Monday, 25 July 2016

“No one is unhappy at Seed…” (+ Short Poem)


Seed by Lisa Heathfield evinces the struggle of human growth and the dangerous product of a restricted upbringing. The protagonist, Pearl, resides at Seed: a nature-worshipping community isolated from the poisonous Outside. With Papa S. as their leader, values and beliefs are contorted and become one-dimensional. Yet with new arrivals at Seed, the conformist society once based on fear, deceit and control is challenged, questioning everything Pearl has ever believed to be true.

Heathfield’s oxymoronic portrayal of Seed was particularly interesting to read. The idyllic description polarises the sinister reality, therefore blinding the community and preventing them from uncovering the truth in order to maintain passivity. I have always been intrigued by books about manipulation of the mind. There’s just something about them that I find so fascinating, hence why Seed has had a lasting impact, especially through the questions it has forced me to ask.

I think one of the most heart-breaking thing, for me anyway, was reading about Pearl’s naivety throughout the book. She has lived at Seed, she has idolised Papa S. and has worshipped Nature her entire life. This is all she has ever known. Imagine someone telling you that apples are in fact full of toxic chemicals and your heart doesn’t actually pump blood around your body. You’re simply going to dismiss it as complete nonsense aren’t you? So to me, disbelief being Pearl’s primary trait is understandable, as seeds have been planted in her head since an early age and have been watered with a dangerous ideology, and are now further suppressed from being able to fully bloom. And it is for this reason that I simply cannot dislike Pearl. Her character rendered a sense of poignancy within me and I found it unsettling to read, making me root for Pearl more than ever; I became desperate for her to find the freedom that she deserved.


It wasn’t long before I realised that this novel is perhaps a criticism of God and about putting our blind faith in an omnipresent being. As a strong believer of God, I didn’t like this, but I was still curious, still open to what message Heathfield was trying to give through her words. Papa S. can simply say that Mother Nature told him to do something, making it automatically justifiable, the same way a lot of actions are based on God’s wishes. Heathfield makes it seem as though this is a terrible thing and that following something that can’t be proven to even exist is wrong. Which it is, in the fictional world of Seed. But is it wrong in the real world, where religion can often offer so much guidance, peace and comfort?

The concept of a restricted world reminded me of Room by Emma Donoghue, a story told from the perspective of a five year old who has lived with his mother in one room his entire life. Just like Pearl, it is all that he knows and it’s shocking for someone like me to read, as I’m lucky enough to have received a good education and am able to make judgements based on more than one interpretation. But is that really true?

The dark nature of the cult in which Pearl belongs to feels all too familiar to the world we are currently living in, with corrupt leaders and suppressed ideologies. But do they perhaps give us a sense of belonging, safety, comfort? Or are we simply too naïve, or perhaps too scared, to believe anything else?

Which finally brings me to the question, are we living in our very own Seed?


***


I also wrote a short poem inspired by Seed…


Sunlight reflects against sequins
Dotted along her daffodil yellow dress,
Light flies like shooting stars of hope as
She spins in frivolous twirls with a spring in her step;
Laughter intersperses through the air
And her hair dances with the wind before she lands
In a giggling heap on the ground.
Fingers softly dig into the soil beneath,
Connecting her to her soul, breathing in and out in sync
With waving flowers of purple and pink  
Hidden between the grass holding secrets;
She whispers, “I’m free, I’m free…”
With a smile as bright as the light in her heart,
Blinding the monsters that creep in the woods from afar.


***


I really hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on Seed. Even if you haven’t read the book (which I highly recommend you do!) I would love to know what you think in response to the themes addressed in the novel.

Do you like book-related posts? If so, you can read my thoughts on The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger here.


{Photo source: here}

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Dirty Light


June concluded far too quickly. Before I knew it, along came July, bringing dancing droplets of summer rain with her. She left the city soaked with that rich earthy scent that’s impossible not to love, transforming my world into a still and silent slumber, with golden energy imbued in the air from the sun’s awakening.

I have always been appreciative of that morning light. The dirty kind. The kind that intensifies gradually and filters through the specks of peppered dirt on the window, the kind that still manages to bleed through the blemishes.

The light is the thrill and the control that comes with my driving lessons. It’s the guilt-free act of watching episode after episode of 24 and Happy Valley.

It’s calming, comforting, soft and honey-glazed.

The dirt is the ache, as I remember the corridors in Block 4 and the classrooms echoing with laughter. It’s the noticing of the books still collecting dust and the yearning for words when there are so few left within.

It’s lonely, haunting, cruel and blue-tinted.

It’s a bittersweet balance: disquieting but necessary. Too much light would force me to squint and too much dirt would distort my thoughts. And I’m well aware that it’s simply the end of strict routines and infinite to-do lists that renders my summer of (supposed) freedom to seem utterly hopeless…

Or perhaps I just need to take a little time and simply clean the damn window.

(06/07/16 – 21:18pm)



{Photo source: Nabsticle}