Chapter 1

forgetfulbard.com

Faint light from downtown made its way into the third story apartment through the glass sliding doors leading to the balcony. Streaks of lightning occasionally flooded the living room with light as they made their way across the night sky. Rain washed over the newer buildings of steel and glass that towered over the city. Six months ago, the sounds of rain and thunder would have been relaxing to Jeremy LeBlanc, but his life had changed drastically since that time. Filled with hurt and sadness – he couldn’t remember what it was like to be relaxed and calm.

Jeremy sat in the dimly lit living room of his apartment. Tonight, the rain suited his mood more than usual. He was in a dark place, unable to sleep, and several glasses into a bottle of Macallan scotch. Music played gently through large speakers in the corners of the room – a…

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The Bard is Back!

forgetfulbard.com

That’s right.

It’s been a long time and a busy two years but I give my word I have been at least mildly productive. More on that below.

So then, what is new in life? Let’s see…

I have married my greatest friend in the world and it’s been an amazing time together. I’ve also undertaken a new profession. Of this, I am gruntled. The Lady and I left our old estate, and after traveling a bit, we finally settled down in yet another brittle state ablaze with fire.

And then there are the beasts…

The demonic beasts of our household are all faring quite well. The dire wolves are both happy to howl at the moon and slumber at our feet. They patrol the corridors and estate … always on the prowl. The winged visage of death and destruction still looms overhead, shrieking curses at any who would get too…

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Audio Introduction to my Patreon Page

As part of my venture into creating audio material for my “Patron-Only” RSS feed on Patreon, I recorded myself reading the introduction I wrote for my page, seen here: https://www.patreon.com/kennethrgerety

Patrons who pledge $2 or more will have access to the private feed, which will include a bi-weekly poetry reading, as well as audio versions of the “Patron-Only” posts which are available to read for any patrons who pledge at least $1.

Feel free to let me know what you think! Here is a link to where the audio can be heard: https://www.patreon.com/posts/9410168

“Letting The Helmet Fall”

-from Season Three: Rite of Passage – Poetry 

 

I don’t think I can protect anymore

my brain from the strain of the inside war

that echoes in the bitter calm anxiety

which a better sage plays off as piety

as I struggle to maintain a sense of some reason

struggle as befuddled I start losing cohesion

amazing how foolish being smart makes me feel

like my constructs and destructs where solid and real

vulnerable to critical wounds self-given

by the shadow I follow who makes my decision

and I don’t have a response or solution to agree

all flows and off goes while I’m unanchored at sea

here is my cranium without armor or crown

best replace or deface with the cap of a clown

any helmet would make me an ornamental doll

and I’d rather stand so no hand can allow me to fall.

 

© 2013 Kenneth R. Gerety

Check out my Patreon Page!

 

From the page introduction:

“My interest in Patreon is that it allows for stimulating interactions between audience and author, and provides the kind of support which is difficult to come by when one is attempting to be successful in this ever-changing business of storytelling. Should I gain your support, I will be using the resources provided by you towards publishing costs (specifically ordering copies of my books to proof), and to build my presence in the market, creating marketing tools and expanding my reach through social media.”

https://www.patreon.com/kennethrgerety

“Ballet of the Deep Ones” (Excerpt)

“The curtain rose to reveal the wooden balcony on the left of the stage set against a background depicting rocky shores. Onto this balcony tip-toed a figure dressed in an old-fashioned sleeping gown, a comedic mask over his face with an exaggerated nose but small eyes, and a smile of thin teeth. The figure gesticulated extravagantly to the shore backdrop, out towards sea, then clasped his hands to his breast and began to twirl and hop.

“I sat among a substantial crowd, far more than I ever would have expected after the first night. They were all quiet with respect and attention. It sent shivers through my limbs, this silence.

“Somehow, even with all of my theater experience, I’ve never gotten used to such a large group of silent people. You would think at least one of them would speak, to joke with a companion or whisper some flirt. As it was, I felt an insidious nagging thought that I was attending some religious ceremony where all must be solemn to complete the ritual.

“The figure from the balcony disappeared off-stage, lights growing dim as the set was altered from an outdoor scene to the den of the figure’s house. A fireplace illuminated a small semicircle before it, where sat an armchair, ottoman, coffee table and rug. The dark shape of the figure approached these flames, again tiptoeing and hopping as he moved along.

“Ushers dressed in gray hoods and cloaks, those with the fabric shimmering as slime, stood at each entrance to the theater. If they were actual employees, or members of the cast waiting for their time to come, I could not conclude. This might’ve been some addition to the spectacle, an added element for audience participation.

“The figure on stage lifted a fire-poker from a rack against the wall. He spun about and thrashed and stabbed the air as if he were some swordsman. For all I saw, he appeared nothing more than an imaginative boy, a child on the stage.

“And then … a sound … a gasp? This broke the silence in such an immediate way—though it was barely a whisper—as to send my heart stammering.

“One of the ushers disappeared, I’m sure of it, and I swear I saw one of the entrance doors close … and just before it closed, a pair of feet being dragged outside…”

 

Read more in Assembled Ornaments: Poetry and Short Stories

© 2014 Kenneth R. Gerety

 

Breaking Out Of Doubt’s Prison

Doubt oppresses us with delusional enchantments, imprisoning our true value in a cell of distorted mirrors. Breaking the glass requires positive thinking, yes, but Doubt is well capable of perverting even faith itself over to its dictatorial cause. As such, never fear to fight dirty against it, sabotage the self-sabotage with what Doubt fears most:

 

Evidence reasoned from deliberate action.

 

Watch the glass crack, then shatter, and view the impotent monster prick its flesh on the shards of the falsehoods now beneath us.

 

Doubt does not respect me. Why should I show it any honor or deference? It doesn’t follow its own rules, only assaults with unproven claims. This gives me full license to fight dirty, and craft my own methods of engagement.

 

Doubt uses questions as weapons, but the damage dealt can be visited back upon it when we learn to see that the answer to any question lay in the question itself, and the act of questioning.

 

It’s easy to mistake the “Unknown” as Doubt, but I see a distinct difference. In fact, the Unknown may very well prove to be a powerful counter to Doubt, as it is impossible to assess what we do not know, and Doubt acts as a wicked assessment which twists what we do know, or think we know, into critical weapons reflecting back on ourselves.

 

The Unknown offers opportunity for excitement and growth, while Doubt stifles growth with depression and anxiety, prompting self-abusive behaviors.

 

To break out, then, we must step away from the cycles Doubt places us within, as bars in our self-constructed prison, and maybe it will never be completely eradicated, may always exist and be present … but let it be present somewhere else.

 

What Doubt made a prison, the Unknown can make a temple.

Literacy of the Self in an Era of Skewed Individualism

The art of Individualism begs us to become more self-conscious and confident, even as we face apparent ostracism and derision from our communities, including our friends and family. True, we need an open exchange of ideas between ourselves and others, or else the security of our personal space will be threatened, maybe not by some distant enemy but by our own neighbors.

The difficulty is that we may not feel comfortable with our own identities, wrapped up as we are in a social game resembling Nature’s “predator versus prey,” only without the sacred balance offered by this primal instinct. I would say, despite any surveys I might see from any poll, most people fear ridicule more than physical harm, the tease of a bully more than the punch of the abuser.

As much as our culture has praised Individualism with one hand, the other, let’s call it Reality, is always open to deliver a stinging slap.

It’s easy to fit ourselves into what we are in relation to the things we possess or don’t possess, the entertainment that thrills us and that bores us, and even to the environment within which we live or wish to flee from. So, in an era of Individualism, we construct ourselves into what our senses input into our brains, focusing on our connections and how these networks define us, in the time and place where and when we are … but who are we to begin with, to have such a miraculous ability to make these connections?

Who are we, at the innermost core, that collects and contains this contextual input, and why does no individual interact, react, and counteract in the same way as others in similar or even nearly identical contexts?

While there may be no universal answer we can over-generalize to fit all human beings (or all beings in general), there is an over-simplified question which is easy to overlook because it’s so ambiguous, with heavy emphasis on personal perspective, that we with our burgeoning global awareness and inundation of data could find too complicated to work towards answering, especially when our strong emphasis on fact versus fiction tends to drive us towards knowledge and distinguishing truth, instead of seeking awareness and understanding to suit our basic needs:

“Who am I?”

And like all questions, for me the best answers always lay, bound and imprisoned, within the question itself. The knot that ties our hands behind our backs is the puzzle of contemporary reliance on things outside of us to define who we are, and the energy required to break those bonds—or to find the freedom implicit in the vulnerability of being bound—is housed in the central battery of our intensely unique souls. I mentioned we are inundated with data, with information.

I would add that our psychological climate today has never been more saturated by identity crises, dissatisfaction, imbalance, disharmony, and at least for my own perspective, Apathy, Petulance, Isolation, and Contempt.

I can’t answer why we’re not all happy. I can only offer the perspective of someone who is alive in this moment in this place after having a specific set of experiences. This over-simplified question, “Who am I?” is an answer unto itself, because in asking it we can discover not only these distressing emotions listed above, but also our specific discomforts with feeling them.

In discomfort, we have opportunity for growth, a moment of pivotal import as we face the predatory threats to our core identity and must therefore develop the prey instincts necessary to defend and cope with these threats.

I have absolutely no qualms with thinking of myself as prey. It’s where my empathy for others arise, and I consider this to be one of my key strengths and most useful adaptations. It teaches self-reliance even as it offers primal value in forging beneficial communal relationships.

If this sounds too cold and scientific, I’ll put it to pretty poetics: my love for others and myself springs the flowers of true wealth. 

 Whatever type of metaphor suits you, whatever resonates deep to your bones and charges your battery, there is no better way to both ask and answer questions of identity than to explore and then express your unique perspective. I’ve come to deeply believe the most efficient way to do this is to gain a literacy of the self, the ability to read who you are, maybe at first from the outside-in, but ultimately from the inside-out.

It can take a lot of effort, but it might be worth it to alter our perspective enough to realize that even when we are engaging literacy by reading outside elements—such as books or pieces of artwork or body language or other environmental effects—we are also reading ourselves into these contexts, drawing evidence from them in whatever resonates with our imaginations.

We identify with our relationship to other things and people, but our identity is not the relationship, instead the true and honest core of individuality that evolves throughout our lives, the answer within the question easily complicated by anxiety at the flood of sensory input raining down upon us.

We could go Biblical just for fun, and claim that what we each need is our own personal Ark to carry us over the water lest we drown without an anchor or a beacon of hope to follow.

I suggest an alternative to giving up your true individuality as a sacrifice for the skewed Individualism of the “Information Age,” and that is the choice of creativity. It is a choice of some medium, or variety of mediums, through which asking the question “Who am I?” can be channeled into the creation of the messages resonating from your soul, not just a reflection of what your soul consumes. It’s the creation of anchors and beacons and whatnot to somehow recognize you are not isolated from yourself, and in this recognition you can feel more acutely a deep resonance with companions, further diminishing any lingering fears of isolation.

I’ve made my choice many times literally through writing, but literacy takes many forms, especially in regard to our individual perspectives. Learn to read yourself, investigate your questions, and discover for yourself the thriving spirit in your heart no predator can kill.