Shadow of a Giacometti, 2018

Strange that part of me still believes grief has an ending, that I’m still caught off-guard by haunted dreams or disorienting moments of longing for the ones I’ve lost.

Sometimes I find comfort in a two-thousand-year-old myth about a Chinese emperor. Unable to bear the death of his beloved, Emperor Wu offered a reward to anyone who could bring her back to him. A wise man carefully cut out a silhouette of the departed woman from a piece of paper and displayed it behind a white cloth for the grieving emperor, who found comfort in the sight of her standing behind a curtain before a shining moon. This story from the Han dynasty not only describes the origin of shadow puppets, it’s a reminder that art can mitigate grief and perhaps even deny death.


Olan Monk – New Life

Love/Dead | C.A.N.V.A.S, 2020 | Bandcamp

Heavyweight late-night music that shivers and groans. I bought this a few hours ago based solely on Boomkat’s recommendation “if you’re into John Maus, The Normal, Actress, Eartheater, and Suicide,” and it’s already shaping up to become a favorite. It’s a good soundtrack for reading other variations on Emperor Wu’s story in Chinese Shadow Theatre: History, Popular Religion, and Women Warriors.

Each night in 2020, I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these days into my memory. Before the world changed completely.
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