Sunday, August 26, 2007

Kazantzakis and the Wrestler

Fr. Ronald Rolheiser writes:

IN HIS MEMOIR, "Report to Greco", Nikos Kazantzakis shares this story: As a young man, he spent a summer in a monastery during which he had a series of conversations with an old monk: "Father, do you still battle with the devil?" The old monk replied: "No, I used to, when I was younger, but now I have grown old and tired and the devil has grown old and tired with me. I leave him alone and he leaves me alone." "So your life is easy then?" remarked Kazantzakis. "Oh no," replied the monk, "it's much worse, now I wrestle with God!"

Friday, August 17, 2007

Little Ocean

I meet this speculation with a share of fear and a share of fascination. Rarely has the spirit of territorial conquest in the colonial age returned to the modern man. Rarely do you need the Canadian foreign minister to remind everyone that this is not the fifteenth century anymore and you can't just conquer the Lomonosov Ridge with a tricolour.

Then as they mourn the passing of the ice-white beasts that left only their name on the little ocean, the first freighters arrive at Nanortalik, filled with imports from the south and bound for Archangel. Hitherto distant and uninteresting cities begin to flourish all along the Arctic coast and further inland. A torrid clime develops at the equator and nations of both hemispheres are once again enshrouded from each other, in a fog of mystery and exaggerated accounts of travellers.

A Toast to Terms
Coming to terms with myself is pretty hard nowadays, in extreme times where people either let fly down canyons or up to the heavens, where people either mug with a giant grudge or read the textbook with all the reverence deserved for a storybook.

Coming to terms is hard because it is not always easy to accept. It could be that August is the month when Amanda Heng makes the least sense, when Boccioni, Kruger or other art wranglers are at their most vitriolic, and Tianyu comes to his element and sprinkles terrible bathos around the art room. These personalities find their adversaries hard to reconcile with; nothing for naturalistic portrayals but history, nothing for society but death and destruction through wars, nothing for Men but to get unmentionable things done to their unmentionables... Yet don't we also refuse to come to terms with them?

Enough of our senseless polemic: society rallying themselves against the ill-refined society around them in an eternal struggle has to be one of the greatest joke of modern times.

Here's to the muse of question and understanding; Here's to shame the devil that is our caustic hatred.

For old time's sake, give me a sheet of paper, and I'll give you a portrait beautiful enough for to hunt birds with.
In the year before I joined the choir I remembered this line from a song we sang during mass: Too many little games I've played.

These games they do spell my fall so often. Do they spell the sadness of others as well, as my rabid imagination beckons me to believe? Does my muse suffer in my stead, when I put these concerns away? Does she think as I do, look away when I feign haughtiness, turn remote as I feign nonchalance, put our friendship in disregard when I thought of the same?

I spelled out some of my confessions to a close friend who could understand them. (It was not too bad, I had confessed worse sins to Father Frans, and earned forgiveness through my first Rite of Confession.) Among the confessions is the one about fear, the fear I feel of an encounter more than longing or anything. So unfashionable this notion is in the minds of people, I thought I was the only one lame enough to have it, or the only one stupid enough to counter the fear by the most straightforward method of fleeing the scene.

But I can recall conquering that fear once, putting onto paper the image of the most beautiful girl I knew of, working on the painstakingly minute detail, going ecstatic or depressed over slight disparities of proportion, or a spark from an eye missing. I had to commit myself to a close reading of a piece of art beautiful to the point of being lethal, but when the portrait was finished, so had my fear.

So before everything else starts again, I'll do a summary homage to Interesting Times; so that all wrongs may be forgiven, all fears allayed, all souls touched, and all eyes set to the bright and the real.

A Reinscription Concerning Faith

August 07 2006: The last pillar under thy marble roof has been sold for funds. Now wait for thy marble roof to crash down around thee.

August 08 2006: Quite surprisingly the leaden roof has not fallen for its loss of all its pillars; it has been supported from above... me suspended on a cord thrown down from heaven, holding me and my desperate, flailing limbs.

I feel as if I have, finally, lost everything. Which means that I have got nothing more to lose. Time to face adversary and hoist it by the neck. Take your troubles, the causes of your desperation, the ones bent on your demise, the demon of your own thoughts, and give them full hell!

I don't feel bad at all. I feel good. Terribly good, about this newfound sole dependence on the Almighty; His glory shines through my weakness. Terrible because I have been flushed with strength apparently from nowhere; good because I know He alone is there to save me whatever goes. When He raises me up from the depths all I need to do is to keep the faith running...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hag With the Money

Shot Forty-nine

Dá bhfeicfeá' an "steam" 'ghabhail siar Tóin Uí Loin'
'S na rothaí 'ghabhail timpeall siar ó na ceathrúnaí
Chaithfeadh sí 'n stiúir naoi n-vair' ar a cúl
'S ní choinneodh sí siúl le cailleach an airgid

If you'd see the Steam going past Toin Ui Loin'
And the wheels turning speedily out from her flanks
She'd scatter the stoor nine times to the rear
But she'd never keep pace with the hag with the money

I don't know what this verse from Altan means but it fits.

Monday, August 06, 2007

This House Believes that it's a Ship

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Snow-covered landscape and frigid oceans and splintered boat and miffed rabbit in Frame the Twenty-Third.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sixteen Days to Sundown

立秋: Tuesday, August the Seventh
Perseids Watch: Tuesday Night, August the Seventh
National Day: Wednesday, August the Eighth
The Prelims: August the Eighteenth to September the Twenty-First
Dunmore Cave Third Anniversary: Sunday, August the Nineteenth
Prelims Coursework Submission: Tuesday, August the Twenty-First
'A' Levels Coursework Submission: Friday, September the Seventh
Autumnal Equinox: Sunday, September the Twenty-Third

A little progress on the Coursework bit:
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Animation loop done for Clarence upon the sea. No, it's not animated, sorry.

I'm starting to mug too, starting unofficially today in Sunday. You will not catch me with personal life snippets, the subject of which has become too embarrassing to even think about. Really. Darn. Instead you might receive updates on my Animation project, ruminations upon Physics, Maths, Computer Science, Art and Current Affairs, maybe even some soapy poems. So what are you waiting for? Shoo. Shoo.