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    The Princess and the Cave

    The following is a parable and story written by a close friend of mine to his little sister, who is going through some tough times.  The author wishes to remain anonymous, but gave me permission to share his piece here.

            I'm going to tell you a story... a story of a kind heart, big enough for elvish world, sometimes too big for a world of mortals which can often be heartless.

           She was born in a little town on a river, in a troubled land, torn by war. Yet, she was raised to believe in light, love and peace. As a child, she used to watch plants grow in her grandfather's garden, she used to chase turkeys and geese at other grandpa's farm, and every time her and her brother slept over at their grandparent's house they were laughing for hours at silly fairy tales of princesses saved from castles by helicopters and princes without horses – tales that their grandfather used to make up right before bedtime. Sometimes her older cousins and brother used to make fun of her and another younger cousin for their silliness, but mostly because they were younger and older kids wanted to feel special and demonstrate their "maturity" which really stemmed from their own insecurities. (Children often behave in such ignorant ways to establish themselves as important in a group.)  Although this hurt her feelings, she has always had a positive outlook on life and once her older brother grew out of this stage, in the end he was always there to protect her and look out for her. She looked up to him and although he was sometimes too pushy for certain ideas that she would have disagree with, in the end their core values were one and the same – as their parents planted the right seeds in their young hearts. Her brother was proud of her, but would rarely utter those words because he perceived the world around as challenges and this tough way of guidance was all he knew then.

           Her mother, a wise, strong and hard working woman was always preaching those same values to the entire family. She was an alchemist, carrying books of world's knowledge in her mind like a philosopher's stone, a beacon of light when the nights gotten dark, she would always show the right way. And this elvish princess has grown up having these same traits herself. However, she was different. Unlike her older brother who was always more in touch with his books and brain than his heart, she was a free spirit, never afraid to blindly follow her heart, even if it meant climbing the tallest mountain cliffs without a rope, harness or a safety net. 

           Her father, the king of songs, the master of merry times, was a gentle soul and a man who lived his life bravely showing love for all beings, and possessing powers to transform frowns into smiles with just a few words. All the children, women and men loved him for he had the same effect on them as the elixir of youth, nowadays considered a mythical potion. Our princess' soul was of the same cloth, and she inherited those same powers and possessed the same brave heart, never afraid to show love, never afraid to get hurt along the way.

          While growing up in the shadow of her older brother, that little girl kept looking up to him and wishing to match him, to fill the same shoes, to do the same things... However, no matter how hard she tried, she was never satisfied with the results when she tried to make a philosopher's stone, and the world around her often seemed to misunderstand and judge decisions of her heart. As if she was the elixir of youth herself, too potent for the old world, yet welcomed by all green, living and innocent creatures. 

           And so the girl grew up to be a beautiful princess with big blue eyes, seeping light of her souls' greatness and purity, and golden hair glowing with magic of creation she possessed. The time has come for her to venture out into the world and find her destiny. She was often misunderstood in the world of small-hearted men, and often forced to hide her powers and to pretend she is someone else. Often times she would escape to her elvish worlds where forests talk, rivers sing, and all creatures shine with light as pure as freshly fallen snow on mountain tops. And each return to the barren world of stones and sand, where wind cry would be the only music her ears could hear, got her more confused, lost and scared, until one day she found a cave. The cave would protect her from the winds, it would echo her songs, it had walls she could draw on with charcoal sticks of fires that were put out long ago. She felt safe in the cave. The cave enjoyed her songs, her drawings and admired them. 

           As the time passed on by, she became lonely and the emptiness of the cave grew on her. She wondered about continuing the journey but each time she conjured up the courage to leave her safe-haven sooner or later a sandstorm would make her run back for shelter. As the months turned into years, she stopped wondering about the road she has yet to travel and realized that she likes her painted walls that echoed the songs she sung and reflected her inner light. She was getting ready to stay there for good. But with time, the songs of forests, rivers and birds that echoed in her head made her realize that she would never be happy in the shelter of the cave... She realized that she was destined for more, she clenched her teeth and walked on into the cold barren world again...

            Life is a journey that never stops and it is important to have the right company for all hardships and all celebrations along the way. Each elixir of youth needs a philosopher's stone and each philosopher's stone needs the elixir of youth in order to create gold. We must never give up the search but the only way to find what we're looking for is to stop searching, show who we truly are and be ourselves. The universe will always align the stars when time is right, we just need to clear the skies from all clouds of doubt, fear, insecurity and pretending in order to see them.

           So don't worry my princess, you haven't met your prince yet... Just leave the cave behind and he will find you and save you with his helicopter and take you to the magical elvish world of trees, rivers and wild horses :)
    Ilya Repin, Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom


    Two Short Stories by Dan Jachym

    I have the privilege of being friends with Brooklyn-based artist Daniel Jachym.   Dan is a writer, musician (lead vocals for The Broken Robots), actor, and professional educator.  He is a well-read, well-traveled, and kind-hearted gentlemen with a wild side that you'd pay good money to see (watch out, ladies, he's everyone's favorite bad boy).  Posted below are two wonderful short stories that he wrote last year.  Thanks Dan!

                                                                     The Three Hunters in Search of Truth

                There were three men, hunters, who traveled into the forest in search of the truth. Long they walked, and long they waited, but the truth did not appear. After six months one of the hunters, exhausted in body and spirit, decided to go home. His two friends tried to persuade him to continue with the journey, but his mind was made up. He left to return to his wife and children.

                In honor of their friend’s failing attempt, the other two hunters redoubled their efforts, rarely sleeping as they pushed farther and farther into the deepest, darkest, densest regions of the forest. Their hardships and their deprivations were unspeakable. But for six years their resolve never wavered, until, quite suddenly, one of them fell ill. His friend did all he could to save him, but it was no use. The years of strain had caught up with the man, and he died.

                So, the third hunter, remembering how he and his late friend had doubled their efforts when their first friend had gone home, decided to triple his efforts in honor of his second friend’s death. And for sixty more years he searched and searched, until one day he found himself, all of a sudden, outside the forest and on the road to his village. He was surprised and wanted to turn back into the forest, but his legs would not allow it. They continued to follow the path of his quest.

                After walking several miles, he noticed that in the distance there was smoke, and then there was wailing, and his heart pounded as his legs strode, and coming over the crest of a hill, he saw his village: a great black hole. Decimated. A terrible crater in its center. And bounding down into its midst, he saw lying, covered, sinking, floating, in ashes and blood, fragments of many things: knives and forks, pots and pans, stools and chairs, roofs and walls, sheep and goats, cows and pigs, boys and girls, men and women. He stooped down to pick up an infant’s hand. It was so tiny.

                Rage filled his heart. He cursed the perpetrators. “You sons of bitches!” Then tears filled his eyes as his heart burst, and he whispered, “Why do we do this to each other?” over and over again, until, in an instant, like a rustling that suddenly sweeps up into a huge and rushing wind, he realized that he had never stood so close to the truth. And with rapt and wild attention, with all the passion of his passionate life, he listened for an answer to his question.

                But there was no answer. There was not a sound. Only the dripping of blood, and the crackling of fires, and the screams of the near-dead.

    2d artist tutorial Picture  (2d, illustration, maya, jungle, hunters)
    Art from:



                Maybe you’ve heard, but maybe you haven’t. There’s a dude in Boston, name of Michael, got a room in this house in Brighton. Black dude. Whether that matters or not, I’m not sure, you tell me. Anyway, Michael, he’s cool, wears his head cocked to one side, got one of those caps with the little brim, kinda older guy, sharp leather jacket, but worn—everything’s worn about him. One of those guys that’s broken and unbreakable. Face, hands, socks, shoes. And he doesn’t say much, talks real gruff, but smooth.

                Well, at night he goes into his room and takes off his jacket and his hat and puts on his crown and his cape and gets down on his hands and knees and draws his wooden sword out from under his bed. And he climbs up on a chair, and there, with his sword and his crown and his cape, he and he alone…but how do you tell it so someone understands that it’s not a joke and not a delusion, that this is real and this is what’s happening, and you will be tied down and screwed down whether you like it or not and injected with some stinking black potion that someone, SOMEONE, who the hell could say who, has decided to call knowledge or health or salvation or truth or goodness or honest upright for the betterment of society pay your taxes and put away your money and make sure you’ve got insurance and watch enough television and tell Uncle Sam and Auntie Google where you’re going to be at all times of the day, whether your cock’s in your hand or your head’s up your ass or you know your head from your cock from your ass from your elbow cause you don’t have to know cause you can always ask them and they’d be thrilled to tell you, only too glad to oblige “as long as I can see you naked,” and you, the rabbit in the stew, asking, “Now what is this dish called?” LIFE!

                So this dude, Michael, what he does is he battles the devil. You see, the devil exists in many forms, but his true form is that of a giant snake, and Michael, what he’s gotta do is stab the snake through the heart without getting injected with poison or constricted—cause this snake is a constrictor and he’s venomous. The hard part (in addition to staying alive) is getting a clean shot at the heart, not only because the snake is always moving, but also because it’s hard to find the location of the snake’s heart, a snake not having any obvious body structure. So Michael’s always trying to get his housemate Scottie to help him, cause Scottie’s hobby is hunting snakes and he knows a lot about snakes. So, every time they’re hanging together in the basement smoking crack, Michael’s always asking Scottie about snakes, but Scottie keeps quiet and plays dumb, cause he knows what Michael’s trying to do, to get info out of him, and Scottie, he doesn’t go in for the God bullshit. In fact, he prefers Satan.

                “I know Satan’s real,” he says. “That’s why I prefer him. And he doesn’t lie to you. God’s always pretending he’s there when he’s not. I only believed in God one time. I was fucking this girl for three months and I kept creaming in her and she never got pregnant. I thought it was a miracle. Then I found out some other guy was fucking her too and I called her a dirty bitch and slapped the shit out of her and she moved to Revere with him. And he never got her pregnant neither. Fucking sterile whore.”

                So Michael’s gotta do it on his own, with no help from nobody, not even Scottie. And it’s a lonely and a thankless job, not to mention dangerous. And some nights he’s just not really up for it, but he does it anyway, sets on his crown, clips on his cape, gets down and gets his sword, drags his chair to the center of the room, and climbs up and sticks his head in the mouth of evil incarnate.

                From time to time he tells people about his work, and they listen, cause he tells them about it like anyone tells anyone about their work—he complains a little and shrugs his shoulders. What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours. And people like Michael. They know what he does and they admire him for it, whether they believe in it or not. “I wouldn’t do that for all the angels in heaven!” they say. And, Michael, he’s not sure if he’d do that for all the angels in heaven. But he does. Cause that’s what he does. And that’s what he’s meant to do. He’s got no choice.

                And that’s Michael, so far as I know him—could be more to him, could be less, I’m not sure—and that’s what happens in his room, believe it or not. Believe it or not, what happens in your room?


    File:Piero di Cosimo - Liberazione di Andromeda - Google Art Project.jpg
    Perseus Freeing Adromeda
    , Piero di Cosimo


    Pincher Martin, by William Golding

    An awesome tale of survival by seaman and writer William Golding.  The opening (an excerpt of which is below; right-click to view the image in full) is one of the most captivating of any novel I've ever come across.


    Famine, by Liam O'Flathery

    Written by Irish author Liam O’Flaherty (1896 – 1984), Famine is about the hell endured by the millions whom suffered through the Irish potato famine.  This is a dark, historical novel that follows a community as they confront the potato blight, plagues, the state, and other profound forces and institutions that drive them into the depths of starvation, violence, and insanity.  O’Flaherty conveys the history through exceptional character dialogue.  The excerpts scanned below are related to the Irish resistance formed in response to local and state tyranny.  You can right-click to view the full image and read it, but if that’s too much work, I’ve transcribed some of excerpts of the excerpt.   But if you want to go all the way, you should read the book.  (Please, read a book, any book…)

    The curate speaks to the doctor: 

    “There is nothing holier than to fight in defence of liberty, to die for it, for the freedom of the earth that bore you and the happiness and prosperity of those you love.  But that brings suffering; and the cowardly are afraid of suffering….Yes.  Everything that is noble and beautiful comes out of the pursuit of holiness; freedom and the joy of living a pure life.”

    “No chain is stronger than its weakest link….We are a house divided against itself.  We are a house on a hill, threatened with a hurricane.  A brigand has taken up his abode in our house.  He has enslaved us with the help of his marauders.  We have read the signs in the heavens, but we are unable to make our dwelling place secure…

    “I have told you before to love this Irish earth as your mother.  How?  Ask the people.  They know.  It’s in their veins.  Listen to them.  Feel with them. Bow down before them. It’s only when we deny out instinct, through greed or cowardice, that we sin.  So humble yourself.  Not in words, with the tongue, but down in your soul!   They future is still pure and holy.  Let people cast stones if they wish.  The people are always right in the mass.  For a moment they may be wrong for a generation.  A generation is only a moment in history.  In the long run they are right..."


    The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts

    This is the second best novel that I have read in my life.  At some points it reads like an international relations text, at others like a biologist's field guide.  It's hilarious, dark, suspenseful, and incredibly well-written.   I've scanned some pages for your reading pleasure; right click to view the text/image in full.