Au revoir Summer

Summer’s reign was long and sweet here in Quebec. Now that power languishes until next year – the wheel turns ever on and on.

Which means Autumn is here – a most beautiful time of the year, as the natural world explodes into decaying colour – and I will take the time to enjoy it, but I must admit that I’m feeling a little trepidation at the coming Winter.

I arrived in Quebec on the first of February, and the snow and deep cold was already settled in for the long haul. Three months later I was longing for the thaw to hurry up, and desperate to see life blooming on the trees and from the ground.

This Winter I’ll be here from the start. We’re talking FIVE MONTHS of cold – some of it REALLY fucking cold: the average winter temperature in quebec is between -10 and -25 degrees celsius. It can go well below -30. Help me.

Of course, Quebeccers do Winter here every year, and are happily resigned to the fact. I’ll be plenty warm enough at home… I’m just going to have to work on the feeling of bleak oppression I get when I think about the coming cold.

It’s never too late to worship the Sun.


The 36th Chamber

The notion of the 36th Chamber comes from Chines Chán Buddhism. An initiate slowly progresses in knowledge and training through 35 metaphorical chambers  before finally entering the 36th – the true test: Life itself. All else was study.

I saw the graffiti in the photograph above whilst on an bike ride. It may be that the concept of the 36th Chamber was introduced to the creator of the graffiti by means of an album by American rap group the Wu-Tang Clan called Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), which itself was conceptually inspired by the classic martial arts film The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. 

I’m fascinating by the concept of memes: ideas that spread and evolve, virus-like, between people. Here, with the concept of the 36th Chamber, is a perfect example of a meme at work: the idea travelling from its philosophical conception, through two separate and different creative mediums, and on into a third – the graffiti – which then inspires me whilst on a bike ride. Brilliant!

If you have read this blog before, you probably know I have a Mr. Hyde: THE EPHEMERAL MAN, through whom much of my creativity manifests these days. When I am The Ephemeral Man I let go of the worldly concerns of being me and enter into an altered state, where ideas flow freely.

Sometimes The Ephemeral Man manifests unannounced, which has not yet really become a problem. The bike ride was one such incidence of this. When I reached the graffiti underneath a bridge, The Ephemeral Man possessed me and a simple bike ride became something… more.

The Ephemeral Man has entered the 36th Chamber and has a life of his own. I am well pleased, and only a little disconcerted.

I am still myself, am I not?

Hyde and Seek


I am writing this under the influence of the full moon.

I can feel her silvery tendrils caressing my spine and stimulating my mind.

This is the second Full Moon this month ~ a Blue Moon, which occurs about every 2.7 years. Thus the saying “once in a blue moon”, referring to a rare event.

The term Blue Moon comes from the Old English word belewe, which besides “blue” can also mean “betray” or “betrayer”. Spooky.

There is mild controversy over whether the term Blue Moon should be used to refer to the rare second full moon in a month at all, as it seem it traditionally refers to the third full moon in a rare season with four… and was misapplied within the pages of a 1943 edition of Sky & Telescope magazine. You can read more about all of that kerfuffle here .

But anyway: it’s a full-blue-betrayer-twin-moon, and my mind is stimulated.

The Moon is full of myth, and I am full of Moon.

Although science and statistics seem determined to disprove the notion that the full moon drives people to lunacy, doctors, policeman, and werewolves would beg to differ.

Even if it is a largely self-determining state, it does one little justice to deny the restless thrill of roaming the night under Lady Luna’s full gaze. There’s something alchemical about the notion of throwing off the shackles of “normal” behaviour, and surrendering to the shenanigans of lunacy.

Or maybe that’s just me…

All these thoughts of twin moons and lunacy and werewolves (who are essentially people giving in to their animalistic natures), seem to evoke recurring themes within my psyche… Recently I have adopted an alter ego, The Ephemeral Man, to facilitate and stimulate creativity without my self getting in the way, with all it’s stifling expectations, demands, and presuppositions. 

When I am creating or thinking as The Ephemeral Man, I don’t have to think about what I am doing, or why, or what it means, or how it reflects on me – the other me – as a person.

I find it to be immensely liberating.

So far as The Ephemeral Man I have painted with music, captured perspectives with black & white photography, have written and recorded myself reading an episodic audio fantasy about a gelatinous blob called Pid.

I plan to continue along this vein, and perhaps take it further. I’d like to explore the psyche of a nameless ephemeral man with uninhibited creative urges, and see where that takes me.

This very post is mirrored on The Ephemeral Man site, where you can explore all the things I was telling you about. I’ve also made an Ephemeral Man page for this blog where I’m archiving some of his work.

There’s a really interesting article about the classic Robert Louis Stephenson story Jekyll and Hyde by a Mr. Steven Padnick called “What Everybody Gets Wrong About Jekyll and Hyde.” You can read it here. It argues that Jekyll wants to do the things he does as Mr. Hyde, that he revels in the freedom.

Dare I admit that the darkness thrills me as much as it fills me with dread?