I’m going to be participating virtually as a Fan Guest at ReConnect, June 2-4, 2023.
ReConnect is a 2023 convention for science fiction, fantasy and horror fans and professionals in Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond. Two+ days of panels, discussions, talks, and socializing — all online to revitalize fandom in preparation for the 2024 national convention.
As the current Down Under Fan Fund delegate, this virtual convention is near and dear to my heart. I look forward to visiting Australia and New Zealand later in the year. So, attending Re-Connect virtually is just the thing to get the fannish wheels moving again.
You should join me and register for Re-Connect! Registration is free, and donations are welcome… In fact, donations are warmly welcomed. 🙂
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023) is a fresh feeling fantasy that nails the spirit of fandom’s favorite role playing game, and they do it with wit, style, and clever plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat for this action-packed adventure.
For those of you who prefer to read a review, here’s a written version of my review:
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves might be my favorite film of the year so far. As a dyed in the wool geek, I’ll admit that I am a little biased here, but WOW! What a great film!
So, here are the three things that you need to know about this film:
1. It is going to defy your expectations.
2. They nail the fantasy elements without falling into trite, overused tropes, and stale plot lines.
3. The cast … including Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriquez, Rege-Jean Page, and Hugh Grant … is spot on.
Over the years, we’ve seen so many badly portrayed D&D scenes in movies and films that this could have just been a corny mashup of wizards, soldiers, and damsels in distress. Let me assure you that it’s not the same ‘ol fantasy fare that has been served up time and again.
What we get here is a savvy script from Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, and Michael Gilio with the core story written by Chris McKay and Michael Gilio. These guys pulled together a fantasy epic that checks every box and feels like the stories we would expect from a well-run D&D campaign. Anyone who has spent time sitting around a table rolling multi-sided dice while putting together campaigns, characters, and battle plans, knows that this could have easily gone the way of Willow or any of the countless low-budget fantasy films that have turned out cringe-worthy at best.
Dungeons and Dragons takes the fantasy film genre a step forward by blending in contemporary social themes with the fantastic humor that you could expect from something like a Terry Pratchett novel set inside of a GOT season that has escaped to Middle Earth. There is so much to recommend in this film from the great set design to the informed directing, clever Easter eggs, and spot-on acting that pays off with perfectly timed punchlines.
I love that Dungeons & Dragons delivers what the audience wants along with some surprises that they didn’t know they needed. I highly recommend the film for a wide audience. It’s great for a family and friends outing or even a date night. Young children might get a little scared by some of the scenes.
In this time of streaming, Dungeons & Dragons is absolutely theater worthy. Go see this film on the big screen (it was designed for the silver screen), and while you are there don’t forget the popcorn and drinks to support your local theater. And, on a more serious note, I can almost guarantee you that it’ll be on the 2024 Hugo Award ballot for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form).
I really enjoyed Dungeons and Dragons. It’s a terrific film packed with fun, adventure, and laughs. I think you’ll love it too. Oh, and be sure to stay for the mid-credits’ scene. You’ll be glad you did.
Hi everyone, I have been mostly quiet with Underwords over the last few years as other interests came up from working on several conventions including Worldcon and Boskone to starting a new day job and figuring out what’s most import to me as we all came out of the pandemic.
One thing I have always wanted to do is create video movie reviews. So, I have quietly been figuring out how to do it. I have finally put together my first movie review. It’s longer than I will do in the future since I wanted to try out a few things in the video. Still, I really enjoyed the process of watching the film, writing the script, creating the video, and figuring out what bells and whistles to add. Overall, I think it’s a good start in the direction that I want to go…even if its for a non-science fiction film
If you are a YouTube fan, please come subscribe to my channel since I really need subscribers to hit the YouTube algorithms. 🙂
While you are there, check out my very first movie review, which features the new film Air (2023), starring Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Marlon Wayans, Chris Messina, Chris Tucker, and Viola Davis.
Click for Air (2023) movie review on YouTube.
Thank you so much for your support and for sticking around over the years.
This year has been filled with spectacular stories. Looking back at my To Be Read List, which is still far too long, there are a baker’s dozen of books that stood out as “loved” and worth recommending to others. Not all of them were published in 2022, again note the To Be Read list that is much too long, which is a great reminder that it’s never too late to pick up a book that came out a few years ago. You don’t always need to focus on new books that just came out.
All of these books are stories that I highly recommend. I just don’t have the heart of the time to write about books that I didn’t love. It’s also important to note that I purchased all of these book and most of them fall within the science fiction or fantasy genres with one notable exception. Also, looking back at this list of favorites, I realize that most of them are books that I listened to on Audible.
Transparency Statement:All links here go to Amazon, linking to my Amazon Associates account. This means that, if you purchase a book using one of these links below a cover image, I will receive some tiny credit from Amazon.
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, read by Kirk Graves
A book about death, acceptance, and love. When Wallace, a rather rotten human being, finds himself suddenly dead he is welcomed to Charon’s Crossing for a hot cup of peppermint tea as he adjusts to what it means to be dead and talking with the ferryman who is supposed to him move on to the next stage. In the process, he learns more about life than he ever learned while he was alive. This book is touching and delightful. It is a positive story wrapped around some difficult topics. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great pick-me-up book.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, read by Daniel Henning
In a world where magic exists, what does society do with the children they are too afraid to love and raise? They send them to an orphanage for magical children, and that is where Linus Baker comes into the picture. He’s a by-the-book kind of case worker who always puts the interests of the children first. The problem is that he lives a very small and confined life, he doesn’t really have much going for him until he takes a highly classified assignment to evaluate a potentially problematic orphanage that is home to some very dangerous children. This book is absolutely made of magic, and it is wonderful beyond description as it introduces us to some truly fascinating kids. However, it is their connection to each other and the way they change the world around them that makes this a must-read novel for people of any age. The House in the Cerulean Sea is funny, exciting, loving, and full of wonder. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a positive story that will make them laugh, cry, and feel better about the world while twisting their heart just little.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, read by Chiwetel Ejiofor
Piranesi has always lived in the house. It is a magnificent house full of rooms of all sizes, corridors of varying lengths, and all manner of marble statues. In all the world, and the house is the world, there are just two living people: Piranesi and The Other…until other human beings begin finding their way into the structure, and that revelation sets off a fantastic unraveling of reality as forgotten memories and histories collide. This unique story is wrapped within layers of meaning, subterfuge, and imagination. There really isn’t anything like it, and it perfectly mashes together the fantastic with the academic in a way that feels absolutely normal. I highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys fantasy and who is looking for something that they have never experienced before. I promise, this is not the same ol’ same ol’ fantasy novel.
SERIES: The Cemeteries of Amalo
The Witness for the Dead, Book 1 and The Grief of Stones, Book 2 by Katherine Addison, read by Liam Gerrard
This series takes part in the world of The Goblin Emperor, which was a terrific novel that deserves its own place on a “best of” list. However, I put off reading The Witness for the Dead merely because of the title. Do not let yourself fall into that trap. (Pro Reading Tip: Do not judge a book by its title or by its cover.) Both books are fantastic. The world that they take place in is far removed from our human existence. In fact, there is not a human to be found, but there are a lot of carry over issues that range from job pressures to personal relationships and disruptive social issues. We see the day-to-day life of Celehar, the Witness for the Dead for the city of Amalo and the impact that his calling has on the living. These stories are special. There are a lot of new terms, names, and organizational structures to absorb (so, a bit of a learning curve), but it is worth the effort since these stories cast light in dark places and shake the cobwebs from your mind. They’ll make you smile, too. Celahar is an extraordinary character because he is so ordinary and down to earth as he performs his duties, unwrapping the secrets of the dead, and giving peace and justice to the living. There is an air of mystery and sleuthing that winds its way through these novels, lending a whole new level of exploration to this world of elves and goblins. I highly recommend both books. If you can, start with The Goblin Emperor, but it’s not necessary. These are wonderful books that open the imagination.
The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison, read by Imogen Church
A mystery unlike any other, unless you’re talking about Sherlock Holmes. I really enjoy Katherine Addison’s books, but I wasn’t fully prepared for how much I was going to enjoy this book. While I like mysteries with a Holmesian bent, I never anticipated how delightful a reimagined Sherlock Holmes could be in an alternate 1880s London where angels, demons, and all manner magical beings roam — not to mention several criminals who have no idea what they are up against when the Angel of the Crows and his new friend Dr. Doyle are on the case! It is a thoroughly enjoyable book, especially if you like retellings (or should I say reimagining?) of Sherlock Holmes. That said, I think the book description does a disservice to the book in that it really doesn’t address that fact that the Holmesian connection is strong and that many of the cases within the novel closely follow some of the best stories within Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s repertoire. It truly is an imaginative retelling of Sherlock Holmes that explores a variety of modern social issues through a fantastical lens. This is also a very positive book that elevates the power of friendship and trust. I also want to give a special shout out to Imogen Church’s performance in the audiobook, which was lovely.
SERIES: The Final Architecture
Shards of Earth, Book 1 and Eyes of the Void, Book 2 by Adrian Tchaikovsky, read by Sophie Aldred
These two books are part of The Final Architecture trilogy, which imagines a future universe in which humanity (along with several other species) have figured out how to travel vast distances in space. The only trouble is that traveling these special paths attracts unwanted attention from these strange beings called The Architects — beings who hunt down intelligent civilizations to reshape them into very beautiful (and very dead) objects, including entire planets, ships, people, etc. They are by far one of the cleverest antagonists in science fiction and the originality of these “villains” is immense. The ideas in this book are different from most of what’s available in the SF field today, which is what sets Adrian Tchaikovsky’s storytelling apart from his peers. This series is fantastic! However, you do need to give the story a little time to develop and to allow yourself to get familiar and comfortable with the ideas and science that drive the story forward. Once you do, it all comes together in an engaging and original story filled with some fascinating characters. I highly recommend this series to anyone who is tired of the same old science fictional fare.
This is How you Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, read by Cynthia Farrell and Emily Woo Zeller
Where did this story come from? This book is unlike anything I have ever read, and it completely gutted me at the end. (Pro Reading Tip: Have a Kleenex ready at the end.) The concept of the story is two warring groups that use time travel to fight their war, and they each have a leading agent on their side who begin looking forward to the contests with their greatest opponent — and as this tit for tat war goes on, a strange friendship builds through a series of letters that they have left for the other to read. This book is fascinating from the first page. All of the pieces of the story come together in a slow build that becomes increasingly poignant, and once you get to the halfway point in the novel, you will relish every new page, every new word, and every new moment. It’s a delightful read. The layers of story and the fine craftsmanship, and the result is nothing short of spectacular. This novel is as different as it is wonderful. I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for something different, for something that embraces all of the nuance that language can lend to a multi-layered story and a friendship that defies expectation.
Fairy Tale by Stephen King, read by Seth Numrich
Leave it to Stephen King to figure out where stories come from and then to write about it. I was expecting this story to be a bit darker, perhaps with a rough underbelly of horror, which is standard fare for King . While Fairy Tale does tap into some of the darker sides of fairytales, it is possibly one of the best and most original takes on modern fairy tales that has been published in years. When Charlie Reade makes an unexpected friend and then finds himself in a world that is literally straight out of Faire, there is no telling what is going to happen next, and King does a wonderful job of keeping the suspense tight and unpredictable. The characters are fascinating and the troubles they run into are unique. Whether or not you are a horror fan, a Stephen King fan, or a fairy tale fan, this story is sure to carry you away. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to escape from our ordinary world or to bring a little magic into their day.
The Law: A Dresden Files Novella (Dresden Files 17.5) by Jim Butcher, read by Jim Butcher
Dresden Files fans will love this novella. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. You’ll like it a lot. It’s so very Harry. When a tutor is being shaken down by a non-magical human, Harry Dresden considers sending the woman packing. After all, he’s processing a lot of “stuff” that just went down and he’s not quiet ready to go back to work. However, something about her strikes a chord in him and he takes the case, a prescient decision since the trail Harry must follow reconnects him to some of the most interesting and powerful characters in the Dresdenverse. It’s a fun badass story that oozes with magic and the mysteries of Chicago.
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, ready by Harry Lloyd
A hundred years before A Game of Thrones the Seven Kingdoms were still full of intrigue, fighting, and Targaryens. They also had hedge knights, including one very special hedge knight named Dunk. (Dunk? What kind of name is Dunk? But I promise that you’ll love him.) While he has a strange name, Dunk is everything you would want in a knight and a hero. What’s special about the three novellas in this book is that they feel like the Westeros that we know and love, they telegraph “story” forward into the characters we’re invested in, and they introduce us to new Westeros stories that feel fresh and relevant. If you are looking for a great epic fantasy novel that feels like hanging out with an old friend, this is it. I really loved these stories and the characters who bring Westeros of yore to life.
Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder, read by George Newbern
Even if you already know how to craft a screenplay, Save the Cat! is a great roadmap for creating compelling stories. What’s most powerful about this book is how well Blake Snyder captures key storytelling concepts and then rolls them up into easy-to-understand bits that he serves in logical steps. Not only is his writing style light and easy to read, but the audiobook performance by George Newbern is terrific. Anyone who writes anything will get something out of this book.
These are my favorite reads of 2022. I hope you enjoy them too! I’m already onto my first book of 2023 (A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, and I can already tell that it’s going to be on my favorite reads list for the new year). Remember books are doorways to the future and they are full of fuel to expand your mind in ways you never thought possible.
We are made of stories. So, pick up a book and read.
I am excited and honored to hear that my short screenplay THE FUNERAL has won 1st place in the annual screenplay competition hosted by Women in Film and Video New England.
I always get a bit shy sharing my little victories. They are so hard to come by and when they happen, I tend to hold onto them in quiet happiness just in case they somehow get ripped away. However, I think it’s safe to share this little victory since they made an official announcement and everything!
The other winners are both amazing women, and I feel grateful and honored to be in this group. We’re doing a table reading for the winners next week so that we can hear how actors interpret our stories. We’ll also have a director there to answer questions and to help us each take our scripts to the next level.
I really love my short script since it has subtle connections to my own losses and the feelings that come with losing my mother. My secret passion is to get this short script made into a short film. So, I am going to see what it weill take to crowdfund the project, get the people I need, and see this story brought to life.
When the Irish music album Tears of Stone came out, I used to listen to it over and over again. I loved it. There was this one song called “The Fiddling Ladies” that is about 10 minutes long, and I enjoyed listening to it while I drove home from work. My mind would clear, replaced by images and emotions that filtered to the top of my thoughts in stark relief – mom, Ireland, death, anger, sadness, joy, dancing, family, music. All of these images fed into the story that turned into my 10 minute short screenplay “The Funeral.”
I held onto the script for a few years. I didn’t know what to do with it, but I knew I had to write it. When my friend JoAnn (which is also my mother’s name) suggested that I enter something into the WIFVNE short screenplay contest, I decided to take a chance. It was my first short screenplay, this was my first screenplay contest, and I never imagined that I would win. I am still smiling happily, not so much for my little victory but for the thought that this would have made my mother so happy. She had so little in life, but the one thing she had in spades was love. I feel like this script and this win is my way of honoring her and my memory of her.
Here’s the song “The Fiddling Ladies,” if you’d like to listen to it:
In 2010, I started attending science fiction conventions regularly. I’d attended a few conventions here and there before then, but never with any regularity. This was when I really began embracing fandom. I was still a little shy and I was new. I didn’t really understand the fan culture yet regarding how women were often viewed in fandom by other fans.
I really adore Jack McDevitt and his Alex Benedict series. So, when I saw that he was visiting Readercon in 2010, I decided that was going to go because I had a first edition of The Devil’s Eye and wanted to get it signed. I had waited in line to chat with Jack and to get his signature. I was excited since his signature was one of the first signatures that I had ever collected. I got to the front of the line and Jack greeted me warmly. I told him how much I enjoyed the novel and his series, and he smiled happily and asked if I would like him to sign my book. Of course, I gave him an enthusiastic “Yes!”
While I was pulling out my book and flipping to the title page, the man standing behind me (his name was Sean) stepped forward and began chatting with Jack. I opened my book and smiled politely at Sean wondering why he was cutting in on my moment, and I handed my book to Jack. Sean kept talking and it took a moment for me to cut into the conversation to thank Jack for signing my book. I thought this was a subtle but polite cue for Sean to back off.
Jack responded again that he was happy to sign. Sean began talking again about how much he enjoyed Jack’s work and how he’d been looking forward to meeting Jack. When Jack finished with the signature, he handed me the book. I don’t think it’s polite to read signatures in the moment, especially when there is an inscription. Plus, there was a line and clearly Sean wanted his time (as well as mine!) so I closed my book, thanked Jack for his time, and I left so that others could have their turn.
When I turned away, leaving Sean there with Jack, I remember seeing an odd look cross Jack’s face…maybe surprise?…but then Sean grabbed his attention and I was off to the hallway to read my inscription. Once I was outside of the doors in the madness of people milling around between events, I opened my book and read Jack’s inscription:
Hi Erin, It’s a pleasure to meet you + Sean. Best always, Jack McDevitt 7/9/10 Boston
Sean? I read it again. I realized that because Sean pushed forward into my space while I was with Jack McDevitt and because I was new and too polite to ask him to wait his turn, it gave Jack the impression that we were together. I had been waiting to talk with Jack, and I had come to the event to primarily to see him. In that moment, I was equal parts angry and embarrassed and deeply frustrated that this man Sean! had forced his way into an inscription on a first edition book that I had been saving to get signed.
It’s now 10+ years later. I have since gotten to know Jack as a person and have reviewed several of his books. I never told him about this moment because I didn’t want to upset or embarrass him for not realizing that Sean wasn’t with me. Nowadays, I’d easily be able to tell Sean to step back, but I can’t help being sad about the fact that a man, a fellow fan, thought so little of me that he didn’t respect the precious 2 minutes that it took for Jack to sign my book.
I was invisible. I was an obstacle that he pushed aside in order to have his more important conversation with Jack. I think about this now and I know that I am not the only person who has had something like this happen at a convention. Yes, it’s a small thing, but it is an example of how women have been treated in society for far too long, including convention society. The fact that it has taken me 10 years to publicly post about this also speaks to social issues of embarrassment and fear of condemnation by some members of our society.
I know that men are much more aware of women in science fiction now and that there is much more respect paid to women at conventions. These are good things, but we’re still working on making things better for marginalized people in our community and at our events. I hope that Sean, wherever he may be, has found some respect for other fans in science fiction over the last 10+ years. I hope that other people will read this post and think about that fact that when they are excited about something it is really, really easy to disrespect another person, pushing them aside without even a thought, especially if the person they pushed aside is polite and kind about it. In such situations, please remember that marginalized people include women as well as people of color, people with access issues, shy people, children, etc.
As we return to in person events, I encourage event organizers, event speakers, and event attendees to pay a little extra attention to how people are interacting with one another to ensure that those of us who are marginalized in a moment like this don’t get pushed aside by others who are much bolder, who have bigger egos, and who have forgotten how to take turns during the isolation that the pandemic caused.
Every year, when I clean out old books in order to make room for new books, I come across The Devil’s Eye by Jack McDevitt and I think of Sean and all of the other women and marginalized people who might have been pushed aside by him or people like him. I don’t think I will ever get rid of this book because it is a reminder to me of what it is like to be new to fandom and how easy it is to ruin convention experiences for others. This book, Jack McDevitt, Sean, and my response to the situation are why I now work so hard to make sure that people have good experiences at conventions, especially the new people, the shy people, the people with access needs, the people of color, and the women. We are one community and we all deserve respect.
P.S. The Devil’s Eye is a great book, and I highly recommend it. Who doesn’t love a good ol’ antiquarian slueth set in the far-far future?
I won the DUFF nomination and am this year’s DUFF delegate to Worldcon, aka ConZealand! Thank you all so much for your votes and support. It’s an odd thing to win with Covid-19 blanketing the globe. While I won’t be traveling to New Zealand this year, I will still be hosting the Fan Fund Auction with my fellow delegate at the virtual Worldcon!
So, what’s all this about the DUFF and ConZealand? And, exactly, what am I a candidate for?
The science fiction and fantasy fan community is a large and strong group of volunteers that spans the globe, pulling together conventions that celebrate the best of what speculative fiction, art, music, and science have to offer. Our largest convention is Worldcon, an annual convention that takes place in a different city around the world every year. Last year, it took place in Dublin, Ireland. This year it is taking place in Auckland, New Zealand.
There are a couple of fan organization that have arisen to help boost connections between regional fan communities, and one of those groups is the Down Under Fan Fund (DUFF), which sends one fan from North America to Australasian based Worldcons (and vice versa for Worldcons based in North America). Founded in 1972, DUFF has not only created but strengthened links between North American and Australasian fandom since its inception. I would love to be a part of the DUFF community, continuing to help bring our communities together.
What is the Down Under Fan Fund?
“The Down Under Fan Fund was created for the purpose of providing funds to bring well-known and active fans familiar to those on both sides of the ocean across the Pacific. It is a daughter/sister fund to TAFF, which has been bringing fans across the Atlantic since 1953! Since 1972, DUFF has regularly brought North American fans across the Pacific to Australian and New Zealand conventions and Australian and New Zealand fans to North American conventions. It exists solely through the support of science fiction fandom; the continued generosity of fans is what makes DUFF possible. Thank you for supporting DUFF!” (From the DUFF ballot)
Vote for Me! … But Wait!, there are few things you need to know first about eligibility.
While I would love to have everyone who knows me and who knows how hard I work to promote fandom and fannish activities, not all of my amazing friends are eligible to vote. The gist of it is that “A $5 donation entitles you to vote in the 2020 DUFF Race if you are a SFF Fan, anywhere.” Here are the rules on voting, which are included on the downloadable PDF ballot:
Voting in the 2020 race is open to anyone active in fandom before January 2018 who donates at least $5 (USD) to DUFF (larger donations are very gratefully accepted). Voting is by secret ballot: one vote per person, and you must provide your name on the ballot. You may change your vote at any time prior to the deadline. All votes must reach the administrators by 11:59pm (Eastern US time) on Friday, March 27, 2020.
So, who are the other candidates?
There are four candidates in total, and I am sure that they are all lovely and wonderful people who have contributed in important ways to SF/F fandom. However, please do vote for me! 🙂 Here’s the list of the four DUFF 2020 candidates:
James Davis Nicoll
Erin Underwood — Me!! 🙂
Candidate Statements Each of the candidates have submitted a statement along with a $20 bond during the nomination process. You can view everyone’s candidate statements on the DUFF 2020 PDF ballot, but here’s mine for easy reading:
Erin Underwood – Boston, MA
I’m a con runner and fan editor/writer from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, whose passion for science, fandom, and SF/F drives me to bring new voices to publications and convention programs. While I’ve worked pre-con for many Worldcons, I could only afford attending a few conventions that I helped to create. I’d love to attend ConZealand, sharing my passion for SF/F with New Zealand and Australian fans, while also learning from those communities. I’m editing a special edition of the fanzine Journey Planet, highlighting New Zealand and ConZealand, and will promote fandom and DUFF through blogging, social media, and a summary report.
Voting is a 2-step process!
If you are eligible to vote, all it takes is a $5 donation to the 2020 DUFF Race and a completed ballot. And, if you’d rather not vote for anyone and you would really just like to make a donation, you can also vote No Preference (any winner is fine) or vote Hold Over Funds (No Candidate for this year).
I haven’t added a new post to my blog since my sister passed away almost 6 months ago, but sadness fades and life continues. You either keep moving on or you stop, like a static image with the world continuing to play around you. Maybe I was stopped for a little while. Maybe my voice just went silent for a time. But I am back, and I have things to say about science, climate, and what’s happening in Australia.
Climate change doesn’t happen over night. It’s slow and subtle, only showing little signs here and there along the way to make its presence known to those who are paying attention: scientists.
The people who enjoy their ways of life and who have no wish to sacrifice their comfort (even if it’s only modest comfort in some cases) laugh and call climate change a sham or a joke. They make fun of the people who are trying to show us how the pieces of the puzzle fit together because they refuse to see the whole picture all at once. Seeing that whole image all at once would be devastating to their self worth, their identity, their way of life, and (for some) their bank accounts.
Source: Robert Schlegel, Ocean Frontier Institute (borrowed from the Washington Post article.)
This is our planet. We only have one. It is a glorious and wonderful place, and to pollute it and treat it like a giant garbage can is repulsive. We need more sustainable energy, we need more recycling, we need more renewable resources, and we need to get off of our asses and act like the sentient, intelligent, and responsible creatures that we are and take care of our planet.
This article “On land, Australia’s rising heat is ‘apocalyptic.’ In the ocean, it’s worse,” by Darryl Fears at the Washington Post, does a good job of sharing some of the oceanic changes that have been taking place well before the Australian fires began and puts into perspective what live in Australia is like rightnow. The land may be on fire, but so is the ocean. For the creatures living in the sea, the 2 degree temperature rise is like living in an inferno, and we all know that’s just not possible.
It’s been two weeks since my sister passed away, and everyday is a bit of a struggle, some worse than others. Some of those days have also been beautiful and amazing. In the midst of the beauty and the pain, in the midst of the struggle to focus and find my drive to keep moving forward, have been these little moments when a single word heard within the string of lyrics in a song pairs up in random synchronicity with an image in my field of vision and a slippery emotion that bubbles up into my conscious mind. In that moment, she is there with me, completely present in my mind, and I realize that impossible state of knowing she is with me while knowing she is gone.
It’s an Alice in Wonderland moment to be sure, a moment in which I am holding two completely opposite and opposing thoughts in my head simultaneously that are both equally true and false. She is here and she is gone, and in that juxtaposition, as reality bends and warps and the moment fades, I am struck by one defining certainty. My sister was one of the bravest people who I have ever known.
There is no single person in existence who shared the raw experiences of my young life, experiences that shaped and honed and groomed me into who I am today. She knew me on a level that can never be replaced or achieved again, and she was my first hero. She was the person I wanted to grow up to be like when I was small, and it wasn’t until we were grown that I learned she had always wanted to be like me. The truth is that we have ended up more like each other than either of us ever knew, and now it is only me who understands that singular truth because she is gone…and yet she remains, here with me in my mind and heart, hidden from view until moments collide, bringing her to the surface of my mind and reminding me that I am not alone.