Youth is vitality, excess collagen, fluids and oil from our pores. Our restlessness feels edgeless like the galaxy, scary and exciting like exploding stars, new like unopened books.
Youth is arrogance—we act as if we invented sex, and mock the old for their weary bones. But they were once young like us and was it not from them you and I and our parents sprang?
Youth is rage, against our predecessors’ norms, against our parents’ wishes, against the preachers and teachers who know not what it is to be young today no more than theirs did, against our own better judgement.
Youth is power: it is power harnessed from our vitality, arrogance, and rage. We can change the future because it is ours—because, if not us, who?
Listening to Lana Del Rey on summer nights: a wearable mood / like slipping on a cloak of indulgent sadness / a shift of persona, swift as Mystique / a sinking and falling into place, like being swallowed into the depths of a dark rose, petals spiralling into infinity / memories unfolding, genuine or embellished, shrinking and blooming like youth on rewind / FIN.
A mood board inspired by Shakespeare’s tragic heroine Ophelia (Hamlet). Her madness-led demise by drowning was deemed one of the Bard’s most breathtaking death announcements and, with the aid of this ethereal depiction on canvas by Victorian painter Sir John Everett Millais, her death lives to this day, immortalised by Romantics then and now.
There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
Architects design buildings, which are then built and maintained by builders, plumbers, and electricians. These buildings provide necessary living and working spaces for residents and professionals who, in turn, contribute to their society and economy. Politicians govern, lawyers defend, doctors save lives, businesses of all shapes and sizes provide essential goods and services. Scientists, physicists, engineers, and astronomers brought humanity to the moon. The world as we know it will not cease to exist without art and its practitioners but without moonage daydreamers, boy wizards, star-crossed lovers and those whose passion or profession it is to observe, think, analyse, and create, Earth is merely that which orbits the Sun, a celestial body where the passage of time is marked by births, deaths, and unexamined lives.
So here’s to poems about nature and beauty, songs about love, books that changed the world, and paintings that bewitch with their illusions of light and movement; here’s to films that enchant and inspire, to great teachers and their scholars, to thinkers, poets, writers, artists, composers, musicians, directors—to anyone who immortalised their human experience in art form.
‘Sorry,’ I said to the cashier at the art store because I took too long to grab my bags, of which I was carrying four. And I was sorry. ‘Sorry,’ I said again on my way out, because the shop was crowded with shelves and people and I was carrying one too many bags. I did not bump into anyone or knock anything off but still I was sorry for the time and space I took when exiting. And I was sorry many times before then because the aisles were narrow and I had to get through or somebody else had to get through, either way I was sorry I troubled the other shoppers. I went to a thrift shop next and I was sorry there too, sorry for the fact that the shirt I tried on did not suit me, sorry that I did not make a purchase and they have to put it back. ‘Sorry, that’s okay, thank you so much,’ I managed, this time at the music store, because the clerk could not locate the vinyl I wanted. I was sorry that he tried for me and wasted his time when he could be doing something else. Then I was sorry I was sorry because I had started to feel real bad for myself, because the only reason I kept apologising was this—this idea that I was unworthy of their services, someone who did not deserve their products or anything for that matter. And Uber—the convenience of it all and the patience of that particular driver—had me sorry too, four times if I remember it correctly: twice for having too many bags and twice more for being confused as to where he was parked; and he did not know this but I was sorry for seating at the back too, I would have ridden shot gun had I fewer bags to carry but he probably thought I was protecting myself from him. I was sorriest when I got home and looked at all that I had bought because I thought I did not deserve them. But later that night when I was well-rested and the boulder of existence lifted from my chest new copies of Hemingway, Pushkin and Yeats were read and felt and understood and I was not sorry anymore, I was soaring.
We are nothing if not plural, in our daily dalliances with plural others who, just like us, adjust their persona to suit different situations, places, and peoples.
We are nothing if not plural, when we say one thing yet behave otherwise; we attempt to reduce ourselves to absolutes in the hopes that by conveying a singular self to another they’d understand our ‘true’ selves but how could they, when we are all complex and contradictory beings struggling to make sense of ourselves, of which there are many?
We are nothing if not plural, yesterday today and tomorrow, for people change and no-one goes from birth to death unmarked by life, by others, by themselves.
We are plural, you and I, so let us not confine ourselves to forced categories and false pretences out of fear of not being understood. Let us run free and admit that we are nothing but inconstant, temperamental: multiple versions of a work in progress until we expire.