From the desk of Lawrence Neil: Naked on the city stoops


I remember sitting in a writing workshop in college.  Our instructor prompted us: “Close your eyes.  Envision your creative sweet spot.”


I closed my eyes.  I relaxed.  I thought about what happens when I put pen to paper.  What I saw wasn’t an environment, or a location.  It wasn’t a particular café, or a specific desk in a local library.  


It was something physical, visceral; a manifestation of things inside me reuniting with my conscious mind.    I wanted my filter stripped and torn.  I saw a version of myself, bellowing, whispering, ‘Hi.  This is real.  These are not delusions. This is me, this is you, in expressed form, a story or a drawing or an embrace or a yell or the movement of my feet or the sound from my lips.’  Someone I recognize exclusively in reflection because he demands every ounce of attention when he’s here, who may smile or shout when I least expect it.  He is a wildcard.  He knows our muse well — they are boon companions.  They hold hands.


I want to let him free, be like him, run barefoot down the up escalators, sit naked on the city stoops, push my nose through heavy-aired summer dusks, dance, clap my hands above my head and yell






and not worry about posterity, or Likes, or my peripheral vision.


We used to be close.  We used to be twins.  We used to bathe together, and now we only exchange nods, handshakes, pleasantries.  We watch television during our dinner dates.  It seems like I always avoid his gaze, miss his winks.  He wakes me in my sleep and I — I wave him away.


I am afraid that my fading connection with this entity is a blind first stumble down a slippery slope — one that weakens my sense of direction, makes me send ‘lol’ instead of actually laughing, replaces essential parts of life and human connection simply because it can. I am scared that empathy will one day appear inconvenient, or optional.


Since beginning at Seymour in January, I have been discovering a space and publication committed to promoting ideas that are introspective and bold, from practiced or instinctive explorers of invisible worlds.  Seymour Magazine, in conjunction with Seymour Projects, seeks to combat the seemingly atrophying connection between our rational and our inner selves, spurring readers to nurture their imaginations.


The voices we feature lead us to rocky facades and dense forests that appear unnavigable, and show us their possibility, wonder, and beauty.  Their discoveries and rediscoveries are vital to Seymour’s mission, and I find myself unveiling applicable concepts and actions each time I read a piece, learning things that I didn’t know that I didn’t know about myself.


I hope to continue to build on these not only for myself, but to offer them to you, our readers, as models, insights, or exercises for your wandering, beautiful minds.  So when that free spirit inside of us peeks out, we’ll be ready to ask him what game he wants to play.


L.N. 2016

Published: March 17th, 2016

Previous in this series:

S+ Stimulant: Hilda af Klint

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