June 18, 2022 - Reading time: ~1 minute
All time exists. That is the truth beyond the legends the epopts tell. If the future did not exist now, how could we journey toward it? If the past does not exist still, how could we leave it behind us? In sleep the mind is encircled by its time, which is why we so often hear the voices of the dead there, and receive intelligence of things to come.

—Merryn,
The Claw of the Conciliator, Chapter XXXI,
Gene Wolfe


October 16, 2021 - Reading time: ~1 minute

Good human work honors God’s work. Good work uses no thing without respect, both for what it is in itself and for its origin. It uses neither tool nor material that it does not respect and that it does not love. It honors nature as a great mystery and power, as an indispensable teacher, and as the inescapable judge of all work of human hands. It does not dissociate life and work, or pleasure and work, or love and work, or usefulness and beauty. To work without pleasure or affection, to make a product that is not both useful and beautiful, is to dishonor God, nature, the thing that is made, and whomever it is made for. This is blasphemy: to make shoddy work of the work of God. But such blasphemy is not possible when the entire Creation is understood as holy and when the works of God are understood as embodying and thus revealing His spirit.

—Wendell Berry, "Christianity and The Survival of Creation”,
via Alan Jacobs
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July 1, 2020 - Reading time: ~1 minute
At eight of a hot morning, the cicada speaks his first piece. He says of the world: heat. At eleven of the same day, still singing, he has not changed his note but has enlarged his theme. He says of the morning: love. In the sultry middle of the afternoon, when the sadness of love and of heat has shaken him, his symphonic soul goes into the great movement and he says: death. But the thing isn’t over. After supper he weaves heat, love, death into a final stanza, subtler and less brassy than the others. He has one last heroic monosyllable at his command. Life, he says, reminiscing. Life.

— E. B. White, “Life,” in E.B. White: Writings from the New Yorker, 1925-1976, ed. Rebecca M. Dale (New York: HarperCollins, 1990), 3.

{via}


A lecture on ferrets

April 4, 2018 - Reading time: ~1 minute

Ferrets are small, tawny animals with four paws and a snout. They use their front paws to dig their underground cities, to hunt rats, and to hold food and baby ferrets. They use their hind paws to stand up, to mount females, and to jump. They use all four paws to run, walk, and dance. They use their snout for sniffing and to grow whiskers on, for eating, and to show their kind and benevolent feelings. They also have a furry tail, which is a source of pride to them. Justified pride, moreover, for what would become of a ferret who wasn’t proud of being a ferret? Their congenital trait is prudence, but with time they acquire wisdom as well. For them, everything in the world is red, because their eyes are red, that being the appropriate eye-color for ferrets. They are deeply interested in engineering and music. They have certain gifts of prescience, and would like to be able to fly, but so far have not done so, prevented by their prudence. They are loyal and brave. And they generally carry out their intentions.


—Renka to Livna'lams,
Kalpa Imperial, Angélica Gorodischer


July 12, 2015 - Reading time: ~1 minute

Last December I watched the early snow fall in the High City. That morning, when it looked as if the weather would improve, I sat in the Charcuterie Vivien hoping that the sun would come out. Someone I had been expecting arrived, or spoke, or smiled. We were to go skating the next day if it froze.

Moments like this seemed permanent but they cannot be repaired; I cannot now regenerate them. And that is not to go back very far.

—tegeus-Cromis,
"The Lamia and Lord Cromis", Viriconium
M. John Harrison


April 19, 2015 - Reading time: ~1 minute
Sometimes driven aground by the photon storms, by the swirling of the galaxies, clockwise and counterclockwise, ticking with light down the dark sea-corridors lined with our silver sails, our demon-haunted mirror sails, our hundred-league masts as fine as threads, as fine as silver needles sewing the threads of starlight, embroidering the stars on black velvet, wet with the winds of Time that goes racing by. The bone in her teeth! The spume, the flying spume of Time, cast up on these beaches where old sailors can no longer keep their bones from the restless, the unwearied universe. Where has she gone? My lady, the mate of my soul? Gone across the running tides of Aquarius, of Pisces, of Aries. Gone. Gone in her little boat, her nipples pressed against the black velvet lid, gone, sailing away forever from the star-washed shores, the dry shoals of the habitable worlds. She is her own ship, she is the figurehead of her own ship, and the captain. Bosun, Bosun, put out the launch! Sailmaker, make a sail! She has left us behind. We have left her behind. She is in the past we never knew and the future we will not see. Put out more sail, Captain, for the universe is leaving us behind…

—Hethor, in Severian’s fever dream;
The Citadel of the Autarch, chapter IV,
Gene Wolfe