“Let me know when you decide to throw in the towel. It is what it is, and it’s murder most foul.” – Bob Dylan
Fate is contradictory; either you’re told that you must decide your own, or someone will sigh, bat their eyelashes dramatically at you and say, “It was fate.” Ultimately, who is it that decides? Are we to accept that there is a semi-controllable force directing our lives? You could say it was fate that you ended up in the same elevator as the cute girl from work, but you could also argue that your inner drive pushed you to it. Which is it?
Fate is the collection of every decision you’ve ever made. What you’ve been told about choosing your destiny is essentially true. It’s controlled by your choices. These choices could be as simple as going right instead of left at a stop sign, or as momentous as quitting your job. The difference is that each one leads you to a new realm: a place of hundreds of different choices, people, and things that you never would have experienced had you chosen otherwise. Your fate is controlled by your collective decisions, the history of all of your choices, each influenced by another. It’s a prophetic butterfly effect, influencing not only your future but everyone else’s.
Fate is tricky that way. What makes it only semi-controllable is that one person cannot dictate the choices of every other human being on Earth, and that collective is a much larger force to be reckoned with. But that influences you, too. Every decision of the people you’ve merely passed on the street led up to that very moment with you; not a minute earlier, not a second later. The people that have come into your life have made a series of choices that pointed them to you. Their choices years ago impacted you then. But not really, because you never knew it.
Maybe you never would have met your best friend in college if she hadn’t decided to cut through the recreation center that day. Perhaps your parents would have never met if your mother had taken that other job instead. You would’ve never met your girlfriend if her parents hadn’t divorced, causing her to move in next door. Maybe if everything you loved hadn’t been extinguished, you’d still have your soul. It’s when other people’s collectives collide with your own that you cross paths, and that’s based on thousands of intricate decisions before you.
The key is utilizing it. In a sense, you are carving out your own fate, but only at the mercy of all of the decisions since the beginning of time. This makes moments that much more valuable, and that much more of a loss if they are passed over. In a single moment, hundreds of thousands of choices that aren’t even yours are converging, and it’s up to you to choose how to take advantage of it. Your fateful decision at that moment resonates like ripples in a pond, pulsing to the edges of the collective consciousness.
The next time you’re asked if you believe in fate, the answer has to be yes. Part of it is yours to influence. The second half of your answer would have to be based on your faith in the rest of humanity’s ability to choose.
Am I boring you with my mutterings?
I’ve been alone with my own thoughts for so many years, I fear now that I’m able to express myself I’ve become a babbling idiot. There is too much inside, too much threatening to explode outward at any given moment. You don’t understand. Chuckle and dismiss it. I don’t care.
I don’t care if I’m boring you. What I do know is you’re starting to respect me now. Respect what I can do.
I amaze myself often because by all rights I should not be having the kind of success I’m having already. I shouldn’t be able to win a championship in my fourth match. That should not happen. But maybe I shouldn’t be amazed. Fate is a funny thing. Yes, I use that word a lot. Everything in my life has pointed to its existence. That, I am here. That you are there. That I am positioned by him to be a scourge on this place. Maybe that wasn’t the original purpose, maybe it was. I don’t know. But it is the truth as we all know it now. It is definite.
Some of you have chosen your destiny without even realizing it. After all, if your fate is to die poor and alone, I know that no matter how much money you make, when your time comes you will die poor and alone. All of the in-between doesn’t really matter in the end. We all lie in a box in a hole of dirt.
I just happen to be pretty good at helping people find their end.
”I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” – Mark Twain
The Death Bringer.
I think that’s nice. You’ve decided to name yourself after a machine in a science fiction video game, or a death metal band from the 80s.
But I have to wonder, my big tall mute friend. How much death has actually been brought by you? Any? Is it just a cute nickname to try and instill fear in the fearless? Are you meant to intimidate with your Mortal Kombat mask and tribal tattoos? I saw Moana, too, but I didn’t think to change my appearance because of it.
My own proclivity to death, you see, is littered throughout newspapers and magazines, on true crime aficionados’ websites and psychiatric dossiers.
Death Bringer. A little on the nose, wouldn’t you say? Is this your way of bragging about the size of your dick?
I myself am just a man. A man with a name and not much else to that name. I am not interested in dick measuring, but it is my experience that the ones who scream about it the loudest are the ones who don’t measure up.
Jeffrey James Roberts.
Quite the dichotomy in personas.
Maybe I should be speaking to this Cole fella. Just Cole, eh? Like Madonna or Cher or Hannibal. You say the big stalking man behind you is out of control, and… that when he is out of control, that is when he is in complete control.
Interesting. I’m a rage-filled beast that destroys everything it sees. And when I am rage-filled, that is when I’m completely at peace.
I like that your man doesn’t talk very often. I like that he does it all with his hands and his feet.
But again, how much actual death has he brought? I need to see your receipts, Cole. I’m afraid I just don’t trust you.
Before I was brought back into solitary confinement last year, they allowed me to engage in lunchtime with the general population. A mistake, I’m sure you’ll agree. Some workman had been installing some sort of light fixture just outside my cell, and he was far too careless. Far too careless. He didn’t notice the screwdriver rolling toward the bars. He scratched his head when he couldn’t find it, but shrugged and went on about his business. Florida’s finest, after all.
So in the lunchroom, I walked up to a man, a big towering fearsome man. He was in prison for armed robbery I believe, and he was sitting there eating his food, looking up.
“Do you have a religion?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he replied, not taking his eyes away from the screen on the wall above the end of the main mess-room table. “My survival.”
“So,” I said to him. “Your religion dies with you. How sad.”
And I plunged the screwdriver into the back of his neck, rising, twisting.
They all die the same you know, the large, the small, the strong, the weak. The look of terror, the look of fear, is universal because we all want to keep on going, don’t we? We all want to remain.
You see, I have brought actual death. I am not some simple fool and I am much, much more than a welcome party. You want a welcome party? Visit your mother.
What you’re getting… is me.
I do hope your life has been kind to you. I don’t know if I’m meant to actually end it this week, but you know, we’ll see what happens.
If life is worth living for, so is it worth dying.
Not all funerals are scheduled.
”Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others — it only changes yours.” – Shannon Alder
It’s scary, and downing, that I do my best work when I’m going through a psychotic episode. At that moment, all I can see is black, darkness and shadows, but in the bigger picture… it’s a blessing. When I look through everything I have done, I wouldn’t change or take away the anxiety and depression for anything, because when I come out of that state, I know deep down, I’m only honest when I’m in the deepest of oceans. So it’s like listening to a different side of my mind, that I never realize exists until I get that little peek through the blinds and finally see the sunlight.
Then on those simple moments, even if they only last a few minutes, I know deep down… maybe I do have a talent. Maybe I have got something, a “gift,” that some people call dysfunction. So really, if it weren’t for the horrible things that happened to me, to cause all of this, I would never truly believe that I have anything worth giving. So I will not sit back and wish I wasn’t clinically depressed, or that I had developed into a sociopath, losing all ability to feel almost anything. I will learn to embrace it, live with it, and talk my brain into believing, and fully knowing…
I HAVE A GIFT. I AM WORTHY. I DO HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE THE WORLD.
I will give it, and you will tremble when it presents itself.
I will not let my anger or psychosis control me. They can live here in my mind, but they best know, I AM STILL, AND WILL ALWAYS BE IN CONTROL.
But this is my home, and you’re just living under it.
In my youth, I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary I was. Likewise, I never imagined that home might be something I would miss.
Maybe your home is only a place you make up in your own mind. Something you dream about and sing about. Maybe it’s not a place on the map at all, but just a story full of people you meet and places you visit, full of books and films you’ve been to. I’m not afraid of being homesick and having no language to live in. I don’t have to be like anyone else. I’m walking on the wall and nobody can stop me.
I have sometimes imagined my own sanity as resting on the surface of a membrane, a thin and fragile membrane that can easily be ripped open, plunging me into the abyss of madness, where I join the tumbling souls whose membranes have likewise been pieced over the ages. Sometimes, when my thoughts are especially fevered, I can visualize the agent of this piercing. It is a watchful presence at the edge of things, silent and dripping, a stranger in a raincoat. When I fall into such psychosis, there are no other membranes below to catch and protect us. And the horror and helplessness of the fall are intensified by an uncaring world.
There is a duality to darkness known only to those who have been infected by its touch. Everyone knows the shadows: shallow, comfortable, mostly harmless places where one might nest for the night. But the depths of living pitch only visit the aristocracy of madmen and women who have unwittingly pledged fealty to the curse. For some, it outright ruins minds like a hound to fresh meat; for others, it wanes into the deepest parts of its less-caustic sibling and waits for the time to strike, returning periodically through life like an incurable disease.
It wasn’t always this way. But there was a moment, alone in my room, wrapped in a bloody blanket, I whimpered and talked aloud to myself, recalling the lost glory of my youth when I considered myself and was considered by others a bright and capable person. It seemed that was all gone now. I wondered whether what I was experiencing was some sort of permanent change, a break from reality, the sort that ambushes a person who until then has lived an ordinary life, auguring a new existence full of torment and struggle.
This man, this bringer of death (something that I can hardly say without cringing), is the antithesis of myself. Nothing is original. But hey, steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light, and shadows, and yes, other people. Feel free to steal what you wish. But select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul, for if being an arbiter of death is not truly in your soul, you are merely setting yourself up for embarrassing failure, one in a long line of many.
But if it does speak to your soul, my friend, if you make sure of this, your work, and your theft will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother trying to conceal your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what a wise man once said, “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”
Still, do not repeat after me words that you do not understand. Do not merely put on a mask of my ideas, for it will be an illusion and you will thereby deceive yourself. But I’m not surprised you signed a contract here.
Originals cost more than imitations.
”An original idea. That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them.” – Stephen Fry