let's open this with a friendly note to toastido: been there, done that, ex-girlfriend stole the t-shirt. i don't know what to tell you except what it took for me to climb out of the hole (the countless times i've pried myself up from those depths). i had to let go of everything. i had to retreat from the sympathetic friends, from the lure of detective shows on cable, from my brother cadfael novels, from everything i was, and everything i knew. i had to shut down. somewhere in there, behind the loathing and the despair was the wild power of desperation, and behind that was the infinite serenity of someone with nothing left to lose. sometimes, still, i'll snap, and it will all come flooding back...all things irrelevant except that final risk, the leap from having/being nothing to the smug satisfaction of supporting myself at the bare survival level. i have seen some scary shit, in my day, friend, and i think you're seeing some of it too. best of luck, and don't spread yourself too thin.

but, really, i came here to talk about love and beauty. i came here to talk about me. i don't talk much about me, to tell true, but i talk an awful lot about what i see, what i hear, what i learn. but who does the seeing, the hearing, the learning? sometimes i forget that i am more than two hands and a mind. there are three mirrors in my house, despite the fact that i don't look in them often. one hangs at a height that reflects little but my t-shirt, it has a lovely brass frame, and the word "kallisti" inscribed upon it in greek letters. the second is the full length in the hall, that i always forget is there -- my mother painted the frame. the third is the obvious medicine-chest mirror in the bathroom, which i am damn nearly too short to use to any good effect. when i do bother to look at me, on purpose, i am not impressed. i have a hard, square face, with dully mocking eyes, and usually an unpleasant, thick lipped smirk. i am much happier when i cannot see me -- when i can imagine that i am an exotic beauty worthy of notice for something other than the slogans on my jacket, or the glasses i need to wear to protect my eyes from the sun. (no more retina burn for me, thanks!) sometimes, when i am preoccupied, though, i shock myself. i'll glance past the mirror on my way to the bath, or while bending down to get my shoes, and i'll think "my god! who is that lovely signora?" or "who is that beautiful boy, and why do i know we'll never meet?" and it'll be me, but the illusion fades quickly. and yes, when i have my glasses on, i am almost always taken for a boy at first glance. i don't mind, at least i've been recognised as the same species. and that impression fades after a few moments of conversation. i don't talk much, so when i do, if i am surprised, i don't speak terribly coherently.

so that's me. whatever. i can't write about that anymore...it's just not appealing or relevant. on to love.

love is beautiful, i don't care what anyone else has to say. it's beautiful like the lady of pain (ok, tell me i'm not the only geek who was into planescape...), all the worship and adulation in the world will only earn you a flaying, and you'll die with a smile. i have to say it, maybe it makes me a masochist, but i enjoy being in love. maybe it's just a survival response -- something that if i didn't get used to it would eventually kill me. i am always in love, full of love, i can't help it. i am drawn to beautiful things, i want to surround myself with beautiful people. ok. stop. redefine beautiful. beauty, in my little corner of the world, is something compelling and not immediately identafiable. sometimes it is a brilliant mind, a passionate belief, a bearing of serenity...rarely is it a pretty face, although it is not unusual for a pretty faced person to posess another of these qualities. maybe it's just me, but conventional beauty isn't all that attractive if it has nothing to back it up. back to the topic at hand. when i have found beauty, and i have come to love it, i offer all i have to give in order that it may flourish and continue to brighten the world. yes. my love is selfish. i want to be able to bask in the presence of my loves, to draw my inspiration from them, from their joy and from their pain. but i want to give, as well, whether i have a worthy offering or not. there is no better time spent than that spent in a room full of people i love, who love each other. a casual intimacy and fierce loyalty binds us all, and we'll spend hours talking and laughing, and wake up in the morning cuddled together in threes and fours around the room, still smiling at last night's reverie. it's been a while since i've had friends that close who knew each other.

what's the point of all this, you ask? i just had to get it off my chest so i could get back to work and write something meaningful and useful. let me end this with some names.

emoryswank, mitchell, puck, niall, databeast, wirehead, ogre, fixer, one and two, captain mollie, starrynight, 7ghent, amelinda, calli, piker, clovis, boy, tetsuo, darkstar...

i love you all. i know there are more, but these are those that come to my tired mind right now. i love you all dearly and with all my heart. you are the ones i would defend to the death. i would give my life for you, i would kill for you. i expect nothing in return, but i desire the joy of your company. thank you all for so many years of inspiration

update! glorious update! i have finished writing that accursed paper, and eris willing, when i have the presence of mind, i'll put it up! thanks for all yer support, kids. *smooches* all around!

oh, and by the by, this is my 200th writeup. again. i don't know what that counts for, to have to pass 200 twice, but i'm guessing i should quality check my next mad noding spree...*sheepish grin*