The warping night air having brought the boom—Richard Wilbur (apologies)
Of an owl’s voice into her darkened room,
We tell the wakened child that all she heard
Was an odd question from a forest bird,
Asking of us, if rightly listened to,
“Who cooks for you?” and then “Who cooks for you?”
Words, which can make our terrors bravely clear,
Can also thus domesticate a fear,
And send a small child back to sleep at night
Not listening for the sound of stealthy flight
Or dreaming of some small thing in a claw
Borne up to some dark branch and eaten raw.
World-building inspiration for Savi and Nar… National Geographic Photo Contest 2018. A cenote is a sacred sinkhole in the Yucatán Peninsula. The Chixulub crater. The ‘stone forests’ of the South China Karst (link). Lake Hutt is a pink lake in Western Australia. Southern Min dialects. Written classical Chinese, and how it differs as a lingua franca viz. Latin in Europe. Grimm’s law and pronunciation shifts in the Indo-European languages. Stepwells in western India for accessing groundwater in drought.
“What is my responsibility as a creator to the thing I create?”
Whether that’s a child, or a book, or an album, or a painting. I think if I create something, it’s my responsibility to love it and give it its best chance in the world. And if I don’t do that, not only am I betraying it, but I’m betraying my gift. And […] if you begin to hate the thing you’ve created, it can indeed become monstrous.
—A.S. Peterson, on his play Frankenstein (interview)
BEN: … so then [the radio] won’t mute while it scans between stations.
BOB: OK. Cause that’s where they live, right?
BEN: Um. No, you just want that constant static noise.
BOB: Right. The noise, that’s where they live.
BEN: They don’t “live” anywhere, dude. They’re ghosts.
EMILY: I didn’t hear a voice at all.
BEN: I guess it doesn’t matter – the ghost voices don’t really come out until you play back the recording later.
BOB: They only exist in recordings, like a copy without an original. A mirror reflecting something that isn’t in the room.
EMILY: Like the mounds.
BOB: The burial mounds here in town? You think they’re haunted?
EMILY: No … or, sure, probably. But I meant they’re like the reflection. The people who made them lived hundreds of years ago. That whole society is long gone, and now we just have these lingering echoes, without any trace of context.
BEN: Yeah, that is kind of eerie.
BOB: So the ghosts speak and we can’t hear it, but the tape recorder can hear it? Is that right?
BEN: I don’t know. Sometimes I think it’s more like the recording itself is a ghost. Like, that’s what ghosts are. Recordings of events that didn’t happen. When something keeps leaving new marks even after it’s gone. False memories.
EMILY: A ghost is just an absent person, whether they’re dead or not.
—Un Pueblo de Nada (Episode 4.5), Kentucky Route Zero 💬
The young viper grows as it sits,
Always in a great rage
With a shield on its knees.
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
— Book of Genesis, 49:10
Little soul, little wanderer, little charmer
Body’s guest and companion
To what places will you set out for now?
To darkling, cold, and gloomy ones
And you won’t make your usual jokes
💬 the epitaph of Emperor Hadrian,
(via the Emperors of Rome podcast)
A worldview is a conceptual scheme by which we consciously or unconsciously … interpret and judge reality.
💬 Ronald Nash, philosopher. (Thanks.)
This is my favourite song out of Josh Garrels‘ latest album, Home. From the first I heard those melancholy lyrics, I thought it was a song of the Prodigal Son, on the way back to God, longing and hoping for salvation and renewal. The lyrics don’t entirely match, but that was the strong, first impression.
But now, when I watched this new music video and actually read the words, it struck me that it’s also a song about death and remembrance. A son returning home to visit the grave of a long passed father, saying a final goodbye again.
The beauty of Garrels’ music is that there are different ways of interpreting his lyrics, and each reveals a different facet of God and faith in God. It’s one, and it’s also the other.
And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honour you?” And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”
So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching…
In the humdrum busy of my life, I’d forgotten that God is wonderful. No matter if the rest of my life sometimes has a grey cast over it, no matter that I am dissatisfied for reasons I can’t even begin to articulate. Hasn’t God already done a wondrous thing by being part of my life?
O LORD, bring me to a position of wonder in you. I will still say, you are wonderful and therefore my life is amazing.
GENERALLY: Patrick O’Brian, Patricia A. McKillip, Guy Gavriel Kay.
A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham.
Gridlinked by Neal Asher.
Dust by Elizabeth Bear.
Sly Mongoose by Tobias Buckell.
Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh.
Count Zero by William Gibson.
The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman.
Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean.
Silverlock by John Myers Myers.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.
100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson.
The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe.
All the Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear.
The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold.
Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh.
Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson.
The City and the City by China Miéville.
The Thirteen-and-a-Half Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers.
Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix.
Lord Valentine’s Castle by Robert Silverberg.
Veniss Underground by Jeff VanderMeer.