There’s this photograph: a snapshot in time taken by an unknown photographer and posted onto a website filled with thousands of images pooled together from all over the Internet. It sat nestled in a series of travel pictures, wedged between a photograph of the Louvre at sunset and a deserted island beach with crystal clear water and sands of brilliant white. It was the kind of image that many would skip over and never give a seconds thought. There was no tranquil waters, nor monuments of modern architecture. There was just a camera, a knife, and a gun sitting on a velvet runner. An odd inclusion amongst a sea of exotic locations, but that moment captured in time sent a shiver rolling down my spine.

I’ve never seen anything as striking as that photograph. I’ve never witnessed another image that could cause such a whirlwind of emotion within my soul. But between the camera, the knife, and the gun there was a freedom and simplicity that I’ve always longed for.

We live in a world where we are bound and constrained by our own creations. We wake every day and repeat the actions of the day before. We commute to work and clock into a job that leaves us unfulfilled so that we can earn enough to buy ourselves a few moments of respite or items of leisure that will help distract us from the fact that we are living out the same repetitive movements day after day. We sit in contemplative silence at our desks, in our cars or on the busses and dream of something more. We sit. When all we want to do is run.

I’ve always had a desire to run. I guess that’s why the photograph left me feeling so fragile. It’s what compelled me to save it to the desktop of my computer and stare at it every single day for years.

I’ve never really grasped much of the world that we live in. I don’t understand who decides what is popular, or why some people’s lives seem to be blessed with so much, yet others are afforded so little. I’ve never understood why hardship befalls good people, or why the wicked and heartless continue to achieve. But I’ve never really wanted to either. I don’t want step on others so that I can have a lot. I want to reach down and help out those who have fallen so that we may all achieve together and have just enough.

Sadly though my mentality is frowned upon. It’s a dog eat dog world, or so I’ve been told. People see your humanity as a weakness and use it as leverage for their own personal gains. Sometimes I try to fight against these feelings. I try to fit in. I wear masks to appear normal. I speak poorly of others in a vein attempt to show strength. But all I really want to do is run. Run and be free. I want to liberate myself from feeling as though I have to fit in. I want to take a camera, a knife and a gun and walk into the wilderness and find a freedom that people seldom realize exists.

But I’m not that brave. A guy like me would be eaten alive in the wild. I call myself a wolf but I’ve been raised in suburbia where I’ve suckled on the teat of mindless acceptance and laziness. So instead of living a life off of the map, I write for my freedom instead. I substitute the camera for a minds eye. I’ve traded the knife and gun for paper and pen. I can’t run no matter how much I want to. I can’t vanish into the sunset, but I can dream. I can create worlds to disappear into for a few brief moments in time. I can create literary photographs that provide a glimpse into a life of freedom and peace.

I use literature to create halcyon moments. When the demons of my past or the anxieties of my present become too much to bear I slip into the memories of glorious phrases, subtexts and plots like an intrepid traveller armed with his trusty camera, knife, and gun. I’m never going to understand humanity; I’m never going to be just another number marching to the beat of the majorities drum. But as long as I have my heart and my mind, my pen and my paper, I’ll never have to run.

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

39 thoughts on “Run”

  1. Well written! And an interesting thought that writing is an escape from a heartless world. I think you are right – through writing we can justify ourselves, like if we were saying the same things to someone who listened. When writing, we can easily pretend being listened to – and agreed with.

    Freedom really is the most scarce material of which not much is being produced. We cannot expect others to give us theirs. We cannot take it from them. Any attempt will just destroy it rather than transfer it. It lives in the individuals who must create it themselves and by that maybe inspire others to do the same. Like you just did.

  2. Well done. Sound like a writer to me:) And you are not alone- I often feel lost in an existence that values gain at any cost, # of Twitter followers, and the ability to strike down others instead of compassion and altruism…..we are here!

  3. No one will ever understand humanity; we’re just a bunch of jerks who defy logic and understanding.

    So many of us have the urge to run. For some it’s a fantasy, for others, a goal.

  4. Check out the photographer Anders Petersen. He has the ability to make everything that slips through his lens seem raw and sudden. I use many of them as inspiration to my paintings. Great work!

  5. It’s interesting how many of us have this feeling but do not end up doing anything about it. Very well written…voices the thoughts of I am sure, many of us! We have no idea whether we will live another day but we never dare to run.

    It really touched a cord with me and I wish everyone finds their own ways to run!

  6. “I use literature to create halcyon moments. When the demons of my past or the anxieties of my present become too much to bear I slip into the memories of glorious phrases, subtexts and plots like an intrepid traveller armed with his trusty camera, knife, and gun.” – Amen! Loved this. Loved the whole post! The demons of past and the anxieties of present – and the gun, the knife and the camera – the five elements – so wonderfully put together to explain – why you write ! Loved it

  7. Just take a few steady breaths and stroll with me as a flaneur, living in the moment and staying open to wealth and treasure of everyday experience, wherever you find yourself. You cannot run from yourself and the moment …

  8. Beautiful post, Chris.

    “People see your humanity as a weakness and use it as leverage for their own personal gains.”
    ~ Sadly true. Over the years, I’ve learned to say “no” to those who seek to abuse my kindness.

  9. This was a very nice post. Those same feelings are had by many people. I don’t think it’s impossible to change things a little bit if we try. And we shouldn’t try to fit in so much ;). Your writing makes my green with envy. But that I had the luck to enjoy it was great. Keep your work. I think you have a new follower 😉

  10. Ahhhh…. comparing freedom in the wild with what we do with pen and paper (or – more likely – with a computer)!
    However, if you need a gun to subdue the wild… are you really free?

    This being said, I like your blog; great pictures, great insights, interesting thoughts. 🙂

  11. The knife and the gun are weapons. The camera seems out of place. But when I think of how some people have had their lives ruined or actually died having something to do with a camera, it kind of makes sense.

    Princess Diana died because photographers were aggressively chasing her car to get her picture.

    Countless teenagers develop eating disorders from looking at photos in magazines of “the ideal female body”

    The marriages of Hollywood stars are ruined by one photo of the husband having lunch with a woman.

    Photographers with no empathy ( probably psychpathic) have ruined marriages, broken up families, taken privacy away thus ruining people’s quality of life….possibly driving some to suicide.

    Photographs have been used to blackmail and manipulate people.

    So I have to wonder if the camera in the picture was not seen by the person as a weapon with as much destructive power as the knife and the gun are, in the hands of malicious people.

  12. When I was young, I wasn’t very popular. So, I used to write my life and create those halcyon moments. I ran. Then one day I decided it was enough. It was a shadow of the real thing and I wanted to actually live. I pretty much stopped writing, but I certainly lived. Now all I want is to find a balance between the two. Living wears me out. I miss the silence and resonance of writing. Now, again and more than ever, I want to run.

  13. wow. love this. you write very well… i definitely connected with this. i’m a photographer, so i actually do get to use a camera the way you use your mind’s eye, but it is actually my substitute for pen and paper {or the gun and knife}, as i still very much rely on my mind’s eye and it influences what i photograph.

    anyway, glad you “liked” my post so that i could discover your blog.

  14. I am so inspired by this. I feel you in every sense of your detailed emotions.
    I’d really like to see this picture, I am curious.
    I am a curious being, also with pen and paper as my weapon of choice. Tomorrow, well today now, when I wake in the a.m I am going to write. Because thanks to you, I now feel the passion coming back to me. It’s running through my veins, like a bull, stampeding down the streets of Spain. I am no writer, just a spiritual soul, a bit broken, that loves to share emotions, thoughts, theories and opinions.
    Thank you my friend.
    Love Loz, 29, from AUS x

  15. Okay Chris! I’m stalking you now! 😛 I admit it. I’ve been reading each and every single post on your blog (have plenty to go through). Somehow the emotions, the feelings, the thoughts that you choose to write about are the ones that move me as well! And its amazing to know I’m not alone in this erratic and confused state of wanting to run.
    Great read!

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