I have an interesting question for you. Or rather... two or three questions. I wrote a two-page piece awhile back because I was feeling creative and I wanted to get some thoughts down. Please note, this is not what I would consider polished writing. I wrote it then never went back and changed anything. There are probably lots of problems with it, from grammar to clarity. What I want to know is this: 1. Just generally, how does this strike you? :duh: ...does it catch your imagination? Does it horrify you? Does it bore you? ...Does it leave you going "What in the world was he trying to say?" 2. Does this leave you with a positive or negative feeling? ...or neither? 3. Is this worth developing? ...If you get started and you find you don't like it, don't feel compelled to finish. Just say ..."I got half way through and got bored." :yak: When humans are born, we are born into a world of imagination. All around us is wonderment and novelty, places to explore and puzzles to solve, tastes to taste, smells to smell. Our world is a great, glittering mass of shiny baubles and wherever we look we find wonder and happiness. With age, however, comes decay. Our world begins to lose its sparkle. The glitter flakes and falls away, and the shine dulls. Some chase after the shine. As one tunnel loses its glitter, they find another. Then another. Then another. Again and again, they scamper after the novelty, their feet growing larger and larger into adulthood even as their minds stagnate with simplicity. Others simply dig in their feet and hang on. They refuse to let go of the wonder they imagine they see. Their world will obey their rules and it will NOT lose its shine. By force of will alone, they hold reality at bay and MAKE the world retain its splendors. Their stubbornness anchors them and prevents them moving, even as age begins to dry their very bones. At some point, however, everyone has a moment of truth. For all our differences, each of us shares the same experience, however differently we may react. For all of us must someday realize that the world we knew as small children was made up of our fancies and our dreams. They were what we wished to see, ghosts of a ghost of a memory from a time beyond time. The world in which we truly live is a very different place indeed. This world, the real world, is a bleak, grim place without color or sound, with neither shades of gray nor half-way measures. It is a place of polar opposites, black and white. In some ways, it resembles a huge cave, empty and echoing, dark and dank and smelling of age and decay, ravaged by the darkness. In our cave, we are isolated, even in the multitude, cut off from any other existence or life, even while it stares us in the face. Time is nothing more than imaginary, though we age with it still. Our wrinkles and aches gather, seemingly without cause, one moment to the next. With realization comes a choice. First and easiest of our two options is to ignore and to pretend. Train yourself not to see the world as it is, but as you wish it to be. Convince yourself that yes, that damp, slimy wall is covered with the most beautiful of gems, that that pit of gluey, sticky sludge is instead a sparkling pool in which you can soak and splash, so clear and pure that it could almost be breathed like air. Imagine, like a wayward sailor spying his homeward star, that there is yet a spark of color down that dusty passage. Chase your dreams ‘til they abandon you then create your own reality instead. Everything is as you wish it to be. Nothing is real except at your whim. Your life is yours to mold and shape. You are at the pinnacle of everything that ever was or ever will be. You are happy. You are complete. Around you, the cave closes in. You fall into the darkness, never realizing that you fall, and the cave takes on a reality as permanent as hell itself. The other choice is far more difficult. Like a child afraid of the dark, you can slowly begin to open your eyes to what reality is and to the dangers that lurk within its recesses. For in this cave dwell monsters, terrible creatures that would grasp and hold innocent victims until the end of eternity and bottomless pits that hold nothing but nothing, forever without end. Fear is here, and pain, and all the evils of death. Yet, as your eyes open you may also catch glimpses, first just a sparkle, then more and more of another world, similar but somehow changed, a bright shadow of what is. A world of awe and wonder, freedom and exhilaration. A reality for which this cave is only the underlay, dead rotted soil upon which rests a place so intense, so solid that there was never any doubt about what is imagination and what real. Yes, there is darkness and terror and fear all around us. Yes, the world is a grim place full of monsters, but in the land above is so much more, so much greater that to find it you might dare anything. For now, that world is seen only in bits and glimpses, tiny, darkened pieces of a mirror so bright and incredible no human mind can encompass it all or look on its brightness even could we behold its size. Tantalizing and teasing, yet there all the same. Yet to find the way out, you must first open your eyes, and then the fear sets in, and the darkness, and the longing. Oh how easy it is just to close your eyes. Close your eyes and ignore the monster looming over your shoulder, its clawed hand upon your arm, anchoring you fast. You must remember, this is your world and by the will that created it, it may be perfected. Hold fast to that vision …For you see, it may yet be real, and that still, small voice that calls you to come out is not just your imagination. Nor are you alone, my friend. By your side I stand, my world and yours so close together and yet so far apart. My job is twofold, for by the grace of the master I serve, I am both your guide and guardian, sword and compass. I call. I cry and cry, my hand outstretched, pointing the way to freedom, beckoning and beseeching, pleading and prodding. In one hand I hold the light that, should you but choose to behold it, might show you the path to escape. In the other I hold the sword with which I beat back the monsters of the depths that prey upon the lost. For you, my friend, I will even pull your hands from their hold on the rocks, if I must, cutting you loose from the bonds you use to hold yourself in darkness. Any tool I possess; any weapon I might wield is at your service, whether you be willing or not to heed me. Yet, in the end, I am as you, simply a traveler here, caught in the darkness, and while my eyes might be open, more and more each day, and my hand guided, more and more surely every moment by the same voice that beckons you to freedom, I still fall prey to the dangers of this place just as you. I am no paragon, no virtuous angel, flaming sword raised against the darkness to smite it from my path. However I plead, however I fight, and however I love you, I cannot force you to follow. Should you persist in your folly, I must leave you, alone and helpless in this darkness. Until then, my hope will never cease, for I love you as a brother, and as a brother I will keep you as I may. Even should you claw and tear at me, screaming and raging against me in the darkness, still I shall remain by your side. But at the end, when the last call sounds, leave you I must, for better that one be lost than two, and all who remain shall, in the end, turn themselves into the very monsters of the deep, raging and screaming against the light, caught in their worlds of misery and self-deceit. From the many, we will gather, we who would be free of the darkness. Together we will climb from the howling, snarling underworld, my brothers and sisters and I, from the very pit of hell, called on by the One we call master. Out of the great host of the lost, shivering in the darkness, the few emerge, tramping upward along the passages and tunnels. Few of us there may be, but bold we are, and though we may face the very demons of hell, together we shall stand, side by side to challenge the hold of their master. Our armor shines with the light of heaven, and the strength that upholds us shall remain beyond the end of the earth. Above us lie the footprints of Him who went before, behind us the blood He shed to secure the way, and among us a bond so great that no division may be found, no weakness that might split us asunder. Ahead lies the light, and a world beyond imagination. To turn is death, to fail unthinkable. Reality is truly the greatest adventure.