I think trying to write is a religious exercise. You are trying to understand life, and you can only get the illusion of doing it fully by writing. That is, it’s the only way I can come to understand things fully. When I create, when I put my own mark on something and form it, I begin to know the whole truth about it, how it was put together. Then you can begin to change things around. You know all this after you have written a lot. You really know. And it has become the most important thing in your life. It has nothing to do with craft, or even art, in a way. It is making sense of life. It is coming to understand yourself.

Peter Taylor

“This is where I come to my own psychological timeline.

It’s been fascinating for me to watch my own mind, watch my sense of the situation change, and cease to second-guess my emotional reaction to it.

I actually went back and looked at my emails and texts over the last few weeks.

I can see that on Feb 22, I was thinking about cancelling some upcoming trips, and was still feeling fairly crazy about thinking that way.

And by Feb 27, I’d cancelled everything.

Ten days ago, Tim Ferriss and I were both supposed to speak at SXSW.

He and I decided to pull out of the conference. It was widely perceived at that moment to be slightly paranoid.

Eight days later, the whole conference got cancelled.

So I’ve been watching this unfold, and feeling more or less a week ahead of where everybody is. (…)

I certainly hope that my current state of mind seems like an overreaction in retrospect. 

The only point in my life that had an analogous feeling was 9/11.

Where it’s just like: okay, this is a moment in history, this is not life as you’ve taken it for granted year after year.”

I’ve been collecting and reading lesbian history / essay books for a while now. And though I still enjoy them my whole perception of the way some lesbians view and talk about our community is weird.

I used to LOVE the poetic nature lesbianism used to be spoken about. As if it’s this secret mystery that is emotionally enlightening and makes someone more intelligent then other people. All these little rules and rituals and labels that break us away from other people. I think that notion is what helped me come into terms with my sexuality when I was a bit younger. It felt like I was being taught a dead language. I definitely don’t feel that way anymore though.

Now this isn’t me saying I’m against lesbian labels and identifiers. I can definitely recognise the importance, history and community it gives a lot of people. Whatever floats your boat, you know. But after reading so many books about all this stuff , it’s so obvious that no one in any particular time, could agree on what these things meant, how they were supposed to be presented, how it connected to lesbianism (if at all) and how it broke us apart from other people. People talk about discourse over that stuff now, but from what I have seen it’s nothing new. I feel as though a lot of people completely over complicate what lesbianism and homosexuality is to the point where you have all these essays and non fiction books where almost all of them are saying “when I’m asked to describe [insert topic or label] I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know what it is.” Or you have people writing these long articles about lesbianism that you need university training to understand. And all that takes away from what lesbianism is. It’s not about supporting women. It’s not about breaking the rules. It’s not about loving every woman. It’s not about being spiritually enlightened. It’s not about using big and fancy words to describe something as simple and beautiful as a crush. Its not about sticking it to the patriarchy. It’s not about hating men. It’s not about clothes or music or celebrity crushes. It’s just about feeling attraction for only women as a woman.

And of course. There are cultural and social things that many lesbians will go through that are similar and the trauma of being a lesbian and the way we express our sexuality and where we meet people. That definitely all has history and it connects us. But it doesn’t matter if you read every lesbian book in existence or you only like to read the Mills And Boons romance novels at Target. A lesbian is a lesbian is a lesbian. And people can argue about culture and labels and aesthetics until the sun rises. And I understand why those things are so important to people. I do. Words have history and meaning and for some it’s so important that others remember that. But you shouldn’t need an English degree to talk about lesbianism. I don’t think people should over complicate something so simple. Because in my opinion, that over complication divides a lot of people.

Sam Harris:

“This picture of Trump’s appeal is really best understood in comparison with the message of its opponents on the Left.

That’s how you can see it in stereo, that’s how the image finally pops out.

One thing that Trump never communicates, and cannot possibly communicate, is a sense of his moral superiority. The man is totally without sanctimony.

Even when his every utterance is purposed towards self-aggrandizement. Even when he appears to be denigrating his supporters. Even when he is calling himself a genius.

He is never actually communicating that he is better than you, more enlightened, more decent. Because he’s not, and everyone knows it.

The man is just a bundle of sin and gore, and he never pretends to be anything more. Perhaps more importantly, he never even aspires to be anything more.

And because of this, because he is never really judging you, he can’t possibly judge you.

He offers a truly safe space for human frailty, and hypocrisy, and self-doubt. He offers what no priest can credibly offer: a total expiation of shame.

His personal shamelessness is a kind of spiritual balm. Trump is fat Jesus. He’s “grab them by the pussy” Jesus.

He’s “I’ll eat nothing but cheeseburgers if I want to” Jesus. He’s “I want to punch them in the face” Jesus.

He’s “go back to your shithole countries” Jesus. He’s no apologies Jesus.

And now consider the other half of this image. What are getting from the Left? We’re getting exactly the opposite message.

Pure sanctimony. Pure judgement. You are not good enough.

You’re guilty, not only for your own sins, but for the sins of your fathers. The crimes of slavery and colonialism are on your head.

And if you’re a cis white heterosexual male, which we know is the absolute core of Trump’s support, you’re a racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, sexist, barbarian.

Tear down those statues and bend the fucking knee.

It’s the juxtaposition of those two messages that is so powerful.”

A Few Extra Hours

He’d risen early, as though a few extra hours of sunlight would make all the difference. Maybe it did. He was far from weightless as he moved from mattress to sink, counter to dresser, but the stained-glass dawn warmed his skin through the skylight, and it was almost as good.

The minutes stretched and shook off the night as he saw to packing for the Eco-Dome. Socks, another set of clothes, more socks, and his journal. Some ink, and a pen he wouldn’t mourn too deeply if lost. Cigarettes and his favourite baggy cardigan. At some point in his packing, he found himself slotted in against the bed, knees pressed into the lightly worn rug. Beside him sat the nightstand, along with the knowledge that he hadn’t dared to open it in months.

He’d talked about it- about everything that happened in Argus, and everything that had happened since- as though it existed somewhere on a shelf. Stardust and cobwebs he couldn’t shake, but that he could easily avoid if he tried. The truth was that most of what he held onto was never very far from reach. It all sat tucked into this drawer, like one chamber or another in his patchwork heart.

The past week had rattled it all, and left him much the same. He’d thought- no, he hadn’t at all, really. But he’d tried at least, to just walk back into his life, as though the past couple years hadn’t happened at all. Like he was still the same grinning show-off, cracking wise at the coffee shop or finding fate by the light of a forge.

A chill ran under his ribs, and the lukewarm coffee on his tongue did nothing for it, bitter black down to the end of his cup. (He never added sugar, though he craved sweetness like little else.)

The truth didn’t sting as much as he thought it would. But that’s just how it is with slow, trickling bleeds. You have time to adjust, get used to how it feels, until you have yourself convinced it doesn’t really hurt. Lyn understood, on the steps of the Shielded Mind with no sense of her own maternal tendencies. She held firm while he lashed out, all white-knuckled fear and red-cheeked guilt- at Lore for ever having left, or maybe ever having spoken to him, though he could never mean it. At his friend Mathias, and all the stupid, desperate games he was playing with a warm body, just because he could.

He held his breath, fingers curling around the handle with cool metal warming to his touch.The drawer slid open with a soft sigh, only furniture after all.

“That’s just you trying to feel something again.” Had Junarra said that? Funny how her spark plug mind worked, tossing out wisdom like so many stupid nicknames. But it was a shock to his system when he least expected it, honest in a way that made his lungs cave in. He’d gone from long winter nights spent occupying only half a house, straight into a springtime mess that no one wanted, no one needed, occupying only half a heart. All this when he still had mess enough on his own, next to where he lay his head.

It lay in bundled memories, wrapped with care in crisp linen and regret. A stack of letters beneath a battered Draenic comm, and a small, painted portrait that had made it back in one piece, even if they didn’t. A sleek pistol that he could still see held in a familiar grip- and the softest pair of doe skin gloves, too small for himself. These he gathered in his lap, a moment’s hesitation passing before he reached for the basket he used for his laundry, upended in the corner. He set them inside, but not aside, pausing to feel each of them in his bones.

Next was the bedroom closet, with shaky hands and feet that dragged, nonetheless getting him through. He carried back armloads of clothes that had long since lost their scent, shoving these into the basket in much the same way.

At last he found himself seated on the edge of the bed, shifting between hot tears and misplaced laughter. One last trinket lay in his lap, unbearably cool between his hands.

The Dal’fin’al pendant was just as beautiful as the day he’d first put it on, starburst points wrought in silver and precious, white gems that caught the light like they needed it. It remained a symbol of something bigger than himself, a mark of who he once was… and an heirloom for a family that never really got the chance to start.

This he held onto longer than he meant to, running his thumbs along the ridges and pressing it into the space beneath his collarbones until it bit into his skin. And he watched as the growing daylight filtered through the fog, filling it with fractured colours, like tiny stars sifting through his fingers.

The morning was well underway by the time he said this last goodbye, tucking it in with as much care as he would a seedling, or something just as temporary and true. From there, Coirra didn’t offer much in the way of questions when he strode into the smithy next door, carting a basket of clothes and other things into the private storeroom there. Nor did the Dark Iron woman seem pressed when he mentioned clearing out some of the extra tools from before she’d taken over. About time, she might have muttered, or maybe he just knew it that well.

The sting of smoke still felt sharp in his throat as he stepped out into the street, glassy-eyed and empty-handed. He swallowed it down, let it settle inside him, a quiet ache that he could live with. And while a few extra hours were never going to ‘fix’ him, he could at least look forward to what lay ahead, in packed bags and possibilities. On a rare, bright day in Rustberg, this did make all the difference.

(( @gloamingdawn, @mathias-meadowshine for mentions!  Also JUNARRA, who doesn’t have a tumblr. ❤ ))

Sam Harris:

“What you’re saying is that, for virtually everything in psychology and human difference one could care about,

from intelligence to Big Five personality traits, to susceptibility to things like depression and schizophrenia,

the punchline here is that something like 50% of human difference is accounted for by genes.

And the other half is environment, but it is not the environment that parents or anyone else can systematically control.

And for the environmental component of things, very often half of what’s ascribed to the environment is actually genes in disguise.

Because people, based on their own genetic proclivities, wind up shaping their environment.”

Robert Plomin:

“(…) When we find correlation, like between parents reading to kids, and kids’ reading ability at school, you can’t assume that’s environmental.

They’re often genetic effects in disguise.

I find that what helps people put these two things together is if I tell you that one of your daughters had been switched at birth in the maternity ward, and raised in a different family,

she would have grown up to be very similar to who she is, even though she was raised in a different family.

That’s not hypothetical. We have studies of [genetically] identical twins reared apart.

This wonderful documentary that won an award last year, called Three Identical Strangers, is about three identical twins and just how similar they are despite being raised in quite different family environments.”