embley and yewbert were hitting one another with croquet mallets

augustine ash via

I have this problem where I go to the library for something very, very specific and then leave with The Strange Case of Edward Gorey by Alexander Theroux. Well, this time anyway. Plus Kramer's The Sacred Art of Dying and a thin paperback on Manuals for Living. Last week it was a quarto on lettering and Emily Brontë. Basically I am easily side-tracked and should probably consider picking up a pair of blinders before I chance the stacks, you know, like Black Beauty wears during his stint as a cab horse and Ginger dies? And I'd cry and cry because Ginger was a full sixteen hands of her namesake's biting spice and all sorts of traumatic analysis? Anyway. Besides all the Shakespeare and constitutional literature that is my life right now, I've been reading this little biography for the past few days, between Lear and Locke. And by reading I mean keeping it on my kitchen table so I can justify a few pages while eating breakfast before the day starts, but I've long loved what Theroux calls Gorey's  "little pen-and-ink cartoon marplots of delicate fright" and am now somewhat enamored of the man himself.

But I was reading my nine pages this morning and came across a small paragraph on his abecedarian Gashlycrumb Tinies that ended with this: "Bad behavior, to my mind, always confirmed for Gorey an essential and unavoidable fact of life, proving to his amusement . . . not only that this is the way we are, but also in a sense we all live closer to our deficiencies than to our dreams."

I've thought about that all day. Because it is sad and true, at least and especially in the case of my own productivity in the last twenty-four hours. Before class this morning I wrote out a rather strict study and work schedule for the day, consisting of a good thirteen absolutely essential things to do--get done--and have effectively ticked off exactly only one and three-fourths of that baker's dozen. I'm not very good at maths or even numbers in general, but that's like only barely above a ten percent success rate, and that is bad. Dreams. Deficiencies.

One thing about the world ending tomorrow is that my American Heritage midterm is on Monday and it might be nice to avoid that potential disaster by way of armageddon. But Kim's true love is in Beijing so I won't cross any fingers just yet. Plus I'm pretty sure I'll actually live through the testing center but fail the Rapture.

And on an entirely other end note: The Epileptic Bicycle is one of my Gorey favorites, and I've always thought Embley would be a good name for a cat.


this just in.

that's snow.
right now.

to which i say:
dasar salju gimanasih?! musim semi apaan?!

that about covers it.


the beginning of real answers

07. MAY. 2011 We drive to Kanosh. It takes us two hours and I spend the two after that strung to the sinews as I listen to the painter, something working at my soul like a caterpillar in cocoon . . . On the way home I feel, among other things, the inability to speak; I float instead. I am a butterfly. Transformed.

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Brian Kershisnik, besides being hands down the very top of my top five in art, was the one who first introduced me to Belgian Chocolate Milk from Marks+Spencer. I owe him a lot. This month he's interviewed in MormonArtist.

I believe in a cosmos in which art, though vital, is not the most important thing. An external moral compass is critical for the art to participate in the great human drama in a significantly constructive way. That external moral compass is not always obviously quantifiable, or even comforting. It is the sum of what truly is. We humans (at least this one) are horribly imprecise and things that move us any closer to the center of the nature of things are good. If something is truly, authentically true, it is bigger than I am and independent of me. I wade in the shallows finding amazing shells which evidence something much bigger than this present experience. Many of the shells are fragments and shards, but some are complete and fantastic—but only the beginning of real answers. Art would do us all a great deal more good if, rather than criticizing, whining, and bickering, or even attempting to provide the answers, it helped us refine our questions.
Discipleship is a conversation, not an event. It is ongoing and influences everything. I actually choose to let discipleship influence the work as it will, and I don’t set expectations of how they are to work together. I have loved, and been loved by, too many great examples of discipleship to name them. I feel that all of my work is religious—very religious—not because I set out to make religious work, but because I set out to be a religious man.


royal we.

The dress. The kiss. Becks in tails and that too-cool Aston Martin. The whole world's been aflutter for a fortnight now and I'm not going to pretend I haven't played a part in it. I think I spent the entire actual wedding in an almost surprised infant-rapture--ohmyword, she's a princess holywow this is someone's real real wedding and nowaynowaynoway. The choir boys alone nearly did me in and then they had to go and send a Lancaster over Buckingham. But even beyond John Rutter and the RAF the wedding wonder that's held me still is the Bishop of London's sermon. That dress will hold its own historically, but this is stuff eternal.

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"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire." So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

 Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.  

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future. William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another. A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

 It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

 We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely a power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.
Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:

“Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,
Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.”

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen, that way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:
God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.

In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.

Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.  


pretty pretty provo

This was going to be a long post about mountains and running and spring and sun (which is why it's been a week in my drafts box) but actually all I really wanted to say is that sometimes I quite like where I live.