Friday, September 1, 2023

Even the Gods Must Die - an excerpt

 Greetings once again!

As mentioned in my last missive, I have had quite a few irons in the fire. I've yet to bring any of those particular projects to completion; however, another project--at least in its partial form--has been cooling for some time now. Even the Gods Must Die is another project that I've done a fair amount of work on over the last year or so. Presented here are the prologue, first chapter, and opening section of the second chapter, which should provide a fair sense of the story's trajectory, so to speak.

The fundamental premise is this: Be careful what you wish for. The idea that science and technology could provide ways for us to live forever has been bandied about for decades; this story presents an argument for why living forever could be a very bad idea. However, there is another theme that is essential to the story, that of redemption. I've long held the belief that even the worst among us are capable of redemption, but I've been equally fascinated in pondering what it would take to redeem a truly terrible person. The story may be well served by a quote from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamozov: "Even if only one good memory remains with us in our hearts, that alone may serve some day for salvation." 

- DH

The cover image was designed by myself, produced from a variety of sources. The story owes a great debt of inspiration to Ray Bradbury's short story 'Kaleidoscope' which was published as part of The Illustrated Man anthology, the premise of which from the moment I started reading held immense fascination for me. My own story will be taking that premise to the extreme. 

I hope you've enjoyed this excerpt. Cheers! - DH

Monday, July 31, 2023

The Road No Longer Taken: A Photo Essay

 Greetings and well met, fine friends one and all!

It has been many months since my last publication, though it's not been for want of a lack of material or motivation. So, first, a bit of news ...

From late November of last year through March of this, I took part in a video project that led to my writing 16 short stories; the stories were all based on myths, folktales and legends from around the world  --some well-known, some not. In some cases, I constructed stories that were largely original, built around parables that were often brief and without much context. In any case, I hope to share more about this particular project at some point.

Apart from that, I've continued with a number of works in the hopes of submitting one thing or a dozen to the various online magazines, publications and anthologies that can be found around the world. One is a post-apocalyptic, survival story based in Taiwan that, at its heart, is about the need for connection even when communication is difficult. Another is a philosophical dilemma revolving around the concepts of neurology, execution and redemption. (I've really come a long way on this one!). Finally, I've recently finished the first of a series that I'm calling 'Stupidioms' about obnoxious phrases that society takes for granted as wise aphorisms but may in fact be at the very least problematic if not plainly ridiculous.

For now however, I've put together a brief photo essay of one of my regular jaunts in the country I've come to call home. Robert Frost may have taken the road less traveled by, but some roads are simply forgotten to time ... 

- DH

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Old Gods with New Eyes - A Script

     Written in the first week of October, I originally began preparing this piece for a competition hosted by Antigone, an open forum for articles on the classics of Ancient Greece and Rome. Very heady stuff, worth checking out. Alas, the scope of my ambition for this particular piece went beyond the limits of the competition and so did the word count by quite a wide margin. But as they say, "Whatevs." I enjoyed the process and continued to tinker with the piece over the month as I put it into a respectable and presentable format. I would've published it sooner had my family and I not--finally!--succumbed to the scourge that is Covid-19 over the Halloween weekend. With our recoveries well under way, and without further delay, it is time at last to share my latest work. Enjoy! - DH

A final note: 
    The cover image is from Liber Novus, or The Red Book, by C.G. Jung; it was created between the years of 1914 and 1930 but only published in 2009 as his heirs refused access to it for many years. It's a fascinating work and the particular image is one of many drawn by Jung that were inspired by mythic imagery, in particular creation myths. The closing image is adapted from the cover of The Path and the Right Way of Lao-Tse, specifically Jung's copy from his personal library. I found both images in Sonu Shamdasani's C.G. Jung: A Biography in Books, which is an in-depth exploration of Jung's life and work through the books that inspired him. 
    Liber Novus is inspiring and intriguing to me for personal reasons apart from its artistic qualities and exploration of the human psyche through mythic and religious imagery and ideas, as I have been writing a book or two of my own along similar lines. I take comfort in Jung's estimation of his own work as I have considered that the same--should I ever finish it and get it published--will be said of mine: "To the superficial observer, it will appear like madness."

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Fragment: The Hidden World

     Another little piece, this one dates back many years and I just happened upon it again the other day. For what it's worth, it's based on a true story; what you read here are events I witnessed with my very own eyes. The inset artwork is a detail (slightly manipulated) from 'Cubic Space Division' by M.C. Escher, a lithograph from 1952. Besides being fascinated by Escher's work, general aesthetic and philosophy, much of his work speaks to the idea of hidden worlds, and I find a peculiar resonance between this particular work and the subject of this Fragment. Perhaps you will sense it as well.     

    For whomever it may interest, the background image is my own work--an artistic manipulation of a photo appropriate to the subject matter. I usually will do a few different versions of these Fragments, trying to work out the best balance of words and images. As someone who has no professional experience in design but only a genetic one, I do the best I can with my limited tools and knowledge. In any case, I enjoy it, but as Escher said, it can be a challenge to bring forth into daylight what one has envisioned in the darkness of one's mind. Included below are two of the other variations I came up with; ultimately, I went with the version selected as a result of extensive market research. That is, I asked my 5-year old and he chose the one you see above. I couldn't help but agree. No, seriously, he can be quite insistent.

All the best,

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Fragment: The Misplaced Cog

In keeping with the previously published Fragment, here is another bit of writing--actually two bits--that lives in its own little space. While I will let the writing speak for itself, I should mention that the background image is borrowed (without permission) from a graphic novel titled 'Neurocomic' written and illustrated by Drs Matteo Farinella and Hana Ros, and published by Nobrow Press

And of course, the lyrics that make up the second part of this Fragment are a parody of "Home on the Range", considered one of the 100 greatest songs of the American West. It speaks to my origins, I suppose ... Sing along, everybody!!!

 In an interesting occurrence of serendipity, not long after I wrote the above, I came across an interview on the YouTube channel Theories of Everything, hosted by Curt Jaimungal. In an interview with theoretical physicist Abhay Ashketar, Prof. Ashtekar discusses something very much along these lines. The particular part of the discussion, of what is a very long interview, begins at about 19:30 and continues for about four minutes. Much of the interview is about mathematics and physics that is unfortunately beyond on the capacity of this particular mind but for the first 30 minutes or so. The channel is generally quite interesting if you're into some ... headier topics. ;^)