Epiphany 1

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A friend, who I had not seen in a while, asked me how I had been.  I gave an answer that I had been involved in work, gym and church, and that kept me busy.  It would be good to do a summary of my progress.

Work has not been entirely satisfactory.  A conflict of personalities was resolved by the end of the year.  The leadership of the last year and more has been lost.  I feel disappointed over this waste of spirit.  New leadership will be appointed in early 2016.  I hope that this will prove to be a more stable relationship and a better workplace.

Gym and physical exercise is something that I do when I get time, usually any evening that I am free of appointments I fit it in.  Last year I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, 80/150 I think, and resolved to do something about it.  Diet made the biggest benefit, getting my weight down to 70 kilo.  I’m thinner, if not slimmer, through changing to low fat milk and edam cheese, as well as religiously reading the fat and suger content on everything I buy.  If it’s above 5 grammes per serving I look if there’s another option.  Exercising regularly helps.  I do a cardio programme of treadmill, stepping, and running at least a couple of times a week if I can.

I live across town to my preferred church, usually a forty minute walk.  Often I can get a ride.  I don’t depend on it.  I don’t get to many social events as available as when I live closer.  I’m an office-bearer and I’m over there for meetings regularly.  It acts as a social encounter for me.

There are projects on my computer that I continue with.  The imaginary language Brithenig continues to grow in lexicon.  I visit the university library to create new words from Welsh and Romance languages.  I continue other projects, an imaginary city which I add details to when I hear description, and a folder of imaginary characters I created years ago for writing fantasy.  The writing was never finished, the characters still remain.

My life continues, quietly, in one place.  There is always new books to read, new ideas to discover.

Anzac Day musings

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It’s Anzac Day.  I’m spending the day at home.  For those who attended dawn services and other services to honour Australia and New Zealand’s war dead then I hope that Father Anzac brings you lots of presents.  I did not attend a service for the day.  It feels like ancestor worship to me, to honour the fallen in battle, those who went out on life’s great adventure, to secure their place in empire, and came back changed men and women.  New Zealand was not born as a nation in those fields of battle.  I am ambivalent to that debt.

In the meantime I am waiting for the news report that will officially confirm the death of a friend in unusual circumstances at Karitane.  I expect to write on that at length in the next few days.

I’m interested to see that there have been a couple of hits looking for my Lamborough project.  I was keeping the details of that to myself at the moment.  I hope to spend some time today continuing my documentation on the city.  Leave a comment, or contact me, if you want to hear more on that project.

Writing the City

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Since the long Easter Weekend I have been putting my notes on the imaginary city of Lamborough into a format that is easier to read, a travel-log of sorts.  So far I have done Barracks Square, the governor’s residence, the university district, the Sap, and the temple of the Presters.  Last week I moved back to the shore-line to detail the harbour.  So far I’ve written five pages.  It’s a pleasant diversion.

Urban Elf Tribes

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One of the projects I dabble with is to create a city in a fantasy world that could be a mirror to the one I live in.  I watched parts of the movie Peter Pan at the weekend.  It contributed to an idea that has been germinating that in such a city the elvish and fairy citizens are an artistic sub-class overlapping with criminality.  They walk among the other peoples of the city with otherworldly gifts and immortal foods that offer addiction: lotuses, viaticum, elf-shot.  They also steal children when they can, and run gangs of unageing flying thieves.  They need to policed and kept within their boundaries.

As for the image of a pirate ship riding the fog of London between the clock towers, that’s an evocative image.

Food for the mind

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I was at Archives New Zealand Dunedin this evening for the opening of an exhibition for Archives Week. The theme was food. I was asked about the Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop that I went to in Invercargill. I told them about the different kinds of speculative fiction: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and the other stuff (magic realism and new weird). I was asked what I want to write. Well there I’m stuck. I have entertained myself for some time picking up little details for an imaginary city. It is a part of an imaginary world I started to create a few years ago. Sticking with what I know it is a modern city, less then two hundred years old, set in the islands at a latitude that I live in. It is busy and on the trade routes. Magic exists, even though it appears to be an early modern city; and so do things older than the city itself. Even for a young city it has a lot of heritage. Then I get stuck because I don’t know what I want to write there. The workshop gave me a push to start something. As another story-teller once said, following a path can be a danger in itself. You never know where it is going to lead you.

Waiting for the moment, for the moment to arise

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I think it is official now that I’m avoiding the Majellan Urban Tribe at the moment. I caused a scene at the last session I was at, which was over a month ago. Too hot, too tired, too frustrated. I wanted out in air where I could breathe. In the weeks that have followed I have found it easier to find other things to do, finding other peoples, reclaiming the time. The changed man is looking for me, perhaps in time I will answer him . . . but not now.

Today I went to the library. It took me nearly two months to finish the books I got out last time. Robin Fleming’s history of Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire to the Norman Conquest was my favorite, and the last that I finished. She combined archeaelogical research with historical records with some interesting observations. It was fascinating to read how production centres in Britain collapsed as Roman civilisation retreated. There was a period of 200 years when nails weren’t made in the West European Isles. As we enter a post-petroleum age what industries are going to collapse? What will be out of our grasp?

In comparison the history of Al-Andalus was disappointing because it was a document based history and acknowledged that there are gaps in the record.

I have got overly ambitious now and found five books to get out:

  • Old Malacca
  • Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East by Bernard Lewis
  • A Web of Air by Philip Reeve
  • Stamping Butterflies by Jon Courteney Grimwood
  • Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  • I’m reading a history of Christianity in Malaysia so I want to read more about the country’s history. It turns out that it’s a small collection in my local library, no general histories and mostly to do with the Emergency. The book by Bernard Lewis looked interesting. Philip Reeve is a young adult writer whose works I greatly admire. Grimwood’s book is the next of his that I could find in the library and I will puzzle my way through it after his Arabesk trilogy: Pashazade, Effendi and Felaheen; and Lindqvist jumped out at me and I felt I should read it to find out what not one but vampire movies (Swedish and American) are on about.

    At the harbour mouth the Lookout Head Light House; down the harbour, on the south shore the fortified island; then the port town Roundhouse Bay; beyond it Sea Bird Egg Island where the quarantined land; the harbour narrows under the Harbour Bridge joining the city of Lamborough to the dachas on the south shore of the wide bay beyond; after the bridge the ferries dock at the Dogs Ferry Station which opens into the city. The train goes under the Hythe Hills to join the city to the port.

    It’s November so I felt I should do some scribbling

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