Arts Festival Quatercentenary
Editors: Zoë Green
Nobly assisted by:
RE/E2 English Division
When the Greeks of the classical period wanted to characterise the basic nature of what we
today call works of art, the majority agreed that these things were mimemata (in the singular
form mimema), the result of an activity they dubbed mimesis.
Traditionally, the English word “imitation” is used, although inadequately, to translate the
Greek word mimesis. The theory of mimesis was not a well-articulated theory, but was rather a
fundamental outlook shared by authors and philosophers in the classical period, and in
antiquity in general.
The theory of mimesis is now generally regarded as the oldest theory of art. However, as we
find it in ancient texts, it is not a theory of art in a modern sense; it is rather a theory of
pictorial representation. The basic distinction for the ancient theory of mimesis was that
between mimemata and real things. For example, a tree is a real thing, while a painting or even
a sculpture representing a tree is a mimema, a thing which looks like a tree but is not a tree.
Furthermore, a piece of music which was designed to sound like sorrow is not a genuine
expression of sorrow, but simply evokes an impression of sorrow. The mimema is a vehicle for
“man-made dreams produced for those who are awake” (Sophist 266C), as Plato eloquently
puts it. Neither the dream nor the mimema is real.
When Plato tries to define a mimema, he stipulates that it is similar to things of the kind that
it represents in some respects, and that it is no more than similar to the things in question.
Similarity is, according to such ancient philosophers as Plato, understood as the quality of
having certain common traits; the idea that individual things and mental images can have
certain common traits is founded in the belief that perception is a form of impression, a
process in which objects transmit their individual shapes and qualities to the mind, but not
their matter. Therefore, the mental image as a kind of individual impression is similar to the
real object that it represents by having properties in common with it within the range of the
appropriate sensory organ.
But a picture, sculpture or mimema cannot share all the specific properties of the real object
that it represents. If it did, it would no longer be an imitation or mimema of the object, but a
second example of it. The sole function of pictures and mimemata is to be similar to a certain
extent to the object it represents. They are created in order to be seen and heard, and thus
convey mental images they themselves are not. Thus, they are man-made things designed to
bring up mental images of things with similar properties in the minds of their listeners and
spectators. This is their true nature: to imitate, but not to be.
Mimemata function through the properties which they have in common with the kinds of
things that they represent. An external mimema, however, does not necessarily resemble the
category of objects that it is intended to symbolise. Rather, the correct interpretation of it
results in a mental image representing something similar. For example, the recited words of
Homer‟s Iliad do not resemble the wrath of Achilles (unless, of course, the rhapsode acts the
direct speech) but, according to ancient belief, call forth mental images of that story in the
minds of the audience, who are fully aware that they are listening to a recital and are not
witnessing Achilles himself.
Generally, all pictures are mimemata, but not all mimemata are pictures. Aristotle distinguishes
between different kinds of mimemata with reference to the medium in which they are
expressed, such as words, colours, sounds and movements. The picture or painting of a
landscape functions through its similarities to landscapes with which we are familiar, while
a poem describing a landscape invokes within the mind of the reader a mental image of a
landscape by means of words.
Furthermore, Aristotle and Plato both agree that music is mimetic also. For instance, the
former states that “musical times and tunes provide us with images of states of character”.
When we say, “the piece of music is sorrowful”, this means that, in terms of the theory of
mimesis, the piece of music generates a mental image of sorrow in the listener‟s mind in a
similar way as a painting generates a mental image of a tree without actually being a tree.
Knowing that it is in fact not a true expression of sorrow makes us react differently when
listening to the music than to real expressions of sorrow. A similar idea applies to looking at
pictures. Knowing that the picture is simply a representation and not a real thing makes us
According to ancient belief, mimesis was, in a passive sense, the reception of mental images,
and in an active sense, the production of objects designed to create mental images within the
imagination of the perceivers. The latter consists of two stages: the formulation of a mental
image and the skill to manifest this image in material form. This procedure forms the basis of
all modern art forms. In the imaginative work, the nobler part of the mimetic procedure, the
mind is free to compose units different from things existing in the real world. Xenophon
stresses the possibility of choosing elements and putting them together in such a way as to
produce a final result that exceeds what we normally find in reality. In fact, the goal of Greek
painting and sculpture is, usually, not the realistic representation of actual individuals, but of
the idealised body and soul.
The basic distinction between what we know by means of the intellect and by the means of
the senses is key. The senses “inform” us about the qualities of particular things, whereas the
intellect considers the abstracted and common properties of objects: we perceive the colours,
shapes and sounds of things, but we understand their common natures by our intellect.
In addition, people have mimetic ability to see and hear individual things where no such
things are at hand; for example, you see a tree in a painting where there is, in fact, a flat
surface painted in different colours. To hear or see such things, one must know that the tree
seen is a picture and mimema of a tree and not a real tree, and one must also be acquainted
with things of the kind represented – to see that the painting represents a tree, one must
know what kind of things trees are.
These “man-made dreams”, as Plato puts it, can be used in many different ways. They appear
in religious contexts, they can be used as political propaganda, they even serve as
entertainment. To use them as works of art is a cultural tradition, with its roots in antiquity
and the theory of mimesis.
Winner of the Upper School Prose Prize
Tyres crunch on gravel, and we‟re pulling over, the new sound jarring against the muted roar
of bad tarmac, the sound of the last forty-five miles. I hear the engine note changing, and feel
the car lurch and sway as it pulls of the road. Slowly, I start to wake up, swimming back into
the hot, airless world of the car, slitting my eyes open and peering through the fog of tired
lenses. We‟re pulling into a gas station, the neon signs dull and lifeless in the baking Mojave
sun. The gloomy letters seem to swell and twist, taking on new meanings that cling onto the
last vestiges of sleep
MOJAVE? MO’ PROBLEM!
LAST GAS 4 110 MILES!
TODAY WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
TRY A GRAB N’ GO BURGER! $4.99!
Finally, blinking away the spinning rush that comes with getting up too fast, I push open the
car door and stumble out onto the tarmac. A Styrofoam cup of instant coffee is the next thing
I look at, and it wakes me up with a subtle rush of shiny caffeine.
The inside of the gloomy bar-cum-diner-cum Last Outpost has the dusty, shuttered feel that
you‟d get from an abandoned house, but judging by the man behind the counter it‟s still in
working order. Probably, anyway. I try and discreetly look around for a „Yes, we serve flies!‟
There‟s a line of booths, such as you‟d find in an American-themed restaurant back home,
lined up along one wall. Each one has two bench seats, a barely scrubbed table and a
lingering air of very little having happened. The booths are all empty. So‟s the parking lot
outside. So‟s the road. So‟s everything within the next five hundred miles.
Cam strolls casually in, walking up to where I‟ve found myself sitting. She perches herself on
the bar stool next to me.
„Maybe a latte?‟
The barman gives her a look that suggests disappointment. He shrugs.
„Whatever he‟s having, then.‟ She smiles at me as the guy strolls over to the coffee machine,
and gives me an „oh, well, whatever‟ shrug. There‟s a gust of wind outside that rattles the
shutters, and the door swishes open behind us.
The guy who comes in looks...
Well, terrifying is a good word. A good six feet tall, dressed in a dark suit that appears to
have weathered the long, hot and sweaty trip across the one-hundred-and-fifty-plus miles of
desert in either direction with no after effects. He‟s wearing dark glasses, carrying a briefcase,
and has a wire coming out of his ear. I don‟t see a car in the lot behind him. Probably just
stepped out of a UFO or something. Cam and I both instinctively look away, taking a sudden
interest in the collection of faded number plates on the other wall. The agent, or whatever he
is, goes and sits down in one of the booths. I sip my coffee slowly. Cam‟s trying to talk about
something, probably whatever it was we were going to do when we get to Vegas, but for
some reason I can‟t focus on her words.
„You‟re not a writer, are you?‟
The voice is unaccented. Deep. After months of listening to the American drawl, this is a real
change of pace. I don‟t look around, hoping that he‟s talking on his ear-wire.
„You at the bar. Do you write?‟
I turn around slowly. „No. I mean... I‟m a travel writer, but that‟s-„
„Do you paint? Make short films? Play with Lego?‟
„Not... not really. Who the hell-?‟
„Good. Creative people. I hate creative people.‟
Ok. Crazy guy going to an Enter the Matrix birthday party. That‟s a new one. I glance over at
Cam and note that she seems to be frozen, staring blankly at the space behind the bar. The
barman hasn‟t moved, but the Man in Black has a full bottle of whisky in front of him, along
with what looks like a pint glass. I glance back at Cam, and the bottle is suddenly less full.
„Why did you want to know? Who are you, anyway?‟
The man in black snorts into his glass.
„Me? Who am I?‟
„I‟m the Creator.‟
He sits back, and looks up at me. The glasses are still there, showing off a double dose of my
own bemused expression. The lips below them have curled into a faint smile.
„Technically „a’ creator. And no capital on the „C‟. Nobody‟s that important. Of course, I am
the only creator. At least, the only one since the one who created me.‟
This is a new one. I wonder if he‟ll go for „and I want to talk to you about Jesus‟ or „And I
create misery, give me all your money‟ or even „And I‟m sure you‟re worried about life
insurance.‟ I respond with a non-committal „hmm?‟ and wait for the punch line.
„I‟m serious. A Creator. I make things. I made everything in this diner.‟
Apparently there isn‟t one.
„You create things. Ok. Create something.‟
He looks around, then looks back at me.
„There we go.‟
There‟s no discernable change to the bar. The faded „ROUTE 66‟ signs are still hanging there,
Cam‟s still frozen in place, the tasteless bowling trophy still sits in its dusty glass case.
„Impressive. Now... what did you create, exactly?‟
Something purrs in my ear. I don‟t want to look around. The creator smiles.
I look around. Four hundred and eighty pounds of mature Bengal tiger look back at me. Like
everything else in the diner, it seems oddly frozen. I keep very still. The creator stands up
from his chair, and walks over to it, running his hands through its fur. I stay very still.
„The best thing about being a creator...‟ he drawls, circling the beast. „is the expression on
someone‟s face when they see that. Every time. I spent a decade doing that to sci-fi writers. A
decade. It took ten years to get old. Amazing, right?‟
Smile and nod. Very, very carefully. You just have to smile and nod. Don‟t think about tigers.
„Of course, I can do this, any time I want-„ A bottle of something green and corrosive makes a
miraculous appearance in his left hand. A glass appears in his right. „and if I ever want
company, well, people aren‟t that hard. Never did get the noses right, though. Hardly the
most important part, I suppose.‟
I blink, and the number of Bengal tigers in the world drops by one. I relax slowly. The
barman unfreezes. Cam studies her phone, uninterested in my sudden transition to the other
side of the room. Sitting next to her is...
„You‟ll keep her occupied for the next five minutes or so. Stop looking at him and listen to
Me. I‟m sitting at the bar. Cam‟s chatting to me, apparently completely failing to notice that
I‟m sitting in a booth less than ten feet away.
„I can make the tiger come back, if you want. Focus’
I drag my eyes back to the creator. His smile is back.
„So what do you want?‟ I manage to stammer.
„Your hands have been creeping towards that notebook since we started talking. You want to
write something. I want you to write something. We can do business.‟
It‟s true. I have been carefully edging my notebook and pen out of my pocket. I put it on the
table, and at the creator‟s gentle nod I assume my best journalistic pose. He clears his throat,
causing a small white bird to fly out and do a few circuits of the room, and then begins to
„I am a creator. The Creator. Capital C. I made the sun, the moon and the stars. It took a little
more than seven days, partly due to industrial action, but I have to admit it was kind of fun. I
kept working right up until about the point when the first man set the second man on fire
and then drove away on his new wheels, and then gave up and spent five hundred years on an
island in the Pacific.
That was all very relaxing, but I‟ve got other duties besides trying to work out where the
spleen goes in a dinosaur or fitting the tusks into mammoths, or that fiddly bit on palm
„What‟s the fiddly bit on palm trees?‟
„Not important. Everything. I invent things. I create things. Every inventor is channelling me.
Every innovator is following my plans. I wrote every law, designed every strategy. Sometimes
I even surprise myself, I have to admit.‟
„So... you‟re sort of a muse for them. A god of... innovation?‟
„You could say that.‟ He pulls something out of his pocket and sets in on the plate in front of
him. Peering closer, I see a small lump of rock, an unremarkable grey lump. For a moment, I
see the flicker of a little trickle of water dribbling down the side of it. He pauses for a
moment to sculpt a miniature peak.
„I followed humans almost ever since I designed them. They were smart. They were creative.
Given the right circumstances, the right kind of mind, people can do anything. It was
inspiring. Uplifting, I had some great moments, following the great inventors of the world.
Those were the golden days.‟
„Surely they‟d know? I mean, doesn‟t anyone notice that you‟ve...‟
„When someone wakes up blinking in the TV lights and wondering how they came up with
the idea of slicing the bread rather than just selling whole loaves, they aren‟t going to say that
a mysterious voice told them to do it, are they? Some of the real geniuses suspected, of course.
They were always too literal. Too scientific. The only people who ever found me out were
lunatics. They have a unique wavelength that I can operate on. Sadly, they never tend to be
Under his hands, snow forms on the tip of the rock. I watch a tiny avalanche plummet down
„But, with this inspiration, people make things. Think of all the inventions that have killed
people over the years. Guns. Swords. Cars. Sometimes, raw inspiration goes wrong. People
make bad things, people get hurt. It happens. Without those losses, the world would be
different, I suppose. Possibly worse.
That isn‟t the problem. The more I tried to create new things, the more it started going
wrong. Do you know where it started? Try and guess.‟
I think hard for a moment. „Bombs?‟
„Writers. Technically artists. Pictograms, really. All the other proto-hominids gather round
the pretty pictures, think „Ooh, I can do that.‟ It only gets worse from there.‟
„Worse? And anyway, I thought you gave them their-„
„That wasn‟t the problem! I gave them what they needed to create what they did, but then...‟
He pauses. A tiny rock fall courses down from the tiny peak under his grinding fingers.
„People started to copy them. The few creative men and women. Artists. Writers. Everyone
who created something. I‟d give them an idea, and they‟d go off and do it. Three days after
they finished their work, someone would already be copying it. It just kept going. All by
themselves, humanity developed a way of making one idea last for a theoretically infinite
The tiny rock under his hands explodes, a plume of dust and fire spurting from its tiny peak.
Embers fly out, and a trickling thread of orange begins slowly sliding down towards the
table. The creator looks down, apparently unconcerned by the embers landing on his shoes,
and then around at my frozen expression. Nobody else in the room seems to have noticed.
„What... what? I ask, slightly shaken.
„Volcano would be more accurate now, I suppose.‟ He sighs, and pushes the plate and it‟s
miniature inferno towards me. I peer down at it, and get a fleeting impression that the three-
inch model is suddenly -thousands of metres- before my brain reasserts itself. I look up to see
the creator watching me.
„ I don‟t do any full size ones any more, people tend to ask awkward questions. The mini ones
are fine but you have to watch the temperature or you get unwanted volcanism. It‟s a shame
really. I had high hopes for that glacier.‟
He watches the little mountain as it belches smoke contentedly. I watch a tiny forest burning
on one side.
„That‟s the problem.‟
„Imitation. Even I‟m doing it. I got the idea for that off some sci-fi writer. Derivative, of course,
but still decent. Imitation is my problem. „
I cast around for something to say, and manage „Doesn‟t it mean that you don‟t have to worry
about working anymore?‟
„No. I still have to come up with original ideas, but...‟
He leans forward, looking at me over the tiny caldera.
„You went to school, right?‟
„Ye-es.‟ I‟m not sure where he‟s going with this.
„And you hate it when someone copies your work, right?‟
„That‟s it? You created the universe, and you aren‟t a fan of people making images of it?‟
The volcano pumps out a little sheet of flame. The creator‟s hands have clenched around it.
„Images! Not just images! Descriptions! Digital worlds! Models! Sandpits! All of it! I made
them a huge world to look at, and they make their own version to take home! Don‟t even get
me started on the ones who make their own worlds and mess about in them! Dungeons and
bloody dragons! Imitations, all of them!‟
I duck back from the rain of falling fire. The creator is shouting furiously, and his glasses have
slid down his nose. He yanks them back up angrily as his eyes are revealed.
„Somehow, your species has got so self-absorbed that most people create their own little
worlds in their heads. Why can‟t they just leave things alone? Go back to contented, peaceful
lives, with all their ideas supplied for them? Does that sound so bad?‟
I find my tongue again. „So... you presumably created this place, since I don‟t remember it
being on a map, blocked the roads somehow to make nobody else come past, created a tiger
and, and, and... me‟ I gesture wildly at the bar, where the other me and Cam are studying the
map „And you do all this to complain about copyright issues. The creator of the universe is
worried about copyright. Amazing.‟ I look down at what I‟ve written. It‟s illegible.
The creator looks at me, then back down at his volcano. I keep the attack going.
„So what if people copy you? It‟s supposed to be the sincerest way to complement someone. I
realise you might feel left out, but people will always create their own little worlds.‟
„Anyway, nobody can create anything as big and complex as the real world. Everyone has to
return to reality once in a while. Don‟t worry about a few people imagining things. Take it as
a compliment, from our entire species.‟
The creator doesn‟t move for a few moments. Cam chatters away in the background. A fan
starts spinning slowly, clattering in a badly fitted case.
The word comes out slowly, muttered into the smouldering cone. Something black and
horrible appears a few inches in front of his face, and falls into the lava pit below with a
„Same argument the last few came out with. I‟ve met schizophrenics who‟ve made more sense
than you. Why the hell can‟t you people come up with something creative?‟
„I... I tried. I thought that was-„
„Yes, you thought. That‟s kind of the problem. Don‟t worry about it. I‟m sorry I shouted. It‟s
just nice to let it out sometimes.‟
We sit in silence for a minute. I drink down the last of my coffee, trying to avoid inhaling the
claggy bits at the bottom. The creator absent-mindedly builds a rock bulwark in front of a
particularly troublesome lava flow.
„So... now what?‟
He looks up at me, and then down again, as though I‟m no longer interesting.
„Now what? Well, you were heading to Vegas, I believe. Don‟t do anything you might regret.
She‟s a good person. You two might work together.‟ He gestures at Cam.
„What about all that. What about the story you just told me? People copying? What am I
He smiles sadly. „That‟s a received idea. Just... try and be original. I‟ll handle the rest.‟
„This isn‟t a film. Go and enjoy your life, always keep your pants on in public and don‟t mix
drinks. Good luck.‟
Suddenly I‟m sitting back at the bar. Cam finishes her glass, and stands up.
„We should go. It‟s a long way to the strip, right?‟
As we stroll out, I look around. The creator has gone, but the little mountain is still sitting
there. The volcanic fire appears to have died down, and it‟s just a meaningless lump of rock,
left on a table in a crappy diner in the middle of nowhere. I reach over and pick it up,
weighing it in my hands. It feels like it weighs thousands of very small tons.
Cam has stopped in the doorway, looking at the tiny mountain in my hand.
„Just a memento. We could plant it in the hotel garden, see if it grows.‟
She grins wickedly. „Smartass. You‟re driving.‟
I wrestle the car‟s clutch into compliance, and pull back out onto the I-95. The little diner
fades into the desert, all alone on the edge of the world. I still wonder what happened to the
creator. Mind you, that new mountain range in Guildford is something of an improvement.
Twenty Minute Epic
Thus it lay, bare as the sea,
Lifeless as the trees that spawned it.
The tree fibre, flat and smooth, contented itself through its torment of my imagination;
All that the ink-storer could imprint on it was worth less to me than the price of the ink
My grey matter,
Disgruntled and despairing, refused to inspire my pen-graspers to bestow upon the page
Words of worthwhile wonder, with or without wily wit, willingly.
The ideas were stalled, halted by an inane lack
Of interest in the topic at hand.
Lethargy played its savage role too, for when two work pieces had been constructed
Within the space of time
Between the bird‟s song and the wolf‟s howl,
My fingers‟ only desire was to regain their strength
Whilst the conscious recovered from its trauma.
Suddenly, thunderstruck, the muse bestowed her warming breath
Upon my lowly think-tank.
A single pairing – deranged banality – begun to illicit its lyrical gift
As my soul sighed a sound of relief;
For now, one could begin.
Working swiftly, the silver‟d nib painted
A tale as fresh as those of yonder lore,
Passed down from the forefathers.
The elegant strokes of the instrument wove their unending dance
Upon the plane of white, streaking it
Black as night.
When, at last, the woven bark,
Now filled more with inspirational ink than nutritious sap,
The conclusion was thus concluded,
The page, now seeping not its own life blood,
But the blood of the story that it entailed,
Was stored and sent off, before the master,
To be weighed; whether it shall be immortalized
By the judges,
Or found wanting,
Is an epic for another twenty minutes.
Taped Red Carpet
I‟d give to spend
another day without writing
what they want me to say-
I‟d let people trust me when they‟re scared,
without telling them [insert advice here];
since the statistics show that it‟ll make you more money
or make you slightly more amicable to [important person's name] with more money.
Do what you want because
Apparently there‟s a velveteen embrace waiting.
Rain for a Rainbow
Winner of the Upper School Poetry Prize
You‟re dangerous. You could break me. (But you‟re catching too, which is why I‟m asking you
to save me).
Somewhere in your mind there‟s a mine- a venomous little idea, it could change me so utterly.
So guide me through. Let‟s tread carefully-
Let‟s avoid your malice, your greed, the ivy.
Let‟s tread lightly. Sit on your tower and stare at the lights. Passing thoughts that can‟t hurt
us with their flight. No movement is good. Don‟t move a finger, not even to turn on the lights,
don‟t move your hands.
And if your thoughts take aim- we‟ll see them. We can know them before they even find the
Perhaps even talk about those forbidden lands. Who ever got hurt with words?
“So God gave you a sea”
close to me:
things aren‟t quite
as they seem,
in this expanse-
cold water but
I fell in love
with the girl in flames
but daylight took me-
I‟ve forgotten her name-
But the dream still calls to me:
“So God gave you a sea”
he is more than he
he is he;
mirrors shatter between them.
he is he
yet he will be he
and take what
he has more:
He looked into the water;
A mercury pool:
Still, silver, silent.
A face gazed back.
One he failed to recognise.
A withered man
Stared longingly at him.
The skin sagged from his cheekbones,
As if it were being pulled towards the underworld.
His lips stretched over his yellow, decaying teeth.
He looked away from the miserable wretch,
Pondering whom it could be.
He peered once more,
At the face,
With its pleading visage.
And he witnessed something extraordinary.
This man, so decrepit, so fragile and wrinkled
A silent howl,
One of fear and dismay.
In a flash, he hurled a stone
At the haunting mirage.
The face shattered
And vanished from the surface
But embedded itself in the depths of memory.
Robert McGowan Stuart
Rotten Apple Cores
The lust of sweet perfection,
An embryonic act
From womb to termination,
It‟s easy with a map.
An image evolution,
That takes us to our graves,
A spineless, fast solution,
Embarrassment it saves.
See years of painted nutshells
Protective of their cores,
Which will remain unfurnished
For now and evermore.
Who needs a clear ambition,
Who needs a virgin dream,
If all this causes friction
And bursting at the seams
Of basic replication?
The manikin of the womb
To be furnished soon by man
Just as he was before
By the blueprints of our clan.
We think they‟ll let us see,
And not remain enslaved,
Thinking we were free,
Thinking we‟ll be saved.
Learn best through imitation, through robotic movements to make habit, uniformly execute
actions of the most lifeless kind, creating a mundane realism;
Become prone to do the trained action, to respond with a textbook answer and not fall back
into old mannerisms of a much less proud nature.
But how far apart do honed habit and fatigued fixation stand?
And how close together is deception to a reflection?
If one is made broken, should he mend himself?
Or should one accept his unpolished infant state?
One can imitate indefinitely until the act begins to border on reality, be on the edge of
concrete, and skim the surface of tangible,
But essentially it is an elusive show, intertwining us all,
An incessant chain,
An indefinite graduation,
What is archetype and what is recreation?
Imitation the most sincere form of flattery
Flatters the unnamed founder
And creates a thousand destroyers.
An Artificial Life
Everyone tells me I'm cured now. Don't listen to them; they're lying. You're probably
wondering who "everyone" is and what I'm "cured" of, am I right? Of course I am right,
or...maybe I'm not. I don't know anymore. I don't know anything but at the same time I
know everything. You're not convinced are you? Well why would you be? You don't know
me, just like I don't know you, and yet you continue to read what I have to say. Why do you
do that? How could I be of any interest to you? I'm just another character in another short
story. I'm a figment of someone's imagination. Or is it my imagination I am a figment of?
I don't know how or why I became like this. I mean, ever since I was a child, I knew that I
wasn't like all the other children of my age, but my parents and I never paid much attention
to that. I was content with myself. I enjoyed reading and playing with my toys, and I was
fairly happy. I never complained about my isolation from other humans my age; never even
gave it much thought really. I remained like this for a long while. I was happy in my
loneliness. I didn‟t need anybody and nobody needed me. This was my mentality until that
peculiar sensation we like to call "feelings" was somehow automatically activated inside me.
That's when all the problems began.
I can‟t remember an exact age; all I remember is that it felt gradual – my disintegration into
nothingness, I mean. Throughout the years I went from being a 12-year-old girl to an 18-year-
old woman. My mentality began to change as I began to open my eyes to the world. Suddenly
I found that my motto "I didn‟t need anybody and nobody needed me" had changed to "I need
someone but nobody needs me". My cruel mind drummed those words into the tissues of my
brain until they became part of who I was. The days rolled by and I became lonelier than I
had ever been. So I gave in to the demon inside my head; I sat quietly in the corner of my
mind and overlooked everything that was taking place around me. Every minor change
slapped me further into my little black hole and I steadily realised that everyone was living
life except for me. Everyone was enjoying each second of their existence while I sat back and
watched my life wither away and my future unfold with bitter resentment.
My close friends and relatives soon realised that there was something that was eating me up
from the inside. None of us knew what that something was for certain; we could only guess.
All we knew is that I had suddenly lost the willpower to live my life like every other normal
teenage girl. Getting out of bed in the morning was a chore and the only thing I had devoted
my life to was studying. I studied day and night. I read over the same notes repeatedly and as
a result of this I was a straight-A student. My grades never slipped, and I was constantly
praised and given prizes. Most of my classmates assumed that I was just the quiet stereotype
of the student that never speaks to another living soul and simply works 24/7. Nobody ever
bothered to try and find out more about me but, then again, why should they? I never began
conversations, never tried to make any friends or join any groups. To them I was just the
anti-social nerd that sat in the corner and got on with her work. Yet, I cannot help but blame
them for not noticing the way I spiralled into my own darkness day after day after day. I
made up scenarios in my head where someone would realise and help me, but no one ever
did. Until I had a midnight feast with multiple pills and alcohol.
My mother found me passed out on the floor the next morning: a half-emptied bottle of pills
nestled in one hand, while the other limply held an empty bottle of vodka.
Three months of my life flew away into oblivion. Apparently that‟s how long I was comatose
for. The doctors said that the best thing would be for me to be enrolled in a psychiatric clinic,
where I would be cared for by professionals. Naturally, my egotistical mother refused to
allow that, claiming that she could do better than any psychiatrist. As I was only 17 at the
time, I didn‟t have a say and therefore, as soon as I was strong enough to return to a “normal”
way of life, she took me back home. From the months that followed all I remember is the
disappointment that seeped through every existing pore in that building I called my home.
My own disappointment because I failed to extinguish my life and, of course, my parents‟
disappointment for not being good enough guardians. Anger was another common sentiment
that circled the household. My parents‟ anger towards each other for not seeing this coming,
my mother‟s anger towards me for being such an irresponsible fool:
“And what the hell were you even thinking?” she‟d yell at me. There was my father‟s anger
towards me for not telling him about my feelings (we were close, supposedly) and, of course,
my own anger for even being around; my anger towards the world for not comprehending,
and my anger towards myself for hurting those around me so much.
You‟re now probably wondering what the purpose of me telling you this is – well, wait and
see. This is just the beginning of my tale. You need to know this in order to understand how I
end up to where I am now.
The fiery passion that was anger slowly began to die down. Life took its normal course again.
Well, not normal. The word “normal” implies the daily activities of someone who is mentally
sane, and I do not have the nerve to claim that I am mentally sane. After all I did try to kill
myself. Or is that what I tried to do? Did I try to kill myself? Or did I simply go through the
act of suicide in order for people to notice that I was not well – a cry for help? Back then I
thought it was because I wanted to end my existence. To stop the air from travelling in and
out of my lungs, to stop the pulse in my heart that kept me going. The idea that I had to carry
on was too painful – physically painful. The only thing I could think of doing was ending it
all. Now, however, I am glad that I am still around. Who would tell my tale if I weren‟t still
around? Nobody. Now at least when I embark on the ship that‟ll take me to the other world,
there will be something left of my life – a small memorial in the shape of a short story.
As the rage subsided, a desperate need to make changes took its place. I couldn‟t deal with
myself anymore. I just couldn‟t, and furthermore, I didn‟t want to. I wanted to change. To
start afresh and turn to a new, clean page in the novel that is my life. So that‟s what I did: I
changed. The only problem was that I couldn‟t decide what kind of person I wanted to
change into. You see, I wanted to live my life to the fullest. I wanted to live recklessly but, at
the same time, I wanted to live responsibly. I craved to be a part of the „underworld‟, where
all the drugs and “fun” resided. But I also yearned to be a part of the morning „café society‟. I
wanted to be a part of everything; to live all the things that I had missed out on when I was
younger. I needed to honour the second chance I was given to live.
The question was how could I achieve that? I began to look up to people. I read magazines,
and books, and I watched countless movies. My mind became a sponge that took it all in: all
the separate personalities, all the different styles – everything. I idolised models, and wished I
had the same courage all the grand businessmen of the time held in their hands. I dreamt of
possessing all things beautiful. I daydreamed of the love-struck teenage girl that I forgot to
be when it was my chance. I wanted it all. I was hungry for it all, and I knew that if I didn‟t
have it all I‟d die.
So I let myself loose upon the world. Drinking every moment of life that came my way. I was
everyone I wanted to be. I‟d go out at night to all the corrupt nightclubs of my
neighbourhood, where I allowed strangers to influence me into doing stupid things. In the
morning I worked at the local bookshop as a salesperson. Then, in the afternoon, I went
shopping until my credit cards exploded. I was a different person every hour of the day. I
never was the same. For the guys that seduced me at night, I was just another girl in need of
human touch and attention. For my boss at the bookshop I was a cultured woman who
adored literature, and for the cashiers at all the boutiques I was an upper-class young lady
with more money than brains!
The way I summarise the many different lives I led makes it sound as though I had discovered
the way to make myself happy. Well, don‟t be surprised when I tell you that I wasn‟t happy,
everyone thought I had been cured; I had deluded one and all. Truth is, the new life I created
for myself I hated. Why did I hate it? Because all of those people that I just described, I don‟t
remember. Yes, they were part of me – they probably still are – but I never could recall the
personalities back into being after they changed. Waking up in the morning after a night out
and not remembering anything that happened previously was one of the most horrifying
experiences that I had to go through almost daily. Minutes, hours, days of my life had gone
missing. My only memories were vague and lacking the necessary details needed to string all
the events that took place in my life together. My clearest memories are the ones of me being
in my room at my house. And even those I dread to remember. I went through so much
physical agony. Headaches that felt like explosions led to many of my breakdowns. I became
paranoid to the point where I‟d have to hide underneath my bed for fear that someone was
out there to get me. I discovered that there were phobias in me that never had existed before.
I was absolutely petrified. Most of the time I felt completely detached from my body, like I
was hallucinating. All those moments that I don‟t remember as events, I remember for the
time that passed during their existence. It wasn‟t me that was acting, it was something in
me, and all I could do was sit back and watch. Helplessly.
You see, my desperate need to become someone different made me idolise people. I wanted to
be just like them, and that‟s exactly what I did. Only I don‟t remember how. No thought that
my head accommodated was my own personal thought: it was a copy, an imitation, of what I
believed all those people thought about. I lost myself in a sea of dispositions that I could
never imitate, due to the one and only reason that I, like everyone else, am unique. I could not
understand that, however, and I turned into a monster. That person that I hid away from
under my bed wasn‟t some crazed axe murderer that my mind had brought into being. No,
that was myself I was hiding from.
Before I knew what was going on, I was drowning in debt and my family had deserted me. I
needed an escape from both the world and my own mind. So I decided to imitate one last
person: one more act that would be my last, and my most conscious.
I drove out to the small port where all the fishermen left their boats after a laborious morning
out at sea. As soon as I arrived I found the perfect place: a wooden dock that extended nearly
twenty metres into the sea. I parked my car behind a few trees and wore my long coat. I had
already filled the pockets with heavy stones. It was misty and all the boats were still in place,
there was not a soul around. I could feel the humidity soak through my skin and into my
bones as I gazed at the endless blue that looked ever so furious. Slowly I began to walk down
the wooden dock, every step representing my last heartbeats. I wanted it to be like a ritual,
like a memorial to that fantastic woman who inspired such a poetic suicide inside my soul.
As soon as I reached the end of the dock, I raised my arms and felt the wind blow through my
hair. For once I felt free, and that‟s when I let go. I just let the weight of my body and the
stones carry me to the bottom of the soft seabed that would be my home for the rest of
You‟re now wondering whether I died or not aren‟t you? Let me guess, there‟s one part of
your mind (the logical part) that says: “this is in first person, so she‟s definitely alive
otherwise how would this be narrated?” All I have as an answer to you is that you should
remember that I am a character in a short story. I have no name, and apparently I‟ve had a
very tragic life. What happens to me from now and on is up to you. I will be whoever you
want me to be.
The Olympic Games
Winner of the Under School Poetry Prize
And did those feet in recent times
Run along England's crowded streets
To bring a torch into a park
Filled with our architectural fears?
And did the Athletes divine
Break records here among our ranks?
And was a stadium builded here,
Amongst our many failing banks?
Bring me a plan to sweep the world!
Bring me a committee of design!
Lend me yours ears, the crowds applaud -
Of greatness this shall be a sign!
I will not sleep, nor will I let
The tube strike when the Games are planned,
Till we have proved our critics right
In England's green and pleasant land.
Imitation of Life
There‟s this feeling coming from deep within,
An obligation, there‟s no way you can win.
You must get married and have a wife,
We are all deluded by this imitation of life.
“I want to be an artist”, the little boy says,
“Or a professional goalkeeper, like Victor Valdez!”
But as his father looks down on him with deep, overwhelming strife,
He then becomes part of this imitation of life.
There‟s a dismayed youth with glistening eyes,
Trying to balance out the truth from the lies.
However sometimes these sad cases can end with a knife,
As you try to avoid the imitation of life.
It‟s amazing when you step back and look at our race,
Nothing will ever change – thus we are all a living disgrace.
We are given our guidelines and our tour,
But why can‟t you throw them away and banish them from your sight!?
As for me, I think I‟ll just join the imitation of life.
Winner of the Under School Prose Prize
The Dictionary defines the word imitation as „a thing intended to simulate or copy something
else‟. If you had asked me a few days ago if I agreed with this I can guarantee that I would
have said „Yes, of course‟. However the man that I am today wouldn‟t agree with this
completely. I think the dictionary delivers in its task to give the reader a very general
description of a word, but this time the dictionary missed out something. It missed out the
pure terror and absolute horror the recipient feels and it missed out the scars that will follow
me forever. I have escaped imitation‟s clutches for now but its bony fingers or its ferocious
claw is always around the corner – waiting.
This is my story:
My story starts the same as anyone‟s who has experienced imitation in its true form. It starts
in a dark room and in that dark room in a bed lays an innocent man who is being attacked by
The smell of rubble and explosives hit me before the scent of blood and gore did.
I was falling and I was falling fast.
Then I was suddenly back in the building which was being brutally demolished. Screams
filled my ears and then it conquered all my senses. I could feel the scream, touch it, then all I
could see was the scream it painted a picture of vibrant colours with blackened edges all
across my eyes. Then I was the scream, the scream that was so powerful it lifted me off my
feet and threw me out of the carnage. It catapulted me to a tower but not outside it: I was
placed in a dungeon. I sat with the scream still present inside me and with shackles attached
to my ankles.
Strangely, in all of the mayhem and confusion I didn‟t feel any pain or fear I felt only the
scream and a constant feeling of falling. I could see myself lying down on the cold floor of the
dungeon, a chained man. Life was a remote control and I was just a tiny pixel on the
television screen changing my colours whenever the controller pleased.
Suddenly a cloud of black smoke erupted into the cell and behind the illusion appeared a
black-cloaked man. I felt nothing when the man revealed himself as an exact replica of
myself; all I felt was the scream and my mysterious sensation of falling.
The man looked into my eyes – or rather his eyes – and then the screaming and falling
stopped. I was suddenly immersed in the reality of the situation but I couldn‟t feel anything,
nothing at all. Then the man‟s face slowly became creased and wrinkled and I could feel his
hair turn grey, his fingernails yellow, his legs weaken, his heartbeat…
The man was slowly killing me, I couldn‟t breathe I could see death‟s door slowly opening
and in my final seconds I saw my love ones fade away. I saw all my mistakes and then I saw
the creature‟s eyes, my eyes, redden I felt my eyes redden. The creature was dying in front of
me and everything it did I obeyed unwillingly. I wanted to cry but the creature wouldn‟t
allow it, I was a frail, elderly, weak man with a face as red as a plum and as white as the light
entering my eye. I watched as my eyes widened, my breath ceased and as the creature and I
In the end the scream and the fall brought me back to reality. First, my shrill, ignored scream
and then the sound of me slipping off wet bed sheets and then also the bed.
I may be an awoken man safe in my cocoon of barred windows and ignorant nurses but
Imitation is unpredictable and very volatile. He doesn‟t strike with cunning but with
pleasure no matter how hard the challenge. So indeed I‟m sure Mr Collins or Mr Webster
would agree with the Dictionary‟s description of imitation and I would have to on reflection
agree. But Imitation with a capital „I‟, Imitation the creature, Imitation the power is deadly,
controlling and evil.
The only sad thing about this is that I may be the only man in the world who knows about
Imitation. Peering through my window I can see that it has taken control of everyone, I see
men and women walking in their formal attire, children playing in the streets, people being
happy, people being sad and then the cycle goes on and on and on. Imitation has tricked
them into thinking that this is the normal and that it is ordinary to die and that we must
accept it as inevitability.
Well I refuse to accept it and for all my life I will be looking in the mirror at my reflection
and if I dare to notice a change in my complexion I will scream “no!” I will never let imitation
and its friend stop me, I will never let anything stop me not even these white foamed walls
and stupid nurses will ever stop me.
For Imitation is not my friend
Imitation is my enemy
And I will fight it till it ends
Making sure it lives a life of melancholy;
Imitation is but rubbish that I will bin
And Imitation will never win.
For Imitation is not my friend
Imitation is my enemy
And I will fight it till it ends
Making sure it lives a life of melancholy;
Imitation is but rubbish that I will bin
And Imitation will never win.
A Fine Line
It was a Monday. Grey. English, hash one.
From chapel, I made my way,
Oblivious to the severity of what I‟d done,
And the price I‟d have to pay.
Naivety was the cause of my woes;
A week before, I thought it‟d be fine.
I‟d found this great website called Sparknotes,
And put bits of its essay in mine.
I could tell from the rigid expression,
Etched on the English beak‟s face;
Grim, awaiting confession,
Met with cockiness, hiding disgrace.
“Plagiarism,” he screeched, “is not allowed.
I‟ve found your banco online!
I should hope that you‟re not proud
Of yourself, or this pathetic, heinous crime.”
“But Sir,” I retorted, clutching at straws,
“You said that imitation is good,
I saw an essay, free of flaws,
And imitated as best I could!”
No matter how I explained it away,
As pastiche, flattery or tribute,
My desperate, energetic display
Could not resolve the dispute.
I knew by this point, I must confess,
That I could write off next weekend.
So I stopped before I worsened the mess
And the argument came to an end.
Saturday evening, Extra School called,
I was given a piece to write,
For an hour and a half I scribbled and scrawled,
Merely lamenting my plight.
My hand grew weary, throbbing with pain,
As my pen ran out of ink.
Yet what drove me most to complain,
Was the fact that I needed to think!
So the moral of the story is this:
Thou shalt not copy nor paste.
Rephrase the work as much as you can,
So that it can no longer be traced!
-Please stop repeating me.
-Please stop repeating me.
-Why are you so childishly immature?
-Why are you so childishly immature?
-Good then; prove it by ceasing to repeat me.
-Good then; prove it by ceasing to repeat me.
-I‟m just going to remain silent from now on
-I’m just going to remain silent from now on
[they glare acerbically at each other]
He really did want to say something to her,
And this call was costing him his weeks‟ wage.
He spoke then in Russian. That shut her up.
Bit of a language barrier though.
He dropped the phone, and it sailed down magisterially and self-cradled on the dock.
He was standing several kilometres from the mirror, and the air was different, too- very
dense, he noticed. It also incidentally had an insistent habit of blocking up one‟s nose.
Washoe the Chimp
She was a clever chimpanzee:
She showed apes were smart
And science easily performs an art.
She could talk to you or me,
Her intelligence was pleasantly shocking,
Her mind was like a human being‟s;
Nobody believed what they were seeing,
And the media came flocking:
Never before had apes done this,
Nor did humans have the ability
To get a chimp down from the tree
To imitate our sign language.
Yes, Washoe was a smart beast;
It is sad she is deceased.
When I was younger,
We were made to practise creative writing.
„What do you want to be when you grow up?‟
So we scribbled the future in pink exercise books
And crafted our fortunes with colouring pencils.
Illustration was a key part of this grand composition:
We drew and erased and drew again,
Trying to get it just right,
In case the teacher wasn‟t quite sure what we meant by
„I wante to be a Polisemn‟.
I try to imagine myself now,
Standing on a misshapen fishing boat
(My own name, emblazoned on the side in permanent marker),
Arms extended to support a rod
Way bigger than myself.
And an expression surprisingly calm
For a fisherman bobbing up and down
In unstable blue crayon waters.
The two-dimensional fish
Sliding slowly along the page in small schools below,
Blowing bubbles which float in threes towards the surface,
Where the fluorescent orange rays of a highlighter sun
Glance off waves outlined in blue biro.
Relaxing on the vessel, bow-legged,
With a satisfied smile on my face
Spreading from one large ear to a disproportionately smaller one,
As if nothing could make me happier
Than to stand in a small rickety old fishing boat
With a giant fishing rod in my hand
And a stiff bright green bucket hat,
Floating gently on the surface of my head.
- Firm miniature meteors
Plummet in torrents with no diversions,
And stop traffic.
Snow guards the fields; it mutes the Earth,
Balm for bitter ground.
Trees stand more still, quieted
By the touch, calmed
By the weight of it,
Stooped in careful thought.
Still lands the snow and presses their limbs but
They stand still, unfazed by her whims.
Wind kisses her skin, caresses her back,
With lovers’ eyes flashing, they reel into black.
The wind dies in the black.
Lamp lights hover and light a sphere.
The sheets have ceased to shift and tremble.
The world at peace, subdued in unity of rest and
At the soft, white beauty.
Imitation and Revelation
covering my tear-stained face
with iced, weakened hands.
Tired, I dimly
let the noisy world darken
and shimmer blindly,
mad, before me.
As the darkness embraced me,
heavy stones were thrown soundlessly.
Drowning and swirling, they rippled
my burdened heart for nothing but,
the thought of you.
the fairy-dust of my dreams.
I lifted my hand uncertainly,
eyes tightly closed,
letting my face show a
twitch of a smile,
and waited for that comforting image.
as if, as if,
behind the lifeless image I see,
you standing before me,
the skill I could never master.
She, a girl I would never surpass.
Through the hollow tunnel of childhood,
how can my laughter freely fly?
After all, lifeless darkness can never
After all, the quiet moon can never
outshine Sun's ray.
Slowly emerging from the mirror,
I see you and her,
journeying the world hand in hand.
Cee Cee Biddlecombe
Charterhouse Disgrace: a pastiche of J.M. Coetzee
For a young man of his age, seventeen, he has, to his mind, solved the problem of school
rather well. He wakes up at 7.30am, takes a six minute shower, then makes his way to the
communal dining room. Sitting down amongst his classmates, he remains silent. He has long
ceased to be surprised at the simple-mindedness of his peers. He looks up from the plate of
lukewarm toast and his eyes suddenly catch those of a girl at an adjacent table. For a moment
they are connected, he detects a hint of a shy smile, but she then hastily turns away to talk to
her friend, her cheeks warming to a rosy pink.
He leaves soon after, collecting his books; he then heads to the library before his first class.
David is a first year specialist at Charterhouse, studying French, Spanish, History and
English Literature. Whilst he enjoys immersion in a foreign culture during his French and
Spanish lessons, his real passion lies in the Romantic Poets he studies in English Literature.
On entering the library he finds himself drawn instinctively to the poetry section. Any
healthy man can go without food for two days, but not without poetry. David sifts past
Baudelaire and Blake, coming to rest on Byron. Turning to the next shelf in search of another
collection of his prized Wordsworth, he notices a girl in his history class standing by the
shelf. She has straight black hair, pinned back from her face to reveal dark eyes peering at the
„Can I help you?‟ he asks, moving close enough to smell her floral perfume.
She withdraws slightly and pauses for a moment before replying: „I‟m looking for
„I‟d recommend Lyrical Ballads, if you haven‟t already read it. Of course, there‟s also The Prelude.‟
„Thanks. Yeah. I just need it for my Lit Class. Probably won‟t have time to read it,‟ she replies,
picking the book off the shelf. She leaves, with a brief smile.
David exits the comfort of the library and walks casually to his first lesson, planning his day
in his mind. After lessons, he will return to his room to plunge himself into Byron, only
emerging to attend homebill where, perhaps, he may see the girl from breakfast again.
Yes, to his mind, he has solved the problem of school rather well.
He was my dearest friend,
A friend in who I could confide.
I told him all my ideas, dreams and ambitions
And, however much he lied,
I could see his true emotions -
Even he could not hide,
The joy, the sadness,
The envy and the disgust;
So how come the one time these emotions did matter,
When he finally did break the trust,
I never saw it coming – coming
Until the dagger had been thrust.
My wonderful, stolen invention,
My solution to all things bad,
My fame, that could have been if I‟d revealed
My secrets contained in that notepad, but no.
My secrets were given and told to my companion.
My friend. My ally. My comrade.
His dirty, deceiving, dishonest mind,
His false opinions and corrupt words,
His swindling self is now in a place no swindling being should deserve.
His eyes which once inspired admiration
His mouth which only spoke the truth
His invention, or so they think, that broke convention and destroyed my youth.
All those wasted childhood years, huddling over those papers,
When I could have been out, out under the sun,
And as I lie here on the cold, unforgiving pavement,
I think: “What could I have done?”
“Who could I have been?”
But all these questions will never be answered
And will never be asked about a forgotten has-been.
I gaze at the withered, once vivid flowers around me,
Shying away from the icy frost,
Slowly succumbing to the bitter cold.
Did these dying flowers once have ambitions and schemes?
Just like me, and my dying dreams.
A person is a compilation of everything,
that they have seen or heard.
A baby is blank canvas, ready
to be dirtied by
the colours of life.
Through watching and repeating,
in unconscious imitation of the world,
we took our first steps together.
It was like holding water,
in cupped hands,
When you slowly slipped away.
Remember when we would stay out all night
and paint the town red?
You don‟t need to fit in
you can just be. My
Words are not powerful enough
to remove stains like these.
Can‟t you see how bland a house would be
if its walls were covered in
that all look the same?
Understand that a painting is only valuable
if it is one of a kind.
They smudged their mark all
In the name of art.
But if I can imitate you and you
can imitate them,
where do we draw the line?
If all we want to do
is to be the same as each other,
who decides on our design?
and how will I know which one is you,
when you are unrecognizable.
Ice-Cream - In the style of J.D. Salinger
Life is a bore. I mean, you never get what you want – for example, a 42-inch plasma TV. Even
if you get something you really want, let‟s say my PlayStation 3, you then see this other dude
who‟d spent all his damn‟ dough on an Xbox 360. Now he just comes along and ruins my day
by going all:
“Wow, the online community in Xbox is way better than PS3, plus, there are always updates
for the games and everything is much cheaper.”
That killed me.
I don‟t blame him though, I really don‟t. And PS3s really aren‟t bad at all. Boy, but it damn‟
puts me off when I‟ve spent such a long time selecting these big things, only to be
disappointed in the end.
Anyway, my name is Pawat, and I guess I‟m gonna have to take you through my damn‟ life.
Maybe not all of it though. Just the story-worthy bits, I‟m guessin‟; otherwise, who knows?
The father of boredom might chuck a goddamn‟ banco grenade at me or somethin‟. Yep, you
heard that right – banco – that‟s the lousy word my school uses for homework. Also known
as a bitch.
I think the most story-worthy bit of my life which I can find yet is probably during my early
secondary years. I hadn‟t moved to England yet. I‟d never even thought of it. I went to day
school, of course, quite a small one, but clustered with loads of students. They called it NIST.
Every international school in Thailand was abbreviated for some peculiar reason, except for
Harrow and Shrewsbury.
Things were different then; my parents were well known in the school and everyone damn‟
knew me as my parents‟ son. I didn‟t hang out with the pops though. I never did. I would
consider myself quite spoiled at that time, but I still hated how those popular people kept
blabbering on about pointless things like cars, rich people and football. They were corny, and
at a ridiculous scale too.
I got on with my humble life; it was holiday and I got some awesome pens and pencils from
Japan (or was it Singapore?). They had this amazingly soft gel grip pencil which felt damn‟
squishy and comfy when you write with it. There was a craze about stationery at that time –
I mean I personally think it‟s sensible since we were starting to write more, and the stuff you
actually use to write with is very helpful. Think about it. When you‟re 18 (or younger) you‟d
probably want to find every single brand of alcohol to see what it tastes like; unless you‟re
corny and just want to get drunk to be popular.
I reluctantly decided that I was gonna get some for a few of my classmates. Actually it was
mom‟s idea, but still, I was the one who handed them out. Nothing big. My last pen came
upon a girl; she sat next to me in homeroom. I‟ve never really noticed her, or anyone for that
matter, but when I caught her smile, everything seems to have frozen, until she said,
“Thanks, erm, weren‟t you gonna give that pen to me?”
I snapped out of my little trance, and saw that my hand was petrified, glued to the pen with
some sort of damn‟ embarrassment.
“Oh, of course, yep, sorry,” I blurted out.
Her name is Cindy. That‟s a fake name by the way. An accurate fake name though. Some
things are just too personal, and if she reads this then I‟m screwed. You should see her now -
elegant, charismatic, and friendly - the kind of girl with both the outside and the inside
qualities. She‟s the one you‟d want to sing “Just The Way You Are” to, and I swear she sets the
top boundaries for a logarithmic beauty scale. She had a damn‟ big forehead; she hides it
under a fringe now, or whatever they‟re called.
We sort of began talking to each other more, and I figured out that we had many things in
common. We became really close friends; we even went skating together once. That kills me
when I think of it. We were both musicians, we loved Tom and Jerry, and we liked reading
and all; who knows what else? Rumours, obviously. I‟d never received so much attention
before; it was like a bloody swarm of mingling bees following you everywhere. And speaking
of mingle, there was a school prom coming up.
If you want to know what happened in the prom, I‟ll tell you briefly. I was naïve and didn‟t
ask her to dance with me. I still regret it to this day. Cindy was quite disappointed. All the
people wanted me to ask her to dance, but it just backfired, since I felt like I was being
teased. Well, you get the idea. Boy I was just a massive idiot at that time, no kidding. I
couldn‟t think properly.
If you want to know even more, I‟m not telling you. Global warming is a terrible crisis in the
present world and I don‟t want to go on wasting countless sheets of paper. True story.
Anyway, Cindy is a very mature girl now, lovely as usual, and we‟ve been separated for a
while. She moved on and had a relationship with another boy, and only broke up real
recently. I don‟t blame her for anything. Don‟t get me wrong here. The things which
happened after the prom and onwards were just not right anyways. We still chat
occasionally, and our conversations tend to be very private.
Which is why many people always comes to me and asks corny, phony questions, like,
“What happened between Cindy and that boy?” “Why did she leave NIST? Was it because of
Now, when that happens, I answer with the most logical answer, a random article most
precious and priceless to me, something I can‟t live without, but is not a need, something
endless, but melts. Nothing is set in stone.