I-Land is where memories and experiences turn into short stories, personal journal entries and narration in first person, part memoir, part fiction, exploring topics such as the relation between humans and the societies they live in.

Tearing The Cocoon: Finding Treasure

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[Previously on TTC: What more depressive way to end the shoot than to return to the place that had spawned the entire storyline, as if nothing had changed.]

‘Am I nothing more than a fucking salmon?’ I thought to myself. ‘Heading out into the wilderness to spawn new ideas, only to return home to die? Why don’t I have the power to live and die somewhere else?’

It was as if I had been living a lie all my life. My free will nothing more than an instinctual program from which there was no escape. I felt trapped inside a black hole. The heavy weight of depression, sepulchral in nature, was leading straight to mental breakdown and a sense of crawling, impending death swept over me but against all odds I found my way out. I clawed myself out of the hole I had gotten into the previous day.

I managed to do this in part due to the three movies I had watched, in part due to what I found in those boxes after I had torn them apart with knives, hammers, and my bare hands.

See, I woke up in the middle of the night in the middle of those boxes and decided to look inside them right there and then. I was eager to locate whatever was useful to me in order to stash it aside and get rid of everything else. I wanted to free up my living space again.

I found a bunch of DVDs including the Stanley Kubrick and Tennessee Williams collections, and more random stuff like District 13 and Amadeus. I found old tapes full of transcripts from a media study I had done back in university on the Fox News narrative on the War in Iraq. And a bunch of empty notepads, writing pads and other stationary. These items I kept. I found some old clothes, most of which I decided to donate to Oxfam. I found various paraphernalia and sundry, which I threw away.

I also found a set of bound manuscripts — copies of the first draft of an unpublished book of mine. Warning! Unknown Terrain Ahead . . . The first book I ever wrote. I think I’ve mentioned this already, that I found this manuscript, a hotchpotch of musings and writings so raw and impulsive, it’s unreadable. A big bundle of mess. Word jambalaya. I wrote it at a time in my life when I needed to unload, to process a million things at once. Full of tangents and detours, it goes everywhere and nowhere at all, making for a lousy, confounding read. The narrative is all over the place, though as fragments, as separate elements taken in their own right, it has its moments.

A few words on Warning! . . . I started work on it back in 2006, and had gone back to it repeatedly over the years, picking out select pieces for further development. Some of these pieces ended up being redeveloped and used in later projects. Behind The Mirror‘s first versions are in there, including the letters between Victor and Xavier before the two characters even got their names. Part of Wake Of Liberty is in there, too, a book on the French Revolution I have been working on for some time now.

Warning! Unknown Terrain Ahead . . . is the prototype, the origins manuscript for a large portion of the material I’ve produced over the past eight years.

It was exactly what I needed. Stumbling across Warning! shook me out of my stupor. There was a chance it could have driven me deeper into the depression I was flirting with in that cluttered apartment of mine, pointing out to me how my life in the past decade has revolved around a given set of topics, most of which were contained in a mere three hundred pages of poorly written material, but I escaped that outcome by doing what I had taught myself to do in situations like these a long time ago. I searched for a point of leverage and lifted myself out of my mess, tearing through box after box with a loaded mindset, looking for things that made me feel good about myself — good not just in terms of the past and where I come from, but also in terms of the future and where I’m going.

What gave me the thrust to do this was the very first sentence in Warning!:

‘The end. Where everything begins again. None has welcomed the end of something without another launch in mind.’

Another launch in mind.

Watch this space for Part 14