A Conversation

Roger Scruton and Jordan Peterson. Amazing! We get:

1 – Penetrating diagnoses of our time. Explanations, prescriptions, example: how should serious people think and reflect on life in this present age, for example. Just look at the title given for the conversation: Apprehending the transcendent.

2 – Bonus observations on music, art, philosophy, literature, and the mercy of God. One of these makes sense out of why Game of Thrones appeals – a story written in the terms in which all books are presently taught: all human interactions are just games of power. Correctives are offered, largely from Russian literature.

3 – Wit: Peterson’s remark when Scruton says he is an example of cultural appropriation of the English ideal of the Gentleman because he endeavors and fails. Dry, understated, and thoroughly amusing.

4 – A conversation with anybody in which Scruton constantly says he agrees–except for once!

Late Medieval Religion

There was once a certain knight, whose castle stood upon a highway and who mercilessly robbed passing travelers. Despite his conduct he nevertheless maintained his pious daily prayers to the Blessed Virgin. One day, when it was the turn of a certain holy monk to be stripped by this knight’s henchmen, the victim demanded a personal interview with his oppressor, saying he had certain secrets to communicate. Taken inside the castle he asked the knight to assemble his whole household, yet when the knight so obliged him the monk declared that one of its members had absented himself from the assembly. A check revealed that the missing member was a serving man who, when at last located and brought before the monk, proceeded to behave as one insane. Finally he admitted he was no real man but a demon in human guise, who for fourteen years had served the knight by special order of the Devil. The latter had commanded him to watch for the day when his master failed to salute the Virgin in prayer; whenever this fatal moment of neglect should occur, the demon servant would be free to kill the knight and drag his wicked soul to perdition. So far, though ignorant of his precarious situation, the knight had never allowed his devotions to lapse. Now learning the truth he was dully appalled and hurled himself in repentance at the feet of the monk, who commanded the demon to vanish and to trouble the Virgin’s devotees no more. With reverence and thanks the knight permitted his saintly deliverer to go free and thenceforth he changed his own life for the better.

-A. G. Dickens, The English Reformation, 25

After the Dream

I was awakened by the aliens. They had, apparently, returned. They had come in rickety, unstable towers, like medieval siege engines. I don’t remember how we first met. I heard them calling, “Adam!” and that’s when I woke up.

Adam is a guy from my church. He drives a Prius with which he has had many difficulties, so it makes sense that the aliens should contact him. Slow, unreliable modes of conveyance did not seem to them undesirable. Also, the name was easy for them to pronounce.


Adam, at that point, lived in an apartment across the road. Though the siege engines were in the parking lot for my apartment, he had apparently been listening for them. I saw him walking up, shrugging on a coat.

“Hi! What’s up, guys?”

They seemed to think any human being would be connected to human leadership, that we’d be able to talk to people at the top. And if you think of it, how would you approach it? Do you call the police? Do you call the mayor or the state government? We assumed they wanted the feds, but for all we knew, they came to have a conversation with the government of Bhutan, or the Philippines.

You may think their inter-galactic vehicle would be detectable, a huge thing in orbit. But they had come in a ship the size of an egg. They had landed in an abandoned building. They had used the things at hand to build these towers they used for conveyance. At the time, we did not know all this, only that they wanted us to get the President or someone big for them.

We didn’t even know what they looked like.

“Can you get a leader, Adam? We have come a long way. We must have conversations with your important people.”

Adam looked at me. We were both thinking of pretending we were in charge. How did they know we weren’t important? It is oddly hard to take the aliens seriously; even for him it was, and he drives a Prius. The towers were made of old steel and plywood. We gazed at them and asked each other, “What should we do?”

We ended up leading them to the fire station, walking slowly so that their towers could keep up. They were about two-stories high, but no wider than the sidewalk. They had wheels that resembled those of shopping carts, and it could be that more than one shopping cart went into the construction of each tower.

“How do you make those things go?” I asked at the traffic light. They weren’t able to understand the question, however. The towers whined when they moved, as if a small motor were being engaged. I also noticed that one of the plywood sides had the faded word “Fragile” stenciled on it.

We watched them talking to the firemen. The chief called somebody and the cops came, then an ambulance. By then they had cordoned off the area. We went over to get some pizza, and then came out when the helicopter arrived.

We sat the thing land in the middle of the road. A crowd was watching by now, cops were redirecting traffic, emergency vehicles of all kinds, kinds I’d never seen before, kept arriving. “I guess taking them to the fire station was the right thing to do, huh?”

Adam nodded.

As the blades of the helicopter slowed, the three towers moved toward it, spreading out to surround the nose. Then the top of each tower flew off exposing within a metallic egg. These, moving so fast they were blurred, flung themselves at the helicopter’s windows, crashing through. Soon the hijacked helicopter was rising into the air and the people from the emergency vehicles around us were reacting in all kinds of ways.

The weirdest thing to see was how the helicopter just kept rising, like a space ship.

That was the last anybody saw of the aliens.

They explored the abandoned building, examined the towers, found the abandoned space ship. How the things we saw could have come out of it, nobody knew. Had they grown after landing? Had they been here long, like years or months, not just weeks or days? There were some strangely perforated beer cans in an elevator shaft. Had this nourished them unusually? The space ship turned out to be of a molecular complexity scientist are still trying to figure out. Some kind of stabilized ammonia, like a crystal membrane, they say, baffled.

CNN wanted to interview us both, but only Adam agreed to it. I told them they were fake news. I only did a written interview with Hollywood magazine. Why them? They offered to pay me more than the other magazines.

A few weeks after the interview came out, the helicopter was returned. It burned up reentering the atmosphere, though. Then there was the mysterious disappearance of a brewery in New Jersey and of forty percent of rural Pennsylvania. Last of all, we lost the moon. The whole thing is gone. It went beyond the range of anything we had to detect it three weeks after it broke out of orbit. The course the scientists plotted showed it moving toward a point between two galaxies with numerical designations. The aliens must have commandeered it, like the helicopter.

All that talk about going to our leaders! I wish I’d asked them what they were planning to do.

The good thing about all of this is that Adam was able to get a better car. I had bought an apartment in Manhattan with the payment for the interview. I’d come down on the train to visit him and to talk with the township about the museum they were putting up. As we were driving past the fire station I told him what I wish I’d asked them.

“What could we have done if we knew they just wanted to get off the planet?”

“Tried to get them to the airport, I guess. What if they had said they needed something the size of the moon?”

After a while he said, “You think they could have taken earth?”

“Maybe. Maybe all they needed was beer. More beer if they take this planet.”

“Huh,” he said, “could be. Maybe they were actually being nice by making off with only the moon.”

With aliens, you just don’t know. How can you? Because, as Adam pointed out a little later, it could be they had been expelled as criminals or traitors and were now heading back, larger than life, in order to take over their home planet, our moon their death star.”

“May the force be with them? Or should it be against them?”

“It could have been they are the victims, you know, the victims . . . of an injustice.”

“More sinned against than sinning?”

“Exactly. In which case, well, may the beer be with them.”

A Faithful Narrative of How We Got ‘Silent Night’

Franz Gruber was picking his nose and thinking about Christmas. It had come to his attention recently that lots of people hated the holiday and he was wondering how he could make it worse. At that point, civilization had not declined to where “It Came upon the Midnight Clear” or “O Holy Night” were actually perpetrated in churches. This is the true story of how we got there.

There were flies still trapped in Franz Xaver Gruber’s grubby windows. Perhaps searching for inspiration, he began to catch them one by one, and removed every appendage, dropping the writhing black bodies on the table. Now, he thought, how to proceed?

He considered drums and trumpets, a real ruckus. But, he thought as he finished the last fly, I want to be subtle. I want it to last. “I want something,” he said out loud, peering through the grubby window, “something people will . . .” and he did not say what it was but just smole a smile. He had got the idea, sitting there peering through the window at a couple of drunks lurching together in the ghastly light of a lamp.

Absentmindedly, he popped one of the flies into his mouth. As he pondered his idea, he savored the fly. When he had finished the flies he was still smirking, his idea full-formed.

The door burst open at that moment and in came the failed poet, Joseph Mohr. Mohr had been a theologian. He had at one time championed a view that the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father and had as a result been laughed out of seminary and perpetually banned from doing theology. This was long before the decline of civilization we witness today because it was in 1818, but, as we shall see, Joseph Mohr played a part in that decline. He had turned his skills to poetry, unaccountably, but only achieved praise songs, which, because it was 1818, decline of civilization, etc, etc, people of course did not introduce into worship or even consider to have merit whatsoever since, of course, they had none. This is the story of how he pulled one over all of those stalwarts, and it does not end well.

“Nice and quiet here,” he said, sitting down. “I’m surprised you don’t have any flies. Everybody has flies still trapped in the windows.”

Gruber grunted.

“Creeps me out. How can you stand the silence, man? You know what I hate, Gruby, what I really, really hate? I hate Christmas, man. Do you hate Christmas?”

Gruber grunted once more.

“I want to . . . sabotage it.”

Gruber leaned forward, accidentally brushing the flies’ wings and legs off the table in a winking snowfall of insect horror.

“I want to make people . . .” Mohr’s imagination, as usual, faltered.

“Hold hands and sing a Christmas song by candlelight?” Gruber hissed. “Totally feel that it is all about how they feel? Have,” he was unable to hold back at this point a sinister, choking, defunctive chortle, “a last stanza without any verb at all?”

“Eggzackly! Oh man, that is diabolical, Gruby! That would totally sabotage Christmas.” Mohr’s jaw worked and his hands flapped, as was his wont when geeking out. “Wait, no verb in the last stanza? Isn’t that a little too far . . . just, a bit too obvious? Won’t the real theologians smell sulfur?”

“It is daring, but we could start a trend!”

“It would start a whole chain of Christmas songs of dubious merit, descending to utter banality till Christian civilization became so ruined . . . it . . . it would be  . . . uh, ruined.”

Gruber smole a smile, and the devil entered him, and he composed the music then and there while foaming slightly at the mouth.

“Pluckety, pluck,” he hummed to himself,

“Pluckety, pluck

“Munchy, munch

“Munchy, munch

“Grossity, grossity

“Yukkity, yuk,”


Mohr, meanwhile, admittedly managed to improve on his previous praise songs, no doubt spurred by malice and having his natural inhibitions and misguided proclivities suffocated by the terrible, creepy atmosphere pervading the room.

* * *

And that is the most accurate historical account you’ll ever encounter for the origin of that unfortunate song. I hardly used Wikipedia and thought about going through the lyrics in German but was held back by the consideration that there may be a verb in the original in the last stanza, though I seriously doubt it. Anyway, this is what comes of following the Normative Principle: Advent, Lessons and Carols, Silent Night, Candles with those little cardboard shields at the bottom, Holding Hands in a circle, Nausea and Doom.


Some people are bothered by magic. Magic in stories, that is. I’ve never been of that opinion, and while I’ve lived close to it, it has never been the sort of scruple I’ve allowed to stand between me and a good story. But there are people who do. I wonder sometimes if it is that they do not want stories hard enough, and I think there is a refusal of wonder (like Thomas who did not want to believe) at least implied–if not involved–in this. But, like I said, I’m not much in sympathy with that point of view.

Why not? Because I think it is based on ignorance, and we all have too much of that to be able to afford a great deal of patience with any discernible manifestation. Still, if there is something to be done about it, then let us attempt it. So that’s what I want to do: take on the whole magic thing and reason about it, distinguish, point out things, let light shine a bit into the darkness (out of me, into you:-). Let me argue that it is an unreasonable attitude to shun magic in literature.

Because at the least we have to talk about it. Ignoring it and responding without careful thought is neither wise nor prudent. The only thing that leads to is the unexamined life, and if you prefer that, you deserve it. But the unexamined life with all its false security is in the end a dull life and worse: a life that is not worth living. And magic, in my view, is a rather promising alternative.

The Bible warns against visiting spiritists, mediums, necromancers and such. Do you know why it so warns? If the answer is so that no literature about them might be produced you will be mistaken. Saul, for instance, determined to rid the land of Israel of all such influences, to his praise. But, you know, there were a lot of strange events in Saul’s life. Twice he was reduced by ecstatic prophecy, at one point often tormented by an evil spirit, and in the end, to his shame, he consulted a medium. That’s an awful lot of mention and writing about strange weird magic.

With the question of why the Bible warns about consulting the wicked magicians still over us, let us deal with the fallacy of concluding we should not write about them. The Bible has quite a bit of it. Human writers wrote about magic and God inspired their writings. Now some will be tempted to claim that they had special sanction to do what we cannot. This sort of thinking does not make for good hermeneutics, let me tell you. If you think they wrote under special circumstances you are conflating two things about the Bible which are true but distinct. This conflation results in a false understanding of Scripture.

Scripture is always two things: it is inspired by God and it is written by human beings. God did not write the Bible (except for the ten commandments). Jesus Christ did not pen a word of it, though he well could have. Human beings with no divine nature penned the Bible. Were they divinely superintended? Of course. But to say that is only to speak of the final product–the what of it, not the how of it. Surely the Spirit used extraordinary means to move them along, but it is just as sure that he used ordinary means to do so. What ordinary means? Study, research, interviewing witnesses (all in the case of Luke), Egyptian learning (Moses, Solomon), literary talent (Isaiah! and Amos, to name just two), reflection on life’s experiences (surely Jonah and definitely the psalmists) and on and on. If you don’t take these things into consideration when you interpret Scripture, you will not handle it responsibly. You cannot treat the Bible as if it were a book handed down from heaven from God for the simple reason that it isn’t what it is and you will not get it right if you do. You can’t ignore the original languages it was written in, the literary conventions it uses, the times and circumstances under which the writers wrote. If you ignore that, you will get it wrong. None of which is all that controversial.

What does seem to cause some people difficulty is the corresponding inference that the writers were not sanctioned to do things we must not, or, to put it plainly, that we can do what they did, inspiration excepted. The topics they deal with, they do in exemplary fashion and are, by inference, guides to us. Guides in the use of the Scriptures themselves, and guides in terms of writing properly about the things they write about. Just as we cannot say the writer of Hebrews’ use of the Old Testament is somehow bizarre and done “under inspiration” (deplorable expression), we cannot say that the writer of the sad circumstances of the life of Saul was committing a holy impropriety in so doing. He writes to inform our moral imagination. So does literature dealing with magic.

Our ideas of inspiration ought not to be uncomfortable with all this. The Bible is not less than a book written by human beings. Even the part that God directly wrote, the ten commandments, is rewritten into the Bible by Moses as part of his great chronicle and only at that point enjoys inspiration in the sense of the term Paul means. Scripture is not less than a book written by human beings although it is certainly more than that: it is God’s inspired word. So we must at least afford it the reverence of integrity in handling it, and not use it conveniently to excuse our unexamined prejudices against things that disturb us.

Let us consider, then, one of the passages. Leviticus 20.27: A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. Here is a plain commandment: put people who are mediums or necromancers to death. Why? Because it’s all rot and hogwash and since I don’t want you wasting your time on them, just ruthlessly kill them out of hand.

Hardly. When Saul went to the medium and she conjured up Samuel, I think she really conjured up Samuel. There are things human beings can do which they ought not to do, hidden things, occult things, and things which are so harmful to God’s people’s welfare that they deserve the death penalty. I think we have to take them seriously. I think what they do is real and dangerous, and we should be aware of that. Whether they succeed or not you may perhaps debate if you wish, but what is not up for debate is that something awful must be going on. In some way their magic is real, because their harm is real, because their guilt is real, because God really meant for these people to be stoned. I don’t think there are sins that cannot be committed overtly that still hypothetically exist to be committed in the heart. I may be wrong about that–let me know–but I don’t think I am. And so I conclude that there is real dark magic, and Scripture condemns it.

Do you find that creepy? I do. I find it creepy and thrilling both. It seems to open up something in the universe that in a way I hope I never run into, but in another way I’m glad exists. You see, if the universe is all tame and explained, it is a very limited universe. If it is not, then perhaps it also holds corresponding wonders; wonders that correspond in gladness to the horror of the dark stuff. And that is what I desire, and I think that is what is behind our desire in literature for greater wonder, greater mystery, and why we love to read about it, why it makes for a good story. A depth which is horrible argues a corresponding wonder that is greater and more wonderful than all the terror below it. Evil is, after all, the privation of good.

And God who is not tame is still in charge. We do not get to determine the boundaries of experience. Terrors are present in it, the greatest being that great being who is wholly other. There is a terror of holiness and an awfulness in mystery. It should awe us and fascinate us more than any other thing, and I think that is what God was after with his people. I think that’s the tragedy of the pettiness of Saul, and the tragic irony of his story. He had to go to mediums because the Lord left off speaking to him because he despised, profaned and himself turned away from the greater wonder. The greater magic was gone, and so he went among the shadows and shades, with those who peep and mutter and do not speak with clarity or certainty.

And as long as the evil magic is portrayed honestly as powerful but undesirable, as corrupt and self-defeating, self-consuming, obsessive and degrading, then it OUGHT to be a part of literature somewhere–the better literature, that is. And let us not be afraid of supernaturalism–for that is what it is, that greatest of the greater magic–with all of its rigors. We do not live in a merely natural universe, but one under the aegis of the supernatural. We ourselves are supernatural beings with indestructible eternal souls, let us not forget. If we forget that, are we not less than Christian? God with his deep magic maintains and runs the world, intervenes when he wants and gives supernatural powers to his messengers when he chooses. One day he will raise the dead. Let us not reduce the world to make it comfortable and satisfy our timidities. Nor let us restrict the portrayal of the imaginative possibilities to something dry and dishonest, devoid of real conflict because there is no terror before the greater backdrop of wonder.

The Proverbial Tale

This is how Robert Alter translates Proverbs 11:8: The righteous is rescued from straits, and the wicked man comes in his stead.

His comment is then that the little narrative the verse implies does not readily correspond to observable reality. The comment rather begs the question, but not a whole lot. One wishes he would say it does not always correspond to observable reality, because the truth is that it sometimes does. But it takes a rather embittered view of things to believe it usually does not. I don’t think Alter is embittered, but perhaps a bit too detachedly ironic.

I think the truth is that we wish Proverbs 11:8 always or at least mostly worked out the way it is stated, and that is perhaps where I concede that Alter has a point. I can only really wish it were mostly true.

Here’s were I want to go with it: first, there is the consideration that the book of Job offers and that tempers our approach to Proverbs: that if you take the Proverbs as statements of fact you will miss the point and end up in the position occupied by Job’s friends. The righteous is not always rescued from difficult circumstances only to be replaced by the wicked man. Bad men get away with bad things and good men are often caught in tragic circumstances.

The point (this is ‘second’, if the ‘first’ has you awaiting that) at which this Proverb is true is as a poetic truth. It would make for a satisfying story if the narrative implied in the verse were to be worked out as a complete story. We would cheer and be glad; we would be satisfied with the story (unless we were embittered and preferred nihilist outcomes–which there is a market for). It is something we wish for, something to which our hearts consent, something we desire. The point of the proverb is an expression of justice. In the ultimate sense that Proverb is true–the righteous will be rescued and the wicked will occupy the place of calamity. We hope for that and base our hope in Scripture’s promises; but this hope is not, as Alter points out, based on observable reality. Or as another homely way of putting the proverb goes: this is the worst the righteous will ever have it, but this is the best the wicked will ever get. And believers feel cordial consent.

That is the level at which the proverb operates–or perhaps it is better to say that that is the way proverbs have to be taken. I read them and I think sometimes that here is a manual for good stories. And this is because good stories, in order to work best, must be true in the sense of being sub-creations (Tolkien) that manifest the wisdom on the basis of which creation was created.

A Christmas Story (not true, unfortunately)

Being Lutherans, the idea of having a Christmas play which is completely repugnant to true religion, to them was not. The year was 1818 and the chubby and delinquent Franz Gruber (one of those guitar playing types) conveniently saved himself the trouble of having to play the organ (like I said, one of those guitar playing types who secretly longed to be in a boy band) by letting it go to pot. So when the players came to play their Christmas play (loosely based on Scripture, apparently) it was scheduled to be done in a private house–presumably because their vaudeville needed the accompaniment of a piano. The notoriously sentimental pastor at Oberndorf, one Josef Mohr, a seminary dropout, was apparently for the first time in his whole entire life presented with the basic facts of the incarnation of our Lord, thanks to the band of roving actors. Yes, he was present at the play. Afterward, he took to wandering on a hill overlooking the sill and silent dump that was Oberndorf. All the stars looked very holy to him that night and he even greeted a stray cat with warmth and candor.

Nothing was done to the cat; it was used to drunks and the state of mind in which Mohr found himself was not significantly different.

Speaking of drunks, here is where the story gets good. Old Steinbrun Schmaltz, a Calvinist and no Lutheran, had had a few too many, as sometimes happens. He was no country boy and life in the sticks had gotten to him as well as all the blather about the real meaning of Christmas. He roared into the still and silent night with intentions not altogether holy, a loaded gun under his arm. He was not sure what he was going to do, but he was sure something had to be done.

As it happened, Mohr was returning from the fields having finally worked himself up to showing somebody else his not entirely first rate poetry. Schmaltz espied him from afar and fell in behind, more or less. Since Mohr knew Gruber was relaxing, the organ being down for the season, he headed over there and they began plans on the whole boy band thing, only without a drummer. “I got these lyrics, you do the tune.” That’s when Schmaltz, our hero, staggered into Gruber’s overheated apartments and shot them both through the head, forever preventing the Christmas blight otherwise known as Silent Night from ever seeing day.

It was a great time to be a Calvinist, even though for his service to humanity Schmaltz was hanged before the new year even arrived.


I sold 16 copies of #1 and 4 copies of #2, which gets me to twenty.

Which is more than I deserve. Which is what I also hope to say when I get a job and find out how much they’ll pay me.

Also, if you wish, The Penwood Review for Fall 2012 has come out with a poem by me in it. But getting to it would cost you what getting 8 of my Garden Gate #2 would. #2 is 152 pages. For 99 cents, that’s more than you deserve. Of course, if you want it free, let me know and I’ll email the file to you.

Book II

Book two is being reviewed by the Amazon chaps and should be available in the next few days.

I also updated the first book with some necessary corrections.

If you want me to just send you either of them, instead of buying them for 99 cents, let me know. I’m thinking of putting the first one in the Kindle Lending Library and seeing what benefits that has.

Great Gathering of the Blurbs

The saga continues. Today I give you a few choice* blurbs:

“Mucho muy bueno.” –Mom

“Decent.” –Matthew

“I have to believe that Joel Zartman’s new e-book, The Other Side of Garden Gate, is right up their ally.” –the poet Oestreich

“This brief chapter storybook is an enjoyable fairy tale with many surprises. My upper-elementary age son read it through the day I bought it. He very much liked the story and the characters (he especially liked Nordby’s name). Reading book one will make you want book 2.” –Ryan Martin

*A random sampling, shall we say.

A Book

I’ve uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing part one of my story: The Other Side of the Garden Gate.

I didn’t want to charge, but Kindle has to have at least a price of 99 cents. I am not sure why they ended up putting $2.99 on it, but they did. Maybe it is too long for them to do for less. Maybe it really gripped their attention. Maybe that’s just what they always do. (Looks like in the Kindle it shows up for .99, at least Katrina looked it up that way and that’s how it shows up–not sure why all that.) I think 99 is worth it, not sure about 2.99. Anyway, for that you get 30k words, six chapters, 94 pages.

And it’s by me.

I wrote this back in the day for Sophia. I used to write individual stories but then I wanted to get going on something longer. I tried to get each story up to 5k words, and so you can do the math on the chapter length and the word count. She always wanted me to write something set in Narnia, and once I did, but mostly stayed out. This is kind of like it, only not. I’ve revised the original chapters–though more revision is not out of the question. One can keep updating the text, and already I’ve updated the cover because I found a more interesting font.

So maybe you got a kid, a kindle and three bucks to spare. Be a chap, get the story and make me famous. There will be more to follow.

If you want a free copy, I’ll send the file to you and you can read it on the understanding you’ll post a review at Amazon. Of if you just want a free copy I can just send it to you. There is the option to put it into the Kindle lending library, but then I’d have to agree not to otherwise distribute an electronic copy. Not sure what to think of that.


I deleted the landoreth site, the one with stories. I’m going to put them up in Kindle Direct Publishing. I have a lot of stories and these are the ones I can’t see a way of getting past an editor. So I’ll bypass that and see how it works out with these.

Now what I’ll need will be book covers. That gives me something to work toward with the watercolors. I need a garden gate that is sort of a cross between this:

Not by me. Enviable eh?

And this:

The wall is right, and the shape of the gate.

Space Roaches

Go here to find Lark’s Fiction Magazine #23 in which, if you scroll down far enough, you’ll find my story of a human-reptilian hybrid that got swollen with pride. It was suggested to me by something in Ariel by Rodo.

October´s Reflections

High above the city, staring through the windows at the sparkling frost of the planet, he thought: All my illusions like so many stained glass windows are being shattered by the unceremonious vagrants of experience who do not realize these windows made it seem like I was living in a cathedral.

And there was that lonely sense of exile, much deeper than most of the rest of life. He listened to Shostakovich and could feel the lament of things that should not be the way they were. And there was in that companionship through string quartets a strange kinship, despite the time and the light years between.