criss crossing the world

phil lester sits criss-cross applesauce atop a world of his own creation and smiles. he stands in scuffed shoes and cares steady, holds consideration in gentle palms and offers it like the worst kept secret. jokes, delicate and airy, translucent flower petals and lavender blush and making the world a bit brighter. well meaning words settle whisper quiet into hearts, moulding them into something better, something softer. the rosy brightness of adoration blooms steady behind his eyes and glows for something good.

phil lester sits on his old bedroom floor and tells a camera about his day. ten years later he performs his last show on a worldwide tour, best friend by his side and tucks memories laced in silver and gold in his back pocket for safekeeping. he stumbles and a million hands reach out to balance and propel him forward. happy screams and photos and tweets and art and unadulterated love put down roots in his chest. vines creep across his ribcage and beat in a rhythm only he can hear, safecomfortablewarm. he locks it there, vivid and precious.

phil lester smiles, sunlit and breathtaking, the turn of his lips smeared on and dripping joy like a fingerpainting. he inhales colour and light and sound and exhales creativity, his fingers itch for something just out of his reach. mind floating away, barely there clouds dancing and wispy, and lying back among them and dreams about flying. determination is sharp in his veins and laces through his lungs like string tugging him along, do this make that write this down plan this out. add another rung and climb higher. he twists lovely things with clumsy fingers and adds another line to the autobiography titled how to make the stars appear dim next to this.

phil lester looks at the sky, twinkles wistfully and wonders if he could be up there. he doesn’t realise he’s been flying for years.

How to build your imagination

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A crucial aspect of creative thinking is the capacity to imagine. As author and educational advisor Sir Ken Robinson once said: “Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement.” Or perhaps a more inspirational quote would be this one from Albert Einstein:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Without imagination, our ability to blend ideas, to see things not as they are but as they might be, is greatly hindered. If we cannot imagine new possibilities, our ability to think creatively is limited. How can we think of ways that generate novel and worthwhile ideas if we keep coming back to existing and proven ideas?

To improve our imagination we must look to the source of our perceptions: our knowledge.

What fuels imagination is everything we already know.

Our minds always come back around to what we already know. It’s in our nature to compare new experiences to ones we’ve already had, without that comparison we cannot begin to understand new ideas.

For example: try imagining a color that doesn’t exist. The harder you try to do so, the more likely you are to keep envisioning colors that readily come to mind: blue, red, yellow, green, white, black, and so on. If you try really hard you might blend colors together, forming off-shades of violet, teal, etc.

Where our knowledge fail our imaginations, our perspectives can encourage them.

We can easily turn our knowledge on its head in order to come up with more imaginative answers to the question at-hand: What if we were to imagine sounds as colors? Not literally, of course, but metaphorically. Who’s to say the ping of a door closing or the hum of a flapping wing cannot be types of colors? Or what about textures, or tastes, or entire experiences? Suddenly unimaginable colors are imaginable…but again: only in the context of what we already know.

How to increase your imagination.

To build a bridge between what we know and what’s possible, we must do two things.

First, we must build knowledge and gain new understandings of the world. If our minds can only imagine possibilities within the context of what we already know, then it’s clear we must increase that knowledge if we want to increase what we can imagine.

Thankfully, knowledge is easily gained if you dedicate even a small amount of time to it.

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Reading, not merely books or blogs you are drawn to, but the ones you initially disagree with or find boring as well, is one way to build knowledge. Travel can open your mind to new cultures, often ones that will do things in surprising or backwards ways than you’re used to, as a way of spurring knowledge and ideas. Trying out new things, like a new type of food or a new store in your neighborhood, helps to build knowledge as well. Conversations with acquaintances can be a surprisingly powerful source of new knowledge too.

The second thing we must do to increase our imaginations, once we have begun to build our knowledge, is to remain powerfully curious about that knowledge, even humorously so.

We can do this by asking questions constantly, not only about new things we experience, but about everything old and true as well.

Imagining the improbable.

Back to the question of imagining new types of colors: of course a sound is not a color, and we are wise to not think of the two as one in the same most of the time, but to use our imaginations is to ask: what if sounds were types of colors? How would that influence our ability to imagine new ones? What if, when someone asked us for our favorite color, we shared a favorite memory instead? How can the concept of “color” become enhanced by merely changing what we mean when we say the word?

For those who live with synesthesia, this concept of combining typically unrelated themes is more than just a hypothetical situation. The mental phenomenon of synesthesia is a cognitive experience where stimulation in the brain connects to unusual neural networks. That is to say: those who experience synesthesia might taste different colors or see smells, in very real and concrete ways.

When looking at words on a page, for example, a synesthete (as they’re called) might see each individual letter as having a distinct color. Rather than merely reading paragraphs, the synesthete would be – quite literally – reading a rainbow.

Researchers Peter Grossenbacheremail of Naropa University and Christopher Lovelace of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine write in their 2001 report titled Mechanisms of synesthesia: cognitive and physiological constraints: “Synesthesia probably obeys the same rule as other conscious experience: conscious experience of concurrent phenomena depends on neural activity in appropriate sensory cortical areas.”

That is to say: the brain perceives stimulation from the senses and tries to recall information related to that perception, but somewhere along the lines other tidbits of information (say: a color or sound) gets crossed along the way.

For those of us who don’t experience synesthesia, we must imagine criss-crossing cognitive signals in order to see the world any other way than what it really is.

To do that: constantly ask questions and play dumb.

Why is the sun yellow? Why is a rock called a “rock”? What happens when a bucket of water is poured out from 5,000 ft in the air? What would the color of your favorite memory look like?

These are possibly improbable questions, but if we are not asking them, we are not imagining.

The importance of cognitive conflict.

It seems as though our imagination is best drawn-out when we are faced with improbabilities and cognitive conflicts.

In his book Imagine: How Creativity Works, neuro-researcher and author Jonah Lehrer writes: “The imagination is not meek–it doesn’t wilt in the face of conflict. Instead, it is drawn out, pulled from its usual hiding place.”

The reason these types of improbable and arguably silly questions provoke imagination goes back to the origin statement of this article: our minds are drawn to what we already know, without doing so the world is a strange and unfathomable place. To ask new questions, to experience new things, our imagination grows because our very nature is to understand that which we do not understand.

To improve your imagination, build your knowledge and stay remarkably curious. That’s all there is to it.

Clown photo via Flickr. Travel photo by Shena Tschofen.

               The Black Sheep Book Review: Huntress by Malinda Lo  


Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, a division of the Hachette Book Group 

Year Pubished: 2011 

Number of Pages: 369 

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy 

Target Audience: Teens ages 13 - 18


        For two years the lands have been shrouded gray - the weather grows colder, the crops aren’t surviving, and people are dying in droves. An unexpected invitation from the Fairy Queen arrives at The Academy which thrusts Taisin, a young sage in training, and Kaede, a stubborn Councilman’s daughter, on a journey north to put an end to the desolation plaguing their home. However, Taisin receives a recurring vision of Kaede that alarms her, stirring up intense feelings that an aspiring sage isn’t allowed to have. What ensues is a tale of magic, love, and sacrifice as Taisin and Kaede fight to save their homeland.

        Warriors! Fairies! Sages! Oh, my!

         As a reader and overall nerd, I’m absolutely in love with fantasy novels. Fantasy is my favorite genre of literature, and I can’t get enough of reading about mystical creatures, faraway lands, and magic. So once I opened Huntress I was right back in my element, and I nearly devoured it. Cosmetically speaking it had the makings of a memorable fantasy novel: an enticing cover (I mean come on, this cover is gorgeous!), a map of the world (which I soon became immersed in), and over 300 pages of adventure.   

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Summary: Jongin has been away on tour and cannot contact you very often because of time zones and keeping you a secret
Type: Angst
Length: 1431 Words
Members: Kai x Reader

- Admin Au(drey)

Originally posted by kaibility

Skin rubs against the cool surface of the glass, clouds pressing kisses on the other side as the aircraft he resides in cuts through the sky, criss-crossing across a piece of the world he will never be able to touch with his two hands. But he was satisfied with being this close and marks his handprint on the window as he watches the billows of silver lining rise up and up.

Promotional activities has finally come to a stop and the EXO members are returning home - which could signify a breath of air from the schedules that have no empty space for such ‘wasted’ time, or back to the entertainment-building and dorms where they would prepare for next year’s comeback. Either way, he was relieved to be reunited with these twisted ideas of ‘home’ - the dorms, your apartment home, the rehearsal rooms. At least, these places were familiar and were the safekeepers of memories faded away.

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Michael Imagine: You’re in a Punk Band

Author: Rhine

-

To have some dreams, you have to let go of others.

You know that now.

It was all you wanted; every wish at 11:11, every bedtime prayer, every birthday candle blowout – please let my music take me somewhere.

And it’s a stroke of luck, a hand of fate with a dash of skill and an abundance of perseverance – you got your wish.

Some might say it’s those dandelion wishes that the wind blew in the right places, but you knew it was the band practices until your fingernails bled, it was the sleepless nights writing and revising and composing, it was leaving your heart out on a stage no matter how small, giving all you could no matter how little people wanted it.

It was hard work and it was skill acquired and talent honed and that’s how you made it, that’s how your dreams came true.

And then your life became the dream, your reality everything you used to imagine in your head.

The big screen and your voice booming from speakers, warbling from radios across the world – pictures of you and your friends plastered on everyday windows, your names displayed on big arenas for all to see.

The fans that chant your name, the flash of cameras and the kisses from those who loved you, just a girl who worked hard for her dreams – you became a star, you became a hero and suddenly you had thousands of people who loved you, who followed your every move and viewed you as something incredible – a high return for someone doing what they love, you think.

Tours to cities that half the world would never get to see, people all around the world cheering for you, day after day in someplace new, night after night playing the songs that you wrote in your pajamas when you were sixteen, the crowd singing back as a form of appraisal, saying you made it with flashing lights and echoes of your name that live on even after the show’s done.

There’s the interviews where you’re asked all the questions that made you feel like you were important, like you were a subject that people always wanted to learn more about, that people could never get enough of – morning routines and relationships, music and experiences – people wanted to know you, people were begging for more about you from pictures to answers and you were wanted, you were cherished.

You learned soon enough though, that having the world in your palm meant having to drop something else to carry it.

You dropped your family to go on tours, you dropped your privacy to go out on the road, you dropped relationships to carry a career.

You didn’t think your dreams would come for free, now did you?

You gained everything there was to gain – friends and fame and money – but you lost some along the way, little pieces that were shed from your life, things you didn’t notice until you realized you missed it when it was gone.

And being in this entertainment industry, gaining more and more and getting almost everything at a near alarming rate of success – it’s hard to remember that you can’t get everything you want when you feel as if the world lies in your palm.

But you know it, when you lie alone in bed at night.

Because living out a dream just meant having to dream of new ones at the end of every day.

Now you dream of him.

And instead of bright lights you see his green eyes glimmering, instead of crowds of thousands it’s just him whispering your name, instead of awards in your hands it’s just his touch on your skin.

You dreamed of him, and like all dreams, he was far and unattainable, too impossible to reach.

You had your dreams come true once, but don’t you think it’s a little selfish to want more?

It isn’t until you had everything you wanted that you realized you were missing the basics of what you needed.

It was him, it was him and the way he made you smile without even meaning to, him and the way his lips would feel against your own, him and the way he could make your heart flutter like no one else can.

And the worst part is, you know he dreams of you too.

You see it in the way he looks at you, in the soft words that bubbled out of his lips when he confessed I want to be more to you.

You could have him, you could have your dream come true – but you had to choose which dream meant more to you.

Because you’d never have Michael when you were travelling the world as he did the same in an opposite direction, you’d never have Michael when there were cameras everywhere trying to steal what the two of you had in tabloids and vicious comments, you’d never have Michael without a thousand miles in between you and a pool of angry fans making sure there’d be a void no matter how hard you tried to reach him.

You couldn’t have one dream without losing another.

You’d never be able to coordinate times and schedules, you’d never be able to share memories and moments, you’d never be able to have something real.

And he knows it too.

You could have a fragment of a relationship, you could have a taste of a dream – but things like this in a life like yours never last, not in this reality, not while living this dream.

You both had paths to walk and you both dreamt of bright lights and endless fans, you both wanted the travel and the music, you both wished upon the same star for a skyrocket in this passion you chose to pursue.

You were lucky enough to receive it and so was he, but such luck couldn’t extend for everything.

It can’t work – I… I’m sorry. I wish it could. I wish we could.

Maybe you were meant for the same great things but forced to travel on different paths with opposite schedules, maybe dreams had hidden teeth that tore away at the things you had to let go of to live it, payment for what you wished for.

You travel the world and you receive awards and you make it platinum and you’re as prized as gold, but at the end of the day, you’re still dreaming of something you can’t have.

Michael.

And you know that somewhere out there, in the criss-cross of the world, he was tossing in his own bed, thinking of the girl that he could never had.

Some dreams were meant to be just that – nothing more than intangible pieces of imagination.

Something you’d always want, but never have.

-

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Michael Song Preference: “Stuck On You” by New Politics

Author: Rhine

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Put a spell on me
Walk away from me
It’s called irony

He thinks you did it on purpose.

Because you had to know – you had to, what with that cat smirk and glinting eyes, swaying hair and casually crossed legs – you knew just what you were doing to him.

You didn’t have to turn around to know he was watching your every step as you walked away.

And he couldn’t follow – that was the best part, you knew, the worst part, he thinks – only standing on the tips of his toes as he tries to find you in the group of people that was starting to crowd him.

Michael! Michael! Michael!

He wonders what his name would have tasted like coming out of your lips.

But you’re gone and all it took was your close-lipped smile to have him hooked, all it took was the effortless way you came up to him – no warning, no signal – only to leave him as a hurricane wreck, trying to salvage the calm before you spun him off-kilter.

He’s still caught up in you even after you’ve dropped him back into reality.

Wait, what’s your name?

It’s a thin rope to you and he clung onto it, the words roping from his mouth as they tried to reach you before you floated away.

Who do you want me to be?

The answer takes him by surprise, and you delight in the confusion in his green eyes.

You cock your head at him with a coquettish grin and by the time he has an answer to a question you were supposed to answer, you’re already gone.

Mine.

You didn’t have to hear the word to know it was what he was going to say.

It makes walking away all the more fun.

-

Got me hypnotized
I am paralyzed
Lost my sanity

He doesn’t know why he’s so taken by you.

You were just one girl out of the hundreds he surely sees in a day; thousands when he’s on a stage, millions in the world that he travels on schedules and criss-cross roadmap dates.

Maybe it’s magnetic, maybe it’s magic – science or faith, Michael doesn’t give a damn for explanations – he just wants to know your name, at the very least.

He wants to cling on to more than the memory of the girl who enchanted him, he wants more than just a pointed smile and bright eyes that were filled with things he so wanted to know – he either wants all of you or nothing to do with you at all.

He wants you in his arms and your secrets in his mouth or he wants the very existence of you wiped from his mind – he doesn’t want this half-memory, this longing for something that he craves without knowing what or why.

It’s infuriating.

It’s intoxicating.

This must be what you want; him craving you.

You didn’t want him, you just wanted his mind to toy like a game; you just wanted his eyes to see only you until he was blind to everything else but his longing for you.

It’s a car crash game; blind him and wait for the downfall.

You’re standing back and waiting for the explosions in the starry night sky.

-

And I feel lost and confused
I am crying out your name
But your touch ain’t relieving its pain

And rewinding the brief memory of you hurts even more.

He thinks that if he leaves you long enough, the sight of you will start to blur around the edges, that you’ll begin to fade from his mind –

But you’re there down to the detail of an artist’s painting and it’s something he can see but can never touch.

Michael remembers the closeness of your skin, the snub of your nose when you looked up at him; the soft lines of a tan on your exposed collarbones, the crisp outline of lipstick that was so close to touching his cheek.

It’s a curse to want someone he didn’t know.

It’s a blessing to remember someone he didn’t want to forget.

It’s a torture to have you walk away without so much as a goodbye.

It’s a medicine to have you even consider him worthy for a hello.

He can’t get enough of you; he needs more.

-

What did I do
To get my mind stuck on you

Surely he should have forgotten you by now.

It’s been hours, days, weeks – you were only in his eyes for mere minutes – it was childish, foolish of him to cling onto such a momentary memory of you like a lovesick boy.

One that couldn’t tell love from infatuation from obsession – he doesn’t know you enough for love, he’s blinded enough by you for infatuation, he’s thought of you enough for obsession.

And surely – surely he was nothing in your mind by now.

You were probably in another’s arms now – or in another’s head, no doubt – you were already leaving blazing trails of fragmented memories in other boys’ heads and Michael was just one of many underneath your spell.

He wasn’t anything special, no – not special enough to be yours, not enough for you to turn the tables and have you underneath his spell instead.

You are a memory that he prolongs through his lonely nights, but he is a minute of your time that has already long passed.

You’ve moved on from him just as quickly as you had him in your sights, but Michael can’t stop thinking of you, can’t stop wanting you, can’t get himself out of your damn spell.

Maybe he’s casted it on himself, just so he won’t have to forget you, just so he can soften the blow of not having you.

But the truth is, you’re gone – you were never his, he’ll never be yours.

But he’s still so stuck on you.

-

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Lost Boy - Michael Clifford

Requested by mlong4895

For this story I highly recommend that you listen to Lost Boy by Ruth B on repeat like no joke.  That’s what this story is based off of and it’ll set the mood.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they begin to feel a bit lonely.  It doesn’t matter how many friends you have or how many people talk to you.  There will always be more than a few lonely moments.  In my case, I was alone all the time.  Not one friend, just me.  Not even my parents.  Just me.  School isn’t for me I guess you could say.  I don’t fit in, not at all.  None of the other kids like me, they all just stare.  As for my parents, they’re always out of town, working 24/7.  So it really is only me here in this little town.  Every day I sit outside on the front porch, watching the wind blow through the trees, just imagining how it would feel to have someone.  And at night, I talk to the moon like it’s my best friend.  I may sound fairly insane, but when’s the last time you’ve met someone who’s completely sane?  

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