vain pursuit

  • seeker: haha hey guys do u dare me to destroy myself on a vain pursuit of an undead ghost
  • them: no
  • seeker: *shaking my head and chuckling* i cant believe you guys are making me do this
  • them: we're not
  • seeker: *sacrificing sanity, friendships and notability* this is so wild you guys you're so messed up for making me do this

[From Alexander Hamilton to Eliza Hamilton] 

September 6, 1781

I cannot refuse myself the pleasure of writing you a few lines. Constantly uppermost in my thoughts and affections, I am happy only when my moments are devoted to some office that respects you. I would give the world to be able to tell you all I feel and all I wish, but consult your own heart and you will know mine. What a world will soon be between us! 

To support the idea, all my fortitude is insufficient. What must be the case with you, who have the most female of female hearts? I sink at the perspective of your distress, and I look to heaven to be your guardian and supporter…Early in November, as I promised you, we shall certainly meet. Cheer yourself with this idea, and with the assurance of never more being separated. 

Every day confirms me in the intention of renouncing public life, and devoting myself wholly to you. Let others waste their time and their tranquillity in a vain pursuit of power and glory; be it my object to be happy in a quiet retreat with my better angel. 

A Hamilton

The mystery of prayer is not consummated at a certain specific time or place. For if you restrict prayer to particular times or places, you will waste the rest of the time in vain pursuits. Prayer may be defined as the intellect’s unceasing intercourse with God. Its task is to engage the soul totally in things divine, its fulfillment - to adapt the words of St Paul (cf. 1 Cor. 6:17) - lies in so wedding the mind to God that it becomes one spirit with Him.―Nikitas Stithatos

So let’s discuss the Isle of the Lost. Not the book. The place. You know, where all the villains live? Ok, now that we’re on the same page, I’ve noticed something. On the island, there seems to be a very “evil for evil’s sake” mentality (being late to school, stealing coffee/candy, going to a school that specifically teaches you how to be “evil”). As a writer, I hate this. The villain of a story rarely ever actually sees themselves as the villain. People aren’t just “evil” for the hell of it. There’s always a reason. Let’s take the four main characters’ parents as examples.


She cursed Aurora because she was angry at her parents for not inviting her to her christening. Was she overreacting? Sure but that’s what makes her a villain. Nevertheless, she didn’t just do it because she felt like it. She did it because she was offended. I’d be angry too if I was the only one not invited to a party (and I have been that person but I didn’t run around cursing infants; anyway, that’s a story for another time).


He wanted power. A classic villain pursuit. He wanted to be Sultan so he could rule Agrabah and have the power that came along with it to make everyone do what he said. Selfish? Yes. Still a motivation? Yes.

The Evil Queen

She wanted to be the fairest in the land and she was insanely jealous of Snow White for stealing this from her. Yes, this is an incredibly vain pursuit but that was her reason and it is still a motivation.

Cruella De Vil

She was obsessed with fur. She even claims to worship fur. And the character is set up as someone who is clearly used to getting what she wants and is driven by her obsession. In the animated film, it is made clear that Cruella never intended to kill the pooches when they were puppies: she wanted them to grow up so she could get more out of them. She only changed her plans when it looked like the police were on to her. In the live-action film, she wants to use puppies because their fur is finer. And in the animated film, only Pongo and Perdita’s puppies are actually stolen: the rest were bought and paid for. She only stole the 15 because she wanted to spite Anita and Roger for denying her what she wanted.

Are all these reasons super petty? Yes, but that’s a key trait of a classic villain: thinking only of yourself and what you want and how you’re going to get it/get revenge for having it denied. So where am I going with this? Well, I started thinking about it and an idea came to me: what if evil for evil’s sake was the motivation? Think about it. For the villains, they feel like their actions are completely justified. Now, all of a sudden, the supposed “heroes” have decided that they should be imprisoned on an isolated island, stuck with the leftovers of Auradon. They might have decided to just “be evil” to spite the “good” people of Auradon and do everything that is considered “bad” because the supposed “good” guys have, in their eyes, mistreated them so why would they want to conform to be like them?

“So they think we’re evil, huh? Fine! We’ll show them evil! We’ll be nothing but evil!”

What I love most about following Christ in all things, is that I don’t have to be afraid that my attempt to loving someone will be in vain, because my pursuit in Christ is not in vain. The richest thing in this world, is knowing that we are never gonna fail loving others when our love is filtered through Jesus.

Cast your fears on Christ, and trust that His love is enough to carry you to the place you need to be.

-T.B. LaBerge


Now who are you to be the death of me
Stealing what life you need
Roadside while you watch me bleed
I’ve got to get out of here

Well where do you get off that we revolve around your wants and needs
There’s no way I would change a one side catastrophe
You are the only one in this room that is still the same
You’re still the one night catastrophe

A liar, a liar, that’s what you made of me
A wire, a wire, that’s what were walking on
Desires, desires, it’s all dressed down
Heavy lies the crown, heavy lies the crown

Thought you were the one I figured out
With no creeping doubts, no hiding ins or outs
But I was so wrong, I was so wrong
The knife that’s twisting in my back is proof enough for me
That you’re a one sided catastrophe

A liar, a liar, that’s what you made of me
A wire, a wire, that’s what were walking on
Desires, desires, it’s all dressed down
Heavy lies the crown, heavy lies the crown

This song was one of the few songs that I have written where it wasn’t something that had personally happened to me, rather It is a song warning people the complications of lust and the consequences of acting on those feelings. For those who embark on filling the void in their life with physical affection soon find out that they end up even more empty than when they began the vain pursuit. 

WicDiv Playlist: The Seventh Seal

Last night, I made an attempt to write the back essay for the first issue of The Wicked + the Divine. Just one of my usual short thousand-word essays saying hello and generally showing people around our new place. Afterwards, I looked back what I’d hammered out, and discovered it was perhaps the grimmest, most depressing thousand words I’ve ever written.

I tried again this morning and got something else. The Wicked + the Divine is a pop song, and while all that material is in there, it’s not what you should be walking away from the first issue with. It’s a book about death, sure, but it’s also about life, and the dynamic tension herein.

I’ll probably lob the essay online or into a collection at some point, but not yet. It’s certainly a wonderful document of the headspace of a certain Kieron Gillen the night before the issue gets the final rivets hammered into place.

(We think the issue’s strong, btw. We’re really happy with it. I think it’s probably the best first issue the team has ever done. For all the frenzy beneath the surface, it’s got a confidence to its movements which speaks to a basic level of competence we haven’t always had. Fraction’s read it and dug it, so that’s something, y’know?)

Anyway – one good thing which came out of the essay was me making an off-handed Seventh Seal gag, which reminded me that Scott Walker’s The Seventh Seal wasn’t actually on the playlist.

I sorted that out. I sorted it hard.

“My life’s a vain pursuit of meaningless smiles
Why can’t God touch me with a sign?”
“Perhaps there’s no one there?“ answered the booth
And Death hid within his cloak and smiled

Scott 4 was my first Scott Walker album. To link to the last essay, it’s one of the ones which I played on my headphones in the mag office. Not out of embarrassment – but out of the complete distaste of the rest of the office for it. I hid beneath the ‘phones and glowered in the melodrama.

I had never actually seen Bergman’s The Seventh Seal at this point. I knew the song was about it, but I didn’t actually know how about it was. Walker’s The Seventh Seal isn’t just about it. It’s basically a synopsis of the film. It’s a review. It’s criticism. It’s re-enactment. It’s magical.

I find it hard to connect to how I heard the song then. Now I listen, and individual lines conjure the specific frame. That’s partially because the images are so powerful, and partially because Walker is so good at choosing the exact moment.

(Have you seen the Seventh Seal? Do so. It’s powerful, sure. It’ll haunt you, sure. But it’s also fucking hilarious. It moves from mood to mood so confidently, it can take you anywhere. Don’t get trapped on a piece of art’s reputation. There’s a reason why people love it. I love it as a pop song. I love it when it’s a pop song.)

The Seventh Seal is about death and the fight against it, that metaphorical awesome-in-Bill-and-ted dancing. I’ve certainly had times I’ve felt like the Knight. There’s certainly been times I’ve liked to think of myself as the Knight. But there’s been just as many when I’ve felt tied to the stake.

The Seventh Seal would be on the playlist just through its quality and topic. But there’s a personal connection. It’s intrinsically connected to the closest I ever came to dying.

I can’t be sure of that, of course. There’s near deaths you’ll never know about – but certainly when I came out the back end of this period, I looked back and realised I was probably within hours of not being around.

The short version of the story means me being rushed into hospital with the worst pain of my life in my stomach. They check for an appendicitis. It’s not appendicitis. I spend a week in hospital, with flashes of pain and my guts failing, as they try to work out what the fuck is wrong with me. They come to me on Friday morning, and tell me that they want to open me up and root around. My vitals are going crazy. They think that they’re going to have to remove a section of my guts, due to possible scarring, which may leave me on a Colostomy bag, possibly permamently.

This is a lot to drop on a 25 year old. As they wheeled me to the theatre, I was doing my math on whether it’d be possible to do the sort of dancing I did with a bag of me-waste attached to me. My last memory before I disappeared beneath the drugs was the surgeon, who’d discovered I was a games journo, telling me how much he enjoyed Theme Hospital.

This didn’t exactly put me at ease.

When I regained consciousness an excited surgeon came in, clearly relieved.

It was just my appendix after all!

My mutant power is that apparently my organs are all kind of messed up. The standard test for the appendix is pressing down on one side. My appendix is on the other. Well, was on the other. Now it’s in a medical waste dump. It takes a few weeks of recovery for me to realise that I’d had an organ that could have just killed me if it ruptured pulsing inside me. Was that close? It feels close. 

It affected my health. My guts have never quite been the same, though the drinking of the EVIL KIERON period afterwards probably contributed to that. I also have a pretty neat scar, from navel to cock, which was held closed with a bunch of staples which was pretty fucking metal.

When I was recovering, and in that first week of organ-ticking, I didn’t have any music. At all.

The only song I heard was the one I sang, when I first was able to walk to a shower by myself afterwards. I’m weak as fuck, but I’m standing in the shower, bawling Kevin Rowland’s cover of CONCRETE AND CLAY at the top of my voice, bawling my fucking eyes out.

Eventually, my editor – who honestly believed he’d killed me, as he’d asked me to edit the magazine for a few weeks the night before my organs went FUCK NO! - grabbed a CD player and the stack of CDs by my shared-house bed.

I immediately jump on them. I grab Scott 4, and press play.

I listen.

Within thirty seconds, I can’t listen. I have to pull the headphones off my head, in a shuddering weeping mess.

I just can’t bear it.

It’s just too strong, too powerful. Obviously the theme didn’t help, but it was more than that. An addict gone cold turkey, this was just too cripplingly intense for me. The idea that anything as beautiful as this could exist in our world, was beyond my ability to comprehend or process. It felt like an angel was in the room, trying to explain things to me, and all I could do is cry and mutely flap my mouth at this out of context miracle.

I tried again after a while, and gave up. I had a similar experience to the Flaming Lips later. In the end, I started to listen to songs that I didn’t like quite as much, and worked myself back into the power of music again.

When I finally left the hospital, scary thin, and being driven back to my home-town, I found myself thinking something very pure and clear: I Feel Indestructible.

I’m still not really sure what I meant.

“How could anyone leave a world that makes things as wonderful as this?“ said a particularly beautiful boy.

Always missing the obvious answer, our Noh-Varr.

Ficlet: Nomenclature (G)

I wrote a thing. It’s short and sweet. Klaine in NY at the loft. :)

Thanks Emily for reading it over and for the title. <3 


“What does Rachel call her dads?”

Kurt looks over to where Blaine is curled up on the sofa, his feet tucked up under his thighs and his head resting against the back of the cushions. He’s staring up at the ceiling, his face blank, so Kurt is unable to glean the meaning of his strange question from his eyes.

“Um, she calls them both ‘Dad’,” Kurt answers, and carries on in his vain pursuit of organizing the cutlery drawer, which is next to impossible seeing as the drawer is too narrow for a proper cutlery organization tray to be fitted in there. Who designs drawers that way?

“Doesn’t that get confusing?” Kurt looks over again; Blaine has turned his head to the side.

Kurt shrugs. “That’s what I said, but she explained that when there is only one of them in the room, she calls him ‘Dad’, and when they are both present, she calls them ‘Dads’. I asked her what happens when they’re both there and she only wants to speak to one of them, but she said that never happens.”

Keep reading

Our present form, although it is impure and lacking in many ways, should be conceived of as the boat we need in order to cross the ocean of cyclic existence and arrive at the jewel island of enlightenment. Thus it is important that we care for it properly so that we are able to work for the benefit of others. What we must give up is the selfish attitude with which we use our body in the vain pursuit of ephemeral samsaric pleasures.
—  Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Meaningful to Behold”

anonymous asked:

re: Goofy European self-portraiture -- Luis Egidio Meléndez (Spain) looks very haughty in his (he did paint some exquisite still-lifes). Joseph Ducreux (France) caught himself yawning, which must have been exhausting in that pre-photographic era. Ducreux also painted himself pointing jauntily directly at us, decked out in a fancy hat and cane... Google 'Leopold Boily self-portrait' for some fun... And for something contemporary, Google 'iso 500 creative self portraits'.

Honestly, god bless you for all these recommendations, because I’m dying.

Luis Egidio Meléndez, aka ‘Yeah, I sketched these proverbial apples. Now it’s your turn. Whatcha gonna do about it? Paint a superior posterior? Ha. As if.’

Joseph Ducreux’s yawn, aka ‘Got tired of all this pimpin’, now I’m off to bed and I won’t be alone…’

Joseph Ducreux’s jaunty point, aka ‘… because I’ll be kept company all night by the wake-addling hounding weightiness of my pressing thoughts of death! Eyyyyy’

And finally, Leopold Boily, aka ‘Honestly, all the kids will be doing this on Instagram in 200 years’

So Hamilton wrote Eliza a letter shortly before the battle of Yorktown, about how much he misses her.

And he ended it with

Every day confirms me in the intention of renouncing public life, and devoting myself wholly to you. Let others waste their time and their tranquillity in a vain pursuit of power and glory; be it my object to be happy in a quiet retreat with my better angel.

Are you sure that’s what you’re gonna do, Alex

are you sure

What I love most about following Christ in all things, is that I don’t have to be afraid that my attempt to loving someone will be in vain, because my pursuit in Christ is not in vain. The richest thing in this world, is knowing that we are never gonna fail loving others when our love is filtered through Jesus.

Cast your fears on Christ, and trust that His love is enough to carry you to the place you need to be.

-T.B. LaBerge

If You're Going To Prove a Point

          ‘Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.’ Our culture loves to rally behind the notion of “loving yourself,” but when self love means making excuses for bad habits and not holding yourself to a standard that’s worthy of respect, then self-love is an empty and vain pursuit. To truly love yourself is to decide the type of person you want to be, to hold yourself to that standard, and to invite growth with much humility and intentionality through self-editing.

          Today I felt a toxic part of myself spring up. Someone offended me indirectly, and it really wounded my ego. A surge of entitlement took over me, and it was ugly–my heart sunk into an ugly place. It felt awful, and more than wanting to deal appropriately with the part of me that was in question, I just wanted some one to sit in the filth of my insecurity with me and let me rot for a little while, telling me I’m perfect the way I am.

         Immediately, I felt my spirit spring up in objection. This doesn’t always happen, but when it does, I’ve learned to listen. When the spirit stands to attention, you give him yours. It told me to take responsibility for myself. It reminded me that this toxic outbreak isn’t on my side. Catering to it would only lead to a decay of my joy and peace. It’s not that I needed to ignore the toxic flare-up. I needed to capture it. And once I did, I carried it to God in prayer. Self-love is not keeping yourself comfortable, only letting people see you when you’re standing in flattering light. Self-love is being honest about who you are, knowing who you want to be, and being intentional about the journey from the former to the latter. Part of that journey, for me, means letting people in especially when I’m feeling self-conscious. So after I prayed, I carried it to someone who loves me–someone who doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. She understands me and supports me, but she doesn’t let me be a toxic version of myself. She said, “I get it, and I hate that this is happening, but you’re not going to give it the power to take your joy just to have the satisfaction of proving a point. The only point we’re proving today is that God is love, and that love is enough.”

         I think her words are a truth-rooted description of “self-love” because if I could only have one point to prove with my life, it would be that God is love and that love is enough, and it all has to do with the weight of that word 'enough.’ It’s enough because the love of God is the conduit carrying me from point A to point B. It’s enough because it actively works until it reaches completion. It’s enough because it’s the only thing that can strip me of the things that stifle my growth and joy.

          I’m not about self-acceptance because there are parts of me that are unacceptable. I’m about loving myself in a way that doesn’t make excuses for the toxicity that inhibits my ability to be a gift to those around me. So when someone or something bruises your ego or discredits you in some way, instead of letting that have any power over you, realize that you don’t have to prove them wrong. If someone’s opinion of you can shake your opinion of yourself, the problem is not with them–but with you. And don’t let that scare you. I’m not an advocate of “self-acceptance” in the way its culturally marketed, so I think it’s good for our ego to get shaken up, and when it does, let those toxic parts of yourself surface, and rejoice in truth as the love of God extracts the poison of your brokenness, freeing you to be all He created you to be. Don’t waste an opportunity to grow just because you want to prove yourself to others. If you’re going to prove a point let it be that God is love, and that love is enough.

Before itself, behind itself, never itself. This is the very meaning of the two ekstases Past and Future, and this is why value in itself is by nature self-repose, non-temporality! The eternity which man is seeking is not the infinity of duration, of that vain pursuit after the self which I am myself responsible; man seeks a repose in self, the atemporality of the absolute coincidence with himself.
—  Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness

In a letter to Elizabeth, September 6, 1781 (just before heading to Yorktown):

Every day confirms me in the intention of renouncing public life, and devoting myself wholly to you. Let others waste their time and their tranquillity in a vain pursuit of power and glory; be it my object to be happy in a quiet retreat with my better angel.

HA. If only, A. Hams. If only.