“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.”
– Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living [Author's note: please consider reading this book.]
Well, it finally happened. The 1999 tea-brick finally yielded a pot of tea. I thought it'd never be touched. My roommate had it sitting on the shelf for years. Years. I tell you this not because it was an incredible cup of tea (although it was, and if you're familiar with pu'er, you'll know that it tasted like a deep pile of semi-wet hay in an untouched barn, in the best sense possible), but because it finally got me thinking about Zelda architecture again; things had been in a dry-spell since I began to apply to grad school last year, worrying about this, that, and the other thing. But now that I'm just waiting on responses (with only the "normal" exigencies of life), the tea breathed life anew into me, just as the water breathed life into it after so long a time. Wonderful the serendipity, the parallelism, no? Teakind, humankind; so the leaf, so the man. Thus, an article on the Rito is in the writing. I have gathered and collected what I could find, and now I shall begin the lovely process of word-putting.
On another note, if you haven't already, please, under the "Recommended Readings" section of this website, check out the stories written by my friend Steffen Schmidt. I was reading and editing an alpha-version of a story he's currently working on today (concerning Zelda, of course), and it was so beautiful as to knock my proverbial socks off. I cannot highly enough recommend you to it. And I know it would mean the world to him.
Fat snowflakes fall outside, but the inner world is warm. I hope you're all doing well.
Looking toward Baochu Pagoda over Hangzhou's West Lake
"Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread." -- Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring
If there's a quote that's been in my mind of late, it's that one. How deep in my heart do I feel that same stretched quality that Bilbo spoke of after too many decades of comfort in the Shire — and of his need to "see mountains, again, Gandalf, mountains . . . ." To an extent, all humans likely feel this way at certain times and in certain moods; and this has indeed been one of my prevailing moods for the past few months. I feel involved in nearly everything from work to coaching to relationships to personal projects, and, due to the nature of my own mind, my involvement must always be meaningful. I fear a life not well-lived, not fully-experienced, not fully-understood, and a life in which I do not live deeply. In fact, this is likely my greatest fear. So when I commit to something, I like to truly engage with it. Inexorably, then, I'm stretched very thin in terms of mental resources. As we say in English, I've got my fingers in too many pies. Part of this stems from my generalist's temperament and lifestyle: I'm interested in so very many things, and want to try my hand, at least while "young", at most of them. Of course, this is a young person's folly, but it leads, ultimately, to Bilbo's plight. It's a very simple equation, really: more activity, fewer resources; fewer resources, lower drive. So, if I know this, why do I persist? Well, first, it's not easy to part a fool from his folly. Secondly, I like to tell myself that, once I've tried these things, I'll eventually focus on those few that outlast all others. And this is to some extent true: I've jettisoned a lot from my life, heeding Lin Yutang's advice.  But, sometimes I also pick up activities in the process, like poetry or meditation. And some things that I know I would love I've already written off: calligraphy, music composition, and the Japanese tea ceremony among others. Unless I suddenly inherit great wealth, time, and energy, these things are likely phenomena I'll always simply have to admire from afar, yet knowing that I could have easily fallen head-over-heels for any of them. That, then, is my dilemma: with such varied interests and skills to be developed, how does one live? I'm afraid I don't know; or, rather, I'm afraid that I do.
New years should be born in intention, or at least a vague hope towards change or its continuation. And while I've no particular resolution, per se, I do hope to stay the course I've already laid out for myself. I hope you're all equally resolved towards something positive.
Happy New Year, everyone.
 "Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials." — The Importance of Living
A still from Studio Ghibli's 2010 "The Secret World of Arrietty"
Good morning to all of you, wherever you may be.
I just thought I'd spend a few minutes on a brief update, for those of you that are interested. I am still alive, just quite busy. A few months ago I began writing an article on the Rito from Breath of the Wild, but it hasn't gotten very far, I'm afraid. Dividing up my time between teaching in-person and online has produced a fair amount of work, and my additional duties have only just begun; in addition, I'll be undergoing the lovely stress of applying to graduate school programs until December, so my free time is somewhat limited. And, when I have it, it is usually spent in composing poems, reading, or passing whiles with friends. (Of course there are other wee things here and there like video games, movies, and the like.) That said, I did just upload quite a few new riddles to each riddle page; a couple of friends and I send riddles to one another regularly, and one of my students has produced more than a few of them, even! If ever you feel like you've got a good riddle, don't hesitate to send it to me! There are few things I love more than a well-crafted riddle hidden amongst my emails.
Thank you to those of you who have reached out lately with such kind words. My inbox is always open, and I love getting to know you all.
Ever my best, and stay warm as Autumn comes into her own in the northern hemisphere,
It's a lovely, rainy day here. I hope this message finds you all well.
The newest article, on Zora's Domain, is up. As with Gerudo Town, this latest piece was a protracted Labor of Love. These things always begin so simply, but with celerity take on lives of their own, leading here and there. But, honestly, I don't think I'd have it any other way. Unhappily, I was unable to find many pictures in the public domain (or that had been licensed for reuse) for the jewelry I wished to highlight, so I'm not particularly content with the images I was able to use. To that end, I'll post a few links that you might want to look into before reading. Not everything will be immediately clear, but you'll know the pieces I mean.
Like much of society, the ever-present pandemic has disrupted even things so remote as this website, but it is still my hope that, in coming here to this place, you leave more at peace and with a greater appreciation for art, for your relationships, and for life in general.
I hope you are all safe and in good health.
The universe of The Legend of Zelda is replete with multifarious architectural oddities, beautiful and resonating structures, and ineffably-mysterious temples hidden in the remote corners of the world. It is my hope to explore said places, shedding light upon some of their salient features, and fulfilling the goals laid out by the introduction, the main goal of which is to help people understand and appreciate the unspoken, yet deeply-felt, allure of these locations and structures.