Stories will lead us back to the forest

Stories yet to be written. Credit @fiona_veritas

Credit: @fiona_veritas

It’s been another long intermission, but with a heave of the creaky ropes and a squeak of the pulleys I hereby open the curtains on a new act for Vivid.

Since last writing here, there has been a time of false dawns and illusory summits; of horizons that came pleasingly into view only to be lost again in cloud. Of conflicting goals and wavering beliefs. On the surface it was no more than another period of indecision about future directions, brought on by a relentless and uninvited flow of leads and possibilities, each a distraction from the previous, and each, when it came to serious analysis, of dubious compatibility with my skills, resources and leanings.

(more…)

Pink pants, red herrings and life’s work

(or: More than my job’s worth, part 2)

The snickett where the pants lay.

Some weeks ago I made a decision. Except that it wasn’t me that was making the decision, I thought, it was the pants. They had been lying there, in the path, for probably more than a year. It’s a muddy, narrow path between hedge and houses; the route to school that I walk with my son every morning. A dozen parents had casually side-stepped the pants a thousand times apiece, perhaps not noticing them, perhaps embarrassed; but surely all, like me, wondering secretly: whose were they? How had they fallen off? Were they missed? Surely someone should pick them up. Should I pick them up?

Yet month in, month out, they lay there, unloved and ignored, covered in turn by summer dust, autumn leaves and winter snowfalls, exposed after every wind or thaw to reveal an ever more crumpled, downtrodden repose, their pinkness struggling to be heard beneath the deepening coating of mud and algae.

The day I decided to pick them up would be the day my life would change, I thought. The pants had called me. And if you respond to the call, the pants are yours. (more…)

More than my job’s worth

Cublicle lifeI’ve been thinking about jobs lately. For a while I even thought I should try to get one, freelance writing work having dwindled so dramatically. Admittedly, opportunities to work as a newsletter editor abound. Each that I have seen, however, pays precisely nothing. How droll, that when I am at last presented with an opportunity to use the longest word in the English dictionary, it is to describe the trade to which I have devoted half my working life, in conceding that the job of editor has succumbed to floccinaucinihilipilification.

But, enough levity. (more…)

On belonging

As this placeless world spreads, and as progress is increasingly defined as the ability to look out of a hotel window in any city and see the same neon-lit corporate logos, the most radical thing to do is to belong. To belong to a place, a piece of land, a community – to know it and to be prepared to defend it.
Paul Kingsnorth, 2004

I’ve been wondering about belonging. What is it? Is it important? Where can we get some? How do we hold on to it?Home

A decade ago I returned with my young family to live in the area where I had enjoyed my happiest childhood days.

I refamiliarised myself with the landscape, the trees and plants and birds and rivers, in all their colour and variety. I took the plunge into community activism. I made and renewed good friends in the area. It is a welcoming and beautiful place to live; I feel lucky to be here and generally content.

Yet I’ve rarely enjoyed a deep feeling of belonging. In my gloomier moments I can feel adrift, struggling to find any point of reference. (more…)

View from the inflection point

Greetings, dear reader (if there’s one out there). The time between posts is growing, a sign that the end grows nigh for Vivid, but I don’t yet have the heart to pull the plug. For one thing, I have one more exposition to get off my chest, promised months ago and very nearly ripe for delivery (it’s been a long gestation).

For another, I can’t resist the temptation to chip in and comment one last time on the state of affairs in the big wide world. (more…)

The loops of eternity vs The loops of never coming back

All thoughts now are with the people of Japan as they bow to the terrifying might of mother nature and the folly of man; and to the people of the Middle East as they face down brutal oppression.

But I promised I’d come back with tales of vivid things and at such times as these of fear and change perhaps vivid things are needed most of all.

It didn’t actually take me nine months to find those things; the delay has been due to other commitments and a winter go-slow. Thank you for coming back. (more…)

Divided and resolved: a personal account

This is a personal entry. Which is not to say that the previous posts here weren’t — it’s just that most of VIVID’s analytical pieces are still tinged with the affectations of my professional training as a journalist. In full force, these produce the high-minded style that’s employed in mainstream news formats to create the illusion of objective authority, but that in fact serves to cover up inadequate investigation, the regurgitation of state or corporate propaganda and the mindless reinforcement of destructive social behaviours in the name of advertising profit. (more…)

Telling it like it is: more news from the dead centre

Modern civilisation may have no central command … but it acts as if it does. VIVID thinks it should come clean and set up a reality newswire, which tells us straight what’s being decided at its hypothetical, brain-free centre. This month we’d have:

The PSOG (Public Sedation Optimisation Group), a division of the the IPCE (Institute of Public Confusion Enhancement), which is indirectly funded by the government’s DJFIP (Department of the Justification for Foreign Invasion and Pillage) is celebrating its latest bench-marking results, which reveal that we are fast approaching our stage 1 goal of widespread, medium-level, public sedation. This was revealed by a recent exercise undertaken with the help of a most accommodating partner in the White House. (more…)

Power to the people (or: what’s it take to get active?)

Seems we need the very basis of our livelihoods to be threatened before we do something about the world outside. For most of us, our livelihood is represented by money, food in the shops, and transport to get us to the places that issue money or food. Which is why we only strike, protest or riot in numbers when one of those is under immediate threat (but not before).

But of course, the basis of our livelihoods is really the land (and air, and water) — and (for those who haven’t noticed), it is under immediate threat. (more…)