amberite_archive: (nowhere)
[livejournal.com profile] wolven on magic:


"...we make associative connections in our minds, all the time. It's the only way we can function, it's the only way we have a concept of time, or category, or "Things," it's what we do, and it's how we work, and the fact of the matter is that this is like a burning knife in our hands: We know there's a use for it, maybe even more than one, but what the fuck is it? Can't it always be doing more than this? Isn't there the potential for this to be held differently, to be used to do more than sell us things, people, candidates? Can't we see this for the importance it holds?

(...)Magic is life. It is the intensely, deeply, dangerously, furiously lived life. It's fucking as hard or as tenderly as you can. It's talking to the snakes in your head to solve your problems. It's walking as a conversation with the city. It's a photograph that you have to take. It's the song that you can't sing, but have to, or you'll break, forever."


Read the rest. Seriously. It's one of the most mindblowing posts I've read this year, and I'll be thinking about it for a long time.
amberite_archive: (nowhere)
I was first introduced to the music of Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer through the Doctor Who fan community -- someone did a wallpaper using this track, the lyrics of which are an absolutely incredible, multi-layered living mythological thing, and I was hooked.

Today, taking a re-listen to their album drum hat buddha, I just wanted to share a moment of fierce love for this song.

My deepest faith is a syncretism of science and religion, and these words capture it wonderfully.

On a sleepy endless ocean when the world lay in a dream
There was rhythm in the splash and roll, but not a voice to sing
So the moon shone on the breakers and the morning warmed the waves
Till a single cell did jump and hum for joy as though to say

"This is my home, this is my only home
This is the only sacred ground that I have ever known
And should I stray in the dark night alone
Rock me, goddess, in the gentle arms of Eden"

Then the day shone bright and rounder til the one turned into two
And the two into ten thousand things, and old things into new
And on some virgin beach head one lonesome critter crawled
And he looked about and shouted out in his most astonished drawl

This is my home, this is my only home... )
amberite_archive: (Default)
It's been a wonderful weekend, full of portents of the past and present and future. I just said goodbye to my friend Raquel, possibly for the last time in a long time, not for the last time ever: I promised to see her again, no matter where I have to go to do so. Maybe China again, on a short visit; maybe some other country, as she's hoping to travel the world herself. Maybe I'll have the pleasure of hosting her in Portland someday. I hope so.

I met Raquel during my brief stay in Shenzhen; we were staying in a hostel together; we stayed up all night talking, woke up after scant sleep and talked some more. She's a student in Beijing, studying Spanish, and having a better grasp on English than any other Chinese person I've met here -- the subtleties, the nuances, the slang -- and a connection to subculture that's rare here, but somewhere in there I'm also at least half in love, in such a way that I don't know whether I'd be more so or less so if there were a possibility of seeing her in the long term. Probably it would settle out to the kind of romantic friendship [livejournal.com profile] heron61 talks much about. That's not in the cards, though. It's enough to just connect and go our separate ways with the promise of a future meeting.

There are so many people like that in my life -- people I love deeply but don't live near -- and when I think of them I think again of the idea I had several years ago, of asking these people to select small images to tattoo in a row on my skin. Maybe someday I'll know where it goes.

--

While I was walking with her and another American today, a reporter (for apparently a large newspaper!) stopped us to ask what we thought about the earthquake. I said that I thought it was a terrible tragedy, that I was glad the pandas are safe, and that my hope for the future is that China will learn to build buildings the way they do in California. Which about sums up my thoughts.

Saying that, I realized that I'm still the person who looks at a tragedy and says, what good can come of this? Seven years haven't changed it. I often fear it makes me come off as callous, but Raquel pointed out that right now, people are becoming intensely superstitious about all the frightening events in China this year and what they mean about the Olympics, and optimism can only do good.

I learned also that the tension has led to some gay bars being shut down and others going quiet, which is why I did not have the opportunity to do a drag show this weekend. I am angry about this, and also frightened: it means that they're not acting based on what the powerful countries will realistically perceive of China, since of the first-world nations, the US is pretty much bringing up the rear on acceptance of queer people, and the US isn't shutting down gay bars. They're acting based on some twisted mirror image that doesn't exist in the world outside.

More diplomatically, I said to the reporter when she asked me, People are too nervous about the Olympics and they need to relax. Everything will go better if they relax.

I hope that gets out there if anything does.

--

I'm going to see the Great Wall tomorrow, and going to get up stupidly early to do it. I'll be quite exhausted by the time I go back to Yangzhou and sleeping on the train probably won't help. But now I'm in the process of saying my goodbyes to China, and feel the urgency of transience in a way I haven't before.

Yesterday I visited the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. I have not so much to say about the latter except that the feel of the place reminded me of the feel of the Washington Monument, which, when you think about it: oh, just think about it. Ugh. Moving on.

The Forbidden City -- the ancient palace complex -- was fascinating. I saw relatively little of it; it would take multiple visits to really complete the exploration; but I walked among as much of it as I could. The grounds themselves interested me more than the museum, especially from the point at which I began to experience fragments of story.

This was in one tier of... a walled stone area that must have been a garden, once, by the look of it. In my mind there was the story of a child, a small girl playing in the garden, with the sort of extremely internalized thoughts children have. And then I thought: Is that my own mind generating story, as I've always assumed, or am I experiencing a ghost?

When I visit certain kinds of places I get fragments of stories around them; it's a writer thing. It's always happened and I've never really questioned it.

I opened up my mind a little more and tried to experience the drifts of whatever else might be caught on the stones, and I got a few more distinct moments like that, including one which was more or less backed up by the information on a sign which I saw a minute later.

Yesterday I theorized that I might be engaging a kind of mental time travel -- which is how I think of ghosts, at least of the common "here is a moment repeated" kind: either that moment's thoughts are travelling forward to meet your mind or your mind is travelling backward to meet that one. (Theoretically, you can also run into others who are travelling backward to meet you, but I'm not all that sure what they're going to look like.)

Now, this is the kind of person I am: Is it my mind making story or are these fragments related to people from the past? Or people from story-land who are hanging out around pieces of history? Who knows! Who cares! It is what it is.

I know that I am a story-making thing, and I'm part of a story-making machinery, not all of which exists inside of me.

(In fact, the above could be a statement of the nature of my belief in God.)

But as I contemplated all of this I remembered that belief itself is an act of Will; a choice made from moment to moment.

Who I am is what I make of my reality.

And to some people that might be a cynical thought, but for me it just makes me love the world more.

The bug pills are helping my wrists some but I am still mostly off the internets. Trying to get better all the way. So this may be the last for a while. Take care out there in computerland, kids.
amberite_archive: (chaos)
Today, tomorrow, whenever.

You might lose your job, you might not get a new one.

Anything and anyone you love might reject you.

Love them anyway. Create anyway. Live anyway.

I need to remind myself of this.

I need to remind myself whenever I think of a friend and then don't write them because I'm at a loss for words, or because my instincts tell me to detach, to protect myself from their eventual rejection.

Whenever I find myself putting off the next piece of writing because it's such a long road from the beginning to the end, from the end to the polished draft, from that draft to the recognition.

Whenever I wonder what the point is.

Sometimes, it doesn't feel like there is a point: just a lot of voices singing in the dark.

You can sing or you can be silent. That's the point.
amberite_archive: (chaos)
...might especially be of interest to Tim Powers/James Blaylock fans, and other readers of weird fiction, because it's one of those:

A man (who is my main perspective character*) wandering around Los Angeles, encounters a physical fight going on in a subway station. The doors are locked, and he must throw a large heavy lever to get out. Back at the surface, he takes a turn and finds a staircase leading down into a Mexican shop emporium. He follows the staircase, needing a place to compose himself, remembering this place from somewhere. The grocery is in some disarray, with ants and insects swarming on the floor, so he continues another level down to be rid of the vermin.

Each floor is wide and spacious, fluorescent-lit with linoleum tile. Down here the desk in the center of the shop has a woman who speaks not much English. He inquires after some refreshment; she leads him another floor down, maybe two, he's not certain. At some point he takes a wrong turn, and disappears.

Seven years later he reappears, and his girlfriend has been looking for him fruitlessly all this time. He wants to show her the spatial rift that caused his disappearance. They go there, and the mall has more floors than he remembered, and he can't think of which way it was. They split up. She finds the rift and disappears into it. He remains.

In the third installment three people have come to investigate it. Now there is a museum, a touristy place with round bathysphere-style porthole doors and flashy exhibits moving electricity charges around** on the walls, which are very white and curved at the ceilings: not at all like the Mexican grocery-mall.

They are being cautious this time, trying not to get sucked in. They are there to investigate the disappearance of William Ashbless some years ago. (Ah! So that's who I am!) He is, of course, the main character in this whole dream.

Ashbless is, of course, one of the people who has come to investigate the disappearance of William Ashbless. He is giving the others careful instructions and trying to keep from falling into the rift, as the complex has been rebuilt so completely that he does not know where it is. They take a turn and end up in a little cafe where people sell coffees and cakes and pomegranate creams. He tries one with some trepidation.*** Something hanging on the wall has great significance; he doesn't want to look at it. The people running the place are almost certainly trying to lead him towards it, and a misstep could be made...

---

Administrative etc: [livejournal.com profile] mesila333 is now visiting, so I encourage [livejournal.com profile] lupabitch and [livejournal.com profile] teriel (or anyone else who's had a correspondence with her) to come down for an afternoon and hang out.

--

*In one sideline dream, my older brother is telling me that he fell into this rift and lost several years, isn't sure how many, and wants to pursue legal action. Everyone else seems to think he's been there the whole time. This is probably a note from my brain to my brain, rather than a part of the narrative.

**Electricity discharges -- lightning -- almost universally a portent of Nyarlathotep in my dreams, though he didn't come up in this one.

***Have fun in Faerie; don't drink the water!

wow.

May. 7th, 2007 05:32 am
amberite_archive: (chaos)
I am in San Francisco, meeting the person who wrote this story.

It has many of my themes in it - like whoa ow. She has many of my themes also, which is why I'm still up at six in the morning for the first time in ages. The story is one of the most fantastic, amazing, Lovecraft-language-dream-sense-gasm things I've ever read.

Linguistics people and weird fiction readers: please, please go to.

(Edit: this is [livejournal.com profile] maradydd's work. It was six o'clock Still Up time and I couldn't bring myself to risk mangling the Welsh spelling.)

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