Heritage Day

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Today is my last day

 

I manage to crawl off the bed that ceased to be coupled almost a decade ago

then land in my still relatively tiny bathroom, though my own physique seems to be shrinking by the second now

I look up at my reflection and I realise the purpose of mirrors

There is a headline,

my face

wrinkled and grey beneath its letters seems to unfold like an over ripe flower without ever having been touched

it says;

Heritage Day

I shuffle along until I trip over the now almost dry white board marker and I begin the list:

One: I inherited the dark lines of deceit off my mother’s core

Two: I learned how to live with being a liar

Three: I came as a foreign being full of love

Four: I was denied love but I’m still leaving filled with only those four letters

Five: Life was beautiful though the darkness is always the beginning of a new story

Six: I inherited the art

Seven: I will never forget

 

I rinse myself off and decide that it would be better to leave full of hope

After all

3 months before they expected me I was ready

13 years before I was

they weren’t

my family

 

The wardrobe whispered the call of majesty

I obeyed my longing eyes

past the dioors and my goodbye suit

I found the two letter phrase barely in disguise and I remembered why

Heritage day:

One: I learned how to judge myself better than anyone had ever judged me

Two: It wasn’t always sunny

Three: How to fake the smile through heartache

Four: How to cause the same

Five: My clothes are cheap

Six: I am unworthychocolat_l

Seven: I knew this each time we made eye contact… after all; we are self proclaimed judges

 

So neat, tidy and fresh I walk towards the lonely seat and the non functional tv

and on the top right hand corner of the screen

A phrase in white paint screams out at me

Heritage Day:

One: My skin colour murdered my first love

Two: I inherited the skill of not caring much for those attributes

Three: My father Died of a broken heart

Four: You saved mine

Five: Our life was puzzled together by vibes and muted sentences

Six: In the end, my quirks were irrelevant and your were my indica

Seven: I fell eternally asleep with the very thoughts that days and nights before had always haunted me.

 

Palm on palm now

My eye lids find their space

No tears left in me

My heritage day is eternal

and I only grew to know that the moment I looked into you!

 

 

 

 

Inspiring Hopeless

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By Nimue Brown

Hopeless Maine, for anyone who hasn’t encountered it, is the island setting of a graphic novel series. www.hopelessmaine.com It’s dark, full of strange magic and peculiar creatures. Iva asked me to blog about what inspired it.

Tom always likes to claim joint ownership, but really speaking, this is his island. I just came along and filled in a few details, worked out a few explanations, that sort of thing. Mostly it doesn’t feel like making something up, it feels like a real place that sends me postcards now and then. In the beginning, Hopeless was a peninsula, not an island. I’m not sure when it changed. The gothic gloom, the fog, the creatures, are like a dark mirror reflection of how Maine is. There are a fair few horror writers from Maine – Stephen King most notably, and Tom’s explanation is that it is a creepy sort of place, and this is just a natural reaction to it. Having flown over Casco Bay and seen the islands, and a lighthouse that looks a lot like ours, I have a keen sense of a magical, mysterious landscape, a bit alien to me, very remote.

There is another strand in the creation of Hopeless though, and that’s my landscape. Back when Tom was on one side of the Atlantic and me the other, I’d sometimes help by looking out visual references for him. He’d ask what a space might look like, and I’d make suggestions. About the worst thing you can hear as a creative person is ‘oh, do what you like!’ Some kind of focus or direction is always helpful. I used to send Tom images from the town I grew up in – Dursley. The same Dursley that inspired a certain muggle family for a certain wizarding boy, as it happens. Hopeless Maine, as a consequence, is a strange amalgam of actual Maine, the English Cotswolds and the things we found in our heads.

Much of it comes out of playing with each other. One of us does a thing, and the other picks that up and does something to it, and passes it back. By this means creatures, landscapes and stories evolve. Tom drew some ruins, I had to figure out who built them, new stories resulted. It’s a very chaotic, organic sort of process.

These days, I will confess, we do a lot of our most creative thinking work in bed. Our life is quite tough physically, some days we fall into the duvet so wiped that we can’t move. When I get that tired – and this is probably true of other people too – things happen to my brain. Tom calls it ‘being punchy’ but correlations form where no logical connections should be made, and all kinds of ideas flow. Lying in the darkness, we ask what if? And why? And could you put goggles on it? Most of what we talk up in those strange, semi-comatose conversations never sees the light of day, but every now and then an idea turns out to be strong enough to survive the light of the following day, and some have enough legs to clamber out of our heads and get themselves established in the world.

I have a fantasy about getting together a few of my favourite creative people for something a bit like a sleepover. Professor Elemental, Edrie Edrie, and Dr Geof are high on my current wish list, and then, pyjamas, and pillows and barely awake conversations. I think the consequences would be wild!

In terms of themes and ideas underpinning Hopeless (to get back on topic), those are very much shared. We wanted to explore what effect apathy and little acts of carelessness and unkindness have. Most evils are not very big, after all, and the larger ones are often made out of the little ones, slowly escalating towards a banal, complacent kind of horror. The normalising of cruelty and indifference, the rationalising of hate are all things that I want to explore and challenge. We knew from the start that we wanted a heroic tale that was not like superhero tales at all, and that hangs on the characters. Salamandra does have magical powers, but she doesn’t really have any drive, or ambition, she’s just muddling along. As the story unfolds, it’s the non-magical Owen with his overwhelming desire to make things better, who really drives the action. That’s important to me. All the magic in the world, is of no use at all if you aren’t using it. All the talent, skill and genius imaginable are of no use if you have no sense of direction, no ambition.

We also wanted to tell a good story, that would entertain people, and hopefully inspire others a bit. That’s one of the functions of it all being a bit grim. The darker the night, the brighter the stars shine, and the descent into darkness is often a quest to find light. It’s very hard to make sense of anything without seeing the contrasts, and so Hopeless, is very much a story about hope, in a roundabout sort of way.