Life, like a river

Exploring the Inner Seasonality of Being Human

Maria Popova in Brain Pickings writes that the book of watercolors, “The River”, by Italian Artist Alessandro Sanna is a beautiful reminder that despite its occasional cruelties, life is mostly joyful, radiant, and above all ever-flowing.

The RiverThe book exposes with remarkable sensitivity that gossamer connection between the physicality of the land and our transcendent experience of the passage of time, the inner seasonality of being human. Through his soft watercolors shines the immutable light of existence.

 In each of the four chapters, a new season unfolds, beginning with autumn and ending with summer, and out of it spring to life vignettes of different experiences along the banks of a shared river.

The River 2The River in SummerThe River

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The Coolest TOC I’ve Ever Seen

I had my own experience with a shared river when I created and edited an anthology of short stories called simply “River”.

I was proud of my unique Table of Contents and was happy when reviewers commented on it. Bradley Beaulieu, for example, wrote that it was: “The Coolest TOC I’ve Ever Seen.”

 The new anthology from Dark Quest Books called River, edited by Alma Alexander is notable not only for its contributors, but also for its theme, which is, if you hadn’t guessed, river-themed stories. What really surprised me, though, was the Table of Contents. It’s really more of a Map of Contents. It’s, a map of… Well, easier if I just show you.

Map of Contents

He then quoted from my introduction:

 It begins. Somewhere. An insignificant trickle of water. And it changes. And it grows up, and  gathers a history, and finds its way into atlases  and maps, until it finally reaches the sea, and vanishes into its vastness. You might think it is of no importance. That it does not matter. But you follow where it leads… Rivers have always been very important to humankind. They’ve been explored. They’ve been navigated. They’ve been called gods.

 They’ve been blessed and cursed and venerated and used and enjoyed and exploited and polluted since the beginning of recorded history. They’ve been sung about and dreamed about and followed on epic journeys of discovery. The capitals of empires have risen on banks of rivers—and so have a thousand fishing villages, and river landings, and water mills.

 There is only one River. Really. And it’s all of them. Every river is different—and yet they’re all the same, vast and full of life and death and mystery and history and adventure and quiet dreams. Full of life. Full of mystery.

 Full of stories.

 The coolest TOC

River

You can find River in bookstores, and online here and here

 

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The gaps in my shelves

Well, they’re not GAPS. My shelves are too stuffed to have actual gaps in them. If one appears it’s quickly reabsorbed and things arise to fill it, to take up its place – a bookshelf of a true bibliophile abhors a vacuum, after all.

But the books I never liked. The books I tried but could not finish. The books that bugged me. The books that were evicted from my shelves, or never took up residence there at all. Those books. The books missing from people’s shelves tell just as much of a story as those who jostle one another for space there.

 I suppose my first pick would be one of the most polarizing pieces of literary work I’ve ever encountered:

Read the rest at SF Novelists

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19 Magical Photos of Animals In Winter

 The Bored Panda offers some amazing photos.

 We’ve written about how the world around us changes during the winter, but that’s not the only thing that changes; throughout the animal kingdom, birds and beasts that live in colder climates have special adaptations to help them survive the winter’s harsh weather.

 The animals in some of these photos may look like they’re freezing, but that’s not 100% certain – in most cases, the photographers are probably colder than the animals that they’ve photographed.

Winter 1Image credits: Roeselien Raimond

Winter2Image credits: Mikael Sundberg

Animals in winter

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Also from the Bored Panda

 40 Worst Book Covers and Titles Ever

Scouts in BondageSex

Worst book covers

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Quote of the Day

 “Love the earth and sun and the animals….read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life.” ~ Walt Whitman

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Alma Alexander

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