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 …
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 …
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!
“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.
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.
In a world worn down by cynicism, humour is an excellent non-confrontational tool for overcoming resistance to new ideas. Funny stories can defuse hostile attitudes, loosen entrenched mindsets, and shake up worldviews so that minds become more permeable to change and new ways of thinking. This week’s Reconnect explores Ekostories that utilize humour not just for entertainment purposes, but also as social commentary and criticism that strike at the root of the ecological crisis.
This week’s Reconnect focuses on Ekostories with protagonists who demonstrate courage in non-traditional ways. By expanding their thinking, standing by their principles, and doing things their own way, each of them became emotionally healthier and mentally stronger. By working on becoming internally sustainable and resilient, they became natural leaders and role models who are capable of igniting the fires of change in the world they live in.