Are we living an artful life? Or is life simply imitating art?
Like most things it is probably a little of both. Somewhere in the in-between. The gray area.
We all have things we relate to. We are all capable of creativity. Contrary to what some think. By living we are creating something. Our very existence, the day-to-day happenings, comings and goings are interconnected bits and bobs that come together and become memories. Nostalgia. A way to look back. The heartaches and the joys. The good. The bad. The tragic and the ugly. They all play a part in our tale. And become the stories of our lives. Our lives become a patchwork of fables and yarns. Nursery rhymes and folklore. Campfire conversations and annoying anecdotes.
Sometimes it is all poetry.
And sometimes these stories are truly fairy tales.
Like the one I am about to tell you. My spin on a Norwegian fairy tale, first published in the 1840s.
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The Brothers Gruff: Part 1
Once Upon A Time…
There were three brothers. Brother One. Brother Two. Brother Three. And a bridge. And a troll.
The brothers were all very different. And yet the same. To see them you would not know they were kin. If you know them, you are certain they are. None of the brothers like confrontation. They all avoid the bridge. But not necessarily because they share a fear of the supposed troll. Brother One is the oldest. Followed by Two and then Three. Naturally.
Once upon a time the supposed troll was a friend of the brothers. Once upon a time the brothers all relied on the troll. Asked for advice and favour from the troll. But that was all once upon a time. This is now.
He did not live with the other brothers. This distance was difficult. It was hard for him to relate to the other brothers. He and Brother Two maintained a level of contact. Mostly through a very strained and competitive relationship. Brother One was the oldest, of the brothers. But the role didn’t suit him. He was far too distracted. Not what most would call a leader so it is no wonder the others didn’t follow.
Brother One was athletic and good looking. Brother One was all about the experience. Not gaining it. Living it. He grew up alone. Terribly spoiled. He was singular, no one to share or compete for attention with. At least not on any kind of regular basis. So he truly thought the world revolved around him. It is hard to put all of the blame on him. Children do not enter the world with such notions of themselves. The behaviour was the result of how he was raised. But when he reached adulthood and came to all the realizations I share with you now, he did nothing. So. He is partially at fault.
Brother One was often thought to be unintelligent. Hyper. Distracted. But he was – as many are – not what he appeared. He was smarter than he let on. Much smarter. He was disorganized and scattered, so others stepped in and offered help. He came to realize he could live for the experience, and deny the responsibility, of life because someone would always intervene before the situation in question expired.
Brother One was a coaster. Sailing the never troubled waters with ease. And charisma. Brother One had a good heart deep down. He would help anyone who asked. He made friends easily. He was fun to be around. And always left a lasting impression. Always.
One day Brother One found himself in a difficult position. And in need of help. So he leaned on someone.
He had a difficult position. His rank was always in question. He was once close to Brother One. Though it was not a relationship that would endure in that form. There was always tension between Brother One and himself. And he never sought out Brother One for anything.
Brother Two was athletic. And in more ways than Brother One, though he never got the accolades. Brother Two, like his brother, was not an academic. He loathed anything scholastic. Brother Two was handsome. He had swagger and lots of personality. And cunning. He was smart and sneaky. There was a darkness to Brother Two that cloaked him. Masked his eyes. Masked a lot of things. And when he reached adulthood he completely understood what it all meant. And he used it. To his advantage. Always.
For a long time he was the youngest brother. He relished that spot. It was his saving grace for a long time. Until it wasn’t his anymore. Until he was promoted. And when this happened Brother Two was old enough to understand what the change in rank meant.
Brother Two was always hard to place. He was angry. Deep down it was the greatest emotion he had. He was judgemental and harsh. But he always had moments of levity. And humour. He struggled to find the balance.
One day Brother Two decided he needed a target. Somewhere to focus his anger. And then, he made a choice.
He was the baby. Youngest of the three brothers. But the biggest. He was different from his older brothers. He had determination unlike Brother One and different than that of Brother Two. He was much younger than them and, at times, that chronological gap proved difficult to close.
Brother Three was a delightful child. Cute and charming. He was fun to be around. A loving little boy. Brother Three took a while to find his legs. He was more sensitive than the others. Yet more confidant. But like the others he was not academically inclined. A master at mechanics. He could build a car from nothing, they say. He is marvellously generous and kind to animals, they say.
His position was not an easy one. He was often too young to understand what was happening. Too young to form his own opinions about things. And too young to keep the memories as he grew older. For as he grew older he began to change. He grew angry. He fell under misguided influences. Brother Three trusted too much the stories told by others. And did not seek out knowledge for himself. Opportunities to do so came and he opted to ignore them. Unaware (or perhaps aware) of the weight those decisions would hold later on. Shame.
Brother Three is still a child, they say. Too young to really understand what he is doing, they say. But what Brother Three does not realize is he is being given a gift. He benefits from all of the mistakes made before him. He is offered the chance to really ease into adulthood. That gift is something not all of us are afforded. Many are held to task for less. And at a younger age. Brother Three may be immature and taking advantage of that.
Brother Three was close to someone once. He grew angry overtime. Perhaps because of the loss he suffered.
One day Brother Three ran out of time. Because he did not pay attention. And that will be a greater loss.
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In the end I think it is fair to say that a life in progress is art. There is no imitation. We live and we grow. We evolve and change. That forces the creation of something. The next thing. And by doing that another thing is made.
We are all capable of making something. Sometimes it is a disaster. Sometimes it is glorious success.
Sometimes you have no idea what the outcome will be.
But that is a story for another day.