fair play

“we’re all carnies, though some people are in denial. they want to be above it all, above the mayhem of laughter and people and lights and animals and the dark sadness that lurks in the corners and beneath the rides and in the trailers after hours. so they ride the ferris wheel, and at the top, they think they’ve left it all behind. they’ve ascended to a place where they can take things seriously. Where they can be taken seriously.”

carnival 1

carnival 2

carnival 3

“give me priests. give me men with feathers in their hair, or tall domed hats, female oracles in caves, servants of the python, smoking weed and reading palms. a gypsy fortuneteller with a foot-peddle ouija board and a gold fish bowl for a crystal ball knows more about the world than many of the great thinkers of the west. mumbling priests swinging stink cans on their chains and even witch doctors conjuring up curses with a well-buried elephant tooth have a better sense of their places in the world. they know this universe is brimming with magic, with life and riddles and ironies. they know that the world might eat them, and no encyclopedia could stop it.”

carnival 4

carnival 5

“the world is rated R, and no one is checking IDs. do not try to make it G by imagining the shadows away. do not try to hide your children from the world forever, but do not try to pretend there is no danger. train them. give them sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. make them dangerous. make them yeast, and when they’ve grown, they will pollute the shadows.”

carnival 6

carnival 7

carnival 8
“i was born into the Carnival. i’ve done all my living, sleeping, playing, growing, and throwing up at the Carnival. when i die, i won’t escape it — not that i’d want to. death is that black stripe above my head on the measuring board. when i’ve reached it, well, then i can go on the gnarly rides.”

— all quotes from n.d. wilson’s notes from the tilt-a-whirl