Warning: this is a VERY long post, so get a cup of tea or coffee, get comfy and happy reading!
I could not let my latest post be the last one of the year… it did not feel right because I did not really talk about the year that passed, what it brought me and what’s to come. You’d think after such a statement I’d made my case and would start… well, guess again!
We can all agree that 2016 was a real dark year, with the terror that pushed entire families to go into exile; the terror again hitting cities like Nice and Berlin and all the others that I will not enumerate here; it feels like tolerance and kindness were thrown out the window straight into a dumpster. Earth rebelling against all of us in ways of Tsunamis, Tornadoes, Earthquakes etc. Finally, life taking away too soon some of our most beloved artists such as David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and George Michael to name but a few from a very long list, not to mention all the anonymous persons who did not make the first page of the newspapers, but who are, in my opinion, the most important. Yes, 2016 was particularly ruthless.
A few constants
In the midst of all this, six stars have been shining particularly and unfailingly bright all year – still are. They have managed to carry me through my rough patch that started in 2015, they’ve managed to lift my spirit so that I’d fight back and find myself again. Less than a year, yet it feels like I’ve known them all my life… of course, you would have guessed by now that I am talking about Poets of the Fall. In the support system – consisting mostly of my husband, my parents and my friends – that have accompanied me all year, they have been the missing piece ever since I became ill. Once they found their way to my heart though, they took up residence. They are one of the constants that make my life go rounder.
So, what could I possibly write that I have not already written about Poets of the Fall? Fair question… there is something I have been thinking about for a few weeks now while listening to Clearview, but I am going too fast… You see the last few months, or ever since Poets of the Fall entered my life, I’ve had a lot of fun trying to decipher the messages in the lyrics and the true intent of their author, Marko Saaresto. This has been the red thread I have tried to follow, but I believe that I have strayed enough from the path that I set out to follow from the beginning and it is time for me to get back on track. You see, the reason why I love Poets of the Fall‘s music so much is not because they might be saying this or that; rather, how I relate to the words and the music and what I see and feel then. This is where Poets of the Fall‘s powers lie.
Clearview: the book I hear and read every day, even when silence echoes in the night
It might sound ridiculous to many of you, but to me… being some kind of bookworm at heart, it makes all the sense in the world. I relate to Clearview not only as an excellent album, but as a great book too. As such, it has ten chapters with (on the bonus edition) an epilogue closing the circle… of life, maybe. Ok, no second guessing, whatever idea that struck me, I’ll go with it. What’s the story I hear then? Is it a story at all…
Without further ado, I welcome thee to my fantasy!
Chapter one: Drama for Life
Who said there were no map to life? Since we are so many different people within the same species, it is completely irrelevant to be provided with one “user guide” as one might call it, to go through life. We are the ones creating our own map. We all have the capacity to do this and adjust it as we grow. We are amazing in our diversity, with this power of thoughts unequalled by any other species. It is up to us to listen, up to us to embrace the craziness (maybe), the cleverness, the darkness that brings us balance within… this is the only common denominator that we have as human beings: the duality within that makes us so special. Morals and ethics set by the few might be there to help us make the best of this duality… or not. In the end, whatever excuses and lies we make to avoid facing ourselves hinder our path from shining with happiness. At the same time, it is easier to set ourselves up for failure than success… what is success? I believe that if we know who we are, in our essence, then we have achieved the greatest of successes. As long as we refuse to see, we are condemned to Drama for Life. This is a very philosophical first chapter… though I did not say that my fantasy was fiction…
Chapter two: The Game
Who are we? How do we define ourselves in a world ruled by appearances and superficiality? How do we escape the “Puppet Master“? From the moment we are born to the day we die, we are told – or shown – that great success goes hand in hand with money. The more we have, the better it is… that way, we can buy things, dream houses, dream vacations, dream cars etc. If we fall into the trap of believing such nonsense, we are doomed to a life that means absolutely nothing. I am not saying that we should reject any of it, but setting the boundaries between what is important and what is not will undeniably prevent us from becoming puppets. Nothing in this world should have the power to decide what matters in our stead. We are what matters. Sacrificing love to a mirage of ourselves, is no way to live. We don’t have to play The Game. This might sound like fiction, but you are still reading my fantasy…
Chapter three: The Child in Me
If I’ve played the game, I have been burnt with the flame of foolishness more than once. I have learnt from it, but how many of us can say that with pride? When we were children, we had this vision that life was beautiful and that happiness was a given. We believed the world to be grand and we would find our place as easily as a cherry on a cake. Then we grew up and started playing a game for which we did not know the rules… we got lost in this universal illusion that is ruled by an invisible “Puppet Master“. What if we could go back to the age of innocence? what if we could breathe life into our inner-child again so that we could see life with his / her eyes again? Would that make us childish or wiser? I have recently found The Child in Me and we have long conversations together, mostly at night… Does she influence my every move, I like to think that she does sometimes at least. Being a “grown-up” should not mean forgetting our dreams of true love… it should mean casting away any dreams… and the “Puppet Master” will have to do without me hanging on his strings.
Chapter four: Once Upon a Playground Rainy
What is life all about? Is it a succession of seasons when we have to grow up a little every time, abandoning Neverland. Responsibilities and duties take over the dreams, and no matter how hard we fight to hold on to them, we have to live a life that does not suit us for the most part. It is a tricky thought; the thing with growing up is that we often forget ourselves in the process. We think that we have to chose, we are told that we have to… but, who says? The “Puppet Master“? To hell with him… because in the end, when we do as he says, life becomes a parody, an erzats of life where nothing is genuine… memories of ourselves as children fighting the necessity of growing up, it does not make any sense. The result could be ludicrous if not catastrophic. Let life be a parody, we still can have fun on our playground sunny.
Chapter five: Children of the Sun
There is nothing I could say without plagiarising Poets of the Fall. So instead, and as I have quoted in other posts, I let you ponder on the following words:
Chapter six: Shadow Play
The thing is that as long as you do not take control, you will be but a shadow of yourself. You will go through a life that is made of papier-mâché, where you think you know the rules but nothing could be further from the truth. Just go along with the flow of shadows, like sheep with the herd; follow, do not question and your life will only be a Shadow Play without any meaning. Remember who you are because, at some point in your life you knew… spotlights and false promises made you forget all about it, so remember.
Chapter seven: Center Stage
Remember who you are and in the silence of your life, let the dreams flow through you so that little by little you may believe in them again. As your beliefs grow stronger and give you the will to stand up for yourself, show what you are made of and you are beautiful. Dream but do not linger without making them happen, or you will ultimately betray yourself and this is what the world will see. A ghost of what you could be but not who you are.
Chapter eight: The Labyrinth
When all the ideals are said yet left undone, where do you go from there? It is a fate we all face, the one to find our own way through the lies and our dreams. There are so many paths, so many voices, so much advice… whom do we trust, what line do we follow… every now and then, we all encounter the doubts thinking that it is impossible to make it; that the dreams are just that: dreams. As we sink into this maze of illusion, surviving the chaos needs some wit… dare casting the shadows away, undo the knots because strangely enough this is how you’ll prevail The Labyrinth.
Chapter nine: Crystalline
We all make mistakes, take bad decisions, turn the wrong corner… but ultimately, all this makes us who we are and give our life a strange sense of wonder. The essential, if you have not yet found it for you are still looking for yourself, will come when you least expect it… as long as you believe it. You are the one in control, so go on ahead and experiment, experience life for what you are shown and what you chose. This is what makes you You and you are amazing.
Chapter ten: Moonlight Kissed
It beats the odds of a life of regrets. Day dreaming of days that could have been wonderful, but what in fact remains is a life wasted in the never ending struggle the world is forcing us to fight. There is no do over, but at the same time, it is never too late. The past is what it is, the future is the flow coming towards you. We’ll never know what it holds unless we embrace it with curiosity and great expectations… no matter how long or short lived it will be. It holds a world and a life of wonder and magic.
Epilogue: Drama for Life (Radio Edit)
The Epilogue completes the circle and boldly suggests: OK, let’s do this all over again and try to get it right this time – if it were at all possible. After all, is this not the irony of life from start to finish? When the finish line is but an illusion in time… time being perfectly non-existent… what other choice do we have than endlessly start all over again, from one generation to the other?
How fitting as 2016 ends to make way to 2017! I wish you all a very Happy New Year, hoping that no matter what happens during the next 365 days, you will experience at least one extraordinary feeling, emotion… something that will make you feel amazing, because believe me, even if I do not know who you are, I know one thing for certain: you are amazing. I believe it with all my heart. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
Be well and take care of yourselves,
Happy New Year!
Thank you Marko, Olli, Markus, Jani, Jaska and Jari for this wonderful musical year.