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`Sick Men`s Dreams. (Edited)

by laurafraser 

Posted: 07 December 2005
Word Count: 1420
Summary: The title is a quote taken from the philosopher, David Hume, referring to relgious superstition and relgion. This sort story has nothing to do with relgion. But perhaps a bit of the imagination that Hume refers to in his essay. Chimera was a Monster with the head of a lion, body of a goat and the tail of a dragon. It breathed fire and lived and ravaged Lycia until Bellerophon killed it. I would greatly appreciate all comments - is this total tosh...? Happy days xL.

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This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

Charles Chimera had never really liked consistency. He declared he was to study law at the London School of Law when he was eleven, announcing to his mother like a peacock in his element, that law was something to be used to win an argument. However he soon grew bored of the idea of winning arguments and declared, two months before his thirteenth birthday that he was now going to focus on becoming a writer. This was after his trip that he was planning where he would spend five months in Argentina playing polo, flirting with the players whilst keeping it a secret that he was terrified of horses and after he had made a rather bad joke involving a stamp and an envelope to Bill Clinton at a party hosted by a man he met on a plane to Guatemala City. And after he had watched his favourite play A Midsummer’s Nights Dream, performed in a forest near a castle in the village of Halnaker in West Sussex, by the seaside.

He liked to tell people that he had a particular talent for being fascinated. I often find myself in constant stages of fascination, he’d say. But Charles had a predilection for saying things that were quite different to the thoughts that fluttered like amnesiac butterflies in his head. In fact there was very little that did interest Charles, both as a child and later as an adult. He’d made love to a seventy-six year old woman on his twenty-first birthday, he’d slept with a few pretty girls and a few pretty boys – with neither did he find it either easy or natural to get an erection. As a child though there had been one person who had blown away the apathetic cobwebs from his soul and this person was Stella. Stella who had grown up with him, Stella who had travelled the world with him, Stella who had gone to every school and university that he had and Stella who he had never spoken a word to.

As children they were never close. She was a girl and Charles was a boy with an aptitude for packing suitcases for holidays he never went on. Stella meanwhile liked climbing trees, whilst Charles liked writing lists. He was of course terrified of her. He would tell this to his Stella doll every chance he got. Stella doll was not an ordinary doll, she was more a creation, made up of a lion toy and a dragon toy, that he’d ripped apart and stitched together, creating Liagon. And it was to this hybrid of a creature that he would talk to after his lights had been switched out, whispering the depths of his soul to, begging it not to tell anyone his secrets.

Yet the more fascinated that Charles became with Stella, the more he retreated from her, like a slow tortoise into his shell. And yet he remained inexplicably drawn to her. Like a ghost that haunts the house it inhabited so many life times ago and yet unable to pass over into a new world, scared about what it may leave behind. Charles feared that were he and Stella to become close he would somehow be intruding in her life. That if they were to converse he might actually become her friend and thus be given a role to play, a character to adopt. No, Charles decided early on that he and Stella were not to be friends.

So Stella and Charles never did get to speak to one another, though that is not to say they never grew close. They would watch each other from afar, hearing about each other from other people and pretending that they didn’t care and then feeling foolish because they did. Charles’ mother would occasionally ask whatever became of that pretty little girl Stella? Smiling as she did, despite the fact that Charles would never answer her. Not wanting to associate something so pure as Stella with his mother’s reasonless smiles.

For children, as they change from children into adults, need reasons, perhaps more than they need anything else. Like artists needs to experiment with colour and texture, splashing and flicking a rainbow of colours onto blank canvasses, creating, destroying, experimenting and playing with ideas that gallop in the wilderness of their imaginations, until suddenly they see something they like, a particular shade of a colour, then later, they try to remember it, relish it and become frustrated when that shade despite infinite-less attempts to try and recreate it, refuses to be made again. They become petulant, they scream and hurl abuse at the canvas, sobbing that they’ve been cheated, let down, why is the canvas being so unfair, why won’t the canvas let him do what he wants.

Mrs. Chimera would never react angrily when Charles screamed he hated her and didn’t want to pack his fucking suitcase again and she could leave without him if that is what she wanted. In fact Charles does not have one memory of his mother ever being angry. In the only letter his father had ever written him, after he had divorced his mother, he wrote that he could never understand her propensity towards always smiling and how being married to her had made him long for a bit of misery. But this is where Charles’ father was wrong, because there was misery in his mother, but like a mute that tries to speak, Mrs. Chimera seemed unable to express it, smiling at her failure to do so.

Charles soon became fearful of his mothers smiles, just as he was of her inability to scream at him when he had done something wrong. It was the silence of her rage that used to terrify him. The unachieved failure of her wrath. But one man’s failure can be another’s success. Using his mother as his muse, Charles would write in his first article published in a respected art house magazine on the topic of ‘Silence.’ He wrote how unsettling silence is when one wants loudness, how it reminds you of a time, “when humans walked the lands naked and hairy, beast-like and savage. With no television or mobiles, with no cars and walkmans, with no loud speakers and no commerce, silence was something that made its own noise. Something so potentially devastating that as human beings in the twenty-first century we spend our whole lives creating things to silence the silence.”

With no one to “silence” Charles’ silence, he found himself retreating tortoise-like into his shell from everyday life, the screaming trains and aeroplanes, the wailing phones and the terrible moans of social twittery as he called it, that soulless how do you do? What school did you go to? Oh. Really how…nice for you. Ooh, I’ve got to go to the loo, back in a bit. Other people began to either bore him or repel him, he gradually forgot about a girl called Stella and slowly the only name he could think of was his mothers. The only face he could see was hers. I must make it always stay there, he thought. Mustn’t let it go away. So he stopped writing, focusing instead on luring the Cheshire cat out of the woman who’d made his father long for a bit of misery. But the Cheshire cat inhabited a world that Charles had never known and so he sought to know. But Charles undervalued the chimerical essence of self and like a thirsty man in a desert, wandered deliriously for years in the sand dunes of his life, until one day he saw his oasis. And so he walked to it, with Puck skipping by his side laughing at the jokes of the Cheshire cat that sat on Charles’ shoulder, his gleaming teeth shimmering in the desert light. And just as autumn’s leaves depart from the trees flirting with the wind as they pirouette like copper coloured ballerinas, Charles departed from all signs of his masculinity and entered a new season of his life, his winter, as a woman. His mother’s first reaction was to gasp, laughing like a little girl, as he walked into the restaurant where they were meeting for lunch, introducing himself as Tatiana. Later though, when the laughter had subsided, leaning across the table to her son who was now a daughter, Charles Chimera’s mother declared that she’d always wanted a daughter and with shy tears tiptoeing out of her eyes she bought the champagne to her lips and swallowed.

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Comments by other Members

gkay at 09:00 on 08 December 2005  Report this post
This is an interesting piece. You have a real gift for metaphor and simile, and there is a lot of humour and whimsy here. In that respect you have established a very definite voice, which is appealing.

My only reservation about it would be that it seems a little like a series of set pieces that have been stuck a little too close to each other, i.e it doesn't flow too well in places

It feels like a piece which needs expansion, possibly with the inclusion of passages that are not so rich in language dividing those passages which are. I'm not sure if I'm expressing myself well here - I guess I'm saying it's is like an embarassment of riches.

Still, you've got a lot of talent and you express your ideas very well.


laurafraser at 18:24 on 08 December 2005  Report this post
What wonderful comments!

I am in total agreement with you re the disjointed vibe of the piece. Probably becasue it has had a lot of edits and has ended up a very different piece to the one that i started with, which was much more humorous, though with no real core.

I need to link eacch paragraph with more fluidity and will focus on that over the next few days.

The above is my last redraft before i'd had the chnace to read your comments.

Thank-you for your compliments, very kind and constructive.


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