Friday, September 28, 2012

Good Hunting

Dashi Namdakov

PCWrede on subplots: "subplots grow organically out of the events in the story, like the leaves growing out of the stem of the rose."

In case I ever get invited to talk on the radio, I'll refer to this post.

Monika Victoria's adventures in the museums of Vienna.

Hecate Demeter has excellent taste in poetry: "What We Need is Here" (Wendell Berry)

Also: "We Must Risk Delight" (Jack Gilbert)

The beginner's guide to wooing the poem. I found this passage enlightening and amusing:
"In passing, slip the poem a scrap of paper with a phone number on it. Your phone number? NO! Not your phone number, numbskull. A tattoo parlour for gazelles; a museum of impossible things; a Transylvanian undertaker; the Ritz. Anyone but you."

"Elegy. Blind Musician."
Mikhail Nesterov

Read more. "I see books as direct conduits to the past, and the most reliable way that we have to receive important information from other people, living or dead."

Remember to sample the local magic. This is what I want Protagonist Club, and this blog, to be about: looking at the everyday through the lens of story.

I suspect on the enneagram I am a type one winged nine.

Ever since creating the character Vin, seeing the name Vincent seems like a good luck charm. This post about the creative impulse reinforced that.

Appolinari Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov

Justine Musk on what fiction writers should blog about:
"And as fiction writers, we have our obsessions: those questions that we’re compelled to ask again and again, entering the same theme through different doorways, like Monet and his water lilies or Degas and his dancers.

How could you take one of those questions and put it at the center of your blog?

Instead of using it as a catchall drawer for random musings, why not turn your blog into a personal quest through asking, researching and answering or exploring different aspects of that central question?"
What is this blog's central question? What's yours?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The last one was just a child.

People had been disappearing from the coastal town for generations. Centuries, perhaps, ever since the reign of King Mateu as one legend went; maybe even millennia, when the Shoiy civilization whose ruins still dotted the headland was flourishing in the trade of apples, malachite, and stories. Why else would the silent old temples be carved with images of people being dragged into the ocean by long arms?

But it was usually an adolescent. About once every eight years, someone disappeared. Perhaps the oldest daughter went out to haul water from the stream and didn’t come back; perhaps the middle son decided to go fishing and was never heard from again. A fisherman would see his second daughter, recently returned from the Island of the weather wizards, standing on the shore, but she wouldn’t be home in the evening when he got back. Or a mother would see her soldier son home, eyes shadowed by what he had seen, and in the morning she’d shoo him out to get some fresh air, and in the evening he’d still be gone.

Runaways, they said in other towns.

Sirens, they said in this one.


It was impossible to keep your children away from the ocean. You could send them to the Island, but they’d have to come home sometime. You could send them inland, to the armies of the Metallic Citadel, but if you did that you might as well kill your child yourself.


She was eight years old and her name was Marcella. Her father was a weather wizard, and her mother was an herb woman.

Her neck was draped with amulets – a bronze falcon wing, a silver circle with the sacred words of Luna, a scarab, a crow feather to symbolize the oath of black Morgael. She had to stay inside an hour after eating fish because otherwise the sirens would, her mother said, think she was one of them and call out to her. Every morning her father sprinkled purified water on her forehead and spoke a prayer to the Wise One.

It was all useless.

All the gods they invoked had their own powers, their own jurisdictions. The Wise One, most powerful deity in existence, creator of all magic, was not helpful; Morgael, two-sided life and death goddess, had no effect. Caught up in their grand, but human, magics, Marcella’s parents could not see what was immediately apparent to anyone who chose to see.

No one can rule the ocean.


It was a beautiful day. The sky was overcast, the ocean a vast wrinkled span melting away into the distance.

Marcella was exploring. She scrambled over the seaside rocks, the wind whipping her hair into her eyes and making the amulets clink together softly. Above wheeled a seagull, white against white clouds, a drop of cream in milk. Behind her the village women were calling out to one another as they did their work. The other children, the ones who weren’t working anyway, shouted in their games.

But she wasn’t looking at them, she was looking at the ocean. It didn’t usually draw her in like this, but today the rhythm of the waves coming in on the shore seemed to have replaced the beating of her heart.

If Marcella could talk to any of the others who had been taken, they’d have told her that this was the first warning.

All sound faded away except the murmuring of the ocean. A friend called her name – “Marcella, Marcella, do you want to play tag with us?” – and she didn’t hear it because a deeper, slower, irresistible voice was calling from the depths.

That was the second warning.

She found she needed to be at the shore, needed to get as close to the water as possible. Ignoring her friends, Marcella scrambled down the cliff face, scraping her hands on the rocks and sliding on the lichens to bang her knees against the limpets. She didn’t care. She dropped onto the shell-and-stone beach and ran to the water’s edge, not even noticing how the debris cut her feet. Third warning, given with no heed.

For a moment she stood there, breathing hard, arms spread wide out to catch the spray. Her pupils were dilated, the brown of her irises just a faint ring.

(They thought it was only blue-eyed people whom the ocean took. False. Utterly false.)

There were no sirens on the water that day. Marcella, if any of the village people ever saw her again, could give witness to the sirens’ innocence. It wasn’t them, oh no, it was not the cold sea-maids with their streaming hair and webbed hands. It was a thing at once simpler and older and less trivial, more powerful more beautiful more necessary.

The ocean.

The ocean.

The ocean.

How could she ever have thought she could live without it? How could she ever have thought a life outside of it could be bearable?

Marcella took a step out and her legs were washed up to the calves by the incoming tide. She took another step and it was up to her waist. And other step – her neck. Another.


Her mother wept and wailed when she did not come home that night. Her father sank down to his chair with a grief no less large for all his reservation. But they needn’t have bothered.

She was smiling as the water closed above her head.

My, how beautiful it was!


Written November 5 2011 for English class. Set in the GW world, though a couple centuries before the main storyline. Thoughts?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Calling All Protagonists

Sometimes, I get desperately envious of characters in my stories. Right now, I'm working on a synopsis/distillation of a story I plan to write, set in Russia under Tsar Alexander III, in which three boys who room together at a reform school learn magic and find their ways in the world.

A few weeks ago, I was working on a short story called "Mind Butcher". In one scene, the main character Vin goes off to college, where he will finally be able to talk about fascinating subjects with intelligent people.

Once I'm done with the distillation I'm working on, I'll begin another in which a group of radical thinkers belonging to the pan-European Promethean Society attempt, through a young girl called Marilla, to break the aristocratic monopoly on advanced magic in the Age of Metternich.

Conclusions? 1. I really liked AP Euro. 2. I want that.

"That" defined by the following points:

-a small group of companions
-common enthusiasm for fascinating topics
-state of high imagination
-discussion, debate, conversation, collaboration


Protagonist Club:
Life is an adventure. Magic is real. Mystery lives.

1. think in terms of story
2. seek out small adventures
3. plan extraordinary adventures


I said I didn't know exactly how to execute this idea. Here are some ideas:

-sharing ideas for how to live with a high magic to mundane ratio
-group codex/constitution (guess what we're learning in history...)
-book group elements: everyone contributes a top-10 favorite booklist
-writing circle: collaborate on a story, or create a common world (a la Bordertown)

I'd love to hear yours.


Recently I read Rules of Thumb by Alan M. Webber. The book focuses on business, but when I was thinking of Protagonist Club in terms of a club meeting physically, I thought that a startup atmosphere might approach what I imagine.

In one rule of thumb, about maintaining emotional stability, Webber set forth four requirements:

1. a team that works together well
2. ability to laugh at everything
3. loud music
4. good food

How precisely does this tie in? I don't know myself, but I feel as though it is relevant.

In another book I read, for group meetings the venue should be comfortable, private, and accessible.


How about here, for the first meeting?

Or, perhaps, here?

Tell me your thoughts. After all, we have much to discuss.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gourmet v. Glutton

Today I had a discussion with a friend about varying qualities of literature, and it has left me with many thoughts (thus: three posts this week, instead of two). I'd like to hear your opinions, also.

My friend asked me what my favorite books are. I said that while Meditations (Marcus Aurelius) has influenced me more than any other book I've read, I also enjoy reading children's fantasy books - which my friend promptly decried as pulp fiction.

Fair enough: while I found Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx (James Rollins) a diverting read, it was not particularly nutritious to my intellect, not in the way that a literary book - I forget what example my friend cited, but it was one of those books that you assume only smart people read - might.

Me: "The percentage of high literature I've read is probably close to five."

My friend: "You read that much junk?!"

At which point I said that books are not divided into solely categories of high literature/the classics (which, for our discussion, we defined as books that have scholarly commentary/analysis) and junk.

For example: good books that do not have dissertations written about them; nonfiction; complex genre fiction. From the standpoint of someone who only reads classics, yes, the other stuff may all look like junk - just as someone who eats only food prepared by a highly-trained chef will not know about quality fare produced with fewer credentials.

Both my friend and my sister have said to me that they don't want to waste their time on books they don't know will be good. Hence, the disdain of non-literary books.

I have a different perspective, in part because reading is my recreation (instead of watching movies/TV or...or...what else do people do in their down time?) and in part because I am a writer, and perhaps the only "rule of writing" on which there is consensus is that to write, you must first read.

Reading gluttons, like me, read because we like reading. I could defend my affinity for action/adventure books by saying that they teach me about form/narration/characterization/&c, but really, when I read a book that boys in my grade venerated five years ago, I read it for the simple reason that I want to find out what happens next.

Reading gourmets, like my friend, read in order to, I'm hypothesizing, have the experience of enjoying something well put together, or to broaden their intellect.

If it sounds as though I am judging the gourmets - I'm not, at least no more than they judge us gluttons. They wish to read, but they do not wish to read anything but the best. It's a better reason to read the classics than for status -

(I always favor doing things for yourself over doing things for others.)

- and at least they read. But I cannot pretend that it does not irk me when the guy eating caviar looks askance at my Costco sushi.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Order isn't a wonderful thing, pulling nothing in front of a
Crown of existence and this means much from you
Precisely because it's your microcosm, yet you don't risk
Gaining little by its reconstruction.
No, you aren't a selfless person, drawing away from
Day, and wakefulness, and alertness, and order not your own.



Let me explain. Once at school a poet spoke with us and had us write acrostic poems, which we then put through the f(x) = -x box. The poem above is the result. The original is below.


Entropy is a terrible thing, drawing everything behind a
Veil of nonexistence but that means nothing to me
Even though it's my universe, and I stand to
Lose much by its disintegration.
Yes, I am a selfish person, reaching always for
Night, and sleep, and rest, and entropy of my own.


I have a rather large backlog of posts including notes, stories, poems, etc. Thus, until the backlog is cleared, I will go back to posting twice a week (Tuesdays and Fridays).

Friday's post will be about the Protagonist Club.


Technical note: archive page is down. I will be figuring out a way to fix it; in the meantime, use the search bar.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Early Middle Ages

I accept Jackson Spielvogel's divisions, even though he is a Dummkopf with organization.

Germanic Kingdoms:

The Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy: Emperor Zeno of the Eastern Empire used the Ostrogoths to defeat Odoacer; however, the Ostrogothic king Theodoric then declared himself ruler of Italy. He kept many Roman customs, but established the Ostrogoths as the controllers of the army.

This, coupled with religious tensions (the Ostrogoths were Arian Christians, considered by the Italians to be heretics), made Ostrogoths rule unpopular. Shortly after Theodoric’s death, Byzantine troops under Justinian reconquered Italy. Ravenna replaced Rome as the Western capital.

In Spain, the Visigoths were more successful at mixing with the native population because they converted to Catholicism and intermarried with the Hispano-Romans. However, disputes over succession undermined the stability of the Visigothic Kingdom.

The Frankish kingdom long outlasted the other German states. Under the rule of Catholic king Clovis (482-511), the lands of the Franks extended to include all of modern France and much of western Germany. The line of Clovis, called the Merovingian dynasty, ruled the Franks (who were divided among three kingdoms) for two hundred years.

However, the nobility formed by the mixing of Germans and Gallo-Romans was growing more powerful at the king’s expense; the major domus was also becoming more powerful. Meanwhile, commerce and cities declined. In the 700s, former major domus Charles Martel became the de facto king of the Franks.

After Roman troops withdrew from Britain, the Angles and Saxons moved in. They fought against the Celts.

Germanic societies were much different from Romans. Because the social structure leaned heavily on the extended family, crimes often lead to blood feuds; to preempt the violence that often resulted from this, the system of the wergeld arose, assigning a monetary value to a murdered person.

Trials by ordeal were common. Childbearing women were highly valued, since that was their primary function. Men usually arranged marriages to benefit the family.

Development of the Christian Church:

The Church’s “Latin Fathers” influenced medieval thought. Augustine argued for the necessity of secular powers and celibacy, while Jerome translated the Bible into Latin.

By the 400s, the bishops of Rome had become more important, saying they were meant to be the successors of the apostle Peter. This position would eventually develop into the papacy.

Many church authorities sought to increase their power over secular leaders; the decline of the Empire allowed them to do so in Italy. German leaders still held power over the church in the 400s. Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) increased the powers of the Roman Catholic Church by turning the areas around Rome into the Papal States and making converts in England and Gaul.

The monastic movement was important in aiding his efforts. Early monks, the first of which were Egyptian, were solitary ascetics; Benedictine monks, however, emphasized moderation and communal life. Nuns were the female counterparts. Monks and nuns were seen as ideal Christians, and spread the religion throughout Europe.

Irish monks were more ascetic and preoccupied with education, including the creation of illuminated manuscripts. England also converted in the 600s; several pagan holidays were appropriated into the Christian calendar to aid the conversion.

Cassiodorus categorized secular knowledge into the seven liberal arts: grammar, rhetoric, logic; arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. Bede created a history of England.

Byzantine Empire:

Constantinople was the largest and commercially most important European city throughout the middle Ages. Its famed Hippodrome was an amphitheater whose chariot races provided citizens with political parties.

Justinian reigned as emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire from 527 to 565. His major accomplishments include the codification of Roman law in Latin, which formed the basis of Western law; rebuilding Constantinople after the Nika Revolt in 532, including the construction of the Hagia Sophia; and reconquering many parts of the Western Empire. However, these territories were quickly lost after his death.

In the 600s, emperors began turning away from the West and focused instead on consolidating their power in the eastern Mediterranean: in fact, beset by Muslim Arab tribes and Bulgars, the Eastern Empire could do nothing else if it wanted to continue to exist. It was this transformation that led to what is called the Byzantine Empire by the 700s.

The Byzantine Empire had several differences from European states. First, its official and common language was Greek rather than Latin. It also showed great unity between church and state, since the emperor chose the patriarch of Constantinople (equivalent to the pope in Rome). The main church controversy in the Byzantine Empire was that of iconoclasm.

Rise of Islam:

The Arabian Peninsula’s importance as a trade center increased in the 400-500s because of instability in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Desert nomads, the Bedouins, clashed with urban merchants. The Ka’ba was a sacred site in Mecca.

Muhammad (570-632) was the founder of Islam, which spread quickly throughout the Arab world after he conquered Mecca from Medina. The Qur’an contained the Five Pillars of Islam (shahadah, salat, zakat, siyam, and hajj); the Shari’a provided a law code. There was no division between political and religious power.

After Muhammad’s death, Islam spread quickly out of Arabia. Under his father-in-law Abu Bakr, Muslim forces took over the Persian Empire and Egypt; though they took the province of Syria, they could not completely overrun the Byzantines. In 661, a Schism occurred that split Islam between Sunnis and Shiites.

Islam continued to spread, however, under the caliphate of the Umayyad dynasty (capital: Damascus). In the 700s, Muslims captured the rest of Northern Africa and Visigothic Spain, though their expansion was stopped at the Battle of Tours in France. The Byzantine Empire was a buffer between Muslim lands and Christian Europe.

Europeans and the Environment:

Europe had low population density in the Early Middle Ages. There were many forests, and so little cultivated land that Europeans needed to hunt and fish to survive. Farming was difficult because Europeans couldn’t clear forests, and the soils of northern Europe were heavy. Drought and overmuch precipitation threatened; life expectancies and crop yields were low.

World of the Carolingians:

Charles Martel’s (see Germanic Kingdoms) son became king of the Frankish state in the mid-700s. He was anointed by a church representative. His son, Charlemagne (768-814), succeeded him and expanded the Carolingian Empire: he captured Lombardy quickly in 773 and Bavaria in 787-88, completely destroying the Avars in the process. He was unable to gain much from Spain, and only after much effort did he acquire Saxony in northeastern Germany.

To govern, Charlemagne gave land to nobles, relied on counts (though he tried to limit their powers by making them move around), and made efforts to reform the church. The papacy drew closer to the Frankish kings: in 799, the pope fled to Charlemagne’s court, and the year after crowned him as Emperor of the Romans.

Charlemagne presided over a Carolingian Renaissance, since he promoted learning. In monasteries, monks copied Christian and classical manuscripts. Books were expensive because they were made of parchment (not papyrus, because Egypt was Muslim); they were often illustrated and covered with jewels. The scholar Alcuin served at Charlemagne’s court and used Cassiodorus’ system of the seven liberal arts (see Development of the Christian Church).

The Catholic Church attempted to promote monogamy and marriage in contrast to the looser mores of Frankish marriages; it also tried to stop divorce. These measures increased the importance of the nuclear family.

Bread was the staple of the diet. Lacking that, peasants also had gruel. Upper classes ate pig and game; also, dairy products, vegetables, honey, and spices. The monastic diet contained 6,000 calories. Drinking was widespread; bathing, not so much.

Medicine often meant use of herbs and bleeding. Manuscripts contained advice for potions, surgeries, and magical rites (i.e. amulets).

Disintegration of the Carolingian Empire:

Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious, was a weak ruler. His sons divided the empire amongst themselves in the 843 Treaty of Verdun: to Charles the Bald went the Frankish lands; to Louis the German, the eastern; and to Lothar, the “Middle Kingdom” in between. Local aristocrats increased their powers in these years.

In the 800s, Muslim attacks began again in the Mediterranean. From western Asia emerged the threat of the Magyars, who fought against the Bulgars and Pechenegs and occasionally threatened Western Europe from where they’d settled in Hungary. In the late 900s, they converted to Christianity.

Vikings were a third threat. The frequency and magnitude of their raids increased in the 800s. Swedish Vikings established trading contact with the Byzantines and Arabs, via Slavic territories. Christian Viking converts served as buffers against other Northmen.

Emerging World of Lords and Vassals:

When governments decreased in importance and strength, people turned to lords for protection. Vassalage, from Germanic tradition, had lords give lands known as fiefs (very important in a society with little trade) to vassals in exchange for their military service. Knights emerged. Subinfeudation describes a hierarchy of lords and vassals, down to knights who did not have enough land to divide.

In 911, the dukes of the Germanic lands elected Conrad of Franconia to rule over the eastern Franks; he was soon replaced by Henry the Fowler, the first of the Saxon dynasty. His son, Otto I (936-73) relied on the clergy rather than nobles to govern; he also tried to Christianize the Slavs. The pope crowned him emperor in 962.

Similar circumstances occurred in the west: after the death of the Carolingian king, nobles chose a Frenchman, Hugh Capet, as king. However, the king’s lands were smaller than many held by other nobles; nevertheless, he made his title hereditary.

England became a kingdom through struggle against the Vikings. Alfred the Great of Wessex (871-899) fought off the Danes and encouraged learning; under his line England became an Anglo-Saxon kingdom. Sheriffs assisted the king in the shires.

The manorial system emerged as free peasants went into the service of lords in return for protection. Serfs, tied to the land and the lord, gradually came to outnumber free peasants. They paid taxes to the lords and tithes to the church. Up to 90% of the population was in agriculture; trade outside of local markets was often limited to luxury goods for the wealthy, traded with the Byzantine Empire and the caliphates.

Zenith of Byzantine Civilization:

The Byzantine Empire had a golden age in the 800-900s, beginning with the reign of Michael III (847-67). It was able to withstand attacks from Bulgars and Arabs, and conflicts with the pope. Under the highly skilled Macedonian Dynasty of 867-1081, the Byzantine Empire’s trade, Christian missionary activities in Eastern Europe, and land all increased.

Slavic People of Central and Eastern Europe:

Asiatic nomad tribes frequently invaded the European Plain and joined with the native Slavs. In the west, the Poles and Czechs were converted by Germans to Catholicism.

The southern Slavs and Bulgars became Eastern Orthodox, largely through the efforts of Byzantine missionaries such as Cyril, who created the Cyrillic alphabet.

Eastern Slavs faced the challenge of Varangians (Swedish Vikings), particularly the Rus, whose leader Rurik established his dynasty at Novgorod in 862. Rurik’s follower Oleg set up the Rus state at Kiev; later rulers accepted the Orthodox church largely as a way to establish order.

Expansion of Islam:

In 750, the Abbasid dynasty overthrew the decadent Umayyads and began to open the Islamic empire up to the influence of conquered people. The new capital of Baghdad led to much Persian influence. Though led by capable rulers, the Abbasids could not stop the Islamic world from fracturing along political lines: the Spanish emirate of al-Andalus broke away in 756 and the Fatimid caliphate of Egypt in 973.

However, the Islamic civilization as a whole thrived in the latter part of the millennium. Many great Muslim cities, such as Cordoba, Cairo, and Baghdad, were centers of learning and trade. Al-Khwarizmi, a Persian, is credited with inventing algebra. More than the Byzantine Empire or certainly Western Europe, Islam preserved and added to classical scholarship.


Spielvogel, Jackson. Western Civilization, Seventh Edition. Canada: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thus Spake Zarathustra, pt. I

Ich bin der Ubermensch.

No, not yet really. But I just finished reading Thus Spake Zarathustra, by Friedrich Nietzsche, and while I certainly don't agree with/understand everything, a lot of what he says sets my mind on fire.

"Verily, a polluted stream is man. One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure." (7)
This ties in very nicely with one of my deepest-held beliefs: that the sea is more powerful than anything else on earth.

"I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star. I tell you: ye have still chaos in you." (11)
Through my Unwise Ones stories, I'm gradually coming into the view that universe is not good v. evil, but chaos v. order - and the lines between good and bad are not neat. Chaos pervades life just as much as it pervades death; for order, likewise.

Says a buffoon: "It was thy good fortune to associate with the dead dog; by so humiliating thyself thou has saved thy life today." (15)
Only they who are of no consequence are safe. In the future, I will have to chose safety or greatness; I hope to have the courage to choose the latter and the luck to end up well.

"Not to the people is Zarathustra to speak, but to companions!...

Companions, the creator seeketh, not corpses - and not herds or believers either. Fellow-creators the creator seeketh - those who grave new values on new tables...

Companions, the creator seeketh, and such as know how to whet their sickles. Destroyers, will they be called, and despisers of good and evil. But they are the reapers and rejoicers." (17-18)
You are my companion, if you read this. It's what Justine Musk says your tribe or Theodora Goss calls your family.
"When you crashed on this planet, or were left on this planet, or however you got here, you lost your family. Your family became separated, and different members grew up in different places. You didn’t even know you were aliens, although you always felt different, didn’t you? But one day, probably around adolescence, you noticed the lizard skin underneath the human surface. And you realized that you were an alien and started wondering, were there others like you? So you set out to find those others."
-Theodora Goss, Finding Your Family
Not that I mean to imply that Goss is as egotistical as I am, in identifying with Nietzsche (and even with the title "Destroyers"), but we're all three of us INTJs. Make of that what you will.

"[The lion's] last Lord it here seeketh [in the wilderness]: hostile will it be to him, and to its last God; for victory will it struggle with the great dragon.

...'Thou-shalt,' is the great dragon called. But the spirit of the lion saith, 'I will.'" (24)
I think I am rather more tiger-like, for lions live in prides. And I have compunctions about fighting dragons. Yet, in my sixteenth year I'm becoming more of a typical teenager in that always, in the back of my mind, insurrection simmers. I don't automatically respect those in authority anymore.


"I carried mine own ashes to the mountain" (29)
My mind exploded at this line. The image burns - raw, stark, silhouetted against everything that I've imagined a thorough ordeal might be. I carried mine own ashes to the mountain. Gods.

Who are the backworldsmen?


By the way, an awesome insult: "Ye have made your way from the worm to man, and much within you is still worm." (6)

As I process what I have read, I will continue to share the things that cause my mind to turn and my breath, perhaps, to quicken. For we are companions, you and I, and we reap and rejoice.