Cebo Campbell

Conversations With Women (38 of 57)

Have you ever seen a whale? Not the ones in bondage, imprisoned by smiles on all sides. And not those poor bones suspended in galleries; wanton chandeliers. Have you ever seen a real whale? In the sea…up close? You can’t have. From neither where you stand now nor where you’ve been would you be so lucky. To do so, you’d first have to leave, see. Give up all the solid things you’ve known. Behind you, leave city sidewalks and mushroom burgers and the lonely wrinkles in your bed. Leave days rationed in hours. Leave knowing as a comfort. Leave. Go. Until your hands dry. Until a blister forms someplace holy. Until mountain becomes tide. Until time breeds barnacles above your teeth. Further than you’ve ever been. And further still. Endure and you will find the sea. An unknowable deep. Vast in awe: sinking you into doom on all sides. As dark a blue as death. So dark you’ll ask, what does a universe become to something blind to the stars? Words will cede power. You cannot stand. You cannot smell. You cannot speak. Only feel yourself alive in the constant state of drowning. Suspended in an immensity. And when you can be no more in that moment than present, it will come. Ghost of the sea. Like a truth from nothing made solid. Like impossible gliding in time. Like all you’ve ever lost returned to you. Great gray majesty. Larger than dreams. Drifting. Silent in knowing heaven never meant for you, but offered to be taken for granted. Suspended in awe so powerful it cracks you open. Proof magic a patron at the bed of your creation and the ferry to port your burial. Look upon it with wonder. Helpless and hope-filled. Animal and spirit. So far and so sudden to learn how to be alive. But, see, you’ve never seen a whale. So how could you possibly know what love feels like?

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I am an author and a Creative Director.

As a full-time creative (VP of Creative Services at Spherical), I spend most days writing in the nooks and crannies of my available time. I wake up at 5:30am just to get in a few hours putting words on paper. I write on the train. I write on planes. I write waiting in lines. I feel I have to write. The reason is simple: representation.

I often tell the story of Ferris Bueller; a kid who decides to skip school and, on charm alone, steals a car, impersonates a cop, drinks underage, tampers with computers, and at every step exposes his best friends to peril, only to go home and fall asleep with his mother to kiss him into sweet dreams. I asked myself if Ferris were Trayvon Martin, how might that story end? I know the answer. So do you. And this is why representation is so important. I aim to contribute more stories into the world that diversely feature regular (but beautiful) lives made extraordinary. Art, I believe, is the only way to accomplish this. All my creative work is inspired by and aims to add to all the great work in the world.