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A pilgrimage to the city of Trang-Un & a death in the mouth of a cow. Mercury & Prometheus, among other guests, ride along.
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It's our Anniversary, did you forget?

Posted by Eric Westerlind (Creator)

I am going to have to work backwards on this. It’s been a long time in events, if not in time proper.

Where were we.

I was explaining how hard it was to get started editing. Like someone wants you to change the house you just built. Like someone wants you to shift a wall. A wall you understood as temporary (you didn’t add dry-wall; you didn’t add paint). 

Or really: they want you to change something you wrote in pencil. It takes a second to remember you have an eraser. It takes a second—and then you get all those a-verse reactions to erasers, right?

4Instance, erasers feel weird when you rub them. Like: totally natural but entirely wrong. Like when someone's pressed against a wall or the floor for whatever reason and they lean back and their shirt comes up a bunch so you can see their belly. Maybe it’s your belly actually. And you’re around people.

You might be comfortable with that. NmMm. Nope. I still avert my eyes politely if I see someone showing a lot of skin. I still pull my shirt back to cover whatever’s dropping out of it. Is this a Puritan vein running the length of my abdomen? No, it’s a happy trail. But the shame associated!? That’s a vein. Or artery. 

That’s what erasing is like. Shame. This was wrong.

Then there’s that smear, huh. Where you can still see what you wrote? No matter how ugly the word you wrote was, the smear is worse. Sometimes I wonder if that’s like poop in water. Scuse the scatology, whoever: but, I never see mine out of water—apparently other countries have some shelf, and some have a hole, and sometimes if I’ve gotten myself out of American cities, I get a hole and then there’s no water, but still—just a half-formed thought. (Those I get frequently. Half my form is formed and the other half is? Poop, probably. The only real concrete produce of this body of mine that other things can snack on. (Maybe certain insects can eat the particles of your breath. And some are small enough to eat the skin that’s flaking off, always. And I guess there’s the gut)—ohhhkay. So it was all a big tragic lament that wasn’t true. I make stuff and it’s not all poop. Other things benefit from whatever’s coming out of me. Jesus. Melodrama of the Toilet.) But here's the second half: I was on erasers, and the Smudge, where the word (a poop) is smeared (lands in the water) and no longer looks near as well-formed, as understandable—you can't glean anything from its appearance anymore. How healthy you are, all that. It's just ready to head out, down the water pipes to the treatment plant or the ocean or whatever.

But it's not entirely gone in that moment, and DON'T YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW HEALTHY YOU ARE? 

Okay. Shame-Shirt-Ride-up and the Smudge, my a-verse reactions to Erasing. But a-verse thoughts guide me inexorably into the optimism of my thirties:

We have all encountered losing something we’re just about done with, right? We’ve worked for hours. We’ve re-arranged its pieces and made it look pitch-perfect. And then something—somebody kicks the power-plug (probably us) accidentally, somebody’s tractor sparks in the dry grass and the olive grove goes up in flame, or we just get broken up with. You know: tragic loss. Or so we think, right! That’s where I raise my finger and the entire right side of my face.

Every time I have to make something on top of the ruins of previous work, that thing is shaped 1) more efficiently and 2) with half the effort and 3) with all of the learning of the first groundbreaking. If I were to edit that last sentence—if I were writing this for the second time—I’d say 'more efficiently' and 'half the effort' are the same, and you reading and me reading would get to this point in the paragraph with just two list items instead of three—and if I were a careful editor of my writing, I’d listen to this little self. But this brings up the most essential discovery of rambling as it relates to creative work as it relates to Shame and the Smudge and as it relates to encouraging myself and you, however you need it, which is the following truth: we want things to be perfect on the first go. We want to stick the landing like a damn pin in a map board. BING. Daegu. BING. [10] [10] [10]. (Those are gymnastic-signs-going-up emojis). 

"PRsshhht: Everyone reports: this Art is Perfect. This is done!" 

And that Want gets in your way. (You is me and you both, okay?) And you've come to understand things like 'practice makes perfect' or 'try and try again' or that Chumbawumba song, but they don't erase our Want for the perfect first try.

The only thing you stick perfect is your life. It doesn’t get revision, so however you land, it’s right. What we make within the confines of that perfect sequence can’t help but be replicas of its grander gesture. 

So in some ways, if I read myself right—if I were a damn silver-lined cloud in Seattle’s fog-rimmed skies—I’d say that you get anything you do right, by doing it.

"Go easy on yourself," my mom says.

"Who's even watching the time? It's coming on it's own in its own way." Says Steph

So. 

Whew. 

We're all okay now I think. Writing = therapy. If you got it for free, use it. 

Here’s a new thing I’m buying Alyssa for her 80th birthday. I just invested (lie) the first $15 in a Lending Club account, and by the inexhaustible logic of the American capitalist system, that $15 will be exactly $2,140 by that day. There you go, baby girl. My Ginevra.


By the way, that’s a gift from you guys, donors. I’ll use a bit of the Ugo Fund since look at that! 

*!$#@ ---->
 


We’re earning good money on the DOLLAR! $70 to date! (BTW: lil’ tip from y’boy: Discover Bank has comparably the best savings percentage on its accounts of anyone in the game right now. 1.5% I think. This post sponsored by Discover Bank.)

Ms Frizzle: kick us out of the cloud of philosophical musings on the nature of Task and Time; where are we?

Well: I’m sorting through pictures of my life over the last month to share with you.

(Time passes)

(Magic noises)

Done! :) Looks like it’s been a busy little time period! 

Would you rather I update you on what’s been happening personally or professionally first? Rhetorical question. 

I’ll close with Ugo stuff and just tell you: here’s authorial life over the last la’l' bat.

The Last La'l' Bat

I’ve walked strange places because I’ve taken strange jobs.


Places where you get serious, or get nothing at all.


My neighbor who had walled herself in her own belongings was forced to move. This isn’t proof that Seattle’s rent prices are raising, it’s just proof that things change.


I walk past my favorite building in Seattle sometimes and wonder when I’ll go to the top.


I went to Denver, and slept five hours in the airport because.


It was horrible no matter what I said.


But Alyssa got these pants, and she gets more adorable every day.


We slept under the watchful gaze of this cowboy and I had the worst fear of evil—proper formless horror—sweep over me until I was awake and choked with it.

The dark was so dark. Alyssa’s hand was the only thing I could find, and then I spent two or three hours trying to find my sanity.

Thanks a lot, Cowboy.


I had this made for me. The pants, the tunic. I bought the shoes. I drew the embroidery. Mushrooms and forest spirits and trees.

Custom ass shit, man. I’m in for that.


We saved up enough to fix Goldie Honda, and paid cashnotcredit.

Hot tip: clutch replacement’s around $1300, if you’re shopping around. I asked someone I thought knew and he was right. The place we went did a good job (so far). Goldie rides again 

(to the grocery store)


I made these free brownies:


turn into these free brownies:


And yeah, I appreciate the multiple meanings of ‘raise the roof’, Dominos.

Raise the roof of your mouth and eat all these.

Raise this lid, eat all these.

Raise your blood sugar level so you need more next time.

Have a party.

(Party’s over, punk)

I sold an idea and storyboards on a music video for this band, who rock. Filming that this Monday. Eyes peeled for their album and for the final product, okay?


Oh my god, these things.


I’m so hooked on Nano Sprouts, they’re getting mushy in our fridge because I accidentally bought two. The Excitement Monster, blind as she is.

I mentioned how adorable I find this girl in these pants?


Oh this is where the band practices. The ones from the video.

Not right here, but down the hall in a room.


I cleaned the windows for this place, maybe the coolest house I’ve been in … ever? Certainly the best Seattle home I’ve seen. I mean: you poop in the wild practically, and then walk out to some all-glass-big-view-bullshit, hear?


Took some naps, I admit.


Went to a wedding for this guy, Nigel, who played a particularly well-camouflaged aasimar mage in my Below the Blackwater Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

He is now level two, married to a darling Jackie.

Go Nigel, go Jackie.


Lys got dolled up:


Man, Farres visited! The Dr. himself. We walked strange places too.


For those keeping track, if you want him as your doctor, head to Tahoe. He’ll be in the woods there.

I guess I made a political statement.


This dog usually makes the same statement with its (well-deteriorated) teeth. Instead, while we were washing the windows in its domicile, it took a dump on the front rug right before someone opened the door.

Lots of smudge and shame, friends. Lots of scat.


Sorry.

Spiders EVERYWHERE. It’s part of the window-washing game. Step 1: Clear the spiders. Step 2: Clear spider poo and guts of spider prey from window with steel wool.

PRO-tip: High grain steel wool is the best glass cleaner you’ve never used. Look for 0000 Grade. You can clean without water and its super buff. Also use a squeegee. Stop using Windex for anything but pimples.


Oh these are those sprouts, yo!


Like a little family in your fridge, happy to be devoured! They grow them in the pack.

It’s like EZ-Bake, but EZ-…

Whatever.


Oh man. My main goal right here:


Yeah I know. You’re thinking get my abs back.

No no no. REPAIR MY STUFF. I sent this pack to Deuter in Longmont. They fixed it for free, and here I was thinking I might need to buy a new pack for traveling. No no no.

And yeah, I mean—I’m hard on myself a lot, but the abs could use work. I’m playing basketball in an hour. Stress thee not, brethren.

We moved our neighbors out. They’re in Beacon Hill. This is Clara and Juliette. If you come visit, you’ll meet them. Or you might meet them if we visit you. I don’t know. If you see them, say you know them and say they’re loved.


And I walked onto the ferry and worked on the book in the San Juans again. (There will be a big YouTube update one of these days with all my San Juan footage, people. Smash that Subscribe button. My Friend Eric, go find it. NATURE. ORCAS. BOOKS. VIDEO HUMoR).


My mom’s dog makes me morose.


And then I walked back off the island, sort of.

Remember when ferries were just on a rope with a guy who walked the rope to the end of the platform and then walked back?

I think it was in Knight’s Tale.


Fall struck. I had no choice.


And strangely enough, Seattle is starting to become Southern Oregon. The fog is reminiscent of our time in Livermore, there in the mornings, promising sunny skies when it has burned away.


It’s a cool city, Seattle.


Did some laundry.

Pro-tip: the laundr-o-mat is a great place to write. Tell your loved ones you’re doing laundry. Leave your phone at home. Bring a journal.

Witness the power of the spin cycle, the ambient stimulation of things moving, people going, anonymity, the clink of quarters.


Uh, Chad: I wore holes through these pants, and the shoes too. Everything has holes right now. Sorry Dad, Grandma, Chad, Lys, anyone who tries to keep me dressed in stuff that keeps the world out.


We’ve washed some cool views.


Been at the top of scary ladder sets.


Seen some quality flicks.


And generally been happy. You know, there are zooks of challenges that are sort of like… buried rocks, I guess. You don’t really know where they’ll be, and sometimes it takes time to dig around and figure out their shape, but they come out eventually. They all do. 

And the hole gets bigger. 

Who here knows what that hole we're digging is for?

That’s right :)

.

.

.

.

Haha. It gives me joy to leave you hanging like that.

Let me close down with some quick DIAGNOSTICS for you since you’re a paying participant in this goshdang charade:

Ugo is going very well, thanks. I am editing. I’ve received some great encouragement after I sent Johnny, in his words, a novella, detailing all the answers to my problems I was having with plot-holes and so on.

His solutions were fairly straightforward:

  • EW,

    I read every word you wrote. It's more of a monologue. I don't think I need to respond, except to write these words: time is passing. Pull the literary trigger.

    This is the best I have for you. Miss you heaps.

    xoxoxo
    -J

So I’m sending it in episodes out to a few readers. Episodes being ‘the work of the last week’. In fact I’ll be sending ten pages out next. It’s what I have. It’s not a fast process, but damnit it’s a process, at least.

Oh. The big other update is that I tried one last time to encourage Ryan Carr to fill the illustration frames of certain sections with his beautiful drawings and I think we’ve lost him. 

Major bummer, but this is where we pick up our tragedy and say: what can we build on top of it.

I’d ask you that:

Do you know someone who draws nice black and white, pen drawings? Someone you think might get on board and help us flesh this story out so that you and others can enjoy a MULTIMEDIA experience?

Frames and scenes with prompts like this?

Well, send them my way.

If not, I’ll go find somebody ;)

I think that’s it, fam.

You in the loop now.

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