Alex the Scribe

Exploring the craft of writing. Sharing resources for writers.

Category: Prose

What I say, what I see

An artist is someone having the courage to say, "Here is what I see."I want to write to share my worldview. I want to write to touch other minds and bleed a bit of myself in them through osmosis, an osmosis of the minds between the writer and the reader.

I want to have things to say. I’m just not sure what that might be.

I guess it has something to do with being heard. Let’s face it, it’s pretty lonely down here when you get a glimpse of the unimaginable scale of time and space.

Immeasurable only hints at the magnitudes involved. And infinity isn’t useful in this case. Given the infinitesimal blimp that is my existence in the universe, I wish to imbue it with meaning. I want to mean something in this unreasonable universe, even if only to me. That self-definition would be much more meaningful, much more valuable to me, than the futile products I create in my day job.

I want to create to define myself. To find myself, my voice, and my message. To gain clarity of thought, clarity of worldview.

Am I only writing for myself?

If so, is it a worthwhile pursuit? But I would only write for myself if I were my only reader. But I don’t want to be only a journaler (i.e. one who journals). I don’t want to keep it to myself. I want to share my writing.

But why?

Should writing be about what I want? Or should it be for the reader? If I write only for myself, my writing will be unsatisfactory. If I’m my only reader, I’m not a writer. To be a writer, one needs to write, and to share that writing.

Writing for the reader isn’t all bad. You get to create entertainment, food for thought, subversion, alleviation of suffering–if only for a few hundred words or a few hundred pages. But then you’re selling your artist’s soul, in a way. Writing to please isn’t authentic. Writing, as all art, should be about expressing oneself, not about pleasing the crowds. It should be about observing the world in all its brutish glory and showing it through my irregular colored lenses. It should be a duty of recording the world, like a scribe being a witness to existence, to our shared existence.

Would that be a higher purpose to art, to writing? To present a biased frame of reality? Or is it art for its own sake? No. Sharing art–and writing–alters the beholder’s reality. It touches her empathy, it’s a sharing of the soul. We partake in an osmosis of the minds miles and years apart. We defy thermodynamics. We twist space-time by entangling our minds for an instant. It’s another way to be connected. It’s a manifestation of the interconnectedness of everything, of everyone. While you read my words, our selves meld, along with all the other readers before you. We become a new amalgam stretched through space-time. We connect through the higher dimensions to share something ineffable, meaningless like ourselves yet pregnant with shared humanity in the moment.

And sometimes, I ramble aimlessly, go on a tangent, leave the path I had traced for myself and get lost in the wilds of my thoughts. Sometimes it’s dark. I can only guess at roving shapes in the void just beyond the mind’s eye. Nightmares on the tip of the tongue. Sometimes I find forgotten bits of me. Some are broken, shards of what I’ve been or might have become. Some are whole dreams that had faded to mist, veiled just beyond consciousness, like waking with the feeling of the dream but without the images. Some are wholesome, some vile, some corrosive.

Sometimes, I find a gem. Or the hint of a gem, like the glint of moonlight on a broken mirror.

So. What DO I have to say? Should I even have a message? No. I think I was going at it the wrong way. The ‘message’ of the artist isn’t a statement per se. It is an observation. It is a biased, deformed, colored snapshot of the world. Of a world. An artist is someone having the courage to say, “Here is what I see.”


Urban Megalith


Urban megalith — picture by me

He squatted in an old abandoned granary. It looked like a dozen giant cement toilet paper rolls, about 7 storeys high, stood up side by side. A corrugated-sheet-metal shed perched on top. The shed was as rusted as the metal staircase leading up to it. In winter, he had to patch the holes in the wall to get a small reprieve from the wind, but the stairs held his weight without bucking.

The only color on the grey and rust structure were the sun bleached graffiti at ground level and along the top. Artists and troublemakers used to climb up here for the view, the privacy, and a canvas to leave their mark on the cityscape.

He hadn’t left his mark, but he was the only one still climbing the rusting stairs.

Exotic Birds


Bird of Paradise

The lady looks at the smouldering ruins of her home, where she had housed her vast collection of exotic birds.
– Well, at least I know what I’m having for supper.