Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Birds, and other dangers

I haven't posted anything for a while because i've been spending most of my time making bent-frame vinyl windows and reconsidering my basic ideas about things.
I think the alternate histories I've been writing say all sorts of pretty damning things about my views of other people. There is also the problem of history being an ongoing thing, as a writer you want things to reach equilibrium so you can stop writing, but the more you elaborate on that equilibrium the more contrived it begins to seem. I'm slowing starting to suspect that long-term-oriented relationships are a bad idea, which sort of makes me glad I'm not in one, but then in a lot of ways it seems like you are screwed in either case; I vaguely remember reading some Greek guy who said that you can't really judge whether your life is ok until you are dead, which seems applicable, if a bit useless.
Today the cooling water evaporating out of the glycerine vinyl bender filled the production floor with water vapor. It was also sunny outside, which meant there were absurdly distinct beams of light running through the place at about thirty degree angles. It was like nothing I had ever seen.
This is something I wrote on summer solstice last week, one year previously I had been in the Enchantments, doing the, until then, boldest climbing trip of my life.

In our dreams we are birds
Birds and not men
And as we flutter into the sky and soar against the blue 
All our weariness falls away like scales from our eyes
As if a pall has been pulled back from the world
A cataract loosened
All the sepia tones washed clear and blue
The fire in the pit of the cave put out
But then we wake up
And we are men
Men and not birds
And the aroma of our toil is the more acrid for having been forgotten

Monday, June 4, 2012

On Endings

I quote now from the great epic of our time, Tolkien’s Silmarillion–
But Morgoth himself the Valar thrust through the doors of night beyond the walls of the world, into the timeless void; and a guard is set forever on those walls, and Earendil keeps watch on the ramparts of the sky. Yet the lies that Melkor, the mighty and accursed, Morgoth Bauglir, the Power of Terror and of Hate, sowed in the hearts of Elves and Men are a seed that does not die and cannot be destroyed; and ever and anon it sprouts anew, and will bear dark fruit even unto the latest days.
Here ends the Silmarillion; and if it has passed from the high and the beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and if any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos.
Or, put differently,
Are you watching closely?
Who's doing this? Who's killing us? Robbing us of light and life. Mocking us with the sight of what we might have known.
At once I hate and love as well… how? God knows! And yet I feel it now here in my heart: the whole of hell.
What we may well believe has power to cut and shape and hollow out the dark form of the world surely if wind can, if rain can. But which cannot be held never be held and is no flower but is swift and a huntress and the wind itself is in terror of it and the world cannot lose it.
We will become a chunk of history.
Aurë Entuluva?
Special thanks to all men happy and shrewd, the nine layers of hell and her majesty, their architect, and, of course, my own little falkland islands who, god willing, I will see again under more favorable auspices.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Wikipedia is a Wonderful Thing

I started with Paul Valery (quoted in Blood Meridian) and ended up reading the most insightful analysis of the human condition I have encountered since Everything Is Illuminated.