I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me â€” that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter â€” except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
July 22, 2014 - 11:03 a.m.
Woohoo I'm starting to write before the WfUV question of the day at 9:15. That's a victory. Too bad I don’t know what I'm writing about today. I had ideas but as so often happens they disappeared into the yawning chasm where my brain should be.
Let's start with easy stuff, unfinished business. On Saturday Bobtown sang Jen's birthday song to me from the merch tent. Fred videoed most of it. Here it is. This will always give me a happy.
Now picking up the ball I dropped reporting on Seeger Fest. It was hot and finished my water. I wanted to refill it. There are water fountains in Lincoln Center but none in area of Damrosch Park where the concert was. I asked if I could refill it outside. I was told "yes." I ask if they'd let me back in. I was told "no" Good thing I asked. Can you believe the security guard was going to let me leave then refuse to let me back and not tell me? And I left my stuff at my seat. So I had to buy a bottle of water in an environmentally unfriendly plastic bottle at a festival for Pete Seeger! Then to compound the crime there was no receptacles for recycling. Lincoln Center dropped the ball on that one.
Now back to something else that will always make me feel good. I am rereading The Silmarillion by J.R.R, Tolkien. It is organized as a mythology compendium with selections and summaries of longer stories and poems that tell the early years of Arda, the greater world that Middle Earth is part of. Tolkien at least started on most of them. That's what the History of the Middle Earth series is about. I've read them all of course.
My favorite story, anywhere, not just by Tolkien is the Tale of Tinúviel aka the Lay of Leithian: Release from Bondage. In the Silmarillion the title is Beren and Lúthien I love that I have written about this often enough that I have word set to autocorrect and put in the accents. I usually like the more cynical writers like Cabell and Pratchett. They are the ones I identify with but this tale of love and courage and redemption, affects me like no other. It's how the world should be. Beren was a mortal man and Lúthien not just an elf but her mother was Melian of the Maia, a divine being that predated Arda. For love of each other Lúthien and Beren enter Thangorodrim, the fortress of Morgoth, alone and unaided to wrest a silmaril from his Iron Crown. As is pointed out in The Lord of the Rings Sauron was but a servant of Morgoth and Thangorodrim worse than Mordor. Most of the epic battles are not fought with swords but with songs, for that is where the power of Lúthien lay. They succeeded but in the aftermath Beren died. Lúthien told him to wait in the Halls of Mandos for her before he passed to the fate of men that no one knew. She left her body and went to the part of the Halls reserved for elves and sang.
And so Lúthien could share Beren's fate she was made mortal and they were sent back to Middle Earth for a while. And when they died they went wherever men go that none in Arda know. And so "alone of the Eldar Lúthien has died indeed."
The story is the essence of the Tolkien aesthetic, that the greatest beauty lies in sorrow But it is also filled with hope. Beren and Lúthien achieved what the combined might of the Noldor fresh from Valinor could not, reclaiming one of the holy jewels from Morgoth. And they changed their fates so they could be together. It's pretty hard to feel daunted by my challenges when thinking about it. It is the way the world should be.
Now I'm up to its counterpoint, the Narn i Hîn Húrin, the Tale of the Children of Hurin a tale of despair. Húrin was the chief of the House of Hador, the greatest of the three houses of the Edain, the first men to pass into Beleriand in the west of Middle Earth. He fought valiantly against Morgoth and when he was captured Morgoth cursed him and his family. It's the story of the working of the curse on his son, Túrin Turambar. Beren and Lúthien are pure without stain of sin, Túrin was cursed and all his decisions turned out ill. The curse worked by making him destroy himself. He lost everything and destroyed a Kingdom in the process. It is a Greek Tragedy akin to Oedipus. He even unwittingly marries and impregnates his own sister. It ends with them both taking their own lives. I have always had a hard time reading it because it is so tragic and there is no redemption. I was so happy to read that in the writings that were unfinished and so not included in The Silmarillion that Túrin was fated to return in the final battle at the end of the world. As the person most hurt by Morgoth Túrin is the one that slays him. I have always needed that redemption for Túrin.
I never told what I did yesterday. It was Monday so I went to Therapy. Then I met Heather and her mother Deborah at Cones for ice cream. I told the person that worked there that I should get a commission as I keep bringing them new customers. I am spreading my religion. We walked over to the Hudson River. Then I walked them to NYU where they had plans for the evening and I went shopping at Trader Joe's. They were out of eggs so I have to go back today. That was a waste.
Now I have to make breakfast, then do laundry, then go shopping.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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