The Rambling Writer Explores More Greek Islands, Part 24: Farewell to Kos

Thor and I bid a wistful farewell to this magical island of healing, but vow to return.

NOTE: Since our recent trip to Greece to research more settings for my novel-in-progress, THE ARIADNE DISCONNECT, Thor and I knew we had to return to this magical region. My first entry in this new blog series posted here on Saturday, 10/20/2018. It gives an overview of our rambles from Athens to seven islands in the Dodecanese and Cyclades groups, ending our ferry-hopping pilgrimage on the anciently sacred island of Delos.

We agree with Lawrence Durrell about Kos, “…the island of Hippocrates, which has never failed to excite the visitor to eulogy. Poet and wayfarer alike have always appreciated Kos for its green abundance and quietness. It lies lapped in a fold of the Turkish mainland, which thrusts out great promontories now, one upon another, with spectacular fjords laid up between. Kos, the most sheltered of the Dodecanese islands and deservedly the most praised. It would be downright dishonest to raise a dissenting voice against merits so self-evident in these green and smiling valleys, rich with fruit and flowers.” (from The Greek Islands)

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New Worlds: Forms of Government

(This post is part of my Patreon-supported New Worlds series.)

Governments have taken a dizzying array of shapes over the millennia since we first invented them, all around the world. We have lots of terms for discussing those shapes, but those terms overlap with each other in a variety of ways, which makes this a complicated topic to unravel. If I had majored in political science I would probably have a more robust framework for organizing it; as it stands, we shall just have to muddle through!

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In Praise of Weirdness

On Twitter, someone posted about a six-year-old who, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, said “I want to be a weird person.” It dawned on me: That’s what I always wanted to be.

I’ve succeeded, though not without some bumps and sidetracks along the way. Being weird is not considered a viable career or social path, something I’d already figured out when I was six, so I didn’t admit my desire to others or pursue it as directly as I could have.

Not that I haven’t always been weird. It’s just that there were some years there where I tried to be both normal and weird, which is not an easy task.

I remember as a kid wanting to be an artist of some kind, wanting to be surrounded by the paraphernalia of art. Musician, painter, dancer, and ending up on writer because it was the one thing I knew I was good at. Continue reading

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A Meerkat Rants: I won’t tolerate that.

This will open like a political rant.  It s not a political rant.

Okay, that’s kinda a lie, because politics is in everything especially these days, but seriously, it’s not a political rant, unless words and humanity are now political (disclaimer: they always were).

Anyway.

It’s become a standing refrain from the right apologists to snort, “so much for the ‘tolerant left’” when people object to the right’s policies or beliefs.  As though throwing the idea of ‘be tolerant” back at critics will somehow shame them into not pointing out when you’re being a shitwaffle.

Yeah, no.

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The (Dancing) Mermaid Queen

I almost missed this fortnight’s blog… for the best reason. I spent the weekend in Sarasota, Florida, watching my younger daughter get her BA in Sociology.

It was pretty swell. When your campus fronts on the bay, you hold your graduation at sunset because–well, wouldn’t you? And because the woman’s school, New College of Florida, is the school it is, regalia is totally optional (the school’s mascot is the Null Sign: [ ]. I mean, really). There was the guy who went up to claim his Masters in Data Science in a shark suit. There were a number of fantastically gowned people, one Freddie Mercury, and one mermaid queen. That would be my daughter.

I have a deep love of theatre, and academic regalia is about as theatrical as you’re gonna get. But I have to say that I loved everyone being able to dress to express something about their time at the school and their hopes going forward. It was a really, really wonderful evening.

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Bright, Burning Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bright, Burning Stars, by A.K. Small

Algonquin Young Readers

There are a lot of us who danced while young, and loved doing it. Many continued as adults to dance in some form or other, either as practice or recreationally, or maybe in community theater. I did all the choreography for the musicals when I taught drama in middle school and high school, even when I stopped dancing myself due to advancing arthritis.

Among those of us who love dance but for whatever reason did not choose it as a career there are many who get vicarious thrills out of reading books on dance, both non-fiction and fictional.

I certainly do. So when the opportunity came up to review this debut ballet novel for young readers, and I saw that the author had classical ballet training in her background, I pounced.

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Blaming Baby Boomers

For one thing, we didn’t elect the current president—at least not by popular vote. We brought the culture of weed to the suburbs, and now marijuana is legal in several states, and medical marijuana is legal even more places. Because there were so many young women in the seventies, attending colleges and conscious-raising meetings, we popularized feminism, pried open doors, smashed stereotypes. The #MeToo wave wouldn’t have been as tidal as it is if it weren’t for us.

I’m on this track because of a wave of new books and articles serving blame to us like a summons to stand before a jury charging us with selfishness. They have titles like The Theft of a Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millenials Economic Future by Joseph Sternberg; Baby Boomers are Stealing Big Time from Millenials, an opinion piece by Chris Tomlinson; and how about this one: A Generation of Sociopaths: How Baby Boomers Betrayed America by Bruce Cannon Gibney.

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The Rambling Writer Explores More Greek Islands, Part 23: The Asklepion Healing Sanctuary of Kos

The ancient healing Sanctuary of Asklepios on the Greek island of Kos is an oasis of beauty and tranquility.

NOTE: Since our recent trip to Greece to research more settings for my novel-in-progress, THE ARIADNE DISCONNECT, Thor and I knew we had to return to this magical region. My first entry in this new blog series posted here on Saturday, 10/20/2018. It gives an overview of our rambles from Athens to seven islands in the Dodecanese and Cyclades groups, ending our ferry-hopping pilgrimage on the anciently sacred island of Delos.

“There are places benign and places baleful; and I seem to remember that in the treatise on Soils, Airs, Waters attributed to Hippocrates himself, the doctor-saint of Kos makes some attempt to describe the often fortuitous combination of the three elements necessary to create a site with natural healing properties.” (Lawrence Durrel, The Greek Islands) The Sanctuary of Asklepios on Kos certainly fulfills these requirements. Like the equally renowned ancient sanctuary of Epidauros in the Pelopponese, this site of healing exudes a nurturing sense of tranquility that welcomed Thor and me as we stepped into its morning quiet. Continue reading

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New Worlds: Divine Rights

(This post is part of my Patreon-supported New Worlds series.)

Given the importance of religion in human culture, it’s not remotely surprising that it’s often served as the underpinning for a leader’s right to power. In European history we most commonly see this in terms of “the divine right of kings,” but the connection between divine power and mortal rulership takes a bunch of different forms throughout time and around the world — which is why this couldn’t fit into the previous essay, but needed to be broken out into one of its own.

So let’s dive into the specifics!

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