I had not written here for several days. I’d taken myself away from this medium - to collect my thoughts, to take a breath. I wanted to make a point to write of different things than the theme that has permeated that which is here thus far. I wanted to write about things that make me happy, things I love, things I want to do, see, experience. And yet, even as I make that list in my mind on the off moment in my day when such an item arises in my thoughts, it gets lost. Covered by windswept sands of a desert in my mind where only a few patterns of thought persist. Frustration, confusion, aggravation, loss, unfulfilled desire. These are the thoughts that rule this desert of mine, like little scorpions with their poisonous stings.
Perhaps tomorrow a desert flower may bloom, but today what I was going to write has withered away.
I am not sure how I found my way here, having opened these doors to memories normally kept on the other side of the wall, out of the more day-to-day spaces of my mind. It had to do something with this recent snow storm. The end of Autumn for so many. One moment I’m laughing with my father, joking about our warmth and sunshine while figures trudge through heavy, wet snow on the tv - and suddenly, I’m gone. Behind the eyes, my thoughts race through the halls, opening doors to my childhood, my past. Pleasant thoughts at first - warm fires, baseball on the radio, vibrant autumn foliage, my mom baking.
And then, another door is opened.
I am young, around nine or ten. It is an overcast Fall day, and I am busy raking leaves on the front lawn. It is a task I both love and loathe, for it is a beautiful but tedious cycle. Preoccupied with the conflicted feelings I have for the work at hand, I do not notice a sound growing in the distance. Only when it becomes a distinguishable “Thwok thwok thwok” do I turn around to discover the source. A large, black, beast of a helicopter is approaching, flying barely above the tree-tops. The sound is deafening now. Yet I cannot cover my ears, for I am frozen, transfixed. I see the pilots, their anonymous faces, and then I see the long, dark cannon hanging out of the side. The helicopter slowly circles and I feel as if I am trapped in the middle, all radii leading to me. I cannot take my eyes off of the gun, the gun that is aimed at me, for it points where the man behind it points, and he is looking at me and waving. But I cannot wave. I am afraid. I know the reason for this mechanical beast, I know its mission, its greater purpose. It is this very purpose with which I had been fascinated since I could read. Yet that solemn fascination had always led me to far-off places, in far-off times. Suddenly, it was here, before my eyes, above my woods. I stare at the gun, and wonder, “Who has stood here like me, and not been waved at.” Then quietly, under my breath, for the very first time, I curse. “Fuck.”
A door opens and slams shut.
I am in a new place. Once again it is overcast, but now it is March in eastern France. I am ten years old. Staring off into the distance, I see picturesque rolling mountains, covered in a soft winter green. There are patches of fog all around me, slowly trying to ascend the hill, and a gentle mist touches the skin. Quiet weather. Serenity. And then I take in my surroundings. My mother is slightly further down the hill - I can see her walking around slowly, pensively. Behind her are the furnaces. To my back are the barracks. To my side are the gallows, sharing my same view into the distance. All around us are the barbed wire fences, the guard towers. I hear the echos of shouts and screams. I can see past the rotted wood, the rusted metal, to the prisoners and the guards, the uniforms. Material deterioration is not powerful enough to erase the pain that is found here, so permeable in the air that one might think the fog is its manifestation. My mind’s eye passes over countless faces, collected from old pictures I’ve absorbed in books I do not fully understand. I had been given the choice of coming to this place, and I’d said yes. I had to see it, had to face it. But so many others had not been given that choice. Tears begin to well. As I stare back off into the distance, across the valley and to those gentle mountains, I hope, pray, that those thousands for whom this was their very last sight, had found this little piece of serenity in spite of it all.
The door closes. The memories remain. My thoughts race onward, looking for their own little piece of serenity.
There’s something to be said for the ability of a freshly cleaned and organized bedroom to be conducive to peace of mind. I tend to feel better when my room is in order, which begs the question of why I let it get so out of shape. It would make sense that one’s room, being an extension of the self, affects one’s state of mind. If the room is a mess, is disorganized to such a degree, then that disarray can lend itself to the human condition. Your environment shapes you. For some, such disarray might be the most natural state, and they may take comfort in the anarchy. Not I it would seem. Thanks for the ocd, Mom <3
It is funny how life can work. The tributaries one might aimlessly be drifting down and their flow into a larger river that leads to a place they knew all along, but hadn’t known how to get there.
In perusing a random stream of pictures of the city of Florence here on Tumblr, I felt inclined to visit the blog of one particular person. It turns out this woman has been feeling things in relation to heartache that I connect with strongly. Her words are some of which I myself have been unable to find. Good on you, Tumblr, good on you.
So let’s get to why I’m here, shall we?
A couple days ago I deactivated my facebook account. I’ll likely be back soon enough, but I needed to take a step back from its noise. I was feeling stifled, so much input of the lives of others while I felt in no way comfortable to share my own. I grew weary of being coded, cryptic, trying to satisfy my desire for self-expression without breaching my level of comfort in that world of direct channels and specific connections.
I am in need of an outlet. I envision this little space of mine in the digital dimension as a place to shout out, to ramble, to release, to write. I do so with a sort of cheeky smile, as the fact that I have no audience in particular is quite comforting and exciting. It is like letting loose one’s thoughts while standing upon a mountaintop. Perhaps someone may hear you, but most likely not. It is the feeling of letting the thoughts out into the wild that is the important thing.
In some ways, this is nothing new for me. I talk to myself quite a bit when I’m alone - not in some maniacal third person sense or what have you, but as if I am conveying my thoughts to someone, some mystery entity who has inquired. Of course there isn’t anybody else, but it is a way for me to conceptualize, assemble, and polish my thoughts and feelings on a matter in my life. You gotta get creative when you grow up an only child in the middle of a forest.
This blog is therefore the next step in that pattern - a written release, a productive pressure to make sense of my mind and translate it effectively.
Ah yes. Tumblr, I find myself on thee. But how? And perhaps more importantly, why? What string of thoughts, decisions, and actions have led to this moment in which I find myself? Do you ever play that game, where you freeze yourself in a moment, and try to retrace your steps and find that you just keep going further and further back? Actions and reactions. It’s endless, really, though I suppose that can be said for just about any moment in life if you pull back far enough. But Tumblr.
You gotta start somewhere, so let’s start with the name - Sic Transit Charles. Two parts fancy pants Latin, one part yours truly. Naming this thing was a major hurdle, actually, and not something to casually bandy about or scoff at. Naming something is a challenge, like trying to strike a balance. So I stared at Tumblr’s sign-up page, my email address written, my password decided, my title… blank, nothing, zip. An empty space yet a crossroad of racing thoughts. Do I attempt to be witty, or should I aim for deep seriousness, with roll-your-eyes intellectual haughtiness on the side. How about bat-shit nonsensical to spite it all! Find me at 12y8518hfaos.tumblr.com, thank you very much! I was tempted by simplicity, perhaps the use of my initials, so very logical and practical. Spock might approve. Yet, a name for this kind of endeavor is a valuable opportunity to pay homage, and homaging is not to be wasted. Thus…
Sic Transit Charles. So Goes Charles. I’ll be upfront - I hardly know Latin, beyond its characteristics in modern English and its basis for Italian, and have no desire to pretend that I do. The sic transit comes from the episode title “Sic Transit Vir” in one of my dearest television shows, the sci-fi epic Babylon 5. Vir Cotto is a loveable, idealistic character prone to cringe-worthy levels of bumbling and awkwardness. Many others look down upon him, write him off, or simply don’t take him seriously. Yet he is one of the most courageous, centered, and responsible figures throughout the story. I love this character, and I relate to him dearly. Check one for homage.
There is a part two. So goes Charles is not far off from the noted, and oft repeated phrase in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 “So it goes.” So it goes. Used with irony, with a sort of gallow’s humor, when life gives out lemons, then drinks your lemonade, and all you can do is throw up your hands and laugh. So it goes. I like that, and lately I find myself in that kind of state. So it goes! So it goes. So. It. Goes. Sic Transit Charles. Two points for homage.
Thus I present to you the name of my Tumblr, or my blog, or whatever you call this. It’s a start.
If words are written on the internet, and nobody is around to read the, are they really there?