"Even in a finite universe, a rock doesn't keep being a rock. Things are always disintegrating and becoming other things." Our Tragic Universe, Scarlett Thomas

There was once a rock, a very old rock, a rock which had laid low for a very long time. It couldn't remember how long that long time actually was but somehow knew without needing to remember that that long time was long enough. It was a rock that took great pride in its appearance, habitually watering its neat lawn of grass, combing its thick coat of moss, trimming it at least once a week. It was also a very generous rock, hospitable and welcoming, opening it's arms (or the granite version of extendable appendages) to several small creatures: an earwig, a caterpillar and a beetle, to be specific. One had a pile of dry twigs, one a large leaf, the other an overturned log. I'll let you decide which had which. From time to time a slug or a snail would come to stay and take up residence beneath a small pebble or a stone, items that the rock had purchased for that purpose alone, but they tended to move on after one night having concluded there was little to be gained from vacationing on such a desolate outpost. Poor rock, its situation was bleak, its vista dull. Situated at the back of beyond, on the way to the end of the rainbow and the beginning of the middle of nowhere, it was rather a last resort when it came to resorts, its only exclusivity the lack of noise and distraction. 

Poor rock was sad. It felt sure there must be more to life, more to being a rock, more to living and being and rocking full stop, but since it had nothing to base this surety on and no one known or unknown or near enough to ask it couldn't confirm it's suspicions. 

It longed to visit greener pastures and to frequent warmer climes. It longed to become part of something bigger and more substantial, whatever size and substance was. It sat on the top of a desolate hill, a dry expanse of soil that had once been a luscious meadow, albeit a small one, but had long since dried out and stopped producing anything with a connection to life. Below was a valley of greenery, with a coppice of trees and a meadow of corn. It was bright and colourful and full of life. It was everything it wanted, everything it used to have, everything it had given away without even realising what it was giving away until it was far too late to do anything about it and its pockets were all emptied out. It had then wanted to rewind in order to get it all back but had no currency left with which to make the exchange. 

So it sat and waited and felt sorry for itself. And on the days that it was especially lonely it talked to the earwig, and the caterpillar and the beetle. Not that they ever had very much to say. Although the caterpillar had once suggested that things would not always be the same, that the world and it's inhabitants were constantly changing, journeying, evolving into something else, and that had led it to believe that there was at least a passing chance that a rock might not always be a rock, or at least not a rock sitting on barren soil. A rock could perhaps, if it were lucky, if the universe were that way inclined, become a hill or a mountain, its location the edge of a forest, the outskirts of a city, the middle of a park, the centre of an exotic island. The rock had pressed the caterpillar for further details, wanting to know if it were really true, and if so how long it might be expected to wait for such a serendipitous transformation to occur. But the caterpillar was tightlipped on the subject and could not be persuaded to elaborate. Its cousin had told it, it said, along with a curious story about a great grandmother who had suddenly grown wings and taken to the sky. Whether this extended beyond caterpillars to rocks, it didn't know; it could only speak from its own experience. 

The rock had no family that it knew of and no history to unearth. It could not look back and read accounts of marvellous happenings or uncover the mysteries of a particular family line. Its family was the earth that it sat upon, its history the story of that particular landscape, a landscape where nothing ever happened and nothing ever had. So maybe it had to accept that it would always be a rock and try to be thankful that it wasn't simply a pebble or a stone. Or maybe it just had to accept that it might not but would not, until that day when it became something different, know what would occur. It concluded that this was by far the better approach and determined to be patient in the hope that its patience would be rewarded before too long, or at least before the end of its life came to pass.


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slugguts almost 12 years ago


becsatherton (joined over 12 years ago)
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I have always loved art and drawing has been an important part of my life ever since I can remember. Having creative parents provided me with the right genes and also meant that my naive dabblings were given plenty of encouragement. Growing up, our kitchen walls were lined with huge pinboards which displayed my work. I guess you could say that this was my first exhibition, my audience consisting of family and friends. To date – apart from school and university, where there was always a termly show – it remains the only one. Life interfered with other priorities and stole away my earlier confidence.
Since graduating, I have been a web designer, a graphic designer, a magazine editor, an art director, a copy writer, a literary consultant, a poet, an aspiring novelist, and many other less inspiring things. I have also founded a literary arts magazine called Inside Out, which published two issues before the recession hit.
For the last year, I have been hard at work writing and drawing and would now call myself a writer, poet, artist and illustrator. I use these mediums as ways to better understand myself and find them helpful in exploring and resolving personal problems. This was the focus of Inside Out, which promoted creativity for personal development and emotional well-being. One day I hope to qualify as a creative therapist, offering workshops and retreats and teaching this valuable skill to other individuals.

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