I was six or seven when clinically diagnosed as a pyromaniac. My first “fire school” session we all were assigned a few images to assess the probable cause of a theoretical disaster, which assumedly ended horrifically with cinders scented of singed hair and disbelief.
My photos were of half-melted little plastic soldiers, a gas can, hot dogs, and a child’s party hat; you know, the one with the drawstring poorly threaded through two holes in a flimsy cardboard cone. How is a six year old meant to dissect such a collection of arbitration?
Without a moment of hesitation, I began to pen down a narrative (in red ink, which the “fire-safety” groupies just love). I couldn’t tell you what it was about or why that moment inadvertently derailed my therapy session for a much larger portrait that was yet to be canvased. I just recall feeling as if these people were lying to themselves. My single digited perception of moral reasoning told me undoubtedly that I was the only one in that uncomfortably chilled room who knew what I was.
A child. An early-stage psychopath in the making. A Pyromaniac (which goes without saying). Sage and storyteller? That was new to me. The serenity felt from casting objective existence into ash and carbon would have its shadow multiplied exponentially when compared to the verbal imagery that my young mind would create from an otherwise mundane moment in time.
In the eight minutes it could minimally take a double-wide mobile home to incinerate completely into a “was,” I would have written a sonnet for Ifrit, detailing the lavish cracks, pops, and whirring of heat pressure reaching out at my face like a newborn in its first months.
Suddenly, I evolved. I was once the matchstick, giving the gift of impermanence liberally, but now I was the gift! Writing became my fire and I would use it to illuminate ideas, incinerate my fears, cremate anger, and otherwise facilitate a reasonably healthy mode of internal release.
Am I still a pyromaniac? Well… Not erratically.