This Again

I know this place.

Of course. You have been here many times. Countless.

But why am I here again?

You do not remember? Is that world you cared so much about already gone from your recollection?

It seems like a dream I had as a child.

You have said that before. How do you feel?

It’s not peace, exactly. It’s something else. It’s hard to describe.

Powerlessness is strange to you.

But why am I here?

It seems that once again you have fallen into the old patterns of violence and greed and fear.

Must I go back, then?



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  1. rochellewisoff

    Dear Josh,

    In some ways we seem to have gone in similar directions this week. This has a psychoanalytical feel to it, reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange (only saw the movie, haven’t read the book. ;) ) Feel free to tell me if I’m way off base, but this is what I read into it. Well written in any case.



    • J Hardy Carroll

      Thanks for reading Rochelle! My intent was to depict a first encounter with the afterlife. I believe we are put here to nurture relationships, to create things and to grow spiritually. Though we are born with this knowledge, it’s all too easy for us to forget, to harden into the patterns of hatred and fear that seem to govern our lives. When we stand beneath this tree and see all clearly, we have already forgotten what cost us so much to learn. That’s what I was thinking about, anyway ;-)

  2. Kelvin M. Knight's blog

    This reads like a spirit talking, but not a tree spirit talking, maybe the tree spirit is the narrator, guiding the spirit of a human… I am assuming… because we have always lived in close harmony with trees. Nicely told though, Josh, not disjointed at all – which I think is easily done when crafting stories with different or experimental styles, without the necessary skill and confidence needed.

  3. Claire Fuller

    I love the ambiguity of this, and how you leave the reader free to make our own interpretations. For me it’s a person who is in that place between life and death, facing some sort of reckoning, and being sent back to try harder next time.

  4. pennygadd51

    To me, it reads very much like reincarnation where your previous conduct determines your latest incarnation. Your subject has been a worldly man, neglecting spiritual things, and falling into habits of violence, greed and fear. He’s now returning to try again. It doesn’t sound like he’ll attain Nirvana any time soon!
    The story is also a lament for the way the world is, in particular the way it’s governed, I think.

  5. pennygadd51

    I got a bit caught up there in trying to understand the story, and forgot the main thing I wanted to say, which was that I read your story with keen anticipation that I would enjoy skilful writing and thought provoking propositions – and I was well satisfied with what I read. Nice one, Josh!

  6. subroto

    So he is stuck in the endless cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Looks like the character has not yet embarked on a spiritual pursuit, or self-knowledge and is a long way from mokṣa, the final release out of the reincarnation cycles. Nice one.
    I had to read it a few times before I achieved self realisation ;-)

Don't just stand there.