Thursday, February 25, 2010


There once was a man named Achilles. He was given a choice by a prophetess: live a long life and be happy among his children, or fight a war and be remembered forever.

You know his story. You know his choice. This is not his story. This is not his choice.

A man sits by the beach. He has been called back to war; the generals all know what a morale boost he would bring--The great warrior, fighting on our side! How could we lose?

He's been greeted by a young woman, one he knows to be a prophet. He does not fully understand her powers, he does not need to. He trusts.

And she has given him a choice. She did not create this choice, she simply laid out all the consequences for him and...left. Left him to decide.

On the one hand: Go out to war. Be remembered forever, but die, soon.

On the other: Stay. Raise a family. Be happy. Live a good, long life amongst his offspring and loving wife. But be forgotten.

And as he watches the sun set, he wonders what he should choose. Life, now, or life, forever, among memories.

There's no easy way to choose this. It's not like when he was young, and had nothing much at home to interest him except learning to fight. Of course he was going to be a warrior then. What else would you be, when only fighting held your interest?

So he had gone out and fought. And fought well, earned respect, earned rank, earned--he smiled a little to himself--more than a few admirers.

But he knew he could settle down. Fighting wasn't all he was anymore, just a part of it. He actually enjoyed the idea of settling down, not with that passion that he enjoyed fighting, but enjoyed it, nonetheless.

He closed his eyes and listened to the beach; heard, off in the distance, the sounds of the village. The calm, quiet place he had been so bored with as a youth.

He made his choice.

Hm? What was his name? I don't know. We've forgotten it.


You could live your whole life and never know if anyone will remember you. You never can know how long people will remember you after death.

It gets even worse when you look at our very old legends: all the ones that still have the name attached tend towards war, violence, and heroism (I'm thinking Achilles)...pretty difficult combination to justify today, unless you're fighting the next Hitler.

And this has scared me more and more as I grow. That I will be forgotten, that people, ultimately, won't remember more than a few years after I'm dead. A generation, tops. And that relies on me having children, who will remember me because I'm they're mom--don't get me wrong, a mom is a great thing to be, it's just not all I want.

And then I start trying to figure out why this scares me so much. Not because it seems an illogical fear, or a logical one, simply to figure it out, dissect it. Why does being remembered matter so much?

And I come to the conclusion that it's to have an effect. If I am not remembered, what effect can I possibly have? And the idea that I would be nothing after death is terrifying. It is no coincidence that these doubts tend to align with when I think about what might happen if I just disappear after death.

And so I want to make my mark. And I look around and try to find where I can mark, and find...I have. I have helped others understand things. I have gone out and put myself out there, leaving a line of fire written along people's souls--and regardless of whether the fire flashes for but a moment or burns a permanent mark, a permanent memory, a dream, I have been an artist and a muse.

This isn't enough. I doubt anything ever will be. But it's enough, for the moment.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


There are a couple new ones at the bottom.

From the World:
The only constant is change.
-Lots of people. It's a common thought.

A witty phrase proves nothing.

What's the point of a good quote if you can't misquote it? [paraphrased. No, really.]

Build high the walls; build strong the beams...take strength from those who need you.
-Tarzan, Two Worlds

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
-Niels Bohr

When outmatched...cheat.
-Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

That's not just bluffing when you have bad cards, that's bluffing when you have no cards at all.
-Sergeant Colon of Discworld

“I’m not surprised. It is easy to forget that good things can happen just as unexpectedly as the bad things!”

From My Life:

When sightsinging, sing as if you know the piece.
-My Choir Teacher

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Outdoor Ed. Travel Log

I was a Cabin Leader. Everyone thought I was twenty-one.

2/1 Monday
The buses were early, which never happens; no one forgot anything that needed to be brought from home (one forgot a handbook, but it wasn't realized until everyone was at camp and he survived without it), which never happens; everyone who had signed up showed up, which never happens; and someone actually realized that my nickname was Wren with a 'W', which yeah.
My co-cabin leader (who was nice and a ball of energy--nice when watching 12 fifth-grade boys) and I met our naturalist for the week, who is basically the adult on deck. This was immediately followed by some productive time working on a skit we needed done by Thursday.
And I had a sudden fear of dying and being forgotten for no apparent reason. It went away after taking a break from the kids.

2/2 Tuesday
This was our beach day, meaning the entirety of the morning went wake up->get dressed->have breakfast->beach. I tried to pay attention to what I was smelling. That last was actually quite interesting, I usually just smell enough to vaguely identify and then ignore the scent or actively block it out. During this time, I found that skunk actually doesn't smell that bad. It's not good, but it's no worse than, say, burnt food. Different, naturally, but no worse.
And I had a sudden fear of dying and being forgotten for no apparent reason. It went away after thinking about what was bothering me and coming to the conclusion that it wasn't really as bad as my hype.
We went to the Earth Dance, which during the past few times had been crazy time, and this time was learning other cultures' dances. We actually ended up incorporating one into our cabin's skit, it was a dance that was used as an alternative to beating each other up. I believe that the belief is that the person who is able to dance it correctly for longer had the better precision/agility/stamina and would have won anyway. And hey, you don't have to send anyone to be stitched up, and probably no one dies! (Deaths by exhaustion are still rarer than deaths by being repeatedly hit over the head while still exhausting yourself.)

2/3 Wednesday
We got a giant sock for being quiet.
On our hike, one of the first things we did was look into treetops, and it was early enough that the sunlight filtered down through them without blinding us, giving that dappled sunlight look to the surrounding forest. We also learned that, in addition to the term family circles, another way to refer to those groups of redwoods is fairy rings.
Oh, and just to add to the world-upside-downedness established Monday, the boys' bathrooms were in better shape than the girls'.
This part is important, to me at least: I saw Orion. Not a grouping of stars making up a rough outline of his corners, or something like that, actually saw what would make someone look up into the sky and say, "Hey, there's a person up there." The trick is to realize that the stars are not markers of corners, but where the light would shine off his armor. That's why there's nothing around his arms, there's nothing to shine there. It was a pretty spectacular feeling, though I doubt I'm communicating it well.

2/4 Thursday
We got another giant sock.
We went to the Emerald Forest--a buckeye grove where almost everything was emerald, since moss covered what other plants didn't. Then we went up to the garden, a short but vertical hike, and I sang a bit to keep the kids from getting to loud and rowdy. There were mentions of American Idol, but I just told them I lacked a video camera and left it at that.
Then there was skit night, wherein almost everyone forgot their lines and quite a few people exited, pursued by a bear. Yes, the same bear.

2/5 Friday
I had to (temporarily) confiscate a small, black, stuffed dog named Scruffy. The owner kept yelling "Scruffy attack!" and throwing him at people. Even after being told several times not to do anything that could be described with the word "attack," he yelled, "Wood cookie attack!" Yes, it was a small, short cylinder of wood. Yes, it connected. Yes, it connected with the back of a kid's head. He got in trouble for that one.
We watched a slideshow of what had happened, and I got an odd sort of memory. One was the intended, remembering everything that had happened that week. Another was of the last time I had seen the slideshow. And a third was a vague memory from about six years ago, when I had been at Outdoor Ed. as a kid and watched the slideshow of my week.

Someday, when I've got some fans, I'll care enough to edit these things more thoroughly.


© 2009-2013 Taylor Hobart