I’m finally watching Game of Thrones. Better late than never. It’s an epic series, as most will tell you, seemingly on pace to hit the level of a true “classic,” like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, or who knows, maybe it will gain the moment and cult following that will give it the kind of scope that the Star Wars franchise has. We’ll see.
Game of Thrones also represents the latest in the explosion of a relatively new film genre: TV episodes that form a series. HBO pioneered the genre with The Sopranos, using the medium of television to tell a story, something that feels almost readable, something that goes deep and wide, just like a good novel. And the time commitment required to watching a season of Game of Thrones or The Sopranos is about the same as reading a novel. Read more
Over the last year, my approach and attitude toward politics has evolved. That’s probably true for most of us. A year ago, I was engaged and optimistic about the possibility that Bernie might beat the liberal establishment and make a serious run at the White House. I was in McCarthy, Alaska a year ago, and I went to a Democratic caucus where something like fifteen people showed up, which may not sound like much to you, but McCarthy is a remote community that is literally at the end of the road, way out in bush Alaska, so fifteen people represents roughly half of the winter population. The caucus turned into a party.
But then the establishment struck back and Bernie got booted out, and since then, our political situation has only devolved in a downward spiral of outrage and cultural dysfunction. The worse it gets, the more I find myself single-pointedly posting politically. I can’t help myself.
I don’t apologize for filling my social media with political shit, but it’s odd because I’m not sure that I like it that way. I’d like to broaden my horizons a bit. For example, I’m a new author, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, trying to build a writing career and publish a novel. So from a marketing perspective I know that I should be posting stuff that’s more neutral, less politically charged, in an effort to broaden my influence among potential readers. I know this, intellectually, but it doesn’t stop me. I’m undeterred, day after day posting on politics and power and socialism and, of course, Trump. Is it possible to break out?
“We can misuse only things which are good.” — Montaigne.
A quote I came across in some required reading I am doing for a writer’s workshop here in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Montaigne is defending writing about one’s personal experience in an era that frowned on such a practice.
When you go on an extended spiritual retreat, you never really know what is going to surface. For me, there were no major revelations, but a lot of things that I already “knew” really sunk in deep. One of those things had to do with dedicating my spiritual practice to someone. This was quite a profound realization, because meditating 11 hours a day for ten days can get incredibly difficult. It helps you to keep going, if you aren’t just doing it for yourself.
I was thinking today about how in the West, we’ve developed an extraordinary and incredible amount of labor saving technologies, yet, strangely, most of us in the West don’t actually use these technologies to save time or to create more opportunity to rest, be creative, or enjoy life. I’ve also read in recent years that hunter-gatherer societies often worked very little and had a good deal of time for family, local community life, creativity, rest, and leisure.