happy magic water cube beijing
November 24, 2012, 6:36 pm
Filed under: departure lounge | Tags: , ,


the centre of all the possible magic and revelation

When the great poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes first met, Ted tried to kiss Sylvia and she bit him.  They got married and had a son whom they named Nicholas.  I guess Ted tried to kiss other girls too and Sylvia was very jealous.  When Nicholas was only one, she gassed herself in an oven – horror.

After his mother’s suicide, his father wrote that Nicholas’ eyes –

“Became wet jewels,

The hardest substance of the purest pain

As I fed him in his high white chair”.

Forty seven years later, Nicholas then a scientist living in Alaska, became depressed and took his life.

What an awful story.  It makes me think Nicholas never got over the loss of his mother.  Or that his dad must have treated him callously or abandoned him.


Following is a letter that Ted Hughes wrote to his son after visiting him in Alaska.  In it Hughes offers to his son a sort of primer on how to manage in a life in which relationships are often times quite difficult.   Continue reading

the negative path to happiness
November 24, 2012, 12:54 am
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , , , ,

To be happy, relish uncertainty, insecurity and failure.  Stop running from these negative things; our wellbeing may depend on how we react to these very human emotions, says Oliver Burkeman:

[Research] points to an alternative approach [to happiness]: a ‘negative path’ to happiness that entails taking a radically different stance towards those things most of us spend our lives trying hard to avoid. This involves learning to enjoy uncertainty, embracing insecurity and becoming familiar with failure. In order to be truly happy, it turns out, we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions – or, at the very least, to stop running quite so hard from them.

Happiness is a Glass Half Empty, Oliver Burkeman

Book:  The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking

holding ideas tentatively
November 23, 2012, 3:15 pm
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , , , , ,

When things are uncertain or even scary and everyone looks around for people to lead them and to believe in, they often look for assertions of finitude, grand visions that are certain, minds that have been made up, plans that are strong and complete.  They certainly are not interested in wishy-washiness, ambivalence, backtracking and changes of mind.

But, as Russell describes below, there is often a problem with absolute certainty:  shifting reality – what is perceived to be true now will need to be adjusted tomorrow, as circumstances change.  Ironically, the one thing we can be sure of is that circumstances will change; and that, in a mutable world, it’s better to hold your ideas lightly.

Continue reading

the a word
November 23, 2012, 2:31 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , ,

I’ve never really liked or used the a-word, so committing an entire post to it goes way past my usual comfort level.  For what it’s worth, I’ll apologize up front to anyone who feels the same – no doubt we share a common, repressed past.

Still, it’s too important a topic to not care about – especially now with all the a-word’s running around, and running things, including our lives.  A-holes are a dominant and crescendoing  demographic, and primers that help to describe who they are, are necessary.

Continue reading

lower Manhattan Lebbeus Woods
November 1, 2012, 12:10 am
Filed under: brave new world, departure lounge, unseen world | Tags: ,