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The sense right now is that the hardest things are behind us. Have happened. Are over. That’s the feeling, like getting that one foot up on the edge of the hole – you can tell you’re through it and will climb out, most likely. Still - efforts are needed, but the victory is in sight.

For example – I hopped off the 10, and it was a weird afternoon on the 10 – extra crowded and with the scarred and scared denizens of the Buckeye neighborhood that filter in and out, that ride up and down 93rd street. The bus was crowded and I talked for a moment, fleeting but sweet to the Plainswoman, and was cheered and inflated by that, a buoyant harmonious feeling to talk to her and that carried me off the bus on Euclid. I looked at the sun, setting now and a maze of uncertain smudged colors, I looked and I thought- I will walk. A long way.
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Up unfamiliar hills and through divergent paths, I made it to Shaker Square and then rambled back down Coventry and made it to home just in time to wait.
The long, good walk up hills and back down – that’s the needed and missing catharsis – for me – the mind, my mind it vanishes out of speculation, there’s just the ongoing action of foot and foot and foot in the long train. Here and there, there is traffic, cars – my perpetual enemies – they stop me going and I stand and it’s strange to suddenly stop – momentum being sufficient, I feel, to carry me on indefinitely. I wonder, sometimes, how far I’d make it, how long I could keep it going, what’s the longest I could go?
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My longest walk, in memory now, is better than 10 miles. On facebook I’m told constantly that the people I went to highschool or college with – they run dozens and dozens of miles every day. I hate running. For real I hate it, I get an angry scowl on me when I do it. But I think, I wonder if I could run a mile? I don’t even know, but I could walk forever and seemingly never stop.

And then you stop once you reach home and then your legs are strong and weak at once, they quiver that little bit and your back is stiff and glad and you’ve spent an hour in motion without stopping, and you’ve spent a couple of hours with the good wind on you and the right pace of things to compel you forward.
Julie comes by, it’s Tuesday and we have a plan to meet and write. I am not shy about drinking beer and eating the pizza she brings, I’m starving- I announce it. She loves to get the pizza because she loves to talk to the pizza-man. I love to eat pizza. I have my party at the end of the week, which dominates my finances – my money’s all spoken for this month – and I think of it in a wistful way, looking at my filled up canvases – thinking, I’d like more, I want to paint, not write. I feel like painting and haven’t lately.

I talk, we talk, for a long time, I explain that lately it’s the visual arts, for me, I could work on my spellbook or my magic project that I’m fashioning for my Plainswoman, or I could paint my Tarot version 2 –or I could paint my maps… I could’ve painted my maps- I could paint my maps (now that I think of it), but instead it’s time to write.

I explain – “I’m pretty good at writing, people seem to like it, if they’re of a mind to like it, I don’t have problems conveying what I mean – what appears on the page is close to what I want to say – it approaches it as closely as Achilles approaches the tortoise, you understand, it’s never exactly what you’d want, but it’s also surprisingly appealing.” I said that, say that – just that way. I drop Zeno’s arrow in polite conversation, that’s just my way. I explain that I like putting pen to paper, that I like the act of writing, that I like the things I have to write, but that I don’t know where I have to go with it.

Painting, I get better, I notice and try – I get better. Spellbooks, wizardry – my weird affected, hyperreal praxis – these improve with practice.
I moan on this for a moment, and put my pen to the paper and knock down page after page, competently and well. Saying: “I don’t know if I feel like writing.” And then I do write, competently, well. Maybe just well enough.

I explain – “I’m at a plateau here. I can’t tell what being better at this would be like; I can’t tell how I even would get better at this. I don’t know where I could go or how.” Which is so.
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In the end we talk about the people we’re interested in, drink more of my excellent scotch, stay up late laughing like weirdos. We talk about the fantasy lives that we each engage in, the dreams and visions that you give yourself over to until you fall asleep.

And then sleep.
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The Sparrow of Myriad Intelligences has the sense to find the matter that interests you. 

Make a mark, one of the radicals that corresponds to the nature of your inquiry, make another and another.  The Groves are many now, the Index is very large, be as clear as you can when you make the marks.  & the Sparrow – your sparrow will fly through the iron trees of the index, the forest of knowledge & find for you the record you seek.  The Sparrow of Myriad Intelligences will return to you, your sparrow, with a little strand of gossamer clutched in its claw.  You will fumble with the thread, try to grasp it.  The Sparrow will cock its head & look at you as you do so.  You will drop the thread, perhaps more than once – again and again the Sparrow of Myriad Intelligences will fetch it out of the air, offering it to you resolutely – you will finally take the strand. 

Following it back to the place, the copse in the Iron Forest – the sparrow will hop to the tree & perch in the right place.  It will raise its head up – its beak will point to the sky & will sing a different song Li-Fa-Li, victorious.  It will have guided you to a place that seems right to it.  The chances are good that it is what you wanted.  You will find the record carved in the tree is in the knot-script etching of the most ancient age. 

You have learned the script & read.  It is the record you sought – you are gratified & offer some sugar to your Sparrow of Myriad Intelligences.  It sings its triumphant song, raising its beak – down then up.  Fa-Li-Fa-Li-Fa.

This is the reason that Proficients are given their lump of sugar, it is the essential tool of our trade. 

You could ask, on your first arrival – why does the Iron Tree use the Iron Forest as its index.  When they could keep sensible records in books, on paper.  Why do they, now we, you’ll think – one of us, if you’re present in the Index, why do we keep these records in this way.  In this secret script that is difficult to learn.  Carved in the iron skin of artificial trees in an artificial forest? 

You’ll ask this as you learn the Forest Script – radicals modified by radicals, angular signs indicating words instead of phonemes.  You will learn it and you will come to wonder why it is that everyone else uses the Double-Pen.  Why not write in the concise, unambiguous script of the forest? 
You might even look into it.  The why, the reasons.  There are a few.  Principally, you will learn that the Forest Script is older than the Double-Pen.  Much older – as old as Klial itself.  You might learn of the Secession of the Trades – which led, 500 years ago now – to the founding of the Church of the Builders – the Crafts Faith.  You might learn of their Celestial Scribe, patron of the scriptoria – who gave to all people the Double-Pen and half-pen but who never offered the Forest Script.  Perhaps he never learned it himself.  It is no small undertaking.

You might glance back – far enough – to the earliest days of the Everliving Dynasty of the Kannyltines – to a long ago dangerous time when the great metropolis at Klial & its tributaries were surrounded not by docile provinces – but by rivals, antagonistic nations from whom secrets had to be kept, who needed to be shown the nature of permanence which is expressed by the Golden Dream and the Tree of Iron. 

The Whole thing is here

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