How the Dead Sing


The first city I walked through in my backwards viewing life voyage, held memories but memories overlaid with new stories and a freshness and vitality that reiterated the natural cycle that death is a part of, and the new life that loss eventually contributes too.

This didn’t stop my awareness of the voices from the past that whispered to me, from various streets and buildings, but somehow prevented the memories from dragging me down.

The second city I visited was different. The boarded shop fronts didn’t help, nor did the alley way with graffiti scrawled on a dark end wall, ‘this town is useless so are you’.

Though there were parts of the city that were green or were decorated with wonderful street art, I only could see the empty places, and the casinos and brothels and massage parlours’ that were seemingly the only buildings that had any pulse…very different from the creative and buzzing town I lived in so many years before.

I visited an old friend and we talked of those who had died, filling in respective gaps with details of how and when.

Later I ran into someone else that I also hadn’t been in contact with for twenty odd years, I hailed him before I registered the broken and ground down teeth and the burst blood vessels in his face. I at first qualified these visual specifics as natural results of time; hey, no one can recognise me from so many years ago, so why should middle age treat anyone else more gently. Then I listened to him talk; the disappointments, the boredom,the  money problems and the drugs. I walked away from him with promises to meet again while wanting simply, to run, as I felt that dark repetitive quicksand close in on me.

Today was better. I went away from the city, walked on a beach where I had participated in a good friend’s hand fast, where I partied hard and was once mistaken for a seal as I drunkenly dozed on the tide-line.

Initially the mists blurred the line between the white sand, the sea and the sky and I felt as if I was walking in a too bright void with no horizon or ceiling and saw dancing lights in front of my eyes.

Later as I left the beach and climbed over the stile to the car park, I was aware the wood in the stile must have once been stepped and staggered and fallen over by  many of my friends.

We all get older and we leave the past behind (unless you are like me and go poking at it with a stick) but I seem determined to ally the voices of the dead with the land, and tell their joint story. A story of a young wild land filled with the madness of that time, and a group of creative sensitive and flawed individuals who fell by the roadside, as similar members of generation after generation have always done; however the heroes aren’t those that died but those that survived and now try and interpret the loss.

Jung posited that addiction was a spiritual disease, an illness where a substance or a thing fills an internal gap. The spirit of those that recover is something that needs to burn bright, and the only way it can heal and progress is to be the antitheses of the destruction, and that can only happen through creative action.

I’m overly analytical I know, but my healing and my spirituality comes from taking the voices of the dead and articulating them. Ignoring the graffiti that says this town is useless, ignoring the falling down brick walks and boarded up shops, and instead lying in the sun on a whited out, timeless beach.

My necessary future entails walking away from the needy past acquaintance who is looking for someone new and different to lift them out of a hole, and instead talk to a friend who though near crippled, still creates boxes covered in pink sequins and paints pictures of cats with rainbow coloured fur.

Does this blog make sense, or have direction or meaning…I have no idea, and I don’t really care, however I do know that I have just written away the darkness.


About charlottejane2002

Author of 'P is for Prostitution', 'The Bloody Sacrifice' and co-editor of 'A Contemporary Western Book of the Dead' which are all published by Mandrake of Oxford. Italian publisher Roberto Migliussi has recently released 'The Sky is a Gateway, Not a Ceiling', a book of Charlotte's collected essays printed alongside images of his own art work. Charlotte is also an artist who creates spiritually directed art works from road kill and found objects. She has had her written work printed in anthologies and various magazines and on line publications and has given presentations at many events and institutions including Edinburgh University and Brooklyn's 'Museum of Morbid Anatomy'. Her art work has been exhibited widely including at London's Chelsea Gallery and The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, and is soon to be shown in New York.
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4 Responses to How the Dead Sing

  1. What an uplifting read.

  2. Seriously? I was worried that it was a bit ‘heavy’, but as I said at the close, the writing of this was my way of chasing out the darkness, which it achieved!

  3. Mark Ramsden says:

    Great stuff, especially the title.

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