For a while, now, I have been racking my brain trying to come up with a topic beginning with N that I could talk about. I thought about things like necromancy and night, narratives and Nobel prizes, but none of them spoke out to me saying, “This is the thing you should write”. So I decided to write about nothing in particular—to let my thoughts take the lead.
My immediate response to the question, “what have you been up to lately?” is “Oh, nothing really.” It’s a knee-jerk. Obviously, I haven’t actually done “nothing”. Is there actually any such thing as doing “nothing”? No matter whether you are working in the busiest office or whether you are lying in bed thinking about life, you are still doing something, right?
I find the same thing with viewing things objectively vs. subjectively. There is no such thing as viewing things objectively. No matter how hard you try, your thoughts and opinions are always going to interfere with the way that you view things.
It is, in fact, my strong belief that there is no person on earth that knows, with accuracy, what actually happens in any situation. Have you ever noticed that your account of an event doesn’t match your friend’s account, though they may have been with you the entire time this ‘event’ was occurring? I believe that this happens, because our brains process the things that we see and hear according to the things that we have previously experienced in our lives, resulting in stories that vary slightly.
If we transfer this theory to the way that someone looks. On regular basis, growing up, I heard “Ugh, I’m so ugly” or “Ugh, I’m so fat” from my friends. To me, looking at them, I went “If you’re ugly or fat, then I am a house that looks like a troll”. But, again, we cannot possibly view ourselves objectively. So do we actually look the way that we think we do when we look in a mirror? Or are the things that we have experience and the things that we feel about someone or ourselves colour and alter the way that we think that we look. I have been thinking about this for a long time. Am I making sense? Am I rambling?
This whole objective vs. subjective thing is one of the reasons that I like books so much. You can have such differing opinions about exactly the same set of words in exactly the same order. One person may hate the book with a passion, because it was cliché, played out and predictable, but the next reader may have thought that the book was beautiful, innovative and touching. As I said in my last post, no opinion is wrong, and it isn’t anyone’s place to criticise a person for having the opinions they do. But it’s that subjectivity coming in again. Readers need to find something in a story that they can relate to—whether that be a scene, or a character, or something else entirely. Without that connection, the plot begins to lack. I have experienced it. I admire those that are able to continue reading without the connection. It’s a difficult thing to do.
So I guess this post wasn’t really about nothing, but “nothing in particular”? Perhaps. Some could say that the concept of nothing in particular is a falsehood too, since everything is a particular thing. Perhaps I can get away with it because I didn’t set out to talk about one particular thing, despite the fact that I basically did.
The Boy and the Balloon
This photograph was taken from: http://www.littleabout.com/cim/cool.jpg
Milli told her mother that she made a new friend. She said he was pink and green and blue.
Her mother frowned. How could a boy be all those colours? Trying not to crush some dreams, Milli’s mother smiled and said that the boy sounded nice. She asked his name. Milli said Arthur. Arthur likes balloons. He had a yellow one when we met. He showed me it.
With that Milli ran back outside, presumably anxious to rejoin her friend. The little girl’s ponytail swished across her neck as she ran. A hair appointment must be booked, her mother thought to herself. It’s about due.
From inside, Milli could be heard chattering away. She didn’t seem to let Arthur get a word in. Her voice was a hum, never-ending and never pausing.
‘Do you think I could have a balloon one day?’ she eventually asked.
There was silence. No return.
‘It would be fun if I could have one too, don’t you think? I could fly through the clouds with you!’
Milli’s mother, extremely intrigued now, popped her head out of the door frame.
Milli was on the ground. At first glance, it looked as though she fell on the cobbles; on second glance, it was apparent that she was examining the clouds, looking to her right now and again for reassurance. Her mother frowned again. Where is Arthur?
‘I would like to fly through the clouds.’ Milli said to the space on her right, ‘I wonder what they feel like.’
She turned onto her stomach and grabbed a piece of chalk. Once her drawing was finished, she was on her back again, trying to hold her chalk balloon string.
‘Now I have a balloon just like you, Arthur! Do you wanna fly?’
Her mother edged closer, to get a better look. Next to her little baby girl, now not so baby, was a boy in pink, green and blue, holding a yellow balloon. His chalk outline was smudging but he was still there for all to see.
‘Are you ready? Three … Two … One …’