These microcosms, these snap shots of tiny paper universes, seem to amuse me the longer I look at each one. The stationary and unmoving characters might be frozen in time, static if you will, but that doesn’t stop my rampant imagination from filling them with dynamic personalities. Each scene is a page of book; very curious and lacking context when alone. I can’t help but set the scene and live vicariously through my little paper people. I found these intensely intricate miniature models in the gift store of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum displayed among the prints and postcards of various works that were being featured. I like to image a scenario where at night, when the clerks leave and the lights are turned off, the small people come to life and partake in the same adventure and drama that we all do.
Over the next few days I want to explore these secret universes. Explain their pocket-sized lives in a tiny 300 words or less. My take is of course just one possibility and if you see the scenario unfolding in a different way, then by all means share. So let’s explore these tiny worlds, these paper universes.
It was a warm and blustery day in late September. Summer by all accounts, with autumn only gaining influence once the sun departs in the evening. The Ginkgo trees however, betray the season’s intentions as they are always the first to change. I’m not really scared about going to school by myself anymore; it was just those first couple of days really. I’ve told my mom that, but I think she’s the one who’s scared of letting me go to school by myself. So I let her take the bus with me and remain her darling daughter for a little while longer. A decade from now we’ll both be glad we held hands as we shared this sunny September afternoon together.
My muscles move without thought, my skin is moist and my shirt is soaked through. My body is warm and all I can hear is the blood pounding through my temples. I let the ball fly. There is no silent epiphany, no thoughts as to how I got here or how much this moment will mean to me when I am too old to run anymore. I don’t think of my game or my family, this isn’t a movie and there is no internal dialogue: there is only movement. For an athlete, life is movement: Life is a moment. And in this moment I can focus on these small pure perfect acts, forgetting about any other distracting aspect of my life. A cathartic kick, a purging play, an aseptic action, followed by an emptying exhale. The movement of life in a moment.
The Amazing and Important Worldview of Brian Mayfair
Some say my worldview is narrow, some say my worldview is endless. To external eyes my life is simple and safe, they don’t understand the dangers I face. I find and grab a stick before I start off across the playground, just in case I fall victim to a pool of quicksand. I know not to drink from the fountain on the far side of the park because its pipes run straight out into the ocean, and if we drink too much it might kill all the fish. Tommy said if we kill all the fish then the sharks might be in the deep end of the pool, and we’ll need to stay in the shallows, or at least within arm’s reach of an edge. For now, I’m concerned about two things: one, not falling off my swing because the sand below me looks a little wet and I can’t remember the last time it rained, which means one thing (quicksand), and two, these naughty squirrels running across the swing sets. Ever since Rob threw a baseball at them I think they don’t like us anymore. I can’t hear them but you can just tell that they’re planning on getting us back. I think we should build a small house of sticks for them to live in, and each give them a part of our lunch to say sorry, but Peter Dinkle say its stupid. I’ll just do it by myself later. I have hours of daylight left before I hear my father holler my name across the backyards of this neighborhood to call me home. Then I’ll hustle home at dusk, shouting and waving goodbye to all the familiar faces and places I pass.
I haven’t seen the sun for over 60 days in this barren hellscape of ice, wind, and snow. Struggling through ‘traffic’ just to dive into the cold sea, where I don’t even want to be anyways. The icy bath is full of seals and sea lions, and other total assholes who would like nothing more than to grab me in their disproportionally powerful jaws. All this just to choke down a few panicked and underfed fish. That is if the ice doesn’t freeze over and drown us all to death. Then I’ll spend a day of my life waddling back over inhospitable tundra, just so I can vomit into my ungrateful son’s gaping mouth. I can’t remember the last time I had a meaningful conversation with my wife or anyone else on this godforsaken wasteland of a continent. Am I the only who really has a problem with this whole shitty situation? Doesn’t anyone else give a fuck?
My bones ache and my heavy eyes sag. I know I’m just a penguin, but holy shit is it fucking cold out. If I had access to, or my body could properly process, alcohol I would give up this life of a poor fisherman, give up the sea entirely and just quit man. Fuck it. Some days are better than others, but when they’re like today I hope I just dive directly into some moderately sized predator’s jaws, some ignorant brute of a seal who isn’t even the on the top of the food chain and is nursing a bad Napoleon complex. I just dive right in and he quickly snaps my worthless avian neck. It’s still dark in Antarctica, and it’ll be another month before sun breaks the horizon again.