MELANCHOLIC MADNESS by ALARKA SHIVA
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A thought provoking read. Shiva's short stories dive into the inner consciousness of man. There is an element of self-awareness for the characters, a knowledge that their ideas can lead them to self-destruction or inevitable heartache. For me, I felt the stories were deeply philosophical. The reader can gain a lot into the character's mind, whether it is their dependency to alcohol, cigarettes or sex, all of them stem from a deeper problem which lies in the character's subconscious mind.
In each story there are memorable quotes, a few lines that make me stop and deeply contemplate over the melancholic muses that storm the mind of the brooding character's. I think my favourite story by far is "Four o'clock," because the story is highly relatable. It deals with an unyielding obsession with a woman that the main character has loved and lost. Her sudden departure has dogged him all his life, ruining his relationship with his wife and disrupting his job. All of that time he is fixated on that person he fell in love with when he was younger, and when he finally see's her once more it just stops- the dream dies and then he comes to the sudden epiphany that he lost almost ten years waiting for someone that is not the same girl he first met at a bar all those years ago. It is stories like these that make the reader contemplate about their own life. It also makes me consider whether I am guilty of making the same mistakes, if I let my obsessions from the past effect my future.
I will leave two memorable quotes down below just to show the brilliancy of Shiva's writing:
"Sometimes good and sometimes bad, but the craving is compulsory. Sometimes I feel the mind is a monster who just needs to get fed, irrespective of good and bad. Maybe it's trying to hug the temporary hoax to forget reality, but the soul will be like "No, you can't do this. This can destroy you."
"Human nature is so nomadic and human feelings are unstable. But there are many who, in spite of all this, are loved and get loved till they die."
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Dark romanticism is distinguishable from the Romanticism period because there is emphasis on human fallibility, specifically the capability to fall from grace and relish in our carnal desires and sin. Similarly, their view of nature can fall into the same category. Nature suddenly turns into a cold, dreary, darkened place; it is violent and uncontrollable, which makes it all the more dangerous. Some would argue that dark romanticism has a pessimistic worldview, and perhaps there is some merit in this scholarly argument. While Romanticism looks upon human nature in a positive light, it is the Dark Romantics that highlight the corrupted nature of our hearts and the sheer anguish and terror we can place upon others.
For some artists in this field they blame social reforms, a direct result that mangles mankind into a darker form of themselves. There is evidence of this in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter," a popular piece of literary work in his time. In contrast, other literary writers believed that it was not social reforms that made them fall from grace, but purely their susceptibility to be self-destructive, thereby, indulging themselves in sin, orgy and a defiance towards God. I would argue that this period of literary writing explores the morality of man, it is a time of spiritual and emotional exploration, where the writer can dive into this fictional world and reexamine the inner workings of man. One of the most prolific writers of Dark Romanticism is Edgar Allan Poe. When you analyze his stories such as "The Raven," or "The Tell-Tale Heart," you can see that he is examining the darker side of human emotion, ranging from deep despair to the macabre. Poe does not highlight the lightness of our nature, but the deeply mutilated, grotesque and fearful side that lies within our soul. There are some other artists that embrace this genre of literature, such as Emily Brontë, Mary Shelley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Emily Dickenson.
This literary subgenre of Dark Romanticism is still prevalent today. There are artists and writers that still feel the need to explore the corrupted side of human nature and their tendency to fall into sin and disgrace. I have come across a marvellous short story by Monica Crosson called "The Ode to Dark Romanticism," which you can read by clicking in on this link here. There is also a range of poets in the twenty-first century that are inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, one of which is an interesting curated set of poems that can be found in Cassandra L. Thompson's "Crow Calls: Volume One."
My published work the "Far from Home" series will fall into this subgenre too, especially in the final edition which will premiere in the year 2022 or 2023. In "Far from Home: Book Three," the main character, Amelie, will have to battle with her conflicting emotions when she encounters a strange man that has a mystical connection to her. The idea of reincarnations will be explored in "Far From Home: Book Three," as well as human fallibility and the great temptation of sin when being lured by a powerful forces that verge on the edge of the supernatural.
Vampires have always had a desirable lure upon the female sex; their immorality, unnatural beauty, and the sexual aura which they exude makes the main female characters fall into their grasp. In the first two editions of "Far from Home" we know that young Victoria Reeds is no exception, but will Amelie Stewart have a chance to fight against her own carnal desires? For the reader we see that the enchanting engima- the delectable presence of Aodhan McVeigh has made many women fall to his charms, but when it comes to Amelie Stewart the situation is altered because she so closely resembles the woman he loved. "Far from Home: Book Three" examines the range of human emotions- pain, anguish, despair, but it also sheds light upon the nature of man and whether it can lead them to salvation or utter destruction.
I hope this short article enlightened you upon this interesting subgenre. It is not only prevalent in literary works, but also in music and art works. I highly encourage you to explore this brave new world! Dark Romanticism gave birth to Gothic Fiction, and it is the reason we have such famous works such as Horace Walpole's "The Castle of Otranto," Hawthorne's "The Birthmark," and Poe's "The Fall of House Usher." Their writings are still an inspiration today, especially for myself as I continue my journey as a self-published author. Be sure to check out my works, such as "The Tragic Tale of Teddy Woven" or "Far from Home: Book One," if you enjoy dark Gothic reads.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article,
It is past midnight and I find myself staring out the window to take in the city skyline. I have not been feeling myself lately. Perhaps, it is the third lock-down that is getting to me, or the fact that I feel trapped in an endless loop with no escape. From the very beginning of Covid-19 I have been strong, more or less caught up in a world of my own making, whether that be in the picturesque landscape of "The Tragic Tale of Teddy Woven" or "Awakening." I had always found a place to escape, but not this time...
A couple of nights ago I woke up from a vivid nightmare and immediately rolled over in my bed to snatch at my cellphone. I suppose it was the closest thing to me having a mental breakdown because I googled a hotel and immediately booked it. After the hotel was booked, I slumped back down into my bed and fell asleep. Sometimes are subconscious mind is trying to tell us something in our dreams. I don't think it was a mistake that I had that nightmare, or the fact that I have not been able to read or write a single book in weeks. I feel guilty for creating a backlog of books that I want to review, but I am at the point where I mentally cannot do it anymore.
This virus that spread across the world impacted people in a variety of ways. I hear countless stories from friends near and afar, and it is saddening to witness the devastation that has swept across the world. Here in Canada, I live in a major hot spot. I have the terrible knowledge to know that I can easily get the virus because of the recklessness of others within my community. As an introvert, it was easy for me to stay indoors and avoid other people. Indeed, the Ontario Government is not pulling my leg when they ask me to "stay at home" for more than a year now, but last week I broke down mentally and I had to call it a day. This mini escapade managed to do the trick for me (thankfully). I spent the day contacting bloggers to see whether they are interested in reviewing my books. An end of the year plan was also drafted, so I now have a decisive book launch date for "At Peace" which will be at the end of December 2021. The website was renovated, and I am hoping to do the same with my other social media accounts. I suppose the point of this blog post is to let you as the reader know that it is okay to take a break from the world. Sometimes we need space- both introverts and extroverts to simply appreciate those blissful moments of alone time. My books for a lot of readers provided them with a world of escapism during this pandemic, and it seems that I finally needed some alone time to find my own place to escape. Another day of self-care may hopefully do the trick and then I will be able to return to reading fellow indie artist works and rewriting "Far from Home: Book Two."
Thank you all for your support! I love you to bits and pieces,