Once upon a time, not so long ago, in the cold forests of the north, a little girl was born, the first and only child to a royal family in a small, troubled kingdom. She was named Princess Laurel. The trouble came from the girl’s parents, the king, and queen. Theirs was a loveless marriage, arranged when they were little more than children themselves. Their marriage was demanded by popular acclaim as a peace settlement to pacify and unify the eternally warring adjoining duchies of Laurel’s grandparents. The citizens of the blended kingdom say that the war didn’t so much stop as shrink and restrict itself to the dimensions of the castle and specifically the persons of the King and Queen. Each had their own court with advisors, ministers, elite guards, minstrels and magicians. All these swore fealty to the Monarch of their court and then to the Kingdom as a whole as a bit of an afterthought. The two courts faced each other warily and communicated in an arch mockery of courtly manners that dripped contempt and implied dark suspicions. All participants had drifted into this unpleasantness by watching and imitating the King and Queen during their tense meetings and the ways they discussed each other in private.
The King and Queen lived at opposite ends of the castle, which had been ripped apart inside and rebuilt as two wholly separate seats of imposing monarchial power. Exactly between them, incongruously cozy, pastel and modest, was the nursery and bedroom suite prepared for Princess Laurel. To each side of her rooms was a heavily spiked iron gate, one to the Queen’s side and one to the King’s. Every morning both gates had to be noisily and laboriously raised and locked open to allow visitors from the other side. This would become the morning wake-up sound for Laurel, and she would often fall asleep shortly after the last thump and clank of the re-lowered gates at night.
Friends turned into comic strip panels, children’s book illustrations, and whatever struck my fancy. I learn new stuff by leaning into it and cranking.
Dwell on the beauty of life, watch the stars and see yourself running with them.
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
I’m like a ridiculous little boat, tossed about by my own weather, and praying the storm will end.
Everyone is an assembly of voices, and inner life is their discussion. Our flaws and weaknesses are the voices we listened to more that we should have. Now, when they speak we mistake their voice for our own. These are the voices that confidently led us into every catastrophe. You can slowly change by recognizing this, and opening talks with the ignored and forgotten ones.
When longing is unbearable it becomes a prayer.
The facet of a child that has been damaged beyond the natural repair of time doesn’t grow up but freezes there. It is nonetheless bound unbreakably to the grown-up responsibilities it was always destined to bear. This is the source of the mysterious, exhausted crying you can sometimes silently feel coming from the heart of someone nearby.
When I tumble to new techniques and effects I get excited and a bit obsessive and mass-produce variations. I cherish each one too much and post them for the whole world. Then I realize I’m seeing the one thing about it that makes me happy and most likely no one else gives a hoot. So it goes.
“I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation.
And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”
–Gus Speth, a US advisor on climate change