I am not jealous
of what came before me.
Come with a man
on your shoulders,
come with a hundred men in your hair,
come with a thousand men between your breasts and your feet,
come like a river
full of drowned men which flows down to the wild sea,
to the eternal surf, to Time!
Bring them all
to where I am waiting for you;
we shall always be alone,
we shall always be you and I
alone on earth,
to start our life!
—Pablo Neruda, Always.
These stories we tell ourselves of the world, at some point we’ll realize that that’s all they really are. Flights of fancy that steal us away into a world that hurts less than the real one, but really just coaxes a numbing high that always leaves us wanting more. Will our imagination ever be enough?
Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.
Nothing was beautiful, and everything hurt.
Beautiful was nothing, and hurt everything.
Everything was hurt, and nothing was beautiful.
Beautiful was everything, and hurt nothing.
Hurt was beautiful, nothing and everything.
Every hurt was beautiful, and no thing. thing
Nothbeautifuling was hurand, tthing.and
Beaut thing ful nothinghurt,.was
was nothing . beautiful , hurteverything
be nothing hurt.thing, every was
thing no everyth beau ing,. was
and nothing hurt.
(Title quote taken from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-five)
If you took a 20min video of a still cup on a still table in a still room, is it a film, or a photograph?
My pursuit of living out a fictional story took me to Lan Kwai Fung, Hong Kong, where part of Wong Kar-wai’s ‘Chungking Express’ was shot.
Two magical stories are told in the film, with the characters of both stories never crossing the paths of each other directly. The only concrete link between the two stories is ‘Midnight Express,’ a food/coffee joint that the central characters of both narratives patronise.
Today, 3 Lam Kwai Fung is a 7-11. Not sure what else I was expecting, really. Did I think I would get a special cup of black coffee that would make a cute, daydreaming girl fall head over heels for me? I guess a part of me wished that a little piece of magic had been left over when fiction became reality.
Still, it was pretty fun walking around with not much more than a map and a list of fictional places with real addresses. I didn’t manage to get my cup of coffee, nor my bowl of salad. I did, however, get to pretend, standing in that very spot, that I was Cop 663. Without the uniform, of course.
Is it better to have lived a life worthy of a story, or to have sat down and crafted in words another’s?