connection is just so fast that I can’t even imagine how impatient I’ll be with the one at home when I come visit! They don’t let us access any E-mail sites though, which is why I have to write you in the old fashioned way. Anyway, I really do love my classes and all the things they’re teaching us here – my favorite teacher is Miss Flanders, she’s got this really amazing way of keeping us all in line by being totally charming – no one ever wants to interrupt her, she’s got such an amazing presence!

Anyway Mom, I really hope you’re not mad at me – you know that I hate that… I’ll try to call next week if I have time and maybe even come visit. Hope you’re doing OK, I miss you!

Much love,

Marianne

Hannah absentmindedly wiped the tears from her eyes as she looked at the printed page. She knew Marianne always typed when she could, as her handwriting was really quite messy. Still, Hannah was still of the generation that liked signed letters. She also wondered about this whole “Marianne” business. She only called her daughter that when she was angry – most of the time she was Annie for her, and Marianne hardly ever used her full name anywhere. It was only the name on her birth certificate and passport. Other than that, everyone, not only Hannah, called her Annie. How odd, Hannah thought to herself once more. She folded the letter back into it’s envelope with an air of resignation. Maybe Annie will really call next week – she thought to herself – I hope so.