Zup-tor vu akarshif

Five years ago, the sudden realization struck me that I did not have Leonard Nimoy’s autograph. Given what his work meant to me, this seemed to be a particularly glaring omission from my collection of meaningful mementos. I became obsessed for the next few hours and first looked up how old he’d become. While wishing that he would be free from the eventual constraints of a mortal life – I soon knew that I did not have much time to have a particular book Mr. Nimoy had authored autographed.

Ascertaining if, how, where, when and in what conditions he might be in range of my attendance became an obsession. In the end I did, in fact, get my copy of “I am Spock” signed by one of my heroes – quite probably my first hero – and was able to thank him for his work. He did tell me, “You’re welcome.”

Now he has passed and I am deeply apologetic if this posting is how anyone learns of the news. It was, of course, chiefly Spock that made his career meaningful to me. I was still of single-digit age when I realized something about life – or at least living one – did not make logical sense. I could not define the problem nor solve it. Fictional Spock was not able to explain the situation to Young Me but he did become a role model in how I might handle emotions (my own and those of others) along with handling the irrationalities of this planet’s carbon unit infestation.

I don’t mean to suggest that I adopted Vulcan ways as my own. But I do have what I consider to be a rather unique perspective on what “being a Vulcan” would mean were they not a fictional race. I have long suspected other fans of things-Vulcan might consider my views heretical. Nonetheless, it was an incredibly ironic day when I learned Mr. Nimoy was no longer with us. I still don’t know how to process it entirely nor am I sure how long that may take. I found it helpful to find a quote from the end of The Wrath of Khan. Kirk’s son tells his father, “You knew enough to tell Saavik that how we face death is at least as important as how we face life.”

Dr. McCoy, later in the same film, says, “He’s not really dead. As long as we remember him.”

As I more fully invest myself in the writing career I have long-dreamt of, I do hope to have the opportunity to write at least one novel concerning Vulcans. The story does treat on the above mentioned “heresy” – and then I guess I’ll see how other fans may react.

Vaksurik rom-halan, Spock. Vaksurik rom-halan, Mr. Nimoy. I’wak mesukh-yut t’on.

The above – in Vulcan, of course – could be transliterated as, “I wish you a beautiful farewell, Captain Spock. I wish you the same, Leonard Nimoy. Time is not a single straight road.” The present is the crossroads of past and future.

Tales from the Hereafternoon…

The concept of the Audience of One has always fascinated me and said Audience is not necessarily always also the Muse. In brief, the concept pertains to circumstances when – if an artist’s work is seen by only a specific, intended viewer the artist can be content. (There’s a bit of that notion in this post’s title).

There was a time when I could reliably be expected to spend most of my day in thought, listening to good music, and engaging in rampantly philosophical discussions with one of my dearest friends – Randy Reitz. We both still do all of those things but for the past 15 years there has been 1,100 miles between.

This past week (with a few extra days added for good measure), he and I picked up about where we left off, and without much lost momentum.

He hasn’t been able to take the whole week off so I’ve been working on a new batch of Pandora’s Pets, which we debated might be called the “Worry Warts” batch. (The first set are called “Millstones”.)

Randy and I have always had an interest in the arts; all of them. I think it’s fair to say it took him longer to find his own. It’s also true that, once discovered, his art enjoyed a wider audience than did mine. Until recently, it rather surprised me when anyone but Randy took an interest in my creations. We have both, I believe, always tried to encourage each other but making art must come from the artist – regardless of how much encouragement there may ever be.

While making sculpture in his home, I realized that I tend to “hmmm” while in the process. The unconscious comes very near the surface as these tiny little demi-demons are summoned. The process is almost meditative, maybe. It isn’t only a metaphoric exorcism. Earlier today, between stages of making today’s Pets, I realized that my fingernails and fingertips are no longer stained from having been a smoker. When out “finding oneself”, no matter how often one needs a reminder, ask the folk who know who you have wanted to be.

I’ll be offering Pandora’s Pets for sale via ebay and etsy very soon. There will be a post about that once a few more details have been taken care of.

Future Toys from the Attic…

While in preparation for making Millstones (aka Pandora’s Pets), I knew I’d have to get some polymer clay and extra tools. Before a trip to the store(s), however, I went to explore the attic.

I’ve spent more time there during the past six months or so than I had in some while. The attic is a study in non-Euclidean storage and sorting; recent trips revealed a few sculpting tools in random places. Once I’d begun a diligent search for what I might need I found more than what I’d thought I might have to buy.

Cards from an art supplies shop had been given during the Christmas Holiday season, though, so I would have to go “buy” some. The almost-forgotten reserve in the attic meant the new selections could be of things I did not have. I got two sets of metal tools that will probably replace the plastic set – once I’ve had time to experiment with the new batch.

A Millstone, I should say, is part of an imaginary environment. Each one is be about half the volume of a baseball. They an easily sit in the palm. I see Millstones as a collage of positive emotion and good intention, built from a state of near-serenity, with the intent to help people find all of those ingredients. (And for those who might think that sounds a bit hokey, I’m told the Millstones are adorably cute.)

It has always been true that when I am sculpting I smile the entire time. Making any sculpture is one of two sources of a completely at ease and pleased state. As a former scientist, I cannot claim that art made in such a state carries energy to the eventual owner. As a very, if oddly, spiritual man – I can hope. And do.

Coming soon…

Millstones logo

Lethe Behind…

Before the story of A Song Heard in the Future began to gel, I thought I might want to have something undead involved. I’m making an effort to stay true to the mythology. This isn’t simple because one myth will contradict the next with regard to some critical “facts”. Assuming one is true often means another cannot be. Where two disagree, I feel free to make a choice, either supporting one over another – or in taking a completely new angle. When none of the accounts offer evidence for desired component of the story – like the undead – I don’t feel as though I have much latitude to include it. (I’m such a conformist.) 😉

The Ancient Greeks do not seem to have had vampires, per se. There is the vrykolakas but this creature seems to have been important from the Romanian night (vârcolac). Furthermore, the ‘lakas would have been more of a werewolf than anything nosferatu (nesuferitu).

The spirit of anyone properly buried was transported to the Underworld, where they promptly forgot much of their mortal lives – if not all. I can’t remember if I wanted to have Teiresias do battle with some sort of strigoi (also, btw, Romanian). What I might have had a vampire do in Song I now cannot recall. I’m not certain whether that is fitting or ironic.

Over this past weekend, however, my co-author (Leanna Renee Hieber) and I discussed the concepts of a culture and the statements collectively made by it – in its folklore – about its own philosophical assumptions. What does it mean if you (as a society) have to outsource certain folkloric descriptions over the river at the border? The musing on this theme likely won’t have emphasis in Song – but Leanna and I probably will present it as a panel at an upcoming convention.

Ancient Greek Goth Kid

Jumping In…

As this is the first official post, I thought I’d explain the title “Surfing the Zeitgeist”. It’s a bit of a mixed metaphor with a hint of staying ahead of the curve. If the zeitgeist were an actual spirit in the paranormal sense, rather than being possessed and controlled by it, what would the converse be? How would it be properly bound and what could it be made to do?


In a very strange way, I have fallen into researching and writing a novel. And it isn’t the novel I thought I’d write first; something more directly arcane was the intended launch/debut.

Before what I believe to be a compelling story emerged, I had been musing on a fictional timeline for some themes that have always been of interest. The plan was to track the concepts of justice (diké), hope (elpis), and equality (isotés) back to the Dawn of the Heroic Age, i.e., the aftermath of the Flood. In Ancient Greek belief, the story of Noah was equivalent to the Deluge of Deucalion.

I think I expected the center of the myths to fall in Athens or Corinth but Thebes became the focus, a city-state described as the “anti-Athens”. It was a quote from the fragments Sophocles that metaphorically caught my eye: “At Thebes alone do mortal women bear immortal gods.” It is a reference to the sons of Semele and Antiope – Dionysus and Heracles, respectively.

Some assumptions had to be made:

• In the Greek version, how many years ago did the Deluge happen?

• How long is a generation?

• Was the father of Dionysus Asopus or Zeus?

• How long after the Flood did the Argonauts sail and did Heracles really travel with them?

And so on…

The timeline rather quickly became both an outline of concept tracking and a tool of projection into the future. What will justice, hope, and equality mean in the distant future? With that thought, the novel began to haunt me – and then compel.

One character stood out in the timeline I was crafting. He has almost always been, in essence, the leader of the Chorus and never the lead. Teiresias, the famous blind seer, quickly became the fulcrum of the timeline – past to future – and the central character.

But his (or her) mythology is about as consistent as any other story Ancient Greek oral tradition presented. It isn’t possible to craft a unified lineage and timeline from Prometheus bringing fire to mortals through to the Fall of Troy. And with Teiresias there are conflicting accounts about whether he was born male or female, how he or she became blind, and how many children the prophet may have had (and by/with whom).

I had to give my own account regardless of whether Plato and Homer would agree.


And what have I learned at this point in this exploration?

• What will writing a novel do to me? –  As mindful of Diké, Elpis, and Isotés as I may be, I can always do better.

• Don’t get distracted. – If most of the action is set in Thebes, don’t worry about what’s happening in Endor.

• Write my own story. – If the novel’s premise involves denying some of the “established lore” – stick to what the story requires.