My face.

I am Luke Labern, a 23 year old novelist, poet, short-story writer, philosopher and blogger. Here you can read my literary writing (stories, poems and essays) alongside my blog. I offer advice and inspiration to other writers, artists and philosophical readers. All of my writing starts from the question: 'What is the meaning of the life?' A website for those interested in the same question.

Please feel free to explore the hundreds of works available for free in my portfolio.

Why Do We Mourn Celebrities? (essay)

      I. The experience

‘You won’t believe it…’

‘…What?’

And so we find out about the death of someone famous—someone well-known, someone influential, someone ‘well-loved’.

These events happen multiple times a year: there are enough of these celebrities, and the universe is hungry enough for its atoms to be redistributed, that you can guarantee a celebrity death almost every month or two.

Sometimes we are the ones to receive the news from someone else. Sometimes we find out first, our eyes scanning the lines ‘X, aged Y, found dead’ and not quite understanding what we see. We note the morbid details first—we are so used to hearing of death in the news—and it is only when we concatenate the two together and really understand it that we get that sinking feeling in our stomachs:

‘Wait… Robin Williams is dead? But that is not merely anyone: that is… not even a person. That is someone from my childhood. This is someone who is almost inhuman: he seems (I refuse to use the word ‘seemed’, because it has not set in yet) to have been almost unreal, an eternal being here from the start. It is impossible to imagine that he was ever not Robin Williams, that he was ever not in films, that he was ever not in the collective consciousness of the Western world. For that reason, it is impossible to imagine that he is now not in existence, not conscious: it is impossible to image that he is not.’

II. The process of eulogising someone you have never met 

So we turn, in our collective grief—and it is grief: do not let anyone tell you that your emotions are not authentic, and that you are not suffering—to others, in both real and technological form. We engage in conversations that consist of little more than ‘I can’t believe it: he/she meant so much to me’ and often wish to leave a little tribute on our various online profiles: a simple ‘R.I.P.’ is the most common.

Yet there is a strange etiquette to this action, and an almost nauseas creeping feeling that rumbles when we turn to do it. Somehow, this private and very real experience—this sadness, this feeling of loss, this feeling of a little piece of our childhood and experience being lost—becomes an altogether different thing when we turn to the public sphere.

This is unique to celebrity deaths in particular. Each person has their own relationship to that celebrity (often only in relation to their work or creations), but as soon as one turns online, we realise that almost everyone else has a relationship with that person too. In a meaningful sense, that celebrity has become the property of the public: when one turns to eulogising that celebrity online, one has to accept and interface with that fact.

The nauseas feeling becomes noticeable when we are forced to engage with the performative nature of eulogising someone online. Whilst our profiles are ours—that is, it really has nothing to do with anyone else what we post on our timeline, and we are quite entitled to post something if only to remind our future selves of a momentous event when scrolling through our profile—they are displayed to hundreds or thousands of others. The question that crystallises the oddity of this experience:

‘Hmm… is “R.I.P.” good enough? Is it too cliché? Should I… come up with something funnier? Should I make a joke? Would that be to make light of the situation? I’ve already seen twenty people say “R.I.P.”—and look, someone’s posted a poignant picture there, a contextually sensitive  eulogy that says more than I ever could. Should I stick with “R.I.P.”, or should I say nothing at all?’

Yes: the act of mourning a celebrity often becomes a distasteful scenario in which we are sometimes persuaded, for various reasons, to A) leave a message that isn’t our real feeling, B) leave a message that is heartfelt, though leaving us anxious, C) to leave no message at all, or D) leave a message that not only isn’t our real feeling, but capitalises on the event and tries make a joke at the expense of our own feeling.

The other scenario is that we leave a heartfelt message and feel solemn about it: we feel we have done the right thing.

Yet scenario D) is interesting in particular, and it belies the fact that we judge others on the way in which they mourn celebrities.

I do not have anything particularly negative to say about those who make jokes when a celebrity dies. What does irritate me, however, is the criticism some people engage in when others mourn celebrities en masse.

III. Is it right to criticise those who mourn celebrities?

In short: the reason there is immense grief over individual celebrities—in contrast to innumerable deaths each day due to famine, war, genocide, etc.—is not, I think, a facile one.

Whilst many people—some cynics, some not—jump on those who mourn people they have never met, when there are thousands of people dying at each moment, I believe they are largely misunderstanding the issue when they claim that people are thus ‘immoral and insensitive’.

Before we enter any depth on this issue, let us first admit one thing: there are people—likely many—who really are ‘mourning for the sake of it’. These people are posting their ‘tributes’ in order to fit in, in order to appear caring, in order to follow what others do. Whilst I really have nothing contempt for mindless people of this sort, in this case I won’t criticise them: death is death, and if there is the slightest positive motivation in their mourning (even if it is buffered by the wish to hoard attention online), if it reminds them even slightly of their impending death or the death of someone they have lost or will lose, then we should let them be. Let no one criticise another for mourning: each individual’s relationship with death (both their own and in general) is the profoundest and most complex relationship they will likely ever have: if they wish to assuage or note its effect on them through meaningless character-strokes, we should let them. All will have to face its impossibly deep grasp in the end.

But what of those who really are affected by the death of a celebrity? Are they really being naïve, short-sighted or even absurd, as some would have us believe? I will attempt to answer this question with regards to my own experience. I will use the recent suicide of Robin Williams as an example. This is not only because he died last night (at the time of writing), but because the world-wide outpouring of grief is one of the strongest I have ever encountered—and because I have my own relationship with his works.

IV. Why I (sometimes) mourn (certain) celebrities 

To begin with: I despise the term celebrity.

I find death of all kinds saddening, but I hope some appreciate my honesty in saying that the deaths of some affect me more than the deaths of others. For example, the death of a stranger I have never met and who has never influenced my life in any way is saddening, but the death of one of the people who has shaped my life profoundly—someone like John Lennon, Trent Reznor or Hiyao Miyazaki—would utterly crush me. It is even likely that I would (or, to be unfortunately precise, likely will) mourn their death as if they were a friend.

Why, then, do I feel this way?

Let me discount the stupid answers first. I do not care about someone’s fame. Their social standing and their importance to any given society has no bearing upon me. Though very few people of the people reading this will have heard of Miyazaki, this does not make my relationship to him any different. I may wish that he were more well known in the west, but I will not mourn for him any differently than had he been universally recognised for his masterpieces and contribution to the lives of millions.

This is going to be a brutal answer to some, but it is the truth. It is true for me, and I am quite sure it is true for the majority of those who mourn celebrities. In short, though there are many people in Gaza dying at this moment—the death toll is currently in the thousands—the death of Robin Williams affects me more. Not only do I accept this, I embrace it.

There are several reasons for this fact, of which three are particularly important.

The first is the one that most people are quite conscious of, and it is indeed the most important. Robin Williams has influenced my life far more than anyone in Gaza ever has or will. Discounting the fact that I disagree with many of the people in Gaza on almost every single important issue in life (the existence of God, the meaning of life, my personal code of ethics), it is the positive contribution to my life that causes me to mourn Robin Williams as if I knew him.

(An aside: as someone who spends much of his time devoting his life to his art, I believe very strongly that an artist places the deepest part of their self into their work. In the same way that someone who reads my novels is acquainted with me in a way other who haven’t read them never will be, those who are acquainted with Robin William’s work know the deepest and perhaps the best part of them. An artist leaves a part of their self in whatever they create, and it is this that we as audiences understand intuitively.)

As I mentioned above, the case of Robin Williams is particularly interesting: he is such a well-known figure, his works are so popular and his very persona is so immediately recognisable that it is almost as if he has always been there. I suspect for many people it is genuinely surprising to be reminded that he was, in fact human. It is not that he was a better man than any non-celebrity—his battles with alcoholism attest to the fact that he was as human as anyone—but rather that, presented as he was through the lens of show-business and celebrity culture, the unreal attention given to him disguised the fact that he breathed, bled and reproduced just like any other homo sapiens.

Now that he is dead, and he is no longer conscious, we are shocked into realising that he was human after all.

This shock leads directly to the second reason why I am affected more by his death than the deaths of innumerable others: because his death reminds me of my own. This thought can be presented in a childwish way: ‘If he can die’—that is, someone famous, successful and wealth—‘then that means anyone can… it means I will.’ It is not that I did not know I was going to die; merely that I placed that thought to the back of my mind. Having someone who I have been exposed to very often in my life, especially in my childhood, only makes that truth hit home harder.

The more profound way of framing the shock is by understanding that a piece of my life has been lost. Just like a piece of Robin Williams was left in the Genie, so too a piece of my childhood—of my self—was left in that experience. Looking back on it, and hearing the voice of a dead man, it only reminds me of what I have already lost, and what I am going to lose in the future.

The third reason can be seen as either a disturbing fact about human nature or something quite profound. I tend to follow from one to the other quite logically, appreciating the inability of the mind to dwell on tragedy for too long.

Quite simply, the reason the death of Robin Williams affects me more than those who are dying in Gaza is that my mind cannot comprehend the numbers. The words ‘thousands are dead’ seem like mere words: ‘Robin Williams is dead’ is all-too-easy to understand, and hits me with great force.

This requires no explanation: I can try to imagine the deaths of thousands of people—I can even try to imagine the millions who died in the World Wars, like the three million Soviet prisoners who were executed by the Nazis in World War Two—but my mind doesn’t even come close to appreciating the fact. It is far more effective to focus on just one individual and their loss of life: not necessarily because their death is more important, but simply because it resonates with me.

I, as an individual, am affecting by the events that occur to individuals. I do not consider myself a part of any group: I consider myself an individual in the universe, and when I consider Robin Williams and his final hours, debating, deciding and the execution his suicide, I am struck by the little details. When I am told of a rocket hitting Gaza and blowing children to bits, I can only grimace and pretend that I understand.

This reason intertwines with every other. I am struck by Robin William’s humanity. I am struck by his pain. I am struck by the fact that despite his influence, he has died—his suicide only hammers the point home. I am struck that he, as an individual, died last night. I am struck by the fact that I too will die, and that in my final moments, I will be united with every other individual: for we are all of us alone when we die, locked-in to ourselves as we are.

I believe that my being more affected by Robin William’s death than by the Gazans is not an insult. Just because I mourn one individual more than a group of others does not mean that I am happy that they died. I believe that I am mourning by proxy: I know little to nothing about those that are dying in Gaza, but I know a decent amount about Robin Williams the individual—particularly his artistic work.

By mourning Robin Williams intensely, I am not devaluing the lives of those who have also died: I am merely reaching my capacity to understand and mourn the loss of life all around me. I know much about certain celebrities, and little about strangers: I do not wish death upon anyone. By being affected more by the one I know more about, and who I have a deeper relationship with, I am engaging with death and attempting to appreciate it.

I am unable to process the death of multitudes: by focusing on an individual, I can better appreciate the experience of dying and my relationship to it. By mourning the individual, I am mourning for all those who die in a way I would otherwise be incapable of doing were I not to mourn at all.

I suspect the majority of people who express dismay, surprise and sadness at the death of celebrities are doing something similar.

Though celebrity culture on the whole is a vapid affair and a distortion of humanity, the death of these pseudo-super-humans only brings the persistence of loss closer to home.

It is for this reason that I sometimes mourn celebrities.

V. An optimistic ending

Whilst up until this point I have attempt to explore how and why we mourn celebrities, I would like to end with an interesting thought. I consider it an optimistic thought because it has much to do with the reason celebrities exist in the first place.

Though I dislike the term, I am glad that many of those considered celebrities are artists. They are often actors and musicians. These people have large, influential bodies of works, and are celebrities due to the fame they have ‘earned’ because of their art.

The death of these celebrities in particular is very interesting.

Using Robin Williams once again, I hope to underline the fact that whilst we are affected by the deaths of these people who have often shaped our lives, brought tears to our eyes or smiles to our faces, their legacy is cemented by their death. Though their consciousness ceases to be, they enter the realms of posterity and have a greater influence on the world than they did in life.

Robin Williams was 63. Apart from the exceptions—Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse—most celebrity deaths really are in line with the traditional causes of death: old age, heart disease, cancer.

As such, it seems a fair comment to say that at the moment of their death, they were less creative than at any other time in their life. If this is a fair comment—and I believe this does apply to Robin Williams—then in many ways their death is a curious thing.

I mean no disrespect when I say that Robin Williams was at his least influential at the time of his death. By this I simply mean that his greatest works, the works that created his legacy, are in the past (Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam, etc.). It is not that he was not still creating work, but rather that his new works were less influential, less acclaimed and less viewed than his former works.

To the extent that this applies—there may be better examples, as Robin Williams was purported to be preparing to star in a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire—there is an argument to be made that at the time of his death, Robin Williams’ important work was already behind him. That is, the works that we are left with are the works we already had. We did not expect anything more from him: he did not need to create new work—certainly, he did not need to create anything else on par with his earlier work.

The point, then, is that at the moment Robin Williams died, we did not necessarily lose future works. What we lost was the bundle of atoms that made up the being who made them: what we lost was the person who possessed the memory of making those things; the person to whom our adulation went.

The relevant question is this: what has been lost in the past 24 hours? The work remains, as does the love, as do the memories. What we have lost is Robin Williams the man: but I believe that man is really the loss of his friends and family.

The celebrity—even icon—that we have lost is something quite different. I think it is possible that we haven’t lost him at all: whilst we cannot expect any future works from him (apart from the four films he had already finished but have not yet been released), we have the gems that made him the beloved icon he became.

What we have really lost is our very small, very delicate connection to a person. A person we have probably never met, probably never would have met, and probably wouldn’t have established a close relationship to in any case.

What we lost was Robin Williams, the man—the man we didn’t meet. What we are left with are the works and the legend he has created: and these have been cemented.

My optimistic note is this, then: the very things we loved him for—that we love creative celebrities for—have remained. We can still watch his films and read his words; we can still look at his face and hear his voice. We will never be stripped of our memories of him. Though the man is now dead, the celebrity and the artist as he existed is now committed to posterity, available for us and for future generations.

In that sense, we will never lose him.

When we mourn celebrities, we aren’t really mourning celebrities at all: what we are mourning is a fellow human being, a fellow individual, a kind of friend we wished we had.

For that reason, we should appreciate that shock, that sadness and that feeling of emptiness: though we would likely never have met Robin Williams the man, we now know that we will never meet him: and for that we are sad.

The reason I mourn talented people whose work I love is because I can no longer thank them for the small moments of relief, of joy and of inspiration they have given me.

Though nothing in my life has changed—for the same content is available—I mourn the fact that I no longer share the world with the being that created those works. I can no longer hope to thank them: and so I mourn.

On Israel, Gaza and the Absurdity of Religious Conflict (essay)

I’m not one for writing about politics—certainly not about current affairs.

The situation in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine—specifically Gaza—however, is something that interests me. Partly this is because I see the conflict as essentially a religious one. What has really inspired me to write this, however, is the response I have seen from almost everyone I have encountered—specifically those on social media.

My aim here is simple: to assess the situation using primarily reason, as opposed to numerous statistics (which are contested by both belligerents). The overall question I will be attempting to answer is a suitably provocative one:

Who, in this conflict, is most to blame: Israel, the stronger power, bombarding the tiny Gaza strip, or Hamas, the terrorist organisation in charge of Gaza, who peppers the streets of Israel with rockets of its own?

That I pose this question at all has already separated me from the vast majority of those discussing the issue today. It is worth pointing out that by this I do not mean intelligent commentators: I mean the public, the majority—those who watch the news, hear that Israel is killing children, and rashly decide that it is Israel who are solely in the wrong.

This is a mistake.

Let me be clear: that there are young children—not Muslim children, for no child is capable of possessing a religious belief—being murdered as I write this is a tragedy. That Israel has decided to bomb UN schools is inhumane.

What is equally inhumane, however, are the tactics used by Hamas. Why are Israel targeting hospitals and schools (which, to make it clear, should never be bombed under any circumstances)? Because Hamas purposely plant their rockets and haul of weapons in such places—that is, schools and hospitals—in the hope that Israel will rely on some form of moral aversion to destroying children along with the weapons of their enemies.

This one fact—perfectly tragic and absurd from both sides—is a microcosm of the ‘war’ as a whole. The battle being fought between Israel and Palestine (read: the Jews and the Muslims) is really a battle about religion, religiosity and religious intolerance.

It may seem as though, in using the word ‘intolerance’, that I am presupposing that tolerance is what would yield peace. Far from it. I believe we should not be tolerant of this state of affairs. Not tolerant of the deaths of children and non-combatants. Not tolerant of Hamas’ unspeakably devious attempts to prey upon the morality of their opponents.

What we should not have tolerance for, above all, is religious conflict of any kind.

The real tragedy of this battle—over and above the real lives being lost each moment—is that this battle cannot end. There really is no hope (if one thinks a ceasefire is an ending as opposed to a temporary cessation in the cycle of needless death, then they are as deluded as those fuelling the fight) whilst (organised) religion is taken seriously.

To be clear: Israel should not exist. No religious people should have a country of their own. Israel does, however, exist. That Islam refuses to recognise Israel as a nation is the source of this conflict; make no mistake.

It is true that Israel has one of the strongest armed forces in the world—don’t let their absurd choice of headwear fool you—and it is true that they are disproportionately strong compared to Hamas. But it is also a fact that Hamas provoked this conflict by firing rockets into Israel precisely because the believers of Islam are at war with unbelievers—especially those who are sitting on ‘their’ holy land.

The absurdity of this conflict is that both sides are capable of making sensible appeals for protection—but these claims are underwritten by the absurdity of religious delusion.

Israelis make a sound point in asking the question ‘What would you do if Hamas fired rockets into the UK?’

Gazans make a sound point in asking the question ‘What would you do if parts of the UK were reclaimed as part of Israel?’

Yes: these are points that get to the emotional, political and nationalist nub of the reasoning of those killing and dying in the conflict. But there is something underlying this: the absurdity of religion.

Both the Jews and the Muslims believe they alone are the only true religion: both believe they are entitled to the piece of land upon which Israel is based. (That the West dished out such land to Jews due to their feelings of guilt over the Holocaust is something I can barely fathom.)

Sadly, both of them are tapped deeply into the vein of pride: each believes its people, and its people alone, are God’s chosen people; each believes the other is the definition of sin on earth.

Whilst the conflict may appear to be about national borders and the unnecessary hostility of the Israelis, it is really about something much more fundamental: the national hostility, arrogance and blood-lust of monotheistic organised religions whose holy texts were written by primitive, backwards and uncultured almost-humans.

It is a tragedy that people are dying. It is a tragedy that Israel and Gaza—along with countless other peoples—are at war with one another.

The greatest tragedy of all, however, is that these people are killing, dying and sacrificing themselves for millenia-old stories the simplest child could undermine.

Who is most to blame? Both Israel and Gaza—but only because they, like all religious people, have sacrificed the space in their cognitive facilities where reason could be to an overwhelming intoxicant: the dogmatic poison of organised religion.

Mastery in Art (essay)

(A Step Towards)

Mastery in Art

I.

In moments of quiet reflection, somewhere between confidence and melancholy, a sensitive soul hopes that they will mature as they grow older. They hope that though the vicissitudes of life will make their growth erratic and at times imperceptible, over the course of long stretches of time—over the course of years, of decades, of an entire life—they will, on the whole, be a better proposition. They will be firmer in resolution. They will have learned from mistakes. They will do what they do (if they have indeed chosen what it is they wish to do) better than they did before—perhaps better than anyone else. In short, one hopes that over time, there is a trend towards improvement. For the truly ambitious—and for artists in particular—these sensitive souls hope to attain mastery of their given art form.

Casting aside all notions of arrogance, and perhaps accepting that few (if any) attain true mastery—let alone perfection—it is undoubtedly the case that mastery is a realistic goal. I believe that those blessed with the gift of rational ambition should not only be proud of their search for mastery, but should seek to attain it. Taking this potential goal, an artist—for it is artists that I am addressing here, though the notion of mastery can be applied to many areas of human accomplishment—can move beyond that ethereal, fragile moment of wondering ‘How good will I become? Are my best days behind me? Will I ever become a Great?’ towards a very specific, realistic and logical plan.

Let me be clear: though mastery and greatness are lofty concepts that contain a particular aura, these are achievable goals. These concepts truly exist: if one accepts that there have ever been masters, or have ever been greats (and I am talking here of the Kants, the Shakespeares, the Mozarts) then it is logically possible for a person to become great. The odds do not concern us. The logical possibility of becoming a master, becoming a great, is the transcendental precondition for the attainment of these values.

If we are to approach the subject of attaining mastery and of becoming great, then we must dispel the Romantic aura of these notions. This is not a denial of their value: indeed, their value is the very reason that these goals are worth fighting for, worth devoting one’s life too—and this, coming from the mouth of a man who believes in very little. Rather, if we are to aim at the achievement of these incredible accomplishments, we must stick with logical approach. Yes: though emotion—positive emotions, in this case—may draw one towards seeking mastery and greatness, it will be logic that will see it through. What follows, then, is an attempt to outline one of the necessary steps in attaining mastery—or, at least, making important steps towards it.

I began with the fragile notion of wondering if one was improving—with good reason. In art, there is apparently much mystery concerning the process of creation—even more so with the distinction between what makes a bad artist into a mediocre one, and a good artist into a great one. Perhaps it is because of my particular constitution as an artist-philosopher, but I believe the steady, precise and continuous focus on how one operates as an artist is essential to one’s success. This is not to discredit those who simply ‘let the magic happen’, and do not wish to tinker with that magic—but I am concerned with definite improvement, precisely because I seek to master the forms in which I work. I do not say such analysis is easy, or even predictable: like a great work, though planning can take one far, there is still work to be done. Just as life provides the artist with the materials for their work, practise—and, in this case, self-reflection—allows the artist to improve and make a move towards mastery. I consider this work ‘philosophical’, though I fail to see how a true artist (who is committed to their work) cannot be at least a part-time philosopher. Given that I am a writer, I will focus on the process of writing.

Recently, I have found myself in possession of a new capability. In reality, I have always been able to execute this ability—I have simply been unconscious of it. I am sure that this self-consciousness arose because of the things mentioned above (practise and self-reflection), though I know that it is a direct result of maturity. It is for this reason that I began by describing the sensitive soul who is concerned with improving over time. I consider this new capability to be one afforded solely by maturity, and a perfect example of a moment that such a soul has pin-pointed one particularly momentous occasion on which they improved permanently. As befits a writer, I find it essential to commit this particular capability to paper—for myself, but also for all others who wish to take their art seriously.

This work thus stands at an interesting position: by outlining a capability that I have earned via time and effort, I may perhaps be saving considerable amounts of time for those who read it. That being said, it may well be the case that it requires a particular maturity to truly grasp the concept and put it into practise. A younger version of myself, reading this, may not have known quite what to do with the information. Regardless, it is time to outline this capability. Note that it is applicable in any art, and quite possibly in any sphere of life—but I will instantiate the action in the composition of a short piece of writing.

The capability can be described in controversial, but no doubt accurate terms, as:

The ability to control time. Read more

New ambitions, new goals, new site

me_the_world

Welcome to the newest version of LukeLabern.com.

Whereas before the purpose of the site was to function solely as an online archive of my writing, now that I have finished my degree and can focus on my true goals, I have decided to make to change the emphasis of the site. If you visit the new about page, I explain the goals there. I will quickly provide a concise outline of the purpose of this site, however, and what you will find here.

Apart from the cosmetic changes—the site retains its traditional white, black and purple—the function of the site has changed. It is now an online archive and a blog. I have not kept a blog for around 9 years. I highly doubt the blog will be a standard personal log: I prefer to reveal my mental state through my writing. Rather, the blog aspect of the site will focus on the process of creation, of philosophising and of writing.

In short, this site will focus on my writing (portfolio) and the business of being a writer (blog).

In this way, I hope to expand my audience online at the same time as I begin to make an impact in the world of publishing. My aim here, as always, is to inspire and change the lives of those who read my writing. With this new addition, however, I hope to offer advice and inspiration to other writers, philosophers and creative people. Though all bloggers, if they wish to become successful, should focus on a very particular niche, in the same way that I do not limit my thematic or formal approaches to art, I will not restrict myself in terms of topic. To be clear, however, I will focus on the peculiar profession of being a writer/artist in the 21st Century.

Saying this, all sorts of clichéd images enter one’s mind. It is precisely these images that I wish to dispel. Taking my own life as an example, there is nothing clichéd about it. It is a unique life, a strange life and often a profound life. The authenticity I possess on this subject stems from the fact that my life is centred around my writing and thinking.

Such an introductory blog post as this can only do so much: I will let the content speak for itself. I must mention that I have clear goals for the site’s readership. Whereas before I focused solely on writing to the detriment of trying to grow the site itself, this time I will be aiming to grow it organically. I hope that all who read and are affected by what I write share and spread the word. My primary aim is to affect people meaningfully; an auxiliary aim is to affect as many people as possible; to take advantage of the opportunity the internet affords.

If one is wondering how the navigation is structured, I shall briefly explain. Given that the site already contains 200+ works of art—and is thus content rich—I have organised the site based around portfolios. The full portfolio offers the entire breadth of my work in chronological order; the genre portfolios do the same, but are limited to a respective form (essay, story, poem, etc.). I will organise my blog posts similarly: by month. I will aim to write at least 3 blog posts a week, perhaps increasing this where relevant. Because there are exciting things happening as regards my writing career, I cannot yet commit to a pattern of art—but with a live and flourishing place to place my work, I have no doubt that I will write more than ever.

I look forward to hearing from you in the comments, and I hope you enjoy the work enough to share with others.

— Labern

Bleed Through (poem)

Smuggle me out of the backdoor in blood
My pressure leaking from my pores
Watch me flood everything of yours
My legs like stone, I cannot move
And could I prove it, I’d die in peace
I’m better, I’m better, I’m best
Of all —
                When I don’t listen, nor absorb
The mediocrity all around me.
Smother me in all I’ve done:
The only thing I wish to hide is all of you.
Corrupt my dreams, and we can wake up
To the truth: that I have held it together
For peace — but peace is artificial.
Conflict bubbles up like heat rises:
And you know what they about physics;
It’s overwritten all the things I wish to do.
You know scientists have it all.
(They have nothing.)
Nothing is my domain:
No one understands it, nor ever will:
You can carry on living; I’ve got things to kill.