Artwork: Leo

The first piece of a conceptual project I was commissioned for. This represents the zodiac sign Leo. I wanted to get across the whole sense of individuality and feelings of not quite belonging where-ever you go.

Overall it went pretty well, a lot of pen and line errors, especially in the skeletal portion. Had a lot of fun and learned some new techniques with watercolor.

11×8 inches on blick watercolor paper. Done in watercolor and ballpoint pens. The word are an overlay comprised of typed text and a page from my dictionary.

Orphan2

The One thing I got Right (Poem)

The One thing I got Right
_____
You lay there and seem,
A goddess to me.
Vibrant deadly stream,
the painting from my dreams,
fire-born Seraphim.

You are the one mistake,
I won’t break,
because kissing you,
Brings me closer to heaven.

And the way your breath,
Ignites winter’s air,
Could save me from death.
This time that we share,
the truths we lay bare,
All let me know,

You are the one thing,
I did right,
the only mistake,
I’ll never take,
For granted.

Yeah,
we’re measured in heart-beats,
as we start flying away.
My love,
piece me together,
and tell me to stay.
I don’t know what’s holy,
but baby we are.
Forget the darkness,
that pain of yesterday,
let me sew you together,
as love lights the way.

Stay here with me, and there’s nothing we can’t create.
Tell me you need me, because that’s all that I say,
Your love is like heaven, so show me the way.
____________________

Quotes of a Cynic #19

A: Why are all these stories so sad?!

Blue: There are two overarching classifications of narrative; comedies and tragedies. I find one of those to be un-apologetically boring. Satire’s alright…I guess.

____________________

PS: I do realize how meta this is.

-Bluebeard

 

A few reasons why “13 Reasons Why” doesn’t actually promote suicide.

Preface: This is an atypical post, as Bluebeard is an art project, not a platform for media commentary. I write stories, I’m the opposite of a diplomat, abrasive, even. Yet, I’m inclined to defend this series’ integrity. This show is an exception, in many regards. It handles topics most people won’t touch in a deft and admirable fashion. I’ll spare you a half-assed plot summary and get to the point. If you haven’t seen it, and you have access, I highly recommend it.

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It’s not an easy thing, to balance entertainment and tragedy. Catharsis is one of the most misunderstood and least accepted precursors of joy. The concept is this; without negativity, without different emotions, and without pain, joy would be meaningless. A constant and uninterrupted joy is the equivalent to a never ending supply of heroin at your bedside. It would be fake. Light is only recognizable amidst darkness, so to speak. This is why I respect ’13 Reasons Why’ and what it does.

It creates a meaningful dialogue in a country where, frankly, we suck at feelings. It’s 2017 and people still say “Commit Suicide” like it was a crime, a murder. It’s not, and has not been in the United States since the ’80s. We treat it like it’s something dirty, we don’t educate our youth about the dangers of depression and self-harm. We ignore the victims who suffer from it every day, telling them to suck it up, because we’ve cultivated an individualistic sink-or-swim community where many would prefer to see their friends fail than see their friends surpass them. It’s this ignorance an repression that ultimately leads to higher rates of suicide in every demographic.

’13 Reasons Why’ is a perfect example of what we need more of; exposure. You can’t fight what you don’t understand, as a chemist, that fact has been drilled into my mind for years. You don’t cure cancer without an intimate knowledge of the mechanics surrounding the mutations that cause it (cyclins, P53, etc.). Yet, research on suicide and depression continues to be given a backseat to things like developing new tanks, war-machines, and war-heads because if it can’t knock the earth from its orbit, it isn’t explosive enough. The best way to combat depression is to talk about it.

As someone who has suffered from depression, as someone who’s lost someone close to their heart to depression, and someone who has thought about suicide at least once a week for the past five years, I can tell you with near-perfect certainty that the one thing that has been effective for me was having someone to talk to. Someone who wouldn’t call me an attention whore. Someone who wasn’t going to judge me for what I might be going through, however trivial it may appear from the outside looking in. Those people aren’t easy to find, because we are socialized to value stoicism and strength over emotion and introspection.  The result of that, by the way, is that the cruel and stupid flourish at the expense of the thoughtful. If you’ve ever been beaten up by over four people on the playground while the aid turned the other cheek, you know what I’m talking about.

The argument against ’13 Reasons Why’ is this: Hannah’s suicide romanticizes self-harm, the tapes glorify suicide, makes it appealing, thereby increasing suicide rates.

Ironic to see this coming from the same news outlets that have a field day when when some kid shoots up a school. Glorifying school shootings by making the shooter famous and showing their face to everyone gives the killer what they wanted. This isn’t that. Hannah’s characterization is slowly revealed through the tapes, the (extremely valid) reasons she was in pain. One thing above all led to her decision, though. That was the fact that no-one was there for her. She tried, very explicitly, to reach out. Nobody gave a fuck. Instead they continued to abuse her, both verbally, and in one grim instance, sexually.

That’s the point. That’s all there is to it. Compassion and the simple act of being there, the act of not presuming to know what somebodies going through.

Not everything people are saying is wrong, her suicide scene was romanticized, in the artistic sense of the word. It was an artistic and cathartic scene that made me cry. But romanticizing something doesn’t glorify it, it’s the act of making it relatable. It’s the context that matters.

’13 Reasons Why’ accomplished something when they made depression, pain, and suicide relatable to a mass audience. The people who jump on it and condemn its intentions are the same callous, sensationalist, and opportunistic folks who’d sell everything they are for success. Success is relative. Means do not always justify ends.

I’m not arguing Hannah’s character is perfect, because she’s not. She has flaws that inhibit other peoples ability to help her, most notably Clay, the socially inept protagonist. But who doesn’t have issues? Who doesn’t have the occasional self-destructive moment? People who say they don’t ever have painful moments need to take their masks off and look in the mirror.

Another salient point is that just because Netflix produced something that contains an instance of self-harm, doesn’t mean Netflix is trying to get people to kill themselves. That same logic only holds when applied to everything, including murder, crime, and things a whole lot worse than depression that are regularly aired without criticism. We do this, this taboo stuff. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s ironic and damaging. The reason people get mad that a suicide is depicted in a story is the same reason that people get mad when there is nudity. All the while mass-murder and unapologetic gore become normalized.

I’m not arguing against depictions of violence or further censorship, rather, that people start giving more credence to actual context than click-bait titles. ’13 Reasons Why’ doesn’t convince people to kill themselves, if anything, it’s a positive step in combating the enigma of depression,

Maybe it could help our society grow in a positive way that encourages youth to be open instead of smothering uncomfortable emotions and pretending they don’t exist. That’s when the damage is done, when you bottle the negativity up. This show simply tries to alleviate that built up societal pressure. One thing it won’t do, however, is convince psychologically healthy individuals to up and kill themselves. There are reasons for suicide, it’s never trivial.

 

Saving Hadley: Chapter 18

An interesting chapter, I had fun re-working some of the subtler mechanics here. It introduces some of the first adventure elements in the story, something that’s more salient in Act 3. I think the chapter would be very dark without the elements of comic relief. It has a bi-polar structure in a lot of ways, and it experimental in that regard.

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/prologue-2/

Enjoy!

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XVIII

Present Day-Silgan

            Silgan locked the apartment behind him, anxiety high, as his thoughts raced for a solution. Where do I go now? The Governor and the Police are going to be on my trail once they find out about Harold. Silgan had forced Harold’s limp body into the industrial-sized freezer near the back of his room, neglecting the blood-stains in the kitchen. He’d also grabbed Harold’s house key, which he now used to open Harold’s apartment. The room was huge, and disgusting. Old clothes, pizza boxes, soda cans, and ambiguously stained porno-mags littered the floor. I need to find the phone he was using to communicate with Haskell. If they used a text-based channel, I can throw Haskell off my trail. Silgan only had forty minutes to meet Alex, and an hour and twenty minutes until Nessa would, hopefully, awaken.

Hurrying forward, he examined his surroundings, scanning for loose electronics. Harold’s bed was a luxurious looking king-size, disheveled and blood-stained. I don’t want to know whose blood that is. There was a ladder in the back corner of the room, leading to a small loft. Silgan set his briefcase and duffle down before climbing the ladder. Reaching the top, he found a small desk with an intense looking desktop PC. Probably has crazy specs. Approaching, Silgan noticed that Harold was still logged in. Hurrying, he sat at the computer and looked for any open communications services. All that was open on the desktop was an amazon shopping cart, filled with differently colored knives and an unsavory looking pornographic film from the nineties, entitled, ‘Rubber Ropes’. The fuck, Harold. Using the dark web to buy porn? Disgusted, Silgan closed the tor browser, navigating to the “advanced search bar” where he unchecked all of file types aside from the common note taking extensions. Then, he typed “Password”. The first result popped up as a notepad file labeled ‘Passwords and sht’. Harold, you always were a dumbass. Silgan clicked the file and reopened dot onion browser. Choosing the “maximum mirroring” option, Silgan opened his personal email server, before clicking back to the file. There were eight different passwords:

“Sinusoid2Rhinodick”

“RobertEL33reborn” No surprise there, I knew he was a supremacist scum-bag.

“BiglilBrain1969”

“569142”

“HaggardHaroldDomYourSub” You wish, Harold.

“ElvisKilledTupac1996”

“PickleRickReturns2019”

“Passwordword”

Amused, Silgan drafted an email to himself, and clicked ‘browse for files’. He searched “Passwords and sht” and attached the file before pressing send. Closing the email server, he shut down the computer. Getting to his knees, Silgan crawled behind the desktop and under the desk. Shame, it really is a nice computer. Silgan reached into the open system and unplugged the hard-drive before removing it entirely. He secured it in his pants pocket for the time being. I’ll destroy it later.

Crawling back, Silgan stood, and turned to the ladder. Carefully, he lowered himself onto the small, wooden ladder, before climbing down. Next, Silgan walked towards a small night-sill to the right of Harold’s ominously stained bed. A green Digitex alarm read 8:20 AM, but the rest of the sill was empty. Silgan reached down, opening the sill’s drawer. Oh, come on, man…fuck. The drawer was filled with various sex toys, male and female, two of which had dark-black blood-stains. Silgan backed two steps away, kicking the drawer closed. Looking to the bathroom, Silgan thought of places where he’d hide an important phone. Do I really need to see what Harold has in his bathroom? Nobody deserves that kind of exposure. Maybe later. Decidedly, Silgan moved around the foot of the bed towards Harold’s three-drawer-dresser. Opening the first drawer, Silgan ruffled the clothes around, searching for any solid objects. Nothing. Silgan closed the drawer before opening the middle. Rummaging, Silgan paused, suddenly grateful for his latex gloves.

There were sticky pictures of a young woman Silgan didn’t recognize. Could this be the woman he mentioned? Turning through the photos, Silgan started to feel sick. The photos, clearly amateur, clearly predatory, and clearly taken without permission. The first was a shot of the small, brunette, woman through what was presumably the window to her kitchen. The second, pictured the woman, smiling, surrounded by other people in an outdoor hot tub. The point of view of the photo was disconcerting, as there were trees creeping into the side of the frame. He was stalking her. The next three photos were like the first two. The sixth, however, showed the poor woman sedated, retrained in an upright cross-like position. The seventh, from the same scene, pictured her awake, clothes torn, tears streaming, and blood gushing from several small wounds. Silgan had to put the pictures down after the eighth, in which the woman, still on the cross, was screaming as a small blow torch was being held to her breast.

Silgan tore the sick, darkroom style, photos to shreds before throwing them into the nearby trash, where they belonged. You sick and perverted bastard. You really did deserve to die, no regrets there. Moving back to the wardrobe, he opened the final drawer. Ruffling the clothes, he found nothing besides a few boxes of cigarettes. Turning, Silgan headed to the bathroom, directly across from the wardrobe. As Silgan approached, he noticed the lights were on. Interesting, all the other lights were off. Why leave the bathroom lights on? Apprehensive, Silgan pushed the door, letting it swing open. Christ be spared the cross…There were towels covering the entire bathroom floor. The showers curtain was drawn, a pale hand protruding from out behind it. Silgan noticed a phone on the bathrooms sink. Moving forward, he grabbed it, and stashed it in his left suit-pocket. Do I even want to know what’s behind that curtain? No. Creeping forward, Silgan grasped the curtain, and pulled it aside.

The blaze returned. How could he do this to a person? In the tub, rested the remnants of the woman from the photos. Her midsection and legs had mostly dissolved in the corrosive acid. Probably a mix of hydrofluoric and fluorosulfuric acid. The bubbling gives it away. Her face had a permanent expression of fear and disdain on it, as her upper body sank lower and lower, dissolving. The right-hand Silgan had seen, was detached from the body. The acid had eaten through the bone of her forearm before she had sunk low enough to pull the rest of the hand into the tub. A large, diamond, ring remained on her slight, young hand. Poor girl.

Crestfallen. Silgan left the bathroom and opened the burner-phone. It was locked. Quickly, remembering the password list, Silgan pulled out his smartphone before opening his email app. The smartphone quickly downloaded the notepad file. Glancing over the list, only one password could be entered, because the burners animated keyboard had no alphabetical input. Holding his breath, he typed: ‘569142’. He smiled as the phone played a small unlock animation, leading to the home screen. He navigated to the phones history, which contained texts to a lone number.

Interestingly, any reply from the number was either deleted, or nonexistent. Well, that makes things simple, doesn’t it? The most recent sent message read, “He’s just left the room” dated today, and sent at four thirty AM. Silgan typed out a quick message, similar in style to the previous messages “It sounds like he’s gone to sleep.”

Saving Hadley: Chapter 17

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/prologue-2/

A brief chapter, but one that provides both context and an introduction to one of the major antagonists of Act 3.

Enjoy!

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XVII

November 1st, 2021-Nessa

            They’d strapped Nessa to an uncomfortable chair after giving her a clean set of clothes. The room had an obnoxiously bright fluorescent light that accented the concrete-mirror structure of the room with something that felt like despair. From one prison to another, at least these clothes are comfortable, I suppose. After the soldier had knocked her out, she’d woken up in what appeared to be a hospital, but the presiding doctor wouldn’t answer her questions as he performed his various examinations and blood tests. Apparently, something in her tests had made whoever these people were decide to keep her alive, for now.

A few moments passed before the white painted door opened. A man in an expensive looking black suit walked in, smiling. His strong jaw was accentuated by grey eyes, grey-black hair, and a grey five o’clock shadow. Enthusiastically, he asked, “So! What’s it like being the daughter of the infamous Donovan Sullie!”

Confused, Nessa said, “Who? I don’t have a father, sir.”

The man looked up, pursed his lips while jutting his jaw forward, feigning a thoughtful expression. Looking back to Nessa, he said, “Well, you seem polite, but I’m not sure I believe you. Obviously, you were in quite the predicament when we found you, but I still can’t believe Sullie would sell his own daughter without a good reason. What’d you do to piss him off?” Who the fuck is this arrogant piece of shit?

Annoyed, Nessa repeated “I don’t know a Donovan Sullie. Where am I?”

The man’s smile curled, cruelly, as he said, “As a whore, strapped to a seat, do you really think you’re the one who gets to ask questions? Now I’m going to have my best two boys down here tomorrow morning to get the truth out of you, no matter what you say now. Honestly, I just wanted to meet you to see if Donovan would even want you back, which he clearly, does not.”

As the man turned to leave, Nessa shouted, “You act all posh, but I know you, you’re just another fucking coward, hiding behind money while you abuse children, pretending you’re a real man…Scum!”

The man paused, and called over his shoulder, “Now I know how that gutted corpse got in your room. I like that fiery spirit, do me a favor, never lose it, Nessa. You may refer to me as Governor Haskell, of the state of Massachusetts.” What the fuck?