Tales from the Island of Serendip
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Or it may be that, looking back, we read too much into scant evidence.

 

But if Shanidar is not what some argue it is, then the true Shanidar - that first moment of revelation about what it is to be human and aware, to know awe and experience a sense of wonder in the face of nature, and ask, where do we come from? who are we? where are we going? - remains as yet undiscovered.

 

130_zps64ceb238.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Flex Mentallo

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For at some very early point in our development, sometime in the eons of wandering as hunter gatherers, we began to have intimations of mortality, and sought to impose our own sense of order upon the chaos of the world. And in after times, when we recounted tales of our ancestors around the camp fires, it was always heroes both male and female who brought us fire, fought our battles, and sacrificed their lives.

 

107034.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by Flex Mentallo

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Interlude

 

Well, I dont know how many of you guys and gals are continuing to read this thread, though judging by the count it seems enough to warrant continuing with it. Every time I post, my own research takes me into so many unexpected areas of knowledge that like the hydra, another five ideas pop into my head for further posts. So I'm having a whale of a time - but don't let me fool you into thinking I have more than the vaguest idea where it's taking me. I can say that the emphasis will continue to be on finding interesting images to illustrate the narrative, and mostly, economy of words - this post notwithstanding. It has occurred to me that in a way I'm sort of writing a comic book - or at least a heavily illustrated narrative - with an emphasis on the connections between apparently unrelated times, images, events and places.

 

 

I put some links in the first post, but in the process seem to have locked it. Here is an update.

 

Serendipity

Serendipity - Paddyfield School - The Story of Mohan - Sometimes

 

 

Sting

School bully!

 

 

El Puente

Muralist Joe Matunis - El Puente de Williamsburg - Return to Paddyfield School - Lucina

 

 

Bells From the Deep

Werner Herzog - Juliane Koepcke - The lost city of Kitezh - Sadko - St Clemente

 

 

DavidMerryweather

Virgil Finlay - Reed Crandall - Graham Ingles - Berni Wrightson - Al Williamson

 

 

Small Works

Flex studies for larger paintings

 

 

pcalhoun & jimjum

Clark Ashton Smith - Pat's poems - Jimbo's excellent paintings

 

 

Father Hess

The Life of Father Hess - Kasauli Art Camp - The Death of Mohan Ghosh - Rabindranath Tagore - DavidMerryweather art collection

 

 

Black Marigolds

In Search of Lost Time - Georges Seurat - Roger Fry - The Trojan Horse - Ananda Coomaraswamy - The Great Stupa at Sanchi - Ajanta caves - Black Marigolds

 

 

Detective Stories

Johannes Vermeer 1632–1675: A Detective Story - camera obscura - Han Van Meegeren - The Theft of the Mona Lisa - Donato's Captain America and other works - Rainer Maria Rilke - Cornell Woolrich - Cat's space themed paintings - Netsuke - Hart Crane - Cat's 'Creation' - Boba's illustrations - Caravaggio's Nativity

 

 

Velasquez

Las Meninas - John Singer Sargent - Flex large painting - Thomas Nashe - Tom O' Bedlam - Georges de La Tour - Flex exhibition - Joseph Wright of Derby - John Martin

 

 

The Bosnian Conflict

Andrei Tarkovsky - Welcome to Sarajevo - Margaret Moth - Yasna's cat - Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo - Miss Sarajevo - the Serious Road Trip - War Child - the Help album - The Ruin

 

 

pcalhoun Writer and Book Collector

Autobiographical notes - Jade tiki - Ubbo-Sathla by Clark Ashton Smith - Robert Q Sale - Tekkai Sennin - Bakemono - Zuni fetish - Yooshi's ghosts - Kuniyoshi

 

 

Steven Assael

Paintings - drawings

 

 

Photos of Nirmal's village

When Shabana was 11 - Mohammed Yunus - Grameen bank - mosaics of Ravenna, Venice & Florence - Duccio's Maesta - when Tuku was a child - We cry to Thee, O Conqueror of love

 

 

Steven Assael

Bride paintings with details - Spirits of the dead keep watch

 

 

Calcutta

Flex photo essay - Lucina's gold medal

 

 

The Hero's Journey

The Courts of Chaos - 'The Heroes' by Charles Kingsley - Medusa - Archetypes - Chris Vogler - Galaxy Quest - the Trickster - Prometheus

 

 

In the Beginning

Altamira - Shanidar - flower burial

 

 

Interlude

Mir para - Lija and her baby - Lullaby - Her name is Zoa

 

 

Emergent themes

My relationship with Bonhooghly

 

 

Before They Pass

Threnody - Jimmy Nelson - The Lost Steps - Witness - Jean Baptiste Debret - Johann Moritz Rugendas - Sebastião Salgado - Serra Pelada

 

 

Sting & The Rainforest Foundation

Sting in the tail - Raoni’s message - Rolling Stone - World in Action - 30 Most Generous Celebrities list

 

 

The Last Free People

Before they pass away - Yanomami - Christina Haverkamp - The Haximu Massacre - pcalhoun on rip-off charities - Love Story - Darkness in El Dorado - Kenneth Good & Yarima - The Good Project - Mridula & I

 

 

Lost Cities

Bitter fruit - El Dorado - The Lost City of Z - Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett - Garden Cities of the Xingu - Caral

 

 

Interlude

I want she don't go back to that hell

 

 

Heaven's River

Nazca - Maria Reiche “the lady of the desert” - Secrets of the Inca - Wari tomb - the end of all things - Machu Picchu - the Sacred Valley - The condor at Pisac - Ollantaytambo - the "eye of the llama" - The Viracochan image - the pyramid of dawn - Momia Juanita

 

 

Alternative Histories

Jericho - Çatalhöyük - The Great Mother - Tierra del Fuego - Lilith

 

 

Flood

Cataclysm - Epic of Gilgamesh - Genesis - mythological diffusion - "Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan" by John L. Stephens

 

 

The Universality of Myth

Hamlet's Mill - the Sampo - the Phoenicians - the Paraiba Stone - Fusang - Rowan Gavin Paton Menzies - Zheng He - The Bosnian Pyramids - Maya - Xibalba

 

 

Sunk

Guanahacabibes - Mysterious grid - Bimini Road - Yonaguni - Mu - James Churchward - Out of the Aeons - Lemuria - Kumari Kandam - Ice Age Civilization - Graham Hancock - Lost Continents - Zealandia

 

 

The Human Condition

E. J. Michael Witzel - Laurasian mythology - humanity's emergence

 

 

Arnold Bocklin

The Isle of the Dead - What Dreams May Come

 

 

Was God an Astronaut?

Eric Von Daniken - Chariots of the Gods - The Morning of the Magicians - At the Mountains of Madness - Carl Sagan

 

 

Steven Assael

Druso

 

 

U.F.O

Kenneth Arnold - flying saucers - Roswell Incident - Maury Island - "men in black" - Project Sign - Project Blue Book - "foo-fighters"

 

 

Dark Matter

Alien abduction - the size of the universe - Multiple universes - Stephen Hawking - Fermi's paradox - the Drake equation - The Silence - N-rays - innate releasing mechanism - Carl Jung - The Roper Report - The abduction - The Dark Side of the Moon - gamma-ray bursts - Ordovician extinction - Invader - Budd Hopkins - the abduction of Linda Cortile - John Mack - Aliens in America

 

 

The Search

My red book - Carl Jung's Red Book - Charles Steffen - Ernst Haeckel - Jeffrey J. Kripal

 

 

Lost Horizons

The Snow Leopard - Lost Horizon - Shambala - Hollow Earth - the Thule Society - The Way of the White Clouds - António Andrade - Tsaparang - Mount Kailash - Bhagavad Gita - The Upanishads - Navratri

 

 

Interlude

Update from Lucina

 

 

Festival

Durga Puja - Ramlila - the hijras - City of Light

 

 

Interlude

Further update from Lucina - Calcutta Botanical Gardens - Indian ComicCon

 

 

Pilgrimage

Puri beach - Juggernaut - Temple of the Sun - Kajuraho - Reprise

 

 

 

 

 

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And we haven't even opened Pandora's box, or survived the wasteland and the flood. We haven't found the grail, or discovered it's true meaning - though I promise we will, and more besides..

 

It's a reawakening of sorts - ideas I haven't really done much with for a long long time.

 

But for me all these tales are still living.

 

However, those of you, however few, who've been with this thread from the start will know that the real foundation of it isn't comics, pictures or stories at all, but experiences I've had - or perhaps more accurately - witnessed in other parts of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Layers

by Stanley Kunitz

 

[font:Century Gothic]I have walked through many lives,

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled

to its feast of losses?[/font]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't think I've properly managed to convey that to me, somehow, the love of comics, stories, adventure, imagination, is all bound up with real experience. And there are people, heroes, heroines of mine, like the film maker Werner Herzog, who inspire me because of the way in which their lives become their art. And not all of my heroes and heroines, healers and spirit guides are famous - Nirmal, for instance...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anyway, as many of you know, I've just bought this wonderful book.

 

amf2-10.jpg

 

It's truly a thrilling cover, especially in this remarkable condition. I love the surreal image, it's like a dream of flying, or a painting by Magritte.

 

Pretentious though it may seem, for some inexplicable reason it's glacial beauty reminds me of these lines from Auden:

 

But it is only human to believe

The little lady of the glacier lake

has fallen In love

with the rare bather whom she drowns

 

Maybe that's because it's a killer book. I just love it to bits.

 

 

 

And having owned it for all of two months, and fallen completely in love with it, I've sold it back to Mr Bedrock, for reasons unexpected that leave me very grateful to him.

 

So let me tell you a story, and you'll understand. But first, let me mourn the book.

 

 

 

Edited by Flex Mentallo

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[font:Century Gothic]One Art

by Elizabeth Bishop[/font]

 

[font:Century Gothic]The art of losing isn't hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

 

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn't hard to master.

 

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

 

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn't hard to master.

 

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

 

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident

the art of losing's not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.[/font]

 

 

 

 

Edited by Flex Mentallo

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When Mridula was a young girl in the early to mid-eighties, I taught her English as a foreign language. I lost touch with her and the village for about ten years, but I knew who she'd married, a guy called Mir Latif, and when I returned to the village in 2005, I was able to track her down, by which time she and Latif had a family.

 

dec08jan09-04100_zps2d8fa48e.jpg

 

 

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Lucina is Mridula's brother-in-law's daughter, and this is how I met her, learned of her difficulties, and came to pay for her higher education in the following years (though I could never have dreamed how well she'd do). And that part of the story I've already told as you'll know if you read the Serendip thread.

 

The compound where they live is called Mir para, after the three Mir brothers Latif, Lutfar and Nasir, whose families all live there.

 

 

 

 

 

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Three households, including 10 children (some now grown, like Lucina), all of whom I just adore.

 

 

They include Poppi...

 

dec08jan09-0462_zps9576a370.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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Lucina messaged me a couple of days ago - first time we've hooked up in the past six months.

 

Good news from her regarding her situation - she has triumphed in her studies, is doing a PhD, and as I mentioned in the Serendip thread some time ago, excelled in a national exam, coming in the top thirty out of hundreds of thousands of students. (She likes to say that's thanks to me but I know better - it's all down to her intelligence and work ethic, both of which set her apart from the usual laid back village mind set.) Her father is unwell, so she is the breadwinner for the family now as well, so of course her position is thereby much stronger than a young village woman's ordinarily would be. No more pressure to be married off to a stranger in Singapore.

 

So just as I'm breathing a sigh of relief, she tells me about Lija.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Flex Mentallo

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Now I haven't been to the village in 5 years, so she would have been about 13 years of age here.

 

dec08jan09-0457_zps623c17b4.jpg

 

 

I think you can see, she is a very sweet-natured girl, a bit reserved and somewhat shy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I used to take her out with her cousins Lucina and Lilufar to help me buy crafts for our gallery here.

 

dec08jan09-01105_zps639bbbf2.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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