Friday, June 14, 2013

Good Hunting

Let us begin with death:

Homage to a Storyteller - Robert Ingpen
Lines from the poem "Requiem", by Robert Louis Stevenson:
UNDER the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you 'grave for me:
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
I want this read at my funeral, right before they play 'Trumpet Voluntary' with a band of ten tubas.

As if I needed another reason to cry: Letting Go, by Atul Gawande.

Weird things:


Enochian magic: "a system of ceremonial magic based on the evocation and commanding of various spirits." Found while researching for a short story about angels.

Why We Need Gods and Monsters, by Mary SanGiovanni:
It’s almost as if we believe the older something is, the closer a connection it has to the origins of all things supernatural, like maybe in simpler times, other entities existed much more openly, and so did the ability to experience and understand those entities. Before so much existed to distract or get in the way, before time and flawed thinking burned and wiped such arcane knowledge from the earth, maybe once the mysteries we look to unravel were nearly solved.


I think we have a desire, maybe even the need, to solve puzzles, to create something from nothing, to understand what defies explanation. I don’t know whether we do that because we need to believe something greater exists beyond us and after us, once our short time on earth has ended, or because we take comfort in finding proof that there is nothing big and intimidating waiting for us and we can look forward to an eternal, oblivious rest.

Maybe we don’t always need something to believe in. Maybe sometimes, we just need something to wonder about, or something to try and prove. Or it’s possible that what we need to believe in is our ability to put all of our human experiences in perspective – even the ones outside of personal or societal norm.
In sum: we need fictional monsters to examine the monsters we are or can be.

Short stories!

Come to My Arms, My Beamish Boy and Ballad of a Hot Air Balloon-Headed Girl, both by Douglas F. Warrick

Portrait of a Chair, by Reggie Oliver

A longer post about Surrealism forthcoming.

Useful stuff:

Il Quartier Generale dei Piemontesi in Crimea - Gerolamo Induno

Essential Equipment, by Greg Wilson:
  • Peace and quiet
  • Comfortable seating
  • Gridded paper + ballpoint pens
  • Heavy mug with hot drink
  • Rubber duck to which to explain things
  • Kleenex
  • Chess set
  • Medicine balls to keep hands from cramping
  • Reference books
  • Shoes in case you need to run
  • Pictures
Advice from Anna Ho in Note to Self:
  • Working harder < working strategically and identifying what you're doing wrong
  • Get off campus regularly (see new sights)
  • You don't need to be the leader of every group you're in; other people are competent and dedicated too
  • Sleep; go to bed earlier
  • Smile

Average female faces globally: a resource for drawing.

Among the Bernese Alps - Albert Bierstadt

A poem: "Once", by the author of the Eldrum Tree blog. I may not partake of that ethereal elven forest pre-Raphaelite vibe, but a poem from the perspective of the questing prince is welcome.

The ships of Victoria Semykina. Essentially, collage on a theme with awesomeness. I haven't done much art lately; maybe I'll try something like this.

Happy things:

Crags of Capella - Robert Ingpen

Watching Birdwatchers, by Anna Ho:
Being an expert birdwatcher isn't just about making distinctions - it's about being excited about those distinctions. So excited that one is willing to make them in conditions that, to quote Davie, "change your understanding of what it means to be cold." It was really cold out there, but the birdwatchers still eagerly called out their observations, through runny noses. It was beautiful: the birdwatchers peered into lenses, scopes pointed out to a glittering blue Atlantic Ocean, while little birds bobbed up and down on the waves...One couldn't help but feel excited, too. I loved to watch the birdwatchers, for the same reason that I love watching concerts...There's something special about watching a human being doing something he or she loves. When I watch people singing, for example I always feel like they're higher: like they've lifted up into the air, and have taken me with them. Whenever a birdwatcher announced an exciting discovery, it felt like an exciting discovery for all of humanity, as exaggerated as that may sound.


In total, we saw 53 species of birds. Each species had its own special name, and each one looked different. It made me realize that there's enormous diversity that I'm absolutely blind to: in trees, for example, or plants or cars. I remember how proud I was after taking an Art History class in High School; I could walk around and really see buildings. I could place them in an approximate date range, rationalize why they had been designed that way and who for - appreciate the range of architectural styles around my home and through the ages. Architecture, birds, trees, people: It's a lovely way to see the world.
Plans for the summer: learn to look at the trees and other plants in my neighborhood.*

Tropical Marginal World - Robert Ingpen

*By learn to look, I mean, of course, to see.

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