Prose. Excerpts.

There's nothing quite like the well-timed ingestion of poisonous elements. Tipple and smoke, to name a few. Ordinarily, I do not smoke. It is vile and awful for you, it makes your fingers stink of tobacco the morning after, and I've learned that I hate to wake up to the smell of tobbacco. It makes your lungs decrepit and disgusting. It is also, alas, one of the best, if not the best, tools for socialising ever invited. Hence why I only ever smoke it at social emergencies, often to escape. The situation must be bad enough to warrant charring my lungs a tad to be a palpable, mature option in lieu of a rude exit which would be considered a faux pas by surrounding adults and general social protocol.

—Anna Balint

We are in a crazy race for individuality. For immortality. But we are nothing if not the sum of the parts of the people who surround us and with who we co-create this whirlwind of beautiful panicked existentialism, love, struggle, laughter, change and discomfort. So what the hell does immortality mean if it’s an individual pursuit for just a little few? Nothing at all, nothing at all — it’s like signing up for years and years of boredom and isolation and I don’t utterly envy at all the man who will buy immortality. My body belongs to my mind and to my mind the body, and to them the third lover, my soul, and if they can’t exist like this together I’d rather they’d not exist at all. So I guess this is what these pieces all mean. I mean, I know so. An entangled beautiful mess. Etchings of what I believe. A man once said to me, I am rich enough to buy immortality, but I would rather buy art. And when I am not in the mood for buying art, I usually cook a provençale courgette tart, my grandmother's recipe.

—Anna Balint

The Scottish wind has a special kind of candour. Often are the days where the clouds sit pregnant above the mountains, lethargic, as if ready to crash onto the moors any second. The wind slices through the cotton fog, the vegetation curls around the landscape in its rusty tones. The earth moist, barren and cold, even in the summer. This type of wilderness comes neat - it is not for the faint hearted.

 

The wind's teeth bite into my cheeks, blood rising to the surface. Perhaps the only thing in the moors that isn't brown, or green. The reminder I have of being a human is my own two feet and my limbs hanging by my side as I trudge through the mud around the house, in a large periphery, in the middle of an unspoken nowhere.

 

The world has never been so full of people; yet here the earth is cold and vacuous, virgin to the presence of man. The contradiction of the hollowness, shared mutually by the landscape and myself, is tense with the better part of reality.

 

Losing yourself. That bitter feeling of vertigo. Have you felt it before? Perhaps I have felt it too many a time. Perhaps life is a series of perpetual instances of losing yourself, until you reach a state where you no longer lose pieces of yourself; you become that which is lost to others. Is that true?

 

The point is not to know - no one knows the answers. As much as we itch to. The point is to feel, to absorb: the pain, the hurt, to learn when to pour the whiskey on the wound versus when to drink it. Feeling greatly comes with breaking greatly. There are pieces of myself I hope to pick up in this vast void, to walk until my feet can no longer feel the earth, in hope that I can coax back the embers.

 

In naivety it's easy to be unknowing of the dangers of giving yourself away. Sometimes a collision does not create a big bang, sometimes a collision is two meteors crashing violently. It's only ever clear in hindsight.

 

It seems the point is to find yourself, and to continue being yourself, while giving some of yourself  away, entertaining the notion of life, lest one falls victim to it; without love, life is a misery, with love life can often be a misery and no man will ever be at peace - it will be that which haunts us until the end of our days. Ultimate dichotomies.

 

Being. Becoming. Feeling. Healing. Breaking.

 

The thoughts carry me across the Scottish tundra. My mind weaves its woes and troubles into the grass, the cotton fog sits on the rocks. They are that which guide me; they are that which heal and recalibrate the minds' eye. In a world of billions, nothing feels more needed than the breaking quiet; it seeps into my skin and the indulgence of its luxury is incessant.

—Anna Balint

"I really like your floorboards," was the type of thing I would say to my friends' parents at the age of 12 when I turned up for a sleep over. Socially, it's only gone downhill from there but the upside was that I became a great conversationalist with adults and developed a good eye for detail. Alongside which I also nurtured an aversion for white lace curtains which are profuse and a tantamount feature of Hungarian windows from the socialist era.  And are also responsible for my having gone to study and practice interiors in the first place. Had it not been for these curtains, I might have ended up a lawyer, or something less erratic, perhaps more sensible, and I will not herein insert 'to my mother's regret' because my mother always told me you can be whatever you want, just do it well and work hard. I am therefore working very hard at undoing the eyesore which is white lace curtains and starting to do it quite well as an erratic, strange creative, and thanking my parents in the background.

—Anna Balint

The two weeks passed. In a flurry of potato peeling, filming, cold nights, an Aga who's heyday had come back yet again, the house which was once a ruin came to life. The fourteen days were my cut off point; the crew stayed on for eight more days and the show turned into a series; the house became a base, and with use, aged. It sounds like a litany, the part of a movie where the camera pans slowly over the image and a male, deep voiced narrator goes,

 

"The months passed and that which had been unexpected occurred, as all things do in life,"

 

and I wish it wasn't so, but life is thus. The days pass by in a cumulative series of idleness, the pipes were fixed, the walls painted, floors fixed. The days are so long; the years are so short.

—Anna Balint

COPYRIGHT 2022