AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

30 June 2016

Glory.


ESCAPE AT BEDTIME

The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out
       Through the blinds and the windows and bars;
And high overhead and all moving about,
       There were thousands of millions of stars.
There ne'er were such thousands of leaves on a tree,
       Nor of people in church or the Park,
As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me,
       And that glittered and winked in the dark.

The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all,
       And the star of the sailor, and Mars,
These shown in the sky, and the pail by the wall
       Would be half full of water and stars.
They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,
       And they soon had me packed into bed;
But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,
       And the stars going round in my head.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Great.

Technique.


Technique is the proof of your seriousness.

Wallace Stevens

Supertramp, "From Now On"

Poetry.

Friedrich, Drifting Clouds, 1820


ON THE GRASSHOPPER AND CRICKET

The Poetry of earth is never dead:    
  When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,    
  And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run    
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;    
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead       
  In summer luxury,—he has never done    
  With his delights; for when tired out with fun    
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.    
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:    
  On a lone winter evening, when the frost      
    Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills    
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,    
  And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,    
    The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.

John Keats

Beyond.


God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

Rainer Maria Rike

Paul Weller, "Broken Stones"

Tomorrow.


WITH THE RESULTING STILLNESS

There is nothing like Africa
as there is nothing like youth …
or waking each day not knowing what the day will bring
but knowing that it will bring something.
We rode out to the cemetery
through the country he wrote about.
I like to write standing up.
He was buried in a plain pine coffin,
newly painted black so that the paint
came off on the faces and the hands …
Simles are like defective ammunition …
and leaving was like an amputation.
I got your check cashed
it like a son of a bitch. ...
About the smell of death part …
That is all a writer of fiction is.
Let me know when we start to get rich.
Your legend grows like the barnacles
on the bottom of a ship …
The sea is the sea. The old man
is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish
s a fish. But nobody likes to be tailed.
The question is: can you write?
If I praise your damn poetry any more
you'll think I'm a fairy or a critic …
Hadley joins in congratulations …
No I don't think "My Old Man"
derives from Anderson.
            Dear Miss Stein:
We have been killing cattle –
killing lions for the Masai.
It is lovely now and hurricane months . . .
are very beautiful. And how is Zelda?
I get damned maudlin about how swell
you are. Today your letter … came.
—wash and peel all the fruit you eat.
Let us take up the word bitch again.
To get back to your letter.
… Liquor is the only mechanical relief.
The sharks are all sharks no better …
I am as committed as an armoured
column in a narrow defile …
Mary sends her very best. Yours in belle lettres. P.S.
It has always been my ambition.

That is all a writer of fiction is.
Especially when you look forward
like hell to getting mail … Patrick
got a hundred in so many subjects
that we decided it is a lousy school.
Almost like a genius. I'm sure
we should all be happy as kings.
I wish Charlie and Max were alive
because they would have had fun.
The world is so full of a number of things.
Seems like a pretty good basic slogan
for any time. About dying:
We must do it but there is no reason
we should give it importance.
Only lets hurry to get to Havana and to Key West …

We sail for Spain in May
… it is a story about a boy
who has come back from the war.
The war is never mentioned.
The Buick is running well.
This may be one of the things that helps it.

She found a way of writing
that was like writing letters all the time.
… very possible that tearing down
is more important than building up.
Nobody knows about the generation
that follows them … But maybe
will get around to that later.
It's wonderful to be a writer.
Sometimes it's like drilling rock
and then blasting it out with charges.
You know I am superstitious
and it is a hell of a damned dirty business …
To make a pitcher of Bloody Marys
(any smaller amount is worthless) …
You write a fine letter kid.
Don't forget to blow your nose and turn
around three times before you go to
bed. That way you can always go on.
I want life to hold some mysteries.
Bumby, my oldest boy … is somewhere
around fifteen sixteen or seventeen.
He had a very steep trajectory
and was almost like a guided missile
with no one guiding him.
Must truly get to work now.
Boiling it down always
rather than spreading it out thin.
Going fishing next week.
(… and live to be a wise old man
with white beard and chew tobacco)
No'one you love is ever dead.
I would like to have the proofs as soon

as possible. Tomorrow is my birthday.
There is something morbid about it.
… and didn't he know that the man
in The Snows of Kilimanjaro could have
spoken of him, or thought of him …
but-it was always full of pity
as though you had a butterfly or a moth
for a friend. Then, now …
Very hard to write. How does it go?
And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Stephen Bodnar

This is a poem made of entirely of lines, or parts of lines, from Hemingway’s letters. 

Ready.

Chapman-Taylor, Peter Pan on Mt. Eden, 1928


DO NOT BE ASHAMED

You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful,
they will want you to be ashamed.
They will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.
They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
"I am not ashamed." A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin
his evening flight from the hilltop.

Wendell Berry 

Mozart, Divertimento in D major, K.136

Yehudi Menuhin leads the Moscow Virtuosi ...

Michael Hedges, "Baal T'Shuvah"

Carry.


You are aware of only one unrest;
Oh, never learn to know the other!
Two souls, alas, are dwelling in my breast,
And one is striving to forsake its brother.
Unto the world in grossly loving zest,
With clinging tendrils, one adheres;
The other rises forcibly in quest
Of rarefied ancestral spheres.
If there be spirits in the air
That hold their sway between the earth and sky,
Descend out of the golden vapors there
And sweep me into iridescent life.
Oh, came a magic cloak into my hands
To carry me to distant lands,
I should not trade it for the choicest gown,
Nor for the cloak and garments of the crown.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, from Faust

Dog.

Bach, Partita No. 3, BWV 1006

Bela Fleck performs the Prelude ...

Become.


We want so much more — something the books on aesthetics take little notice of. But the poets and the mythologies know all about it. We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.

C.S. Lewis

Enormous.

Jackson, Flaming Gorge, 1870


Before snapshots, photography was difficult, technical, cumbersome—and reserved for experts like William Henry Jackson. But Jackson’s influence on the public perception of the American West was enormous.

CONNECT
Vallotton, The Wind, 1910


GREAT SLEEPS I HAVE KNOWN

Once in a cradle in Norway folded
like Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir
as a ship in full sail transported the dead to Valhalla

Once on a mountain in Taos after making love
in my thirties the decade of turquoise and silver

After your brother walked into the Atlantic
to scatter your mothers ashes his khakis soaked
to the knees his shirtsleeves blowing

At the top of the cottage in a thunderstorm
once or twice each summer covetous of my solitude

Immediately following lunch
against circadian rhythms, once
in a bunk bed in a dormitory in the White Mountains

Once in a hollow tree in Wyoming
A snow squall blew in the guide said tie up your horses

The last night in the Katmandu guest house
where I saw a bird fly from a monk's mouth
a consolidated sleep of East and West

Once on a horsehair mattress two feet thick
I woke up singing
as in the apocryphal story of my birth
at Temple University Hospital

On the mesa with the burrowing owls
on the mesa with the prairie dogs

Willing to be lucky
I ran the perimeter road in my sleep
entrained to the cycles of light and dark
Sometimes my dead sister visited my dreams

Once on the beach in New Jersey
after the turtles deposited their eggs
before my parents grew old, nocturnal

Robin Becker

Beethoven, Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, "Choral"

TO JOY

O friends, no more these sounds!
Let us sing more cheerful songs,
more full of joy!

Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary.
Thy magic power re-unites
All that custom has divided,
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.

Whoever has created
An abiding friendship,
Or has won a true and loving wife,
Join in our song of praise,
Yes, all who can call at least one soul
Theirs upon this earth;
But any who cannot must creep tearfully
Away from our circle.

All creatures drink of joy
At nature's breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift;
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,
A tried friend to the end.
Even the worm can feel contentment,
And the cherub stands before God!

Gladly,
As His heavenly bodies fly
On their courses through the heavens,
Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
As a hero going to conquest.

You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions?
World, do you know your creator?
Seek him in the heavens;
Above the stars must He dwell.

Friedrich Schiller

From 1948, Arturo Toscanini conducts Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, "Choral," with the NBC Symphony Orchestra ...

More-than-you.


INTERVIEWER:  Is the important thing that ogham was preclassical?

ROBERT GRAVES:  That's right. Before Plato. Before the Greeks went wrong. You know, the Jews had a saying—“of the ten measures of folly the Greeks have nine.” They were all right until about the sixth century B.C. By the time of Alexander the Great they'd gone to pieces altogether.

INTERVIEWER: In what way?

GRAVES:  They tried to decry myth. They tried to put in its place what we would now call scientific concepts. They tried to give it a literal explanation. Socrates jokes about myths, and Horace makes fun of them. When put to it, Socrates could clarify a myth in a way that deprived it of all sense. They simply had no use for poetic thought. Logic works at a very high level in consciousness. The academic never goes to sleep logically, he always stays awake. By doing so, he deprives himself of sleep. And he misses the whole thing, you see. Sleep has seven levels, topmost of which is the poetic trance—in it you still have access to conscious thought while keeping in touch with dream . . . with the topmost fragments of dream . . . you own memory . . . pictorial imagery as children know it and as it was known to primitive man. No poem is worth anything unless it starts from a poetic trance, out of which you can be wakened by interruption as from a dream. In fact, it is the same thing.

INTERVIEWER:  But where does this itself come from?

GRAVES:  From yourself, under the direction of the more-than-you formed by your relation with the person with whom you are in rapport at the time. If anybody were really observant, he'd be able to take a poem and draw a picture of the person it was addressed to.

Fearsome.

In this clip from the 1930s, Confederate veterans step up to the microphone and let out their version of the fearsome rallying cry, the Rebel Yell ...

Processes.

29 June 2016

Lucinda Williams, "The Ghosts of Highway 20"


Yeah, I know this road like the back of my hand 
Same with the stations of the FM band 
Farms and truck stops and the firework stands 
I know this road like the back of my hand

INXS, "Spy of Love"

Mythologies.

Chatham, Summer Evening on the North Platte River, 2004


Ultimately, I don’t know exactly what happened in my angling life. I had gone fly fishing for thirty-three years in Montana and then we moved there, so now I’m up to forty-two. Mind you, this doesn’t mean I’m good at it. Good and bad aren’t part of my fishing lexicon. The good can be part of the quality of light that day, or the quality of bread, salami, or hot peppers at lunch. The bad can be weather under forty degrees, which I no longer care for. In the last nine years, having moved from Michigan to Montana to be closer to our daughters and grandchildren, I’ve upped my fishing to sixty to seventy days per season. I have reams of empty paper containing what I’ve forgotten. Certain good fish are only remembered when I pass the landscape on the river where I caught them. We can be as honest as we can be and still be hopelessly dishonest. Our private mythologies have a soft stranglehold on us. Fishing elicits tales and fables from us from another time.

Jim Harrison

Out.


The dark came into the room from the little window that opened in the side of The Hill; the firelight flickered-it was April-and still they played on, while the shadow of Gandalf’s beard wagged against the wall.

The dark filled all the room, and the fire died down, and the shadows were lost, and still they played on. And suddenly first one and then another began to sing as they played, deep-throated singing of the dwarves in the deep places of their ancient homes; and this is like a fragment of their song, if it can be like their song without their music.

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

 For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a gloaming golden hoard
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

 On silver necklaces they strung
The flowering stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, in twisted wire
They meshed the light of moon and sun.

 Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day,
To claim our long-forgotten gold.

 Goblets they carved there for themselves
And harps of gold; where no man delves
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves.

 The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches biased with light.

 The bells were ringing in the dale
And men looked up with faces pale;
The dragon’s ire more fierce than fire
Laid low their towers and houses frail.

 The mountain smoked beneath the moon;
The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.
They fled their hall to dying fall
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

 Far over the misty mountains grim
To dungeons deep and caverns dim
We must away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!

As they sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick. He looked out of the window. The stars were out in a dark sky above the trees. He thought of the jewels of the dwarves shining in dark caverns. Suddenly in the wood beyond The Water a flame leapt up -- probably somebody lighting a wood-fire -- and he thought of plundering dragons settling on his quiet Hill and kindling it all to flames. He shuddered; and very quickly he was plain Mr. Baggins of Bag-End, Under-Hill, again.

He got up trembling. He had less than half a mind to fetch the lamp, and more than half a mind to pretend to, and go and hide behind the beer barrels in the cellar, and not come out again until all the dwarves had gone away. Suddenly he found that the music and the singing had stopped, and they were all looking at him with eyes shining in the dark.

“Where are you going?” said Thorin, in a tone that seemed to show that he guessed both halves of the hobbit’s mind.

“What about a little light?” said Bilbo apologetically.

“We like the dark,” said the dwarves. “Dark for dark business! There are many hours before dawn.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, from The Hobbit

Digitized.


The cartographer Abraham Ortelius lived almost 500 years ago. He is most famous for his atlas, the Theatrum orbis terrarum (1573). The Bodleian Library at Oxford University recently digitized Hertford College’s copy.  Marvel at a stunning use of digital technology.

Vaster.


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born on this day in 1900.

Behind all seen things lies something vaster; everything is but a path, a portal or a window opening on something other than itself.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Sky, The Sea ...


Benefit.


We spend more time maintaining our cars than our mental health.

We can all benefit from a similar shift in perspective. Catch your child doing something right today. Give a compliment to a friend. Congratulate a co-worker for a job well done. Thank a loved one for a gesture you take for granted.  Focusing on what’s right in yourself and others may be just what the doctor ordered.


Thanks, Kurt.

Consummate.


One working eye or not, the man could fish. That being said, Jim was the consummate poet. Often I’d look back at him and his fly would be trailing way off behind the boat and he’d be concentrating on something on the bank or flying overhead, birds never failed to derail his attention. 

CONNECT

More essentials here.

Pete Seeger, "Living in the Country"

Art.


“Grave this on your memory, lad: a world is supported by four things,” she held up four big-knuckled fingers.  “The learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the righteous, and the valor of the brave. But all of these things are as nothing,” she closed her fingers into a fist, “without a ruler who knows the art of ruling. Make that the science of your tradition!”

Frank Herbert, Dune

Harrison.

Mario Batali remembers Jim Harrison ...

Wonder.


I am very grateful to the people who have allowed me to have some silence. I don't think we give that gift very much anymore. I'm very concerned that our society is much more interested in information, than wonder; in noise, rather than silence. How do we do that? How do we encourage reflection? Oh my, this is a noisy world.

Fred Rogers

28 June 2016

Happy birthday, Rousseau.

Ramsay, Rousseau, 1766


Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born on this day in 1712.

The more I study the works of men in their institutions, the more clearly I see that, in their efforts after independence, they become slaves, and that their very freedom is wasted in vain attempts to assure its continuance. That they may not be carried away by the flood of things, they form all sorts of attachments; then as soon as they wish to move forward they are surprised to find that everything drags them back. It seems to me that to set oneself free we need do nothing, we need only continue to desire freedom.  The more ingenious our apparatus, the coarser and more unskillful are our senses.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, from Emile

Meaning.


It was a holiday, and the Hassidim had gathered to pray and to have a communion - sat sang - with the Master.

A man had come with his child. He was a little worried about the child, the boy. He may do something, so he was keeping an eye on the boy. When the prayers were said, the boy asked his father, "I have got a whistle - can I play on it?"  The father said, "Absolutely no - where is your whistle?" because he was afraid. He may not even listen to his “no.” He showed the whistle and the father kept his hand on his pocket, the boy's pocket.

Then there was dancing, and the father forgot and he also started dancing. And Hassids are dancers, joyous people - the cream of Judaism, the very essence of Judaism is with them, with those mad people.

When everybody was praying to God and dancing, suddenly the boy could not resist any longer. He took out his whistle and blew on it. Everybody was shocked! But Baal Shem came, hugged the boy, and said, "Our prayers are heard. Without this whistle, all was futile - because THIS was the only spontaneous thing here. All else was ritual."

Don't allow your life to become just a dead ritual. Let there be moments, unexplainable. Let there be a few things which are mysterious, for which you cannot supply any reason. Let there be a few doings for which people will think you are a little crazy. A man who is a hundred percent sane is dead. A little bit of craziness by the side is always a great joy. Go on doing a few crazy things. too.

And then meaning will be possible.

Osho

Here.

Canova, Amore e Psyche, 1793


O ME! O LIFE!

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

                                       Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Walt Whitman

Happiness.

Maker.

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Study Of The Maker Of Middle-earth ...

Commonplace.


If you want to understand Dogen’s philosophy you have to accept that there are many real things and phenomena in this universe that we human beings are simply not equipped to perceive, but that these things and phenomena are not parts of some mystical other realm. They’re part of our concrete reality. These days we grow up learning about infrared and ultraviolet light. So we know that there are forms of light that we can’t see. We know about the subconscious. So we know that there are realms of the mind we cannot consciously access. These are commonplace ideas. Just because we can’t normally perceive these things, we don’t think of them as supernatural the way people in Dogen’s times tended to conceive of things they could not perceive directly. So when we read Dogen we’re already prepared for much of what he wrote about in ways that his contemporaries were not.

Brad Warner

Zeal.


Zeal always.  Never allow your energy to be depleted by the modern world.

Warrior.

Plains warrior feather meanings ...

Off.


Thanks to Kurt for this beauty.

Fibonnaci.

Fibonacci trefoil ...

Mapless.


NECESSITIES

A map of the world. Not the one in the atlas,
but the one in our heads, the one we keep coloring in.
With the blue thread of the river by which we grew up.
The green smear of the woods we first made love in.
The yellow city we thought was our future.
The red highways not traveled, the green ones
with their missed exits, the black side roads
which took us where we had not meant to go.
The high peaks, recorded by relatives,
though we prefer certain unmarked elevations,
the private alps no one knows we have climbed.
The careful boundaries we draw and erase.
And always, around the edges,
the opaque wash of blue, concealing
the drop-off they have stepped into before us,
singly, mapless, not looking back.

Lisel Mueller

Charms.


IN HILLY- WOOD  

How sweet to be thus nestling deep in boughs,  
Upon an ashen stoven pillowing me; 
Faintly are heard the ploughmen at their ploughs,  
But not an eye can find its way to see. 
The sunbeams scarce molest me with a smile,  
So thick the leafy armies gather round; 
And where they do, the breeze blows cool the while,  
Their leafy shadows dancing on the ground. 
Full many a flower, too, wishing to be seen, 
Perks up its head the hiding grass between.  
In mid-wood silence, thus, how sweet to be; 
Where all the noises, that on peace intrude,  
Come from the chittering cricket, bird, and bee, 
Whose songs have charms to sweeten solitude.

John Clare

New Order, "Age of Consent"

Pile.


There is no telling," said he, "what treasures are hid in that glorious old pile. It is a famous place for antiquarian plunder; there are such rich bits of old time sculpture for the architect, and old time story for the poet. There is as rare picking in it as a Stilton cheese, and in the same taste -- the mouldier the better.”

Washington Irving, Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey

Again.

Setting.

Glenn Miller Orchestra, "I Got a Gal in Kalamazoo"

Mozart, Cosi Fan Tutte, K. 588

John Eliot Gardiner leads the English Baroque Soloists in the Overture ...

Pleasures.


That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.

Henry David Thoreau

Happy birthday, Rubens.

Rubens, Portrait of a Bearded Man, 1612


Peter Paul Rubens was born on this day in 1577.

A painting, if the light is just so, can turn into a luminescent inferno which may reveal for just a moment the soul of the artist.

Peter Paul Rubens

Gallery of the Masters: Peter Paul Rubens

Technique.

Dou, Scholar Sharpening a Quill Pen, 1603


Technique is the proof of your seriousness.

Wallace Stevens

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, R.I.P.


Nikolaus Harnoncourt passed on March 5.

I thought something had been missing.

Here he is in 1995 conducting rehearsals for The Marriage of Figaro ...

Terrifying.

27 June 2016

Questions.


ON FAIRY STORIES

I propose to speak about fairy-stories, though I am aware that this is a rash adventure. Faerie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold. And overbold I may be accounted, for though I have been a lover of fairy-stories since I learned to read, and have at times thought about them, I have not studied them professionally. I have been hardly more than a wandering explorer (or trespasser) in the land, full of wonder but not of information.

The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords. In that realm a man may, perhaps, count himself fortunate to have wandered, but its very richness and strangeness tie the tongue of a traveller who would report them. And while he is there it is dangerous for him to ask too many questions, lest the gates should be shut and the keys be lost.

There are, however, some questions that one who is to speak about fairy-stories must expect to answer, or attempt to answer, whatever the folk of Faërie may think  of his impertinence. For instance: What are fairy-stories? What is their origin? What is the use of them? I will try to give answers to these questions, or such hints of answers to them as I have gleaned — primarily from the stories themselves, the few of all their multitude that I know.

J.R.R. Tolkien

The Gloaming, "The Pilgrim's Song"

Typography.

The Waterboys, "Savage Earth Heart"

Serenading.


Gilbert Kerr, a member of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition ,Kerr was a member of the crew of the Scotia on the 1902-04 expedition, and was its official piper. He is seen here serenading an Emperor penguin.  In this capacity he was photographed performing in full Highland dress even in the harsh Antarctic environment.

The emperor penguin accompanying him in this photograph was evidently found to be sufficiently reluctant as a listener to require tethering to a large cooking-pot packed full of snow, but any other scientific discoveries resulting from such experiments were apparently not recorded.

This photograph was made into a postcard, and thus became one of the first items ever to be posted from Antarctica.

Thank you, Historical Times.

C'MON SNOW!  I'm ready for winter.

Work.


The job is what you do when you are told what to do. The job is showing up at the factory, following instructions, meeting spec, and being managed.

Someone can always do your job a little better or faster or cheaper than you can.

The job might be difficult, it might require skill, but it's a job.

Your art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo, and changing people.

Artists are people with a genius for finding a new answer, a new connection, or a new way of getting things done.  An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it personally.  The artists in your life are gift-focused, and their tenacity has nothing at all to do with income or job security. Instead, it’s about finding a way to change you in a positive way, and to do it with a gift. There’s a strong streak of intellectual integrity involved in being a passionate artist. You don’t sell out, because selling out involves destroying the best of what you are.  I think art is the ability to change people with your work, to see things as they are and then create stories, images, and interactions that change the marketplace.  Your art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo, and changing people.  Art is unique, new, and challenging to the status quo. It’s not decoration, it’s something that causes change.  Most of all, art involves labor. Not the labor of lifting a brush or typing a sentence, but the emotional labor of doing something difficult, taking a risk and extending yourself.

I call the process of doing your art, your "work."

Seth Godin