Please Kill Me,
There’s a story that I think about often. Most times, it’s just when I’m lying awake at night–unable to sleep, of course–and thinking about my plans for the next day. It never occurs to me when I’m actually in the thick of chasing dreams or tracking down my goals with the proverbial rifle of my imagination…but it frames it.
It frames the ideas that wind up on the page and (hopefully) into the pupils and minds of the pupils and minds. It acts as the foundation of my fears and the motivator for the ambition–whose source I haven’t quite traced. Such journeys are pointless when you’re already on a trajectory toward, where the aforementioned information would lead you, anyhow.
Despite my lack of care for the battery of my drive, I drink from its well of sustenance time and time again; and time and time again, I return with another day’s worth of “keep going, you idiot…you’re nearly there”. I trust that feeling. However, it is followed by reminiscence of the same story.
It’s nearly a nightmare. It recurs as such–ominous and dreary. But once you’ve begun to create with a passion and relentless fervor it becomes difficult to sort things into such a limiting category.
I find the beauty in it, though others may not. I’ll share it with you now, at least then, you won’t be living in constant speculation (there’s already far too much of that).
There’s a boy in the forest. He has no family, no food, no supplies, and no visible source of any of the modern comforts that you or I have grown accustomed to–though he is dressed as if he’s seen them and knows them well.
He stands beneath a high tree. It is approximately the width of his arms thrice extended and its branches drape downward like the flowing veil of a bride. As they dance along with the coming winds, they drip water. The boy wants it. The boy is thirsty.
The hostile breeze nearly topples the boy onto his side, but his feet are planted firmly into the soil beneath him. It’s a lesson of stability that he’d learned from having dug at the roots of the tree in a vain attempt to knock it down and get to the leaves.
He’d tried to climb it–several times–but to no avail. Though his ambitions had been clear and directed toward his goal, he found the task specifically impossible…frustratingly so–having ended his final attempt with little more than a bevy of splinters in his hands and chin, whilst also sustaining several small nicks and bruises elsewhere.
Not to be dismayed, he’d come up with an idea–a hopeless, silly, and poorly developed idea. But, it was an idea none-the-less. There could be no wrong answer here. He HAD to get to the water.
He’d come across a stone in his travels. After weeks of trial and error, he’d finally managed to shave it down to a pointed edge. With the stone, some vines, and sturdy branch–he fashioned himself an ax. Primitive, but unmistakable.
With all of his might, he chopped and swung away at the tree with the ferocity of a wild animal–swinging and pulling back, panting and pushing forth the razored edge into the side of the tree–celebrating every measly inch he’d managed to dig into it. Soon, the inch became two inches. Shortly after that, two inches became four, and so on.
After several weeks of this relentless chopping, the boy was surprised to have been stumbled upon by a group of traveler’s. They hadn’t looked lost, but rather like they’d been searching…not just for anyone, but for him.
“What are you doing?” The man exclaimed, knowing nothing more than the sight of the filthy boy and the woodchips that had been scattered about. “Stop that! This instant!” The older man demanded.
The boy did not stop his swinging. Instead, he laughed at the very suggestion. “I have to get to the water on the leaves,” the boy said. “I’ve tried every other option and there is simply no other way.”
The older man reached into his parcel and from it retrieved a canteen–filled to the brim with some of the freshest water that once could drink–and handed it to the boy.
“Thank you,” the boy said and drank from the metal tube–a bit disgusted, before handing it back to the older man. Curiously enough, once he’d drank from the canteen, he lifted his ax and continued to swing it at a different–unharmed–section of the tree.
“What in the hell are you doing, now?” The older man asked.
The boy smiled, between swings, and answered, “I’ve already begun, and I’ll not have you tarnish my victory”.
I’d be lying if I told you that I remembered exactly where I’d heard that story. Maybe it was something that an adult told me when I was a child. Maybe it was something that I made up, in one of my artistic fever dreams. Maybe it’s something that I heard in passing. Who knows?
It’s not the source of the story that interests me, (though, if you know, I’ll give you a $1 for the information). What gets me about it, is the lesson–any of the several that I guess you can take from it.
For me, it boils down to a single thing. A belief (/a creed) that I think that every creative person, no matter the extent of their creativity, should have:
Finish what you’ve started.
No matter how crazy it may seem, at one point or another, your life depended on it. Don’t ever forget that.
Until Next Time,
Welcome to the world of the macabre. In this long-awaited anthology, we delve into the dark nuances of the human spirit. From the apocalypse to murder and brutal realities we remorselessly explore them all, in search of the truths that evil holds. Can you face the darkest corners of your psyche or will you cower back to your fairytales and superhero mythologies? When you tire of the lies—we’ll be waiting for you here…in the dark.
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Photo Courtesy of Dale Beckett via baynature.org