REIGN\ADINE

REIGN–ADINE Header

While I thought I had this military-mapped in my mind (currently being driven mad by the blunderous bandwidth), I receive a note from ‘my’ Nundi. She’s invited me to open something* I’ve never seen before, and when I do — Kismet! The first two words I see there are tantamount to what I was hoping to tangible (tangiDyl?) here…

JUST LOVE 

Ecstacy is your birthright.

You do not have to earn your freedom.

Our history’s done its best to show us otherwise though… hasn’t it?

Ergo ~ ‘can blindly continued fear-induced regurtitated life-denying tradition be overcome?’

Intimately? Internationally?

To be okay with someone’s passive when I am aggressive ┉

To believe in the beauty of how it just is ┉

I

We

Us

Here

It’s hard though.

It’s hard work.

It’s heavy work.

The point — I think — is that there is no fail.

There is only the moment and then the moment is gone.

And that whatever we did or felt or said there — has its place in the boundlessness of (our) beauty — whether benevolent or beneath…

Before we break it down ┉

Before we beat our brows ┉

Before we bend ┉

Before we bulwark ┉

Before all this — we are just effortlessly cool.

Where confidence holds the door open for arrogance and ignorance…

And when, if we can’t be that then, it’s still a perfect day… and the superlative supreme never need be under rug swept.

Any of it.

There’s courage in finding yours. Fuck! There’s courage in just thinking about wanting to.

And — as this pretty smart guy I know once said: courage like that is catching.

Another pretty smart guy is Carlos Ruiz Zafón. He said: “Time goes faster the more hollow it is. Lives with no meaning go straight past you, like trains that don’t stop at your station.”

That’s effortlessly cool, don’t you think?

Because:

“If a train doesn’t stop at your station… then it’s not your train.”
— Marianne Williamson.

Here’s the second in the Alanis trilogy for 
#WritingStoriesDifferently

Thank you to the effortlessly cool Catherine — my kinsperson.

Your creative-kindness is soul food.

I salute you for your house you’ve fully decorated in that sense.

 

© Dylan Balkind

www.daniellelaporte.com

DIVIN\ADINE

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On June 13, 1995, a then globally-unknown Alanis Nadine Morissette released her first international album: Jagged Little Pill. Its raw reverberations reflected in the record 33 million copies it sold. One of 33 million made its way into our home – purchased by my sister in the very spirit of divine sisterhood-defiance that drove the album’s success.

I was in Standard 9 that year. Seventeen. Closeted and conservative as far as matters of the heart went, so that jaded lover that was jaundiced by the jilt of some joker who decided to do ‘better’ elsewhere, wasn’t something I knew about, personally. My experience of this came from watching my sister belt the crops of this woman’s burnt and broken.

Its airplay lived long (unlike the churning of music’s ornaments today). Even 13 months later and in the July of 1996 – when my German exchange student joined our choir – we sang Ironic a million times to Ballito and back in my sister’s green Citi Golf. Even though our knitting only happened a little later, my amplification by way of hers couldn’t be clearer (to me).

Post Jagged Little Pill’s deathless days – and amidst a planned hiatus – Alanis saw the rough-cut to City of Angels. Virtuoso vocalised, the unplanned Uninvited was born and arrested her audience/s once more – myself the most! – or so it always seems when you’re inside of intimations by artists who share that which fuels our “…ohmygawdthatisexactlyhowIfeel…” stories.

Quite simply, it stoked the starving for Jagged’s follow up – a famish which was finally fed in November 1998 when Alanis dropped Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie.

I remember lying on my bed and pouring over each page of its CD-booklet. Right out of the gates, Front Row floored me. Layered lyrics that sung two stories simultaneously. The wakening of those words woke something in me: I’ve always maintained that Alanis taught me to write. Other people tell me I always could and my connecting with hers simply helped.

Nudge or nucleus, how she wrote her voice fuelled me finding mine.

On the last four days of December 1999 – just before calculators, world computers and every/anything run by a date were supposed to implode – our extended family ‘roughed-it’ and rowed eight rafts down the Orange River in Namibia. One afternoon – I’m not sure which – and in the respite between rapids, I lay buoyant on my back as the water I floated in slowed to almost still. Out of the corners of my eyes, banks broke the river’s edge before climbing into the cliffs that considered us as we floated by. The voices of the other 15 subsided and the closing lines to No Pressure Over Cappuccino sirened through my head… over… and over… and over again.

God bless you in your travels… in your conquests and queries…

Be who you are – at any every cost.

Something about the combination of that message, its meaning, my place on the planet in that moment and its imminence to some sort of (hyped) historical magnitude… It was the closest to peace I have ever been.

I cannot forget that.

Quite something then to learn that ‘Alanis’ means precious awakening.

She is mine.

My lightning in a bottle.

My spirit animal.

The rarity of the thread she’s sewn between few others and myself is as special as it is sparse.

Not to everyone’s palate… but one that pulled Catherine Jenkin and I together; one of four willful women I contemplate consistently in the Alanis context. Pam Doyle Pillay, Kerry Ellis-Williams and Gillian Read are the other three.

After the other #WritingStoriesDifferently mixes I’ve made, Cat requested I do an Alanis one…

Thank you for launching an absolute labour of love!

Ergo, it is as unfinished as one should be, right?

Not to everyone’s palate.

But, if it is to yours too, then here ~ feast on this:

© Dylan Balkind

Seven Billion Stars

Charles Bukowski said that, if something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it is your duty to be reduced to ashes by it. Funny, because that’s really how things go!

Then, from your ashes – and after the wound-licking that we love to do – we rise and ready ourselves to have our passion and purpose burned all over again.

This periodicity is how passion ebbs and flows.

Our endless rhythm’ing as we Phoenix from the Ashes.

And from each hell that we rise from, we say: “Hello world. It’s nice to meet you!”

Music mixed by me, for me – and you :)

#WritingStoriesDifferently

Atman | Woodkid | Madonna | the Moon landing | Lykke Li | John Williams | Charlie Chaplin | Thomas Newman | Sara Bareilles | The Cardigans | Ewan Mc Gregor | Nicole Kidman | Lighthouse Family | Ellen | Colin Farrell | Foxes | Aloe Blacc | One Republic | Oprah | Paulo Coehlo | India Arie

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Let the Light in

#BendItLikeBukowski

We get hurt. We hurt ourselves. We hurt when we realise we’ve hurt someone else. Life just fuckin’ hurts sometimes… But it’s also pretty and happy, and hella good sometimes.

Here’s the thing: if some thing or someone makes you sad – be sad. But don’t get stuck there. Learn to domesticate your darkness because of how much you love your Light.

Remember that it is still there.

Remember that you can know it again.

And you should know it again because – and this I promise you – You are beautiful!

 

 #WritingStoriesDifferently

© Dylan Balkind

Another open letter, because: open-plan offices

I work in the advertising industry. This isn’t a brag, I promise. And I’m not positing perspective, I promise. I’m just trying to put you into mine, where you may – as I did – presume our space to be filled with an eclectic bunch of all-sorts, where ideas trump ideals and the magic trumps the moron.

It doesn’t.

I promise.

As usual… the difference between ‘presuming’ and ‘assuming’ is major.

Jules

As in any line of business, it takes all sorts to mine the marvelous from the mayhem, and any organisation’s care of the all sorts is what will have the all sorts caring for the organisation. Still, some of the collected, collective will be more ‘sort of’ than ‘all sorts’ nomsayin?

Sullen. Spiritless. Slugs.

I’m sure you’ve known a few?

I have.

My most recent slug – boundlessly basic – always struck me as a few chips short of a happy meal. For the purpose of this regale, I shall refer to her as ‘Bruce Jenner’.

As far as annoying goes, I wouldn’t say Bruce was on the same level as, say, a phantom pregnancy, someone who must perform that on-off, on-off, on-off, on-off, on-off, on-off, on-off, on-off light-switch ritual before leaving the room, or Amore Vittone. Still, the slug irked me she did.

Bruce was supposed to be … *cough*… part of the team. She sat silently however, day in and day out, doing whatever it is she did in her dimension for one. Now, this would be less perplexing were our Bruce:

a)     a cat
b)     deaf
c)     not working in an open-plan office with 70+ other people
d)     in charge

But Bruce was none of these. She was however the office Grinch – although not as tall. In fact, Bruce would get into Gold Reef City for free. This will however remain forever speculative because, sadly, our Bruce is distressed by delight in all its shapes and forms, to the point that she complained – very, very quietly but bravely by email – citing the cries of her people: office space volume.

Bruce feels it is disruptive.

 Heather

Normally, such bland, banality wouldn’t bother me much, but when the cornfed comes up for air – and only to complain – I gets a tickling in my temperament. You see, I was born late at night – but not late last night. I know all about bullying – first-hand, and then some. A bully’s a bully’s a bully: You don’t have to be a complete cock, or big or brash or bolshie; you might just be an under-the-radar, dissent-driving belligerent little bitch named Bruce.

How elemental that ‘normal’ was all Bruce knew, there, before… and before she met someone like me. Tricky… because with every new person that comes – or goes – the distribution of differences will be diversified. Newsflash: this is the very bloodline of the business.

ChelseH

I’m not sure our Bruce is entirely and solely to blame for how bad her boring became. I’d like to think she got up everyday with the best intentions to go to creative capitol with big plans to beguile and bewitch with her talents. Thing is, she got a serious case of the Debbie Downers – and she got it baaaad… And now, according to WebMD, people are sick and tired of her.

High 5

 Katniss

So, Bruce:

They may not have laughed loudly or listened to music in Mooibank, Miederpark or Oudedorp, ever, but you’re not in that library or that dorm-room anymore. You don’t have to live like you’re sucking on a lemon, 24/7. And if anyone told you that you should, you don’t have to listen to them because they’re not your real mom.

But given your awkwarding – me and my larking took the liberty of comprising these possible career alternatives for you:

  • Night Janitor
  • Librarian
  • Graveyard Gardener
  • Truck Driver
  • Mortician
  • Cat

I threw in a couple of options that don’t require much experience – just in case keeping new ones out of your life was a conscious decision but, for what it’s worth, I hope that was just a phase.

FYI: Nothing can change that but you.

 

“Nobody has milked one performance better than me…
and I’m damned proud of it.” – Bruce Jenner

© Dylan Balkind

Your bright and your broken

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“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you
into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
– Martha Graham

Unique. Sui generis. The all time ace. It takes solid strength and boundless brevity to champion your complexities. Books and our brood teach us to be it while a bully will tell you to bury it. He is dark. She is drone. They are the dreck and the dust of souls not your own.

Michele Bachmann. Jacob Zuma. David Bullard. Donald Trump. Julius Malema. Joan Rivers. Perez Hilton. Vladimir Putin. Robert Mugabe. Your boss. A colleague. The ponce at work who tells everyone else that their ideas are stupid. Those who teach. Those who can’t… Sure enough, people of the world will try seven ways from Sunday to stifle your sincere. They hover. With actions that linger and words that linger longer, their gavel has the gravity to choke.

There will always be someone who has something to say about something that someone else is doing. So? Who decides what the picture of perfection looks like? Fuck ‘em! Don’t let choice confuse you – and don’t forget who you are inside. The little girl who dreamed. The boy who danced. We spend so much time listening to the simple and the stupid that we forget to savour our own soul’s sincere.

You decide. Because you are it. You are perfection. Being you is perfection. With your heart and its history, your dreaming and your demons, with your magic and your mess, in your daylight and your darkness and through your bright and your broken…

You are perfection.

Every bit of you is bewitching.

Every part is pulchritudinous.

Your target audience is just not everyman.

So this here, this now, this is your chance!

Let your soul dance.

Let your talent thrive and your verve burst vividly.

Live your truth. I dare you.

#thisiswholesome

© Dylan Balkind

Bubble Wrap + Cardboard Boxes

On 1st June, 2012, I packed my life into a 6m2 storage unit and started on as I – not as we. I haven’t had the strength or courage to make the time to go back and look at that stuff since then, but on Sunday, 25th January 2014, rather than restful, I woke up with a semi-sane albeit frenzied and overwhelming urge to go and see it.

How odd to look at all that you are some 600-days later, bubble-wrapped and in cardboard boxes. What you’ll see is less than you think it will be – trust me. But should or could it be anything else? What proportions would you imagine represent the years, the life, the home, the love?

None, because there is no box man could make that would hold what you accumulate upon that list.

I confess: 600 days and I got lost a little bit, hurt a little bit, sad a little bit. But virtuously venial because the cultivated fruits assure me – feet no more or less on the ground still – that rainbows and rivers will take you places.

Follow them.

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© Dylan Balkind

Dear Diary: Mandela is dead and Lionel Bastos is (apparently) stupid

Children’s playgrounds are wondrous façades, filled with more subtext and surprise than an episode of Twin Peaks. What looks like a voluntarily good time hides undercurrents of malice, friend-stealing and cold-shouldering. No wonder we’re so naturally adept at social media.

This used to be my playground 

If you say something on Twitter that doesn’t sit perfectly with another’s own Weltanschauung, you’re a cretin. Some may even go as far as to say a troll. But are you? With its 232 million active users, Twitter is just digital graffiti; a ‘wall’ to express every thought upon as if the world had been dying to know it all along. But here’s the clincher: it’s public, so every tweet must be considered an invitation for dialogue. You may not intend it as so, but you tweeted it, so you must accept it as so.

Context 

Today was one that brought earnest heartbreak to 49 million people (and then some!). Last night, our venerated Captain, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – the closest thing to proof of God’s existence if ever there was – died. And you know what? It feels like the whole country is still holding its breath… The statements and condolence-commiserations on news and social media sites have been respectfully regal, even in their numbness… And numb we are. Still, I saw, heard, felt and read such untainted honesty in people’s reactions to this deeply moving moment in history, and honesty should never have to be questioned… except when it looks like this:

Lionel 5FM

What a pity that such gravity should invite such naïve perspective. Contrary to your affront Lionel, they didn’t fly a voice over artist out from Los Angeles just to piss you off. 5FM is a brand. The American voice over guy has been doing their links for years and, as a brand, he is part of its identity. So on a day of mourning and ironic solidarity, when we should be embracing the opportunity to come together one last time for the man who set it in motion for us to begin with, you chose to bleat about that. Did it add any value to the gentle conversations around Nelson Mandela’s death? No.

wtf is that? 

That is a troublemaker, because here’s the thing Dory: when you have thousands of followers, you hold the potential to set other unthinking people off on some remarkably pointless albeit flammable crusade (anyone remember the Woolworths won’t hire white staff debacle?).

So in the spirit of dialogue, I pointed out:

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On the same night that Madiba passed away, Paris had lit up the Eiffel tower in the South African flag’s colours, yet buildings here today were still flying the flag at full mast. That’s disrespect to me. How 5FM pre-promo’s upcoming content is not.

Sure, my incredulosity may seem unbalanced. My only excuse is this bottomless frustration I have with voluntarily stupid people. This is because they are a) stupid and / or b) voluntarily stupid. After some lamaze, I deduced that Lionel was just stupid thin on content, but when prompted with my theory, he declined to comment. And by declined to comment, I mean passive-aggressively continued to slag me off in a one-way convo with without directing any of it at me.

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 11.06.54 PMWimp

Fierce.

Can't be bothered

Ergo… I too am giving unnecessary airtime to someone who openly thinks the same of me as I now do of him.

But wait … because here’s the real meaty stuff: People who like to use the word ‘cretin’? Depends on how old you are. I believe it was super popular back when people watched Twin Peaks, 5FM was still called Radio 5 and used, no doubt, a different voice over guy. Urban Dictionary defines ‘cretin’ as a brainless person who makes no sense, except of course to other cretins. A right pair our Lionel and I would be. Oh the fun we’d have meeting for a spot of dinner and world-problem-solving! I bet a chinwag with Lionel would include plenty “…no offence, but…” sentence starters, “…needless to say…” conjunctions and “…at the end of the day…” summations.

Lekker.

No offence Lionel, but I say do what all little girls do and get a diary for those poignant proclamations. With its little lock and key, no cretin shall upset your panty twist again.

And that’s the end of mine.

Nelson-Mandela

Hamba Kahle Tata Madiba.

© Dylan Balkind

_Intractable Savage

A bitter nastiness flows wildly through its blood. It’s not just a personality clash… This is a nastiness that comes to the fore in vehement flood. The double standards spiral in its unwillingness to listen… and to see… and to concur. To refuse the happy-medium for harmony’s accord.

I’d like to know how you forget the sacred sanctity of stories privy through nights long and days for the damned? Trust is tried … for when the journeys have been so similar, that shove is an intractable savage. Slam, slander and sulk. And in that grows the unforgivable enmity in never saying sorry.

Responsibility doesn’t have to live with one man alone. It is more powerful when shared. Still… the double standards will spiral as her lone–grazed–crucifixion is one that only she thinks she can see glisten. So trust is trimmed until it is torn… For when the journeys have been so similar…  

…this shove is an intractable savage. 

Pillow

© Dylan Balkind

Dancing around in your underwear… cooking pasta….

“It’s never really felt like I’ve been getting to know you… it’s always felt like I was remembering you from something… as if in every lifetime that you and I have ever lived, we have chosen to come back and find each other and fall in love all over again – over and over… for all eternity…”

Beyond the pairing, Kurt’s conversations with Burt are some of the most wistfully inspiring, soul-touching moments in modern TV. That writing – and the performances that bring them to life – are glitter and inspiration to me.

I want a little human

It’s not personal. They are my lesbian best friends. But when the closer of the two suggested I provide sperm and the other scoffed, I had to respond. I didn’t think or debate with myself about it, I just roared – naturally.

What a sacred space to be in… to want to create and nurture a beautiful new life for years inside of decades (and then some).

Yes. I have thought about it. And more than that… I have made it known that I want my own little Vincent Joshua. People. Cousins. Family. Friends. Colleagues. They scoffed. But they don’t have to be the deal-breaker because I am not nor would I ever be in love with these people, those cousins, that family or friends, or even them and their colleagues.

I want a little human. That laughs and smiles and cries and wants. That needs me and changes my mind about the cost of bread and petrol and the time that the news is on – or why any of these crazy silly little things should even matter at all.

A little genius that shows me that sometimes all I need to do is look at the dog’s bowl, study ants and their path up somebody else’s wall, understand the message an incessant cat is getting at or just sit and laugh at the funny faces we did earlier today, and the day before that and the day before that…

But we are rubbish. We are jaded trashcans. And it’s not over until we have moaned to anyone who will listen – so it’s never finished really…. And still, the light of love can take its place in a takeaway-box moment or maybe within a poem on the scribe of ancient cotton… It’s where you write it… and no one else need define that for you.

I want a little human.

baby_2175522b

Vincent Joshua.

© Dylan Balkind

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