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Archive for April, 2019

Art Time!

Posted by Dirck on 26 April, 2019

The holiday last week sort of crept up on me, so let’s have a couple of films today. First, some visual art by a person working in a medium I’m somewhat familiar with:

And then, because that’s short, here’s a rather good rendition of my favourite piece of music ever in exactly the right venue:

I’m convinced that if I actually attended that, I would have ended up like Louis del Grande in Scanners, except smiling right through the whole process.

Today’s pen: Muji Cylindrical Aluminum Pen
Today’s ink: Waterman Florida Blue

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Posted by Dirck on 25 April, 2019

 

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 22 April
  • 23 April
  • 24 April
  • 25 April
  • Second draft of “Doting Mother Cradles Her Wayward Child.”
  • Third Draft of “A Duty of Upkeep is Owed to Your Neighbours.”
  • First Draft of “Share My Pain.”
  • Finished, at 2,142 words.
  • Extra euphony installed, goonish misspellings abolished.
  • 10 manuscript pages

A bit of good news came to me on Monday (which was, alas, otherwise a little too true to the its stereotype); “The Glamour of Battle” is being held for final editorial consideration after passing three rounds of reading. This is not acceptance, and acceptance may not come, but it’s still encouraging.

Actually, I also got a very pleasant item of feedback from someone who had read another story, sent for a competition some time ago, and thought that they should send along a few under-the-counter words of encouragement. Very kind, entirely unlooked for, and deeply appreciated. I may persist in this writing nonsense if treated thus.

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Posted by Dirck on 18 April, 2019

 

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 15 April
  • 16 April
  • 17 April
  • 18 April
  • A sudden and possibly hasty reaction to the day’s events
  • Third draft of “Curse of the Dragon”
  • Second draft of “Doting Mother Cradles Her Wayward Child”
  • See previous entry.
  • Finished, at 5,755 words.
  • 1,629 typed words.

I completely fumbled last weekend’s potential for writing, and thus did not manage the Monday deadline for “Curse of the Dragon.” Not a big deal; it won’t go moldy waiting for the next submission window, and I’ll be able to give it the proper post-completion examinations it wouldn’t have gotten had I pushed it through.

This is not quite as silver-lining flavoured as the news of how intact Notre Dame has remained, but it affects me more directly.

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We Cannot Have Nice Things

Posted by Dirck on 15 April, 2019

All things end. We know this. Any notion of permanence which we attach to anything at all is an illusion induced by our brief window of perception. The stars themselves cannot last.

We should not be surprised, then, when something built by humans meets a terminal fate.

About an hour before I started writing this, news of a plume of smoke drifting across Paris from the roof of Notre Dame cathedral penetrated my part of the world. And despite all having these little cushioning ideas to hand, I’m at the very edge of tears. One who is not a follower of that faith, one who has never seen the edifice in person, choking on emotion.

Because it was the work of generations. Because it is possible, just barely, to imagine the communal effort over centuries that went into the construction, the combination of individual hopes and aspirations that shifted and shaped so much wood and stone. I mentioned in a previous entry here how a letter is like holding hands at one remove with the writer, however long ago the writing happened; these great old buildings have the same power to connect a modern visitor to people long gone. Not only the builders, either. Thresholds and staircases are reshaped by generations of passers-by, so that going there now allows one to quite literally stand in their footsteps, and microscopically leave new marks, so that those who will come after are brought into the chain of inclusion.

All of that, gone in hours.

Choking upon emotion, because it is a piece of art, a huge multimedia presentation of carved stone and stained glass, with an occasional auditory element when the bells are rung. Perhaps it isn’t to all tastes, but what art can be? When some item of art is lost, the balance between Beauty and Ugly is dragged into a worse place. When that item is a large, durable one, can the loss be felt as other than a blow?

Drifting pale smoke, grey ash, heat-shattered fragments of rock. Whither beauty then, except perhaps when an accident of light from a setting sun produces a brief gilding?

To avoid ending on that grim note, let me offer some possible solace. To start with, let’s look the problem in the face.

Image result for notre dame

This is pretty damn serious, and this is well before it got worse.

All things come to an end. We accept that this structure will never be the same. But… this is not the first cathedral to suffer a massive fire. A little over a century ago, Reims cathedral also had a huge conflagration, and (despite later propaganda) just as accidental:

Image result for reims cathedral

We may expect Notre Dame to look just like this, in a couple of weeks.

And yet, if one visits that city today, one finds…

Facade, looking northeast

Oh. There it stands.

That’s looking pretty good, although despite re-opening in 1938 (only 24 years after the fire, and 19 years after the start of rebuilding) the work has never actually been declared finished. That’s fine, though. That’s just fine. Cathedrals are not quick. They should be generational. Köln cathedral was started in 1248 and wasn’t considered built until 1880, after all, and they’re still putting it right after some knocks it took in the Second World War.

Let’s have some hope, then. Perhaps in a mere generation, when many of us are still here to see it, Notre Dame will be largely restored. Not the same as it was, of course, but with enough of the old fabric to maintain the connection across hundreds of years, and a whole new layer of craftsmen’s marks upon it to give far distant humanity a strong sense of connection to our time.

We cannot have nice things. Not forever. But we can keep striving for them, and revel in them while they last.

Today’s pen (may be in use a hundred years from now, unless I sit on it): Pelikan M600
Today’s ink (not so pretty, but depleting all the same): Lamy black

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A Quiet Evening Working on a Puzzle

Posted by Dirck on 12 April, 2019

Today’s film is full of virtues, showing the value of teamwork, planning, practice and laying out a work-space properly.

I don’t think, and I hope the lads won’t take offence at this, that I would go on a long trip without a somewhat more leisurely inspection of the fittings.

Today’s pen: Pilot Vanishing Point
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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Posted by Dirck on 11 April, 2019

 

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 8 April
  • 9 April
  • 10 April
  • 11 April
  • Third draft of “Curse of the Dragon”
  • 3409 typed words (and boy, are my arms tired).

I… might… make that Monday deadline for this story. Last week’s worries about sufficiency of editing remain strong, though.

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Weekend Treats

Posted by Dirck on 5 April, 2019

Here’s something startling– Youtube’s algorithms did something good. We know, of course, that they seem to feel putting ugly parodies of childhood favourites in the way of people watching actual childhood favourites is a fine way of gathering money, and that anyone who takes an interest in the history of the last century must be shown some modern ethno-state promoter’s ideas because that makes plenty of clicks and engagement and misery… but this morning, instead of doing any of that, Youtube offered me this, which I will likely be trying soon:

To be honest, what I look at on Youtube suggests this about as much as watching an episode of The Teletubbies calls for a follow-up of some blowhard explaining why phrenology proves the situation of the people in Flint, Michigan is deserved. However, I’m not going to complain when it falls out this way. Let’s have more gentle cooking instruction and less of that other nonsense.

Today’s pen (decided upon well before I saw the video): Muji Cylindrical Aluminum Pen
Today’s ink: Waterman Florida Blue

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Posted by Dirck on 4 April, 2019

 

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 1 April
  • 2 April
  • 3 April
  • 4 April
  • Second Draft of “Tiger on my Back”.
  • First draft of “Doting Mother Cradles Her Wayward Child”
  • Third draft of “Curse of the Dragon”
  • 2532 words and ready for eyes other than mine.
  • 3 manuscript pages, and also done.
  • 1201 typed words.

Wait, third draft? Yeah. I was on the verge of poking “Curse” at some readers when I had an uncomfortable vision of the much better story it could be, once I almost completely re-wrote it. Sigh. What makes this problematic is that the first place I’d like to send it when it’s ready closes submissions in eleven days. This is going to call from some hard graft on my part, and I may have to submit it without the usual safety net of another reader or two point out glaring stupidities.

Uncomfortable thought. You see all the glaring tyops and and double words that show up in this ongoing document; that’s fine (more or less), because I don’t expect anyone to pay me for this stuff. Something I hope to get paid professional rates (cue harp glissando) for should be, if not polished, at least without sharp corners for editors to tear their imaginations on.

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