27 March 2013

It's spring break and do you know what a selkie is?

I'm looking at a sunset that looks like a dying star setting on Charn. It's got dark blue rainclouds spread over it and golden frills that outline the top. The glowing parts are sporadic and splotchy. They look like a mistake. Like one of those mistakes that the artist just left there for fun. Now it's gone behind the horizon, and it's still bright enough that I can see the silhouette of a single tree even though  it's 1600 miles away. It's true. I googled it.

Now that it's gone, let's talk business. Do you know what a selkie is? Apparently they arose from Scottish and Irish folklore and they've been around forever.  They're like Mermaids, except you wouldn't be able to tell what they were unless you happen to catch a human climbing into a vacant seal-skin at midnight and swimming away.  That's what they do, they're sea-lords who live in seal skins. They can only stay on land for seven days though, or they die. You can imagine the cross-species relationship problems this causes. I didn't know what they were until the Invisible Mime made a post about this AWESOME artist whose like a celtic bard. And she sings the tale of the Maiden and the Selkie. It goes like this.

Dai dai dai dai dai dai dai!

I can't stop listening to this. I seriously. Can't. Stop. Isn't it an amazing story!!!!

Now the sunset looks so dull and pink it looks like ashes. Seriously, it looks like ashes. The clouds are salmon pink and dusty.

I know this is complete nonsense, but it's spring break.
-The Minstrel Boy

P.S. Speaking of the Olympics, my dad found this trail around the edge Mr. Rainier called the Wonderland Trail. It's 90 miles and takes about 15 days to hike. We're going this summer. Who wants to come with us?

23 March 2013

If the river was a song

Do you know the difference between a skilled musician and a good one? They sound similar. But they're polar opposites.
A skilled musician plays the pieces no one else can. He hits the notes no one else can hit. People say to each other "He's the best one in the field" and "I'll never be as good as her!"
They play the tunes that no one has ever heard before, and quite frankly, no one ever remembers.

The good musician is different. The good musician doesn't seek the independent, impossible, superhuman note, she's looking for a chord. The common, unimpressive, human chord. There's a fine line between the superhuman note and the human chord. The good musician is reaching out, feeling, searching for that simple melody that we all secretly sing in our hearts. That melody we're all straining to hear, and when we do, the competitive tension dissipates and we exclaim "Ah! That was what I was looking for!" We don't say "I'll never be as good as him" we say "One day I'm gonna play like that. Grab the guitars! Beat the drums! Sing loud and hard and out of tune!"

Because right now, at this moment, we can hear it. Can you? The distant, celestial throb. Let's join the heavenly chorus, even if you don't know the words.

A skilled musician blows you away.
A good musician draws you in.
A skilled musician is exceptional.
A good musician is inspirational.
A skilled musician is someone you envy.
A good musician is someone you love.

And love doesn't envy, fellas.

I can't explain it. But if the river was a song, it would like this.

Been back from a jam session with my jongleur troupe. I still have bagpipes ringing in my ears.
-The Minstrel Boy

13 March 2013

The Perfect Question

When Wendy curled up in her bed
And Mother tucked her in it
She kissed the top of her forehead
And then the room was quiet.

The child sighed in sweet delight
She would not sleep just then
She knew this was the kind of night
Where anything could happen.

And so it did, to her surprise
For in flew through her window
A fair-eyed boy, about her size
Who chased after his shadow.

After he was tired through
He flopped down on the rug
And Wendy saw him talking to
What looked like his pet bug.

The boy threw up his hands and cried
"Oh Tink, it's far too dim!"
The tears he cried (which he denied)
He cried until she stopped him.

But when she spoke, the words she said
Were not "How are you flying?"
The question that she asked instead
Was "boy, why are you crying?"

How dumb is that? I mean, come on
That wouldn't be my question
I'd ask that little moron
Why he's trying to break in!

The guy just lost his shadow
He's got a glowing human gnat
One thing I'd sure like to know
Is how the heck he did that.

But stop and take a second look
You've forgotten the essentials
Before you got a Facebook
You didn't need credentials.

Imagine that you were a girl
With nothing else to lose
And all that mattered in the world
Was a boy who needed tissues.

For Peter Pan had done far more
Than sink whole pirate ships
But not till after he had bore
A kiss from Wendy's lips.

For all girls know, deep down inside
That boys were made to fly
But they don't know that all boys hide
The fact that they can cry.

11 March 2013

I hope you're enjoying your Monday as much as I am.

So I was meandering across the Bellevue College campus today, and as I watched my fellow students hustle about, I suddenly thought:

So I made a meme.

01 March 2013

A Celtic Knot Away


Been knocking about, writing stories and drawing LOTR characters betwixt Chemistry class notes, and thinking about death.

My friends tell me (and a lot of grown-ups) that I have an amazing amount of danger tolerance. I guess if you read this blog you've probably come to the same conclusion.  Beasts? Bullies? Bad-guys? Bring it.

I came to the point where I decided that I wasn't afraid of anything. I've stood on the highest point Mount Si, with voices behind me calling Raymond, get away from the edge, tossing rocks over the gorge, waiting four, five, ten seconds before hearing the crack, not even feeling a chill down my spine.  They're more afraid than I am, and they're not even near the edge. Afraid? Not me.

 But I've found out that I do have a fear. Two, actually. Take notes, this could be the last you hear of them. This stuff ain't easy to talk about. The first of course, is cleaning earwax out of my ear with that evil Chinese spoon. My brother broke my eardrum once by sticking a chopstick in my ear (playing doctor) and it kind of scarred me for life.  My mom digs deep and hard. I feel like I'm getting a lobotomy or something. I keep on expecting her to pull out her deadly surgical ear-cleaning stick with a bunch of brain-goop and little sparks of electricity zapping out from it. Anyway, it still makes me get dizzy.  I know it's not my place to question God, but if he made us in his image, what's with the nose-hairs and earwax? He probably just made it to humiliate us. And have a good laugh. At any rate, I'm not laughing.

The second fear came as a surprise. I discovered it during those times I'm left home alone, and my family told me they'd be back at 8:30, and it's 9:00 and they're still not back.  I'm fogging up the window, and I can't think any other thought but "what if they don't come back?" I'm bracing myself for that wretched call from the police "we regret to inform you, Joseph, that there was an accident on I-90..." or "there was a shooting down at South Center and..." and those words would shatter my whole life, shape my whole future, my whole character, and make or break it forever.

Maybe my friends really do have a reason to be more terrified than me when they see me playing on cliff-edges. Because it's not my death I'm afraid of. It's yours.


It doesn't make me any more cautious or protective actually, because can I help it if my sister is on a 747 eight miles above Earth and the engine fails? Or if my dad gets a heart attack, or my brother is hit by a car? It's the one thing in life I can't stand not being able to control, not knowing when it's going to happen. And we all know it's going to happen. At some point, someone I love is going to die. And I don't know how I'll react to it.

So here I am, doodling during Chemistry lectures and worrying whether my mother will be alive to pick me up afterwards. Not exactly constructive daydreaming, but the part of me that is also trying to memorize the periodic table of elements is enjoying himself.  The part of me that would rather feel pain than nothing at all. So here's a bit of nonsense I wrote, about Celtic knots, and the death of the wife I haven't met yet. And yes, I did steal a line from Song of Solomon. It's actually written to music, but can't figure out the chords and I'm not singing it if I did.

Remember when we
Would play by the sea
I'd sing as you strummed on the lyre?
Your songs rung in the glen
Now I strain to listen
To those songs that I no longer hear

My love has lived twice
She's seen Paradise
How could you have left me behind?
I'll never see you
Till I can undo
This labyrinth woven in time

Until I feel the cool of day
When life's long shadows flee away
Until that day, I'll always say
My love's a Celtic knot away

I'll find them, I swear
Why wasn't I there
When the cold steel met ends with her bone?
How wretched I am
What a miserable man
That I'd leave her to face them alone

While the embers still glow 
I can see her shadow
As it dances on tapestry walls
And I must go on
For my love has gone
To the land from whence they fall


Until I feel the cool of day
When life's long shadows flee away
Until that day, I'll always say
My love's a Celtic knot away

Celtic knots remind a lot of time. They're doesn't seem to be much space between them, the end seems right before your eyes, but if you follow one thread from one end to the other, it seems to take an eternity. It's maddening to have to go through this maze of life before you'll finally meet up with that person again.

Hannah got my acrylic paints for Christmas. I'm still trying to figure it out, and everything still turns out more cartoon-ey than I like. But just writing a song didn't seem to cut it.  I don't know, maybe I should just get back to Chemistry. Or cleaning my ears out.

What's sadder than a broken heart is a heart incapable of being broken.

Will it hurt?

Yeah it'll hurt. It'll hurt like heaven.

And that's the best hurt ever.

Laugh hard and love hard.
-The Minstrel Boy