The Underground Lady [Page Eleven]

I do not believe in the concept of reincarnation, or any meta-metaphysicality.  But even if I could conceive of the philosophical exception, through some series of abstractions, I would find it difficult to accept that people should become other animals, and vice versa.  However I would consider supporting a system composed entirely of a human chain, beginning with the worst zealot, and progressing through the array of middle types, until ending with a self-mortifying saint.  This is not Buddhism, which only posits such development as occurring within a lifetime, however many times one has made the rounds.

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My paganism returns to me in the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep, and I have waking dreams of gnomes and fairies.  

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There was a gnome that lived for a time in my kitchen.  He ate all my pastries.  His name was Gybold.  I tried to evict him again and again, but he was quick, and every effort on my part to get rid of him only seemed to make him quicker.  I used to be able to catch a glimpse of him from some distance, across the room, in low light, when he had his back  turned on me, busily munching something he’d just stolen.  I tried everything—bug traps, mousetraps, roach strips, a cage with its door hooked to a trick spring.  He didn’t care.  He kept coming, and munching, and leaving a mess behind him.  He is one of three gnomes that have inhabited my home, all of them uninvited, unwelcome, and apparently unknown to each other.  I call them the Urges.  What happened to Gybold?  He simply left.  Vanished.  I don’t know where to.  Now, the others, they’re another story…

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Modern fables must capture some of the anxiety, the doubt, the dread of existence—it is not enough to recreate the lessons of the past, or even to invent new ones.  What we must do is make the fable as deep, as rich, and as holy in its own right, as Aesop was to the Greeks.  After all, they considered him even more unapproachable than Homer.

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Pastoralism tends to creep in at the edges in contemporary art and culture.  It can be helpful, but it usually overstays its welcome.

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Don’t seek to humanize abstraction.  Make it more abstract.  And then moreso.  And then again.

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The Underground Lady requires nothing to change in the modern world, or so she says.  It is fine the way it is to her.  She digests it whole.

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I think that the qualities of a snake are admirable: subtle, private, unflappable except when infuriated.  There is no half-anger with a snake, it goes right from total calm to flaming rage.

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Reptiles have a profound inexpressiveness to their eyes.  The dinosaurs must have been truly terrifying and utterly hypnotic to their prey.

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We can never reduce the world.  Good art seeks to add to it.

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