Aur Revoir…for now!

It is sadly time to say goodbye to A.J Writer Experience. I have been writing this blog since December 2012! My original aim was to keep practicing my writing skills and most importantly to have fun. It has been an amazing journey and an incredible thing to have people from all over the world reading and contributing to my blog. Thank you to all you lovely people out there, you know who you are!

Don’t worry, if you enjoyed this blog and want to read more from me, and let’s face it why wouldn’t you? Then please follow my continued writing adventures at Writing Times.

Au Revoir…for now xx

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Is Your Life a Fight?..

 “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Sometimes I wonder how I got here. The life I am forced to endure is the culmination of someone else’s past. I want to delete it and start again. Life is a fight, a constant battle to get what you want. Maybe we push too hard.  Don’t hold on so tightly, we have no control over our lives. We are born on a construction line. Our lives are mass-produced. Happiness is the hardest thing of all to endure, and the hardest lesson to learn.

How everything you ever love will reject you or die. Everything you ever create will be thrown away. Everything you’re proud of will end up as trash.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

So many lives are simply a repetition of the same day. There is nothing to learn from order. The worst moments of your life can truly be the best things that could have ever happened to you. If only we could give up, stop trying to control every moment. What would happen?

   “This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.”

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Have fun every moment of your day, this is your life and it’s ending one moment at a time…

An Unlikely Pilgrimage

As Rachel Joyce eloquently states in her book The Unlikely Pilgrimage, it makes sense that if we keep putting one foot in front of the other we will eventually reach our destination. But sometimes for a person like me who suffers from depression, the hardest part of our journey is to keep going, to put one foot in front of the other. To face the mundane.

“People were buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside. The superhuman effort it took sometimes to be normal, and a part of things that appeared both easy and everyday. The loneliness of that.”

Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

It’s a lonely life pretending to feel normal, to feel a part of the people and activity going on around you when you have always felt separate. When I meet new people I wonder if they feel like I do. Closed in inside their bodies, watching me from within, as I watch them. A body is designed for human touch, but a faulty design has meant I am hidden inside a body that has become desensitized. When this body is meant to cry, it wants to laugh out loud. When it is expected to laugh, it pretends, embarrassed that it is sad. A human body at fault.

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“The least planned part of the journey, however, was the journey itself.”

Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

But the journey can be exciting, the best part is the unexpected twists and turns that happen in our lives. You never know what is going to happen next, especially if your are open to the wealth of new experiences that make this world so beautiful and being human, even a broken one, so worthwhile.

Dog People

Sometimes the noise in my dream is so loud that I still here it when I wake up. I wonder if the noise was in the waking world and I just hear it in my sleep. But I know the noise is my mind unable to be still, a mind that calls to me every day to keep moving or be trapped forever within the walls of my own creation.

“I had to be one of the dog people for a while. The dog people didn’t have to do anything or be anyone. They took their personalities from others, lived only in their situation at hand, were just there!”

Dog People, Peter Beere & Garry Kilworth

There are times in our lives when we need a break, I’m not talking about a holiday, or a change, I mean a complete break from our lives. Steven Roberts, in Peter Beere and Garry Kilworth’s intelligent book ‘The Dog People’, knew this. He took in three homeless people into his home to forget his past, eventually walking away from his home and his life to become a vagabond himself. Steven knew that sometimes you just need a break from your life, as he also knew this can only ever be temporary.

My first travels as an adult were not to the Middle East as I have always declared. From the age of 15 to 18 years old I would continually run away from home, to live among squatters and young runaways. We would spend money on drugs and steal food from supermarkets. I taught my occasional friends how to eat healthier, of hygiene, they showed me the many ways to lose yourself.

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Unlike my fellow squatters I had a home to go back to, I had choices, therefore I was only ever playing their games. Pretending to live their life so that I could have a break from my own.

Guardian: Young Homeless People Present A-Z Sleeping Rough!

The 100 Year Old Man

I loved the farcical nature of this book. Why shouldn’t a story stretch the realm of possibility, it is after all a work of fiction! Did I mention Sonya the elephant? One of the best things about this book was that the protagonist of the story is a centenarian. How often do we look at older generations and wonder what they were like when they were young? What did they do with their lives, who did they love? As we learn from Allan Karlsson, the 100-year-old man who climbed out of a window, how many amazing stories and experiences that old man can have who sits patiently by the window. How sad that we lock up the old people in our society in old people’s homes. A place to forget, and be forgotten.

 “Things are what they are, and whatever will be, will be.”

Jonas Jonasson, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared

“People could behave how they liked, but Allan considered in general it was quite unnecessary to be grumpy if you had the chance not to.”

Jonas Jonasson, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared

There is a beautifully simple philosophy to Allan Karlsson. He only got angry once in his life, when the fox finally killed his cat. With good reason he missed his cat. Allan didn’t seem to worry about careers, money or love (the last part thanks to a eugenics experiment) but a fulfilling life, enough to eat (and vodka to drink) and friendship always seemed to follow him on his adventures. The vodka part only lacking in his internment in a Russian Gulag, by orders of Stalin who’s naturally grumpy nature took an instant dislike to Allan’s unnaturally un-grumpy nature.

Sometimes when I look at old people I am envious of a life stretched out behind them. At my most exhausted moments I envy them a life already lived. At 100 years old Allan shows you just how many times your life can dramatically change. One moment you are living one life and quite unexpectedly you are living another. But that is what is exciting about this world, why we must hold on so firmly to our mortal coil, there is so much to experience, so many different lives to be lived. If you are tired, wait, you will see, something simple will happen and you will find yourself in a brand new horizon.

All I Want is to Walk into the Wild..

“There is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun”

Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

When I left home I went on an adventure. I went to Israel to work in a kibbutz. Within the month I had left my friends and went on my own. I sat on the bus to Tel-Aviv alone, scared and alive for the first time in my life. I didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing. Every morning was a new sun, a new life and new experiences.

8589130438502-into-the-wild-wallpaper-hdThis is how life should be. We should wake up every morning to a new horizon, new adventures not knowing what to expect. But we don’t. We plan and organise. We wake up to the same sun as yesterday, the same job, the same bills, the same neat organised life we work so damn hard to maintain.

Chris McCandless refused to do this. He kept going when I came back. He walked into the wild while I returned to the dogmatic belief that a University degree is what you must have in life. I was already living, I should not have returned, now I am only existing.

Life isn’t about existing, it’s about experiencing. Chris McCandless wasn’t reckless, he had the energy of  youth. To experience every moment.

I now walk into the wild…

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The World War Z Quisling

Mark Forsyth explains the history of the word Quisling in his wonderful book, The Etymologicon. Vidkun Quisling convinced Nazi Germany during World War II to conquer Norway so that he could then become Prime Minister of a collaborationist socialist regime in Norway. Vidkun Quisling was executed as a traitor for his betrayal to his own country after the war.

Portrett_av_Vidkun_Quisling_i_uniform.The word Quisling then became synonymous with traitor, a term coined by The Times in an editorial published on 19th April 1940, entitled ‘Quislings Everywhere’.

“The monsters that rose from the dead are nothing compared to the ones we carry in our hearts.”

Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

I recognised the term Quisling in a book I had read recently about zombies! Max Brooks’ book, World War Z is a surprisingly intelligent and thought-provoking portrayal of what would happen around the world; socially, economically and politically if zombies really did run amuck among us!

What does a book about zombies, of all things, have to do with a traitor in World War II? In the book Max Brooks uses the term Quisling to refer to a ‘zombie traitor’ or a person who has become mad with fear of being attacked by a zombie that they take on the personality of a zombie. The zombies are unconvinced, but the humans at first believed that the zombies were attacking each other and soon the world would be rid of the zombie filth as they slowly ate each other.

“I think that most people would rather face the light of a real enemy than the darkness of their imagined fears.”

Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War