Echoes through time: the soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts

“Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts; for the soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.”

Marcus Aurelius (AD120 – 180), Meditations

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The paradox of proxies

Sometimes, when it hard to measure the change you’re trying to achieve, it’s tempting to use a proxy.

Sadly, that only works when you don’t measure the proxy.

Like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, once you pay attention to it, people start chasing the proxy instead of the original goal and the proxy no longer means what it did.

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Provence blue

Somewhere, deep in the heart of that region lies an ancient workshop that produces paint solely for the shutters and doors of Provence.  The secretive craftsmen – some say they are les gnomes – work almost entirely in shades and shards of blue, from a secret recipe rumoured to comprise three parts sky and two parts sea, with rare dashes of rain-soaked limestone, passion flower and black grape.

Once, when the master mixer lay asleep, his apprentice mixed mountain greens and lavender blossom.  Occasional shutters of fading lilac and aqua green can still be seen.

The magical artisans are in permanent dispute with the Bureaucracy of Provence whose edict demands that woodwork only be repainted when more than two thirds of the original has faded and flaked to the mistral wind.

It is, of course, a leisurely dispute, for nothing is hurried in heat of Provence.


DSCF4680 DSCF4685 DSCF4729  DSCF4759 DSCF4776 DSCF4815

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Visual subtleties in story-telling

Two great posts from Mark Kennedy’s Temple of the Seven Golden Camels…

First, a piece on costume design and how this can change to mirror the character’s evolution through the story: Costume Design, Character and Story.

And, secondly, on the use of visually different scenery: The Benefits of Visual Variety.

Both take a filmic, visual approach.  Both have lessons for writers.

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Echoes through time: the folly and presumption to fancy himself fit to exercise it

“The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.”

Adam Smith (1776), An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

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This on the South of France from Sippican Cottage, via Execupundit

“I’m going to get up every morning and shave over a basin and then put on a suit. Sharp. I’m going to walk down a street made of little stones. There will be baskets of flowers depending from iron hooks mortared into the stuccoed buildings. The dogs will lift their heads but not bark as I pass by. I will have a cane, for no particular reason. I will buy a newspaper in the wrong language and a baguette, and pay with some form of coin. No matter what it costs, it has to be paid for with coins.”

Joy of joys, I fly to Nice tomorrow morning and thence into the beautiful of Provence.

Les Baux de Provence

Les Baux de Provence


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Olfactory assurances

A list of the most reassuring scents on earth from Cultural Offering:

  • The first pot of coffee brewing in the morning.
  • The woods.
  • Books in a library

The full, memory-laden list, here.

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