|Daniel Grant Newton - artist, writer, blogger.|
Essentially, it turned out to be a story about ninjas trying to get an About Me page out of me, and failing. That was four years ago to this day.
A couple of weeks ago I did finally create and post a proper About Me page, but just before I wrote that, I attempted another About Page - another failed attempt at one anyway.
That attempt was so weird, so not an About page, so "what the hell is this", I thought I'd never show anyone that version...
Below, four years later, is my other (very recent) failed attempt at an About Me page.
Opening the Dimensional Door
“Let’s open the dimensional doors between you and Daniel’s About page,” ordered the commander, his leathery face lit in the flashing red emergency light.
“But sir, doing that might rupture the space time continuum or punch a hole in the fabric of the universe,” protested a scientist flanking both you and the commander as you head for the room dubbed the ‘dimensional box’.
“I don’t give a damn,” snapped the commander back, “they’ve gone and clicked the About Me page, and so they’ve volunteered for this mission and they have my clearance.” The commander turned to you, one scaly hand resting on the door handle to the dimensional box room and one scaly hand on your shoulder. “I’m sorry, kid, I can’t come in with you. You’re going to have to do this one alone. You are one brave kid facing this weird About Daniel thing. Are you ready?”
You stared at him, waiting for any more cliches to tumble from his tongue or an apology for referring to you as a “kid”, but there were none, so you simply gave him the nod.
|My depiction of the creature meditating in the blue light.|
When you eventually summoned the courage to walk through the door, the darkened room was automatically lit by a pulsing, buzzing blue column of light piercing the middle of it. Inside the blue light there was a creature meditating, perhaps trapped in the light beam.
The creature was humanoid, yet clearly not human. It had scrawny arms and legs tucked underneath it, and piercing bronze eyes that gently opened and followed you around the room.
“I came here expecting to learn about Daniel Grant Newton,” you managed to say. “Are you him? Is Daniel an alien?”
The creature shook its head and began swimming around the blue light in silence. However, when you turned to leave you heard a voice, presumably the creature’s voice perhaps, in your mind, “I am the personification of Daniel’s past.”
The Story of Two Creators
You turned and met the creature’s stunning eyes, catching your breath momentarily. “Okay,” you said, accepting the surreality of the situation and the ambiguity of the creature’s answer much too quickly and easily, “and so who is Daniel?”
“He is a word weaver and picture maker,” said the creature in your mind once more, swimming to the top of the light column before diving to the floor. The creature, Daniel’s past, then closed its bulbous bronze eyes and swayed back and forth in the lotus position. “He is connected to you. And you are connected to him. Your journeys intertwine on this quest.”
You wondered what journey and quest the being spoke of, and the creature answered you as soon as the thought appeared. Of course the creature did! If it can put words in your mind, then no doubt it can take them too.
“Your quest is the reason why you came here.”
You shook your head, hoping the thing’s spidery fingers would stop psychically massaging your brain.
You decided to continue the conversation with a straight forward answer, pronouncing every word. “I clicked on an About page, and then was hurried in here by a military guy and a scientist, and now I’m face to face with you - some sort of thing - but I have not come here for a quest.”
“But do the commander, the scientist and the… let’s call me an alien for the moment… do we even exist? Or have you and Daniel both imagined us? Daniel put his ideas down on this blog, you visualised what this place looks like and what the characters look like, and together you have created…”
Suddenly a jagged crack ran down the wall and across the ground between your feet. You pulled your feet away just in time and peered up at little bits of roof falling down upon you.
“What’s happening?” you shouted above the creaking of another crack threatening to slither down the wall.
“You are losing connection with the story. You must connect your imagination once more,” volleyed back the alien, and as it finished, the shaking and the cracking and the falling debris stopped. “Daniel’s creations are nothing without you filling in what’s between the lines of a narrative, or frames of a comic, or the story around an art piece.”
You froze as if any movement could set the earthquake off again. “So what do I do?”
“You are the gap filler - fill the gaps. I’m the alien of Daniel’s past, and this is a sort of a sci-fi Charles Dicken’s Christmas Carol. Except without all the scrooge and all that snow. We need your imagination to keep this story, this world, alive.”
“Why is Daniel’s past so important to listen to?” you leant against the wall behind you and slid down it into a seated position. “I mean…”
“What? Daniel’s… but, his past. It’s… I’m…” the alien stuttered, it’s dilated pupils bouncing off the edges of its corneas. (Bet you never heard that sentence before!)
“I’m sorry,” you muttered, putting your sweaty palms up metaphorically, as no doubt they are not actually in the air, but still by your mouse and keyboard, or holding your handheld internet-enabled device. “But I don’t think this ‘quest’ - whatever it is - is really my thing,” you managed to say.
“Daniel was just like you. He could’ve said this quest wasn’t for him when struggles came his way. He struggled with being able to write and read, and had to go get a speech pathologist to help him get past his difficulties.
“His brain dragons couldn’t remember how to write letters, or what order they went in to make words, or recognise these strange symbols when it came to reading. For goodness sake, he still has trouble with which way the stroke in the capital Q goes. But it was through this struggle that he was introduced to writing down the stories floating in his head and giving words to the pictures he drew.
“It was this struggle that made him a professional word weaver and picture maker, Freya-dammit!
“And then when he said he gathered the bravery to tell everyone he wanted to weave words and make pictures for a living, do you know what they said? They all told him the task was impossible, he was not good enough and told him he should just get a job and bury his dreams like everybody else. They said that for years. But he persisted with the belief in his heart.
“I bet people, directly or indirectly, have told you too to give up on your dreams. But by golly, don’t do it. Never do it. Dreams are what makes creatures like me live!”
“Fine, thanks for the advice weird alien thing,” you hummed, or might have done if you’re feeling a little bit snarky in this virtual reality, and that’s okay because in the end this is all in your mind. If you’re feeling a little nicer you probably put it so much more eloquently, and I applaud you for that because I may have said it the snarky way. Then you added, “but what’s this all got to do with me and my supposed quest?”
“You still don’t see,” said Daniel’s past personification, caressing it’s pointy chin and now hovering at eye level to you. “Your story is interlocked, intertwined, connected like two gnarled trees whose branches have grown around one another so much that you don’t know which twig at the end belongs to which tree. But you know what, both branches are stronger for it, and they help each tree stand strong and grow.
“And the ideas Daniel births need you. You are Obi-Wan Kenobi and they are a hologram of Princess Leia coming out of a little droid - you’re their only hope. You keep them alive by reading them and make them stronger by living inside of them and adding your imagination to them.”
“So the creations need me?”
“They are just dead dreams drifting in the river of nothingness with you giving them the soul to live,” the alien said poetically. “Once you breathe life into them, they live inside you - hopefully for a very long time.
“But this is not a one way street, they also give back. They make dull times exciting, they take you to places that no one’s ever gone before, meeting strange and wondrous characters, and make you think in odd ways like Neural Pathways Twister.
“Just so you get that analogy, Neural Pathways have crazy parties where Twister is a favourite yet wholesome game for all ages.
“Sorry, back to the quest. Will you take on the quest?”
Be One with the Story
You didn’t even had a chance to think about it. It just happened so quickly.
The creature’s clammy webbed feet stepped out of the blue light, and then with a tug that was stronger than you had imagined from those wiry arms, you were pulled into a strange world.
The world was, well, hard to describe. Actually, I lie, it was very easy to describe probably, but it lives in your mind and so it is very hard for me to describe without being able to read your mind like that monster/alien that identified itself as the manifestation of my past.
But here goes me trying. The world you found yourself in had a thick blanket of fog that clung to the ground, with wispy grey fog snakes that curled around your sweaty hands - perhaps. Just saying.
And a mountainous ice-capped range that encircled the valley like titans of tales from long ago guarding the last place untouched by Zeus and his warrior gods. Maybe.
And little wooden huts by a dark wood, with families huddled around campfires outside of said huts. As you walked past them, you enjoyed the heat of the flame and watching the tiny embers slither towards the moon. Provided they did indeed exist in the world in your mind too.
Finally you came to a warrior with well-defined muscles that glistened in the campfire before him.
“Greetings,” came his or her voice, rumbling like an approaching storm.
You gazed up at the warrior, for no matter how tall you are, this warrior was still much taller than you. Even if you are super duper tall and it shouldn’t be humanly possible to be taller than you without the aid of stilts, you still craned your neck.
“I am the manifestation of Daniel’s present.”
You look at the scars up and down his or her limbs. “Did you get those scars from defending the village against a bear?”
|My depiction of one of the village warriors,|
facing an oncoming 'bear' or 'troll', from the
perspective of the 'bear' or 'troll'.
“Many a bear,” smiled the warrior, the light of a fire dancing in his or her eyes. “These scars came from Daniel battling to get where he is. Every troll, every detractor, every one who tried to pull him down or tell him it couldn’t be done, came to this village as bears we all had to face.”
Then the warrior grinned, and pointed to a bicep. “But these muscles came from everyone who believed and still believes in him, everyone who reads his stories or loves his art, everyone who subscribes to his blog or emails, and everyone who becomes his online friend. Many who came to stand where you stand right now, and decided to stand against the bears with him. They make him strong, and keep the stories and art going.”
Suddenly the sky was lit by a blue flash. The village stood up and cheered.
“What was that?” you manage to stammer.
“Let me show you.”
You follow the tall warrior through the huts and freshly wet grass, and down a slope toward a lower plane. Down on the lower plane were shimmering blue rectangular lights.
The warrior stopped and faced you, outlined by the soft blue light emanating from the rectangles at the foot of the slope.
“They are the great doors of Daniel’s imagination, and they grow from the ground like flowers in a garden. Walk through them and you are transported to a different land. You may be taken to Shambhala, or the astral plane, or Nazi-occupied Paris, or… well, to anywhere.
“We in this village are explorers. We travel to these worlds and make them real when our imaginations combine with Daniel’s, the great word weaver and picture maker.”
“Like branches of two trees intertwining,” you say, speaking without thinking the thought, as if the words came from someone else.
“Precisely. That is what our village does. And our village receives new explorers from every corner of the world every day. And with every new villager, I grow bigger, and although the bears always get bigger, we are always strong enough to fight them off… and protect the portals.”
“That is why I am here,” you managed to say, and the warrior gives you a warm nod. “I am an explorer of worlds, and I am here to explore the portals and fight the ugly bears.”
“You are. That is your quest.” The warrior handed you a bow and a quiver full of arrows. “You have been chosen by the Cosmic Goddess known as the Internet, and we - especially Daniel and myself - hope you accept. You are welcome to go through any of these portals, but we hope one day you shall join our village too by subscribing to this village we like to call the ‘Blog Community’.”
And with that, the warrior disappeared in front of your eyes, and you found yourself alone on the slope. The shimmering blue doorways seemed to call your name, as if you were destined to go through one. As if you were Bastian, and this was the Never-ending Story.
Your choice however, was - and still is - yours alone.