I am so very proud and excited today because I have a very special guest here! You all must certainly have heard of and read Lizzi’s blog and have been touched by her glittery ‘specialness’ on social media!!
Today’s post is also very special because Lizzi, being the amazing writer and lovely person that she is, has offered her skills in writing posts for us in exchange for our favorite ‘Kick-Cancer’s-Butt’ charity! Please do read her complete explanation here.
As per the agreement, I will be donating $25 to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Families seeking treatment here never see a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food and they do premier research and treatment in advanced cancer care for children. Since Lizzi is the mistress of fiction writing, that’s what I immediately requested for and I’m so happy to present to you a piece that will blow your mind! In keeping with the many conversations and concerns my peeps and I have had about the overwhelming nature of social media, I’m sure my readers will love it!
“How could he have predicted it? It’s absolutely impossible that he could have known this would happen.” Jenny’s voice was thick with scorn as she denounced Hassan’s ridiculous claim.
He sighed and tried his hardest not to roll his eyes to heaven – he was still getting used to the force of her opinions. She seemed genuine enough, but her personality was consistently challenging and sometimes it seemed to take all his effort to remain calm and respond politely to her. He took a breath before replying, reminding himself silently that he was sure to become more patient, the more opportunities he had to practice.
“Jenny, I’m not trying to suggest that Lewis specifically predicted this, but surely you can understand the principle – that the human heart will always find ways to connect.”
It was Jenny’s turn to roll her eyes then “Well DUH – we are social animals, after all – like ants or bees – we do best in relationships and of COURSE we would try to improve our networks. It’s simple survival. The idea that a space would be designed where we could step into other worlds, though – I’ll admit it’s genius, but your suggestion that Lewis had some kind of premonition about it is crazy. Anyway – in the stories, they physically went into the different worlds. We can’t do that.”
Zak chipped in at that point “I beg to differ – we have video and audio. If you travelled to any of these places by car, and remained inside with the windows done up, you would have little more exposure than is available online.
Jenny rounded on him “No, Zak, because you’d be immersed in it – even if you never stepped foot outside the car, the light would be different, and the smells, and if nothing else, you would feel the texture of the ground transmitted through the vibrations as the car moved along.”
The group were edgy, the increasing tension starting to leak into the places between the words. There was silence for a while, and the mood teetered precariously, no-one knowing whether it would settle again or descend into a full-blown argument.
Nothing moved but the numbers on the clock, marching steadily forwards.
Sofia was the one to break the silence “The whole point of sensory feedback is to stimulate the mind, to help us understand our surroundings and operate in a way which ensures our survival. We get hungry because our bodies need fuel to continue. We respond quickly to sudden movements or pain, in order to keep ourselves out of danger. We have ears attuned to noises which indicate a source of threat or profit, which might be different for each person, but that is a circumstance dependent on our environment. All of these sources of input are designed to carry us through life to an old age – arguably to procreate along the way and ensure the survival of our species. I think we have a sense of the aesthetic so that we can enjoy the ride and make it worth persevering with.”
More silence, then “What’s your point?” from Jenny
“Well, the point of all the senses is to stimulate the brain. This is very much a place where we CAN experience each other’s worlds, even if the physical feedback is muted, because we can go straight to the brain. In the end, that’s the bit that matters.”
Jenny wavered “Okay…I’m listening…”
Hassan was first to respond “Earlier today I went to the market. It was thronged with people dressed in a rainbow of bright colours. Most of them had their heads covered to protect them from the burning heat which poured solidly from the sky like an oven had been turned up to full. They jostled and sweated and talked, their voices rising into one, glorious cacophony of human sound, with just a few individual words distinguishable – bargain, flour, dates, bright, five, mosque, coffee – and I stopped to take it all in. Crows were calling to one another from the tented roofs of the stalls, and a display of jewellery sent sunshine sparks, like broken glass, across the sides of the people’s heads. The air was filled with the mixture of sweat, donkeys, cardamom, turmeric, fresh bread, and lying underneath; the dense, ever-present smell of dust.”
“Wow…that was amazing…”
Sofia jumped in quickly “Looking out of my window right now, I can see the ocean rolling in – great big breakers curling over before smashing themselves to pieces on the shoreline and washing up in great, sliding panes of froth and spent thunder. There are eight surfers out there; slick black in their wetsuits, sliding down the faces of these massive waves, their bright boards serving as both plaything and survival tool. My heart jumps into my mouth each time one of them wipes out, but so far they’ve all made it. We’ve only had one surf death before, but it preys on my mind and I’d hate for any of these guys to be the next. There are a few people sat on the beach watching, and a small white dog is barking its head off each time a new wave sends itself spinning up the beach. The dog is chasing the receding water and then running away as the new wave slides up to it. Seagulls are wheeling and whining overhead, the fresh, salted air is gusting in through my window and lifting my hair, and in the hazy distance, barely visible against the line where blue sky and blue sea meet, there are tankers taking their goods across the world.”
Jenny breathed in, astonished “I tasted the salt! I heard the seagulls…okay, this is magical – I admit, I really do feel like I’m stepping into your worlds.”
Zak smiled, knowing his effort would barely be needed, and so provide the icing on the cake.
“At the moment it’s dark, and I’m high above the world. I can see for blocks and blocks, all lit up like a sparkling checkerboard of street-lights and car lights and houses and shops and apartments; tiny beacons in the darkness, indicating something to see, or someone looking. I can hear the rumble of traffic like blood thrumming through the veins of the city, which sprawls to the edges of my urban horizon – blocked by buildings which reach into the sky. People are shouting at each other in the apartment above me, and next door there is the scent of fast food seeping through the wall, making me feel hungry, reminding me that I can get pizza delivered at any hour of the night.
Soon I’ll order and go to pick it up, stretching my limbs for the first time in hours, and reminding myself how lucky I am not to be waking up in a cave, wondering if I’m strong enough to hunt for my food. There will be a hundred and thirty stairs if the lift is broken, and the stairwells smell of fresh aerosol and piss, but I’ll take my pizza, jump in my truck and drive for a few hours, outside of the city on one of the giant highways to freedom, and the cardboard box will slowly empty, slice by slice as the miles slide under my tires, and I reach the forest.
I’ll hike up to my favourite spot in the mist of pre-dawn, watching as the sun peeks around the tip of the mountain, spilling into golden, swirling columns between the cathedral-tall trees. My footsteps will be muffled and pine-scented, and into the muted world, a few birds might sing. Eventually I’ll get to my spot – a giant, almost-spherical rock embedded in the side of the mountain, as though years ago a giant had played ball with it and just abandoned it after kicking it too far from the valleys to retrieve. I’ll powder my hands, dig in my toes, and scramble up – my fingertips used to the rough jags and tiny ledges as I ascend. At the top I’ll stand, feet planted in victory as the sun lifts over the brow of the heights and bathes the city in light, turning it to a sharp-relief painting of diamonds and shadows, and I’ll shout for joy because shouting is the only way a person can respond to that kind of view.”
Jenny was silent for long, delicious minutes, stunned by the trips she had taken into these other people’s daily lives – reeling from the not-physical-but-still-real sensory input. The physical experience of sitting alone in her office cubicle, with its calendar sadly skewed on the wall, and its seat with the torn backrest, had faded into oblivion as she travelled in her imagination. Her brain tingled with residual memories which weren’t hers, but now, inexplicably, had become part of her experience.
She grinned “Okay. I admit. Even if Lewis’s wood between the worlds wasn’t a prediction about the internet, THIS is fabulous, and yeah – I’m sold. It’s amazing and I want to be part of it.”
Hassan grinned, “Welcome to the World Between the Wires” he told her.
Lizzi is a Deep Thinker, Truth-Teller and seeker of Good Things. She’s also silly, irreverent and tries to write as beautifully as possible. She’s living the life of Silver Linings and *twinklysparklygoodness* because two miscarriages and a subsequent diagnosis of spousal infertility will rather upset anyone’s applecart. She borrows other people’s children in the meantime.
At the moment, she’s trying to help kick cancer’s ass by ‘selling’ her writing in exchange for donations to your favourite cancer charity. Give her a hand, if you will, and get in touch if you want her to write for you.