So, again, this is a little abstract for me.. it was quite interesting dredging this story up to see how the years have treated it, and I must say I'm both intrigued and a little befuddled by my own work (which I'll take as a good thing). Here's part 2 of
Corner of fourth and main (Cont.)...
Short Story by Steven Benjamin (2004)
Hospital corridor - image by bwweb.com
I focussed on her, her eyes. Taking a step closer; our moment of eye contact, observed in two minutes, as the world fell silent.
If that world could see her eyes, peace would reign. She looked right through me, as if inadvertently mending my future – injecting hope.
Her passive stance, yet lucid, compassionate eyes. ‘Why me?’ I wondered as trepidation crept up my spine. Fear, as her gaze consumed me. She gave of her life, to somehow compensate for the lack in mine.
Hitherto, I was at the pinnacle of my life – my wife told me: she hoped our child would take after me, especially my passion for success. I was a warrior – the courtroom was my battlefield.
The agency had abducted me, robbing me of my sanity, accusing me of betrayal, threatening my family. Two days in an interrogation room… felt like two weeks in a torture chamber. I had no information to give, I was innocent.
Awakening, intense light blinding me; it was a hospital room. I emerged from it, my body aching, the noise deafening. I was told to visit the morgue, to certify that my wife and unborn child were dead.
The world turned vertical. The pain signalling that I’d collapsed and hit the floor – darkness.
Standing at the corner once again, the street empty.
She was an adversary of the agency, whom I had worked for, thus I blamed her, God, the law, everyone, for taking my life.
The discernment came when this woman unconsciously injected her purity of life into mine. God wasn’t the enemy, or the law. The agency whom I’d been a part of, had erased myself worth. The foe I fought was I, my mind. I was the common denominator, the origin of my own life’s destruction.
Walking down the empty street, away from my infamous corner, I accepted that I had to share my world with her. This connection, would progressively emerge as a new paradise for our souls.
Meeting her at the end of the block, her smile could make evil men repent. We embraced as mankind reappeared around us. Observing the street now, I realised we were standing on the corner of fourth and main – again…
The original photo was a portrait shot of actress Barbara Lennie. I cropped it and played with the brightness...
-->> It's the abstract nature of this story that gets to me the most, using an almost poetic narrative to tell the tale which is somewhat illusive. I believe the core storyline was something very basic, but the trauma of events lent something of an intangible quality to the story, leaving you and me wondering; how much of what the protagonist says, actually happened...?
NOTE: *** I will be on the road (as in road-tripping) and/or in a different (neighboring) country during the next few weeks, thus don't expect any updates for a little while... God Bless! Stay cool, Stay Calm and Read On. If I do post in the coming weeks,it will probably be pictures from my travels, but I won't make any promises. ***
Photo: 'things' by greeblie (flickr)
'm redirecting you to a piece I wrote, recounting an actual event from my recent past... It's a short piece and you can find it here
, Thanks must go to Shinazy Linda for hosting it, and inviting my humble literary contributions; you can visit her blog BOBB
(Bitchin old Boomer Babe) to read more stories by her and a variety of authors/writers every week - there's also a link to the right in my blog's sidebar under Blogroll
.The title of my story on the site is actually "Things we keep"
- I couldn't really decide what to call it, so it kind of has two titles ("Conversations..." being the other of course). Enjoy, and keep reading!
This short story is from before I became a writer, or actually, before I even thought of becoming a writer - I wrote it almost 10 years ago and I'm paying it another visit to have a look at my progress, or evolution... Admittedly I couldn't resist the temptation to edit it, but I must say, it is about 90% the same as when I finished it those years ago.
Photo from flickr.com
Corner of fourth and main
Short Fiction by
Steven Benjamin (2004)
When death becomes us. Our souls’ survival is in peril. Our lives become the object of perdition, even before we encounter eternity – through death.
On the corner of fourth and main, stood a man, just about two feet from the curb. He stood, slightly slanted, swaying when swept by an occasional gale.
Nearing autumn, there were scatterings of cloud overhead, although the city did seem to be in a jovial mood, vibrant with all the usual colours. But there I stood – the world passing me by…
I was, for lack of anything better, a mess. My face; more wound than face.
Staring straight ahead, I explored the realms of oblivion – ‘how nice, this culmination of… of nothing’ I thought. I felt a warmth within this impromptu hiatus of melancholy. My life had little worth. My peripherals: enlightened mankind – the living doomed. There is no meaning to life; we all end up the same – worm food, dead matter.
My flagrant nihilism of life.
My mind glides between this enigmatic thing we call life, and my perception of it, like a pendulum, undecided of its true destiny.
Amid my dull gaze, mankind dissolved, the street became deserted; no recognizable signs of life. I liked it, my own unrestricted world – the street emptied. A sensation of serenity aroused within me, as my mind found a strangely awkward yet peaceful refuge within the tormented decay of my soul.
Eyes, light brown, penetrating my still world.
Bedlam! A bus roared passed me, horn blowing. I crashed back down to reality.
...to be continued
- "For me, what was most interesting was the use of poetic themes and styles to tell the story - it also assisted in telling more of the story in less words (there was a limit I had to adhere to at the tui), but there is a notable rawness in the narrative. The original story is only about 600 words, but I decided to split it in two parts to see how they measure up to each other, with the possibility of fleshing some of the story out a little more..."
... and/or some more thought provoking pictures (yes I know - my titles need work)
Juanda Cortes photography
've been a little distracted lately, with other work, and yes this does kind of show my hand with regard to this blog - it is rather a little "off the cuff" at times... I reserve the the intricate thought processes and planning for other endeavors. However, I do like to mix it up a little between words and pictures (among other things - keeping it simple), so here's some images from my 'reserve' files. (FYI - find more from the above photographer here
National Geographic photo contest 2012 contenders:
Simply amazing nature:
Street Art - by Alice Pasquini:
Jessica Stewart Photography
(there's more from Alice Pasquini in the archives - check the first month in the categories!)
And finally - a look at Syria, today...
... just to keep things in perspective.
Above photos from Reuters.
Above photos from Boston.com
Photo from USnews.com
The Boy in the Sandbox
by Steven Benjamin (2012)
Innocence can come in many forms; curiosity, a journey, an absent life and even a simple vision. Between here and an unforgiving faraway land lies vacant memories of a life given, and a life lost, and the link they share. It started with a tree, which inspired a long journey to find truth. Clara takes this journey to discover that even within dirt and arid heat, innocence and a rose may yet live…
Her mother nodded even though her back was turned.
“If this was real it would fall down and die. Metaphorically speaking that doesn’t bode well for us. Our family tree is more than just a little lopsided Mum. I’ve filled most of your side in; gone back about as far as your great-grandparents. But there’s nothing on dad’s side. I’ve already written something about him – just a couple of lines. I need more… Mum? Hello? Are you even listening? I need a story, something. I mean, all I’ve written is about how I don’t know him, and, how he’s never been around.”
She lowered the heat and then turned from the stove. “Do you really need to know? I mean, is this really it? Is this what you want?”
“Well. Yeah, I mean... Unless you want me to submit a half completed project.”
“This isn’t just about some school assignment…” she said folding her arms, “this is about you. What do you want for yourself? Just for you.”
“Well,” Clara took a step back to think, “You’ve always told me ‘when I’m older’, well now I am.” She hesitated, “Why have I never met him? You never said that he died. I don’t remember you ever speaking of him with regret; then again, you hardly speak of him. The last time was when I was enrolling in High school. You said to me he’d be proud. Where is he Mum?”
Corrolla felt the question coming. She exhaled deeply, her face without emotion, as she prepared her words. “I could tell you a story.” She chewed her lower lip, her eyes searching, reaching out to distant memories. “Perhaps it’s better if you see. I’ll tell a few of the facts, the ones I know of anyway, just some names for your tree. The rest, I really don’t know.” Her eyes continued, still on their journey of reminiscence.
Clara looked to her with concern. “Mum?”
Corrolla’s eyes were lucid, meeting her daughters gaze. “You’ve started something now, haven’t you? There’s no turning back. Are you still keen? You need to be absolutely sure.”
Clara swallowed, “Uh…” She took a deep breath, feeling a little cornered, before she responded “… well, only if he’s a good man. I mean, as long as he’s not in prison.”
Corrolla smiled, walking toward her daughter. She cupped her cheeks and then pulled her close, wrapping Clara in her arms. “Okay, I’ll take you there.” She thought about Clara’s last words, and then thought to herself ‘Not all men in prison are bad men. Hope is so fickle. He’s probably still in one, maybe.’
Beginnings of a woodcarving - image from www.,marketplace.org
So, this is how I roll... My roll of honour, those whom I have selected, I dabbed my sword upon their proverbial shoulders in a virtual knighthood of blogging, sort of... in a much smaller way, and without the sword. I must just say that I had 11 people, but quite a few of them reneged on my proposal - so its not my fault that there were full calendars, schedules etc etc...
Here though, are the eleven questions I asked them:
1 What sort of books do you like to read?
2 Do you believe in a higher power, (I’m thinking spiritual here)?
3 What fascinates you most about humanity?
4 If you were a colour, what colour would you be?
5 What’s your favourite scene from a film?
6 What are your three favourite foods (desserts are also food)?
7 What is your favourite song or lyric?
8 What is your passion and what inspired it?
9 If you could do one wild and extreme thing, what would it be and why?
10 If you could have lunch with a comedian, who would you choose?
11 Could you think of three things that your close friends would say that would describe you the best?
And now, for the honour roll:
- Spark Change ("think of it as something between Pay it forward & Chicken Soup for the soul" - my words)
- It's a me thing(s)
- yes, lots of 'things'. Claudia is a creative human and self professed Bubblegum enthusiast.
- following on from my post "The Future of Art" (don't be lazy, scroll down, way down) - visit his site and follow the many links into this fantastical world of digital art.
David Marinez Romero
- Writer, poet & Filmmaker on blogspot here (Get well soon buddy!)
Although not participating in the challenge, the following blogs were on my provisional list of recruits - so see it as a small list of cool blogs to check out... (I included them with their Twitter profile pics; everyone on the post is worth a follow - its what I've done)
Marysia's travel blog "MyTravelAffairs
" - visit and find out more on Marysia's travels around the world.
Cassie Patton's blog called "WittyTitleHere
" - she's a professional writer, part time photographer and 'passable' dog whisperer.
Blog of author and psychiatrist Olga Nunez Miret (posts in Spanish & English) visit her page here
This post comes to you as part of the Bloghop challenge. I was recruited (or tagged) by Eleni Muller (Papanou). She is an author all the way from Hawaii - and you can find her through the following link to her blog HERE
. Thanks Eleni for thinking of me in this regard!So, as part of the Liebster blog Award challenge, i have to quote eleven random facts
about myself and then answer the eleven questions from my recruiter - Eleni. And finally, recruit eleven people and do the very same thing - like a chain letter. (Challenge accepted)And now, on to my response to the Liebster challenge:11 Random Facts about Steven Benjamin (ahem, me)
- · For a while my dream was to become a Formula 1 driver (or F1 designer).
- · I love rock climbing.
- · I'm currently editing my debut novel The Quiet Days (about to give it a name change - this is still part of one fact).
- · I once rode my bicycle and crashed into a tree.
- · When I was much younger I climbed to the top of our garage and got stuck. My sisters and some of their friends tried to save me by holding the ends of a blanket and catching me in it. So I leapt … and, I got hurt, but I survived to tell the tale.
- · I’m greatly fond of ice cream – to the point where (once upon a time) a greatly respected man even called me a connoisseur (not a family member).
- · I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour when I was 6 years old (at a PowerTeam event - you know, those ‘strong men’ shows – the guy who broke a block of ice with his head, prayed over me)
- · In grade 2 a teacher asked everyone to draw a picture of what we’d like to become when we’re older; I drew 3 things – a mechanic, a motocross rider and… I can’t remember the 3rd thing. I remember that day because my teacher summoned me after class and asked me about it. She first assured me that I wasn’t in any trouble, and then said, “I noticed you wanted to become three things…” – I said “Yes” – she looked at me and slowly nodded, with a lingering look, and then gave a faint smile and said "okay, just wanted to make sure", before dismissing me.
- · I had a Blair Witch Project moment. The scene: We were at the border post between Botswana & Zambia – it was around midnight when I took the video camera to take some footage of a couple of Kudus (I think) in the bush nearby. Soon after switching to night vision mode, about to commence my live commentary monologue, I was savagely attacked by an as yet unknown number of smallish unidentified flying objects (read UFO’s) – not just insects, but abysmal, obscure, AFRICAN insects… 1 insect jabbing at my neck I can handle, but a sudden rogue attack from a fleet on 9… each with the own mosquito wingmen?
- · I gallantly led… okay okay, (I was part of a great team) that hiked the Fish River Canyon last year.
11. · I may soon be immortalized in cartoon format.
- An early work up - "I prefer the gentleman on the left. Quite a fine likeness, I might add" FYI - I don't wear spectacles.
- I have taken a blood oath, sworn to secrecy and may only divulge details - which include the creator/illustrator's name when he launches it himself... (okay the blood oath part is technically not a fact, though it is a fact that it is practiced in some parts of the world... somewhere, maybe even by some random guy, who also happens to be named Steven).
Okay, now to answering Eleni's questions:
1. What fictional character would you love to be for a day?
Bruce Wayne – okay wait… No, not James bond either, that’s too typical, does Jeremy Clarkson count, no . . . AAAhh yes, I know – GAMBIT! No... when in doubt, always be BATMAN!
2. What is the hardest aspect of writing for you?
Finding the right words, to match the amazing imagery and pure coolness permeating in the creative nerve center of my mind (it’s harder than it sounds), and yes, sometimes it’s so cool there just are no words.
3. What three historical figures would you love to share a cup of coffee and conversation with?
Nikola Tesla; John the Baptist; Winston Churchill
(Alternate list: Steve Biko, Michelangelo - with a translator of course, Princess Diana)
4. If you weren't an author, what else would you be doing?
Working another job whilst fulfilling my passions and pursuing my dreams in other smaller ways. (or maybe start the South African Bobsled team)
5. On your deathbed, far into the future, how do you want to be remembered?
A man who lived true to himself, always in pursuit of the heart of Christ… (or just, a good example)
6. Do you believe in an afterlife?
Yes, I was born in heaven… one day I shall return home.
CD cover - links to youtube vids
7. What is your favorite book, movie, and album?
The Avenger – Frederick Forsyth.
The Dark Knight (though, being a movie critic means I have a rather extensive list of favourites.)
I’ve never actually settled on a favourite album, though my music tastes are pretty vast. Favourite song would be “Black” – by Pearl Jam… and if I was under duress to pick an album, I guess I’d go with U2’s ‘Joshua Tree’ (or their first ‘Best of’ collection). Then again, according to the “most listened to” on my playlist – it would be Ben Howard’s “Every Kingdom”.
8. Name the worst aspect of humanity.
Indifference to your fellow human, which is kind of an appendage to that of inhumaneness.
9. Name the best aspect of humanity.
To Love, unconditionally…
10. If an alien landed on Earth and asked you to go with him or her, but that you'd never be able to return home, would you go. Why or why not?
No. Assuming this would happen in the next week or even few years (while I’m young) – too many things to do here. Too many people to Love, to shout at (even metaphorically, or in written word), to educate, to learn from… Then there’s the very likely scenario of me crapping myself and fainting at the site of said ET. If this were to happen in my older years – Maybe… because if I’m still married (because I intend to be a husband to a woman one day) and she’s still alive, then I definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on any of that… So to conclude – Probably Not, though there is a chance, if the circumstance is right, and the space trip is first class, and maybe if I stipulated a "plus one" clause!
11. Do you believe intelligent life exists beyond this planet? Why or why not?
This is something I haven’t paid that much attention to, simply because it doesn’t really affect me that much, as in my everyday life… but I would have to say yes, I believe intelligence life exists on other planets. I’m a strong believer in the old “just because you cannot see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there” credo, and the universe is too vast (and we are too small) to simply and firmly state that we are all there is in it (regarding intelligent life forms)
Stay tuned, my next post will include the eleven people I recruit (thought I'd highlight them all in a special post of awesomeness... plus, contacting them all can prove a hassle... you know artists.
Labyrinth - from wallpapers.free-review.net
Is Art stagnating?
Where is modern art going? Will we ever see another Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, Modigliani, Picasso, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh or Pollack?
Logically, when you think of it in context, my instincts says “NO”… they were all innovators (paying specific attention to painting here) – pioneers, but has everything that can be done in the art of ‘paint of canvass’, already been accomplished. Of course that’s what the challenge is for today’s artists – to be the next big thing, to forge a new path, a new direction in their field.
Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that too many people want to be the next great artist… just hear me out here.
Here’s what I mean: The oldest art school in the world, still active today, is a little over two hundred years old, yet in its early days it’s pretty safe to say that few people knew about it (although art schools existed as far back as the Middle ages - VanEyck in Flanders f.e. 13 -1400's. (Michelangelo, just by the way, learned through early apprenticeships, first as a 13 year old working under Florence painter Domenico Ghirlandaio, and then under a retired sculptor, creating his first major sculpture at the age of 17 - The Battle of the Centaurs.)
Then you think about how many art schools there are in the world today, anyone with vague artistic flair can apply, and a percentage of those applicants will manage to forge a career in the art world, most finding their place, or niche, within the corporate/commercial world.
What this means is that art has grown exponentially in the last century, accessible to every household – which is, for clarification, a VERY GOOD thing. Many will argue that that was (and was for the renaissance crowd) the ultimate goal of those earlier pioneers – to bring art to every person. Art is part of life. Without art, the world would be an unliveable place for most. Plainly put, we need art as an outlet of our creative selves… the sad reality of it though, is that all forms of global art forms might have diluted the craft.
The trouble now is distinguishing the good from the brilliant, and then there are the blatant publicity stunts… (I’m not a fan of blank white walls or installation art – using light fixtures for instance). Media has played a huge part in the dilution of the craft.
I think there are many new forms that have popped up recently that grab me – performance art (using a large crowd of people) as well as sand art (creating pictures and stories using sand on an illuminated screen). And yet, can we say that there is a definitive new art form or artist/painter, who is doing something new and revolutionary, and will be talked about for many years to come, much in the same vein as the artists of old. I heard it put a different way: The experts and genuinely gifted artists of today are pushing the envelope – but are they just doing it in incremental fashion – a little at a time. Where is the giant leap forward (or sideways) in the thinking and/or application on creating something people have never seen before?
I admittedly am not on the pulse of what’s the most spoken about thing in the art world right now, but like many, am very receptive and attentive to it, always on the lookout for something that will grab my attention whilst also admiring the works of old.
When you think about it, Art as we know it today, where everyone can say they know an artist, is very new – yes it has been around for as long as people have – noting rock paintings etc… but artists in the truest and purist sense of the word were always rare and in certain places revered, they certainly were not on virtually every street corner, so in a way it’s a catch 22 scenario… you want art to be present in some form or another in every household, but I for one, still want that something new, which will be universally recognised as something no one has ever seen before.
Some great photography - Sadly I can't recall where I found this image - although I believe its from somewhere on theChive
The next great artist or art form (in the purest sense) will come from Africa. I’m not saying that just because I’m African but because I believe it’s the most untapped resource in the global context. Admittedly though, I do say this more out of hope and prayer.
For it to happen, something in the art industry must be corrected; that of the “classification system”. You may have, once upon a time, come a upon a curio in your day, I speak specifically of those wooden animal statuettes. You can go around, round up 100 to 1000 people and give them all a lump of wood and say “carve something that will sell” – I’m betting you’ll only find a couple worth keeping (let alone worthy of a sale), yet this industry (somehow has been shunted from labelled as sculpturing) is relegated by the art industry and labelled “Arts & Crafts”. Just because someone doesn’t own a degree or even a formal education (specifically in the Arts), does not mean that person’s work is less good, or less relevant. That individual was inspired by a variety of things, most times pure circumstance, whatever the case; the result is a piece of art which they have toiled over, more often than not with their entire livelihood at stake… Just the other day I saw paintings of a 5 year old American boy selling for thousands of dollars (and that with no tertiary training); hence formal education has little to do with the product.
It says something that practically all the great artists were poor in their day, some even trading their works for a meal… living, creating, day by day…
So, to conclude; on the earlier question of art stagnating, and thence the future of Art...
Art has been described as an indefinable and boundless thing/form, meaning the possibilities are endless, and as is so often the case when initially exploring a theory on a topic (in this case), one is enlightened and finds new avenues. Here's a quote of an artist friend of mine who was happy to share his opinion on what the future holds:
The next great artist and art form will be found in the digital environment, is my opinion. We are still in an experimental stadium... Technique is taking all over, so obviously this also will happen in art…
- Joachim Wilbers
So, the Digital environment then, as the world wades through the plethora of new technology and how best to apply/implement it in/to our lives - so Art is in a veritable stage of self rediscovery (hence the labyrinth image) - exploring where it will venture to next. If you're still in the dark on this, then I urge you to explore it. Here's some images and quick links into this realm - the future:
Digital Art - (& mini Artist Feature)
"Fear" - by Joachim Wilbers
All these works and more (including landscapes) can be found on Joachim Wilbers' site in the 'New Creations/latest' set
Soul singer Laura Mvula
Here's a cool song by a new artist, British singer Laura Mvula (nee Douglas). She released her debut album "Sing to the Moon" earlier this month. I decided to do a mini pseudo 'Artist Feature' spot today as I was really intrigued by both the song and the music video since they're both quite different from what (I believe) we've seen in the music industry recently. Give it a look & listen, just to experience something different, soulful and somewhat retro...
For more from her check out the links below - with singles "She", "Like the Morning Dew" and the recently released "That's Alright". Laura was also a guest on the Graham Norton Show, so expect even greater things from her on the horizon as she carves out a niche in the ever more eclectic British music scene...
Image courtesy of chestnutorange.blogspot.com
Image from her official website.
Take a moment to notice the little things... this for instance, is a drop of water, in slow motion...
(reblogging this from theChive.com) - never gets old. (FYI - its a gif. image, so it make take a while to load)