From Matthieu Ricard’s Happiness:
By happiness I mean a deep sense of flourishing that arises from an exceptionally healthy mind. This is not a mere pleasurable feeling, a fleeting emotion, or a mood, but an optimal state of being. Happiness is also a way of interpreting the world, since while it may be difficult to change the world, it is always possible to change the way we look at it.
Ricard is, in the words of Daniel Goleman, who wrote the introduction to the book, a “Gnostic intermediary,” a Jung-coined term for those who make the journey into the spiritual depths to discern what lies there and who come back to tell us of their adventure. Or, translators: individuals who bridge one realm and the next. Interpreters. Which doesn’t so much as put an interesting spin on the definition above, but suggests a rather “subjective” universe.
I’m reading John Ruskin’ On Art and Life (one of those little Great Ideas books from Penguin which inflame the bibliophile in me). Very early on, Ruskin says this:
…and it is so in a far greater degree to make the abstraction of the Gothic character intelligble, because that character itself is made up of many mingled ideas, and can consist only in their union. That is to say, pointed arches do not constitute Gothic, nor vaulted roofs, nor flying buttresses, nor grotesque sculptures, but all or some of these things, and many other things with them, when they come together so as to have life.
In which case, HEARTLAND is Gothic. I, too, am Gothic. It’s nice to be defined.
Farrago’s Wainscot issue #8, Animalia, is now out, and it contains fiction by Paul Abbamondi, Daniel Braum, Becca De La Rosa, A. Ross Eckler, Rob Hunter, Marc Lowe, Matt Mullins, John Poch, and Cat Rambo. And me. With a . . . longer piece.
(We had been calling it a “novella,” but I guess, technically, it is a “novelette.” Anyway, a “longer piece.” The Old Man has decided that he’s a friend to Length, and is going to give over some space to Things Longer Than A Short Story. You’ll have to ask him about the specifics, but I believe this is the Sign of New Things, and not a one-off experiment.)
We went back and forth over the last few months about the presentation, and somewhere along the way, I wrote up an introduction to the story. As the format at FW didn’t make it easy to present the intro without being horribly intrusive to the actual story, I’m posting it here. Some of you who have been around for a while might find it fun to see that I’m still wrestling with an idea that just won’t let go. Or come out, for that matter.