Notes from Karl Marlantes at Holy Innocents Church in Duvall, WA, 2012

Don Juan – death is over your shoulder in war & spirituality, be in the present moment.

Loss of ego and awareness of death. “Psycho-spiritual”. Kali- Hindu Dark Goddess who eats things (Sam’s tattoo).

Buddhism – demons guard the gates of heaven.

“Troparian” – a kind of Orthodox song

Zenia of Petersburg was a Holy Fool: she dressed in her dead husband’s clothes, a religious jester.

In modern war, you hardly ever see the enemy. 19-year olds are the best warriors because they lack self-awareness. Asking 19-year-olds to kill is asking them to play God. Ecstasy in war and in killing. Young soldiers struggle to integrate back because of what they have been through, like asking St John of the Cross to work at McDonald’s.

“Solipsistic” – writing gets us out of our isolated lives. We see through other peoples’ eyes. We can identify with characters that are unconscious within ourselves.

from Jung: “That which is unconscious is doomed to act in reality.”

Writing as spiritual discipline. Literature is how we move through this. Through writing we turn ghosts into ancestors. America’s media sex & violence comes from our repressed puritanical cultures.

There is a natural aggression given by God, and words will not save us from our attacker. Literature heals this.

We turn ghosts into ancestors through taking the ghost out of our hidden inner worlds and looking objectively at the fear. We externalize into the light. This is “the great work”. Be in this, the work of the spirit. This is the truest writing.

Commercial fiction is not about turning ghosts into ancestors. It is about entertainment. And that’s ok! But it is a totally different game than literature.

Good writing is one of the hardest things any human could undertake.

Karl’s Capuchin friend put on a mass for all Karl’s dead people he knew. It was literally a dark & stormy night. Karl saw the ghosts come into the church, even his grandparents. This is how he became Catholic.

Books: Matterhorn. What it is Like to Go to War.

 

 

image: Creative Commons CC0

My Half Sister is Found

Well, well. I just found my long-long half sister via the internet. She is a mother herself now. We have the same dad, different moms. We both don’t want a relationship with our dad because he’s not well in his mind, for as long as we have known of him. That’s why I was hesitant to find her before, because I didn’t know if she felt the same way. When my mom and dad were dating and I was born, my mom was not kind to my half sister, who was twelve years old at the time. I haven’t seen her since at least ten years, I think more. My mom wanted me to have nothing to do with my half sister because my mom has too much misplaced, crazy anger. But I am glad I have found my half sister now that we are both adults and free to meet each other again in our own new lives, far away from our three parents. But it’s still strange to think I have a sibling.

Ice Above, Summer Below

I dreamt that Linne Doran and Mosswood Hollow froze over in a new mini ice age. Everybody at Lake Margaret’s modest elevation had to flee down the hill because the ice came so quickly. It was an enchanted kind of ice, brought on by some untrustworthy spirits, and mysterious beasts now ruled the new winter wonderland. We have never seen their tracks before. At the bottom of the hill in Duvall town it was summer, with broadleaf trees all blooming green and blue sky, and the Mosswood refugees lived in a great big painted hobbit hole made of snaking roots. Herbs and flowers covered the garden, and a river ran through it. Our friends, Meatball and Weasel, got to run the place, mostly, when the real wizards weren’t home.

 

 

image: Creative Commons CC0

A Neighborhood of Creatures

I am thankful that I get to live in such a place where Bald Eagle and other majestic raptors habitually fly past our windows while I’m doing dishes, Deer crosses our driveway, Salmon swims up the creek in our backyard, Cougar and Bobcat prowls the forest next door, Coyote howls in the night and our neighborhood trash gets robbed by Raccoon and even Bear from time to time.

 

image: Creative Commons CC0

A Tug at My Hem

For a few weeks now I have been experiencing something strange: a sensation of someone small who is gently tugging at the hem of my skirt or around the knees of my pants. It’s not very strong, but is strong enough to turn and look to see who’s doing it, yet I see nobody there. The most strangest thing of all is how it is not troubling. It is gentle and kind.

 

image source: public domain

River Otters and Sockeye Salmon in Woodinville

We saw three river otters today, and a whole bunch o’ spawning sockeye salmon! The otters we’re totally showing off for us, getting out of the water onto logs where their thick wet fur shimmered in the terrestrial air, catching fish and dramatically devouring them. The sockeye salmon were huge, bright red and green and nearing the end of their lifecycle, swimming upstream, noble and glorious in their life’s purpose. Do they fear death when their lives call them to it? Being able to have a good long gaze at these awesome creatures, wild in the middle of Woodinville, what a gift. I think that animals don’t have to show themselves to us, but they choose to.

 

image source: public domain

Cat Love Needed

I need more cat love in my life. Currently I am two states away from my kitty, who is living with my Grandma while I am here at Anake. If you or someone you know are a cat, or knows a cat, please consider allowing me to come snuggle and play with you. Especially if you are a kitten or kitten-at-heart who would like to be gregariously socialized by one such as myself. I employ the trusted smooches and ear-massage techniques. I am your warm-blooded furniture.

 

 

 

Image © Gentle J. Pine. All rights reserved.

Synonyms for Bright

I love it when my face smells like bow-drill smoke.

Synonyms for Bright

adjectives:

shining, glowing in appearance blazing, brilliant, dazzling, flashing, glistening, glittering, golden, intense, luminous, radiant, shimmering, shiny, silvery, sparkling, sunny, vivid, ablaze, aglow, alight, argent, auroral, beaming, burning, burnished, coruscating, effulgent, fulgent, fulgid, glaring, gleaming, glossy, illuminated, illumined, incandescent, irradiated, lambent, light, lighted, limpid, lustrous, mirrorlike, moonlit, phosphorescent, polished, relucent, resplendent, scintillating, sunlit, twinkling…

We have loved the light.

 

 

image source: Creative Commons CC0

Conversations of Mountains and Angels

My friend J: Last night I dreamt of angels at play in the high mountain forests of the Sierra Nevadas, as you and I had spoke of them while we walked there in the groves of light. Now, I can’t think of angels as separate from birds. And the conversations between them and us are sustaining the whole world. May light pour into all of you, always.

 

 

 

A Tree of Comfrey and Pterodactyls

Last night I dreamt I encountered a giant tree of comfrey. I thought to myself, “Maybe that’s what I need.” It grew taller than a vine maple. I approached it, and found beside it a long limb reaching out of the forest wall which it was planted near; at the end of this limb was a huge nest. I crawled up the limb and looked inside: it was a pterodactyl nest. The eggs were the size of lamps.

 

 

image source: public domain