All posts filed under: Reconnect Series

A series of Ekostories connected and organized by theme.

Ekostories Reconnect: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Harbouring soft spots for cute critters seems like the most natural thing in the world, and sometimes it seems like the internet runs solely on pictures of fuzzy kittens and roly-poly pandas. But it takes a different form of consideration, a different way of seeing, to extend that admiration towards the greater living community, towards the diminutive, the grotesque, and the overlooked. Over the course of my life, I’ve been privileged to meet some of those people or be touched by their work. A professor passionate about even the lowliest of parasites. A eagle-eyed guide wanting to learn the English and Latin names of all that he sees. A colleague that extends empathy towards everything from monkeys to office mice. A canonized essayist who saw beauty in one synonymous with ugliness. It was in fiction that I first became sensitized to this ecocentric worldview. Seeing Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind at the age of five, I found a heroine who loved life in all its manifestations, from puny fox-squirrels to hulking …

Ekostories Reconnect: The Farthest Shore

While A Wizard of Earthsea was a major childhood touchstone for me, it is the sequel The Farthest Shore that I return to time and again. Over the years I have found both comfort and strength within its pages during times of loss. For death is what the book, even though it is a YA novel (a National Book Award winning one at that), is really about: “The Farthest Shore is about the thing you do not live through and survive. It seemed an absolutely suitable subject to me for young readers, since in a way one can say that the hour when a child realizes, not that death exists – children are intensely aware of death – but that he/she, personally, is mortal, will die, is the hour when childhood ends, and the new life begins. Coming of age again, but in a larger context.” – Dreams must Explain Themselves, The Language of the Night And so inspired, here’s my tribute to the tale of Ged and Arren as they travel beyond the farthest shore, into the dry …

Ekostories Reconnect: A Wizard of Earthsea

I think it was the sheer awfulness of this cover that persuaded my eleven-year-old self to pick A Wizard of Earthsea out of the class bookbox during reading period. Expecting a time wasting filler like so many others before, I had no idea at the time that I had just stumbled upon one of my most treasured and revisited stories in my life. Bless that ugly cover! Unlike the cover art, Ruth Robbin’s small but intricate illustrations that marked the beginning of each chapter made a positive lasting impression on me. So, as tribute to Robbin’s drawings and in time for BBC Radio 4’s recent dramatization of what is regarded as one of the seminal fantasy series of the 20th century , I present my sgraffito Wizard of Earthsea ceramic coasters! “It was only the dumb instinctive wisdom of the beast who licks his hurt companion to comfort him, and yet in that wisdom Ged saw something akin to his own power, something that went as deep as wizardry. From that time forth he believed that the …

Ekostories Reconnect: Majora’s Mask

Since late last year, I confess I’ve been rather absorbed with ceramics. Over the past few months, I’ve discovered the many parallels that exist between sculpting with clay and working with words. Both mediums possess their own temperament; brute force and thoughtless acts generally results in spectacular failures. Both mediums draw from the same creative pool, requiring time and distance for replenishment. The limitations of each medium forces one to devise workarounds, leading to new insights and unexpected results. The pleasure that comes from breakthroughs and completion feels similar, is intense but fleeting, and afterwards one realizes that it is the process that must ultimately provide the sustenance. Finally one must accept the work is never perfect, never finished. With all this in mind, I found myself in recent sessions drawing inspiration from the narratives I’ve explored on Ekostories. This got me thinking about pairing a few of my ceramic pieces with past essays in an attempt to reconnect with past works through new creations. I hope these combinations will spark renewed interest and insight for …

Ekostories Revisit Word Cloud

11 Great Green Tales: A Retrospective

100,000 views. For some it may not seem like much, but for an essayist writing on about what is still a niche subject, it seems like cause for celebration. Thank you for making it possible. A writer writing in solitude, while a fulfilling exercise, is ultimately an incomplete act – it is the reader that lifts words from the screen and reconstructs new possible meanings from them. So for those who have stayed to glean a quote, skim a passage, take in a page, a piece, or a series – My sincere and heartfelt gratitude. I hope that you come away as inspired by these tales as I did. In light of this milestone and with the debut of Ekostories’ revamped look (Cocoa’s fantastic typography is what persuaded me to switch over), I thought it would be good to do a retrospective on some of the stories featured over the past two and a half years. This following piece serves both as an introduction for new visitors and to longtime readers interested in revisiting older pieces. Enjoy!

Reconnect 6: Ekostories of Wonder

“Here, I’ll prove to you that there are no tiny moments, no dull moments, no little things, only a general failure on our parts to see the wild and amazing slather of miracles that come unbidden and will for each of us, too soon end..” (The Slather) Published in the September/October 2012 issue of Orion Magazine, Brian Doyle’s incredible short story revolves around the small wonders that occur all around us, if only we can pause long enough to appreciate them.

Reconnect 5: Poignant Ekostories

Many deeply affective and moving narratives have their roots in tragedy; there can be no light without the dark. Stories that revel in beauty without exploring the shadow dimension of grief, death, and despair can occasionally come across feeling artificial, shallow, and incomplete. In contrast, those that accept and embrace tragedy can take on dimensions of substance, becoming deeper, rounder, and whole. They linger in our memories, and stay with us for a long time, profoundly shaping our identity and our understanding of the world. This week’s Reconnect explores three poignant and bittersweet Ekostories.