My old wristwatch tells me this fake, irrelevant time that’s only good on Earth. I keep it on because when the alarm goes off on Tuesday at 7:00pm, I’ll be reminded to take out the trash. Though that’s never going to happen again, I need to remember that it was all real. It’s a constant in a cyclone of variables.
It’s all technically my fault. I accepted the praise for organizing this venture, so I also accept the responsibility for everything that followed....
Entry 1.0 "The Wanderment"
“No rational person had a hand in the design of our ship the Wanderment, but humans are famously irrational. Many of us believe wholeheartedly in things that we can’t see, would sacrifice the many for few, or would willfully abandon self-preservation for a cause they deeply regard. But without irrationality, there would be no art. Color would be reduced to things like information-categorization, and camouflage. The extent of design would be limited to pure function and would result in lines only existing to provide the shortest distance between two points. I would trade every rational line for one red racing stripe on the
– Rob Taylor (Artist, Rocketing Past Lead Developer)
Entry 2.0 "Moonroof"
Armstrong has survived roughly a dozen generations in my family. As its been told, he was bought new off the Toyota showroom floor in 1984. The kids in the Taylor’s Connecticut neighborhood had never seen anything like him and pointed fingers. They called him, “Moon Van” because to them he looked less like the wood-plated station wagons of the day, and more like something suited for picking up space rocks with an expandable metal claw. The excitement of the Taylor kids when they found out that their new ride had an ice maker and a moonroof far outweighed the mockery of their friends.
Entry 3.0 "Headlight Safari"
With keen eyes set slightly in front of a wild mane ablaze with primary colors, it looked at me wholly unafraid. Appearing to be more malleable tissue than bone, its elongated sky-blue-pink glowing cranial crest stretched to precisely above the middle of its back. In the other direction protruded a proud beak of nearly the same length. Rainbow feathers adorning its wings – which looked more decorative than functional --- were probably only good to assist a high leap or a quick retreat. Its plump, but oddly well-balanced body was held up by two skinny orange stilts and accented by an ornamental tailfeather. The lovechild of an Earth game bird and the long extinct pterosaur, the “Luminesaurus” was my first up-close contact with sentient alien life thanks to Colony 5.
Entry 4.0 "Rhythm of Rain"
Can a campfire itself possess the ability to shed one’s self interest in exchange for a story and song of fellowship? Though the question sounds as if it should be rhetorical, I will boldly answer, “yes.” The open flame is primal - it warms both body and soul while casting its flattering light of trust on those who encircle it. If true on Earth, multiply the sentiment exponentially if your campfire’s distance from home is impossible to quantify and is perhaps the first a world has seen.
Entry 5.0 "December Lights"
Human beings, in general, detest darkness. Since the first torch, we’ve become experts at harnessing light to chase away gathering shadows at will. New England Decembers on Earth, left to their own devises, are cold and dark. Days pale in comparison to their former selves and a damp cold effortlessly penetrates skin and bone. Every year I silently thanked the first person who stood on a rickety ladder with the intention of stapling the first string of Christmas lights to rain gutters. Because of that brave soul, the month with the distinction of having the fewest daylight hours suddenly had the most colorful, festive, and yes, even the brightest night-times of the year.
Entry 6.0 "The Lightkeep of Precipice”
“Beyond the bounds of fear, waits longed-for dreams and a view unseen by the tethered.”
The quote was carved artfully into a plaque that hung in my Grandfather’s office for as long as I could remember. It collected dust and was dusted; collected dust and was dusted again for uncounted years before I really read it with the intention to understand. The quote was credited to Min Gallagher, the first lightkeep of Precipice.
Entry 7.0 "The Shape of Home”
Somewhere in the middle of my teenage years, a rebellious streak manifested, the kind of rebellion that parents expect and emotionally brace for. The tradeoff for a broken curfew was an extended lecture from my mother who would sit at the end of my bed until I agreed with her judgement, and she was hopeful about my inevitable change of heart. Mostly I would play along for the sake of time, but I remember once I told her that I wanted to move to the Throughworlds where I’d be as far from her as possible.
Entry 8.0 "Rocketship Playground”
I’m fairly certain there was a fine pat on the back awarded to the head of the subcommittee of risk assessment who recommended the removal of the last Space Race era playground on Earth.
First hailed as “in tune with the times” and able to elicit “any game an imaginative child might think up,” space-themed playgrounds were installed in hundreds of American neighborhoods by the mid to late 20th century. Lofty radar towers, Saturn Climbers, and spinning satellite dishes set the stage for adventurous, carefree play while encouraging exploration and patriotism.
Entry 9.0 "The Sun-Shaped Moon”
I’ve always been a slightly rebellious explorer, and I blame that on trees.
Long before my time, a tax credit was issued for every tree planted on private residential property. My neighbor hated taxes more than Christmas, snow, and kids, so when Old Man Silas was Young Man Silas, he planted nothing less than a forest in his yard. It’s hard to know if he could’ve envisioned the results of his excessive planting 70 years into the future, but for me, it made for excellent tree climbing.
Entry 10.0 "My Portable Summer”
“Summer is a giver and takes from us nothing but our tenacity to hold it longer.”
My California cousins hated Disneyland. I had no idea that was even possible when I was 13, standing on their doorstep anticipating our first vacation since a brutal Connecticut winter. When I say brutal, I mean that was the year I made a snow fort in my backyard that I could walk through freely without hunching. During those bitter cold months, the thoughts of this trip kept me dreaming of good things to come, so it seemed surreal to be sitting, dumbfounded, in their well-furnished home listening to arguments against spending the day in what had always been pitched to me as “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
Entry 11.0 "Record High”
Catsiopeia, if she could speak, would insist that her advantages were well-earned. Besides exceeding in being perfectly ornamental by keeping her abundance of white fluff exceptionally groomed, she was also adept at sleeping, eating, and dodging well intentioned interactions with humans. If you were to ask her, she would say her time was best spent standing sentinel on her favorite window ledge, laser-focused on birds by day and stars by night.
As a cat, however, she likely had no idea that her circular window perch was part of elaborate wall art representing a piece of audio gear, which arguably still enjoys the distinction of being both ancient and superior: the record player. Brilliant in its execution, the art functioned as follows: circular window at night = vinyl record, passing planet (when available) = center label, curtain rod mounted above = tonearm! The display, seen as eccentric to a human and essential to a cat, was an undisputable win for its clever designer, but, at heart, it was merely meant to add aesthetics to the real prize beneath.
Entry 12.0 "Collector of Moments”
I am a collector. I like to think I come by it naturally, that collecting is in my genes and was passed down from my grandfather. His museum of old tech relics was born of his personal collection, then spiraled into a life-long business and a passion that never retired. First toys and skateboards scratched the itch for me, then it was guitars and the never-ending quest for the perfect tone through guitars, amps and audio gear. Tracking down and finding that perfect piece to complete a collection is one of life’s sweet rewards and needs no excuse or rationalization other than that. Being able to bring some pieces of my grandfather’s collection with me into the Throughworlds was a way for me to tie his treasures into my artwork and keep him with me.
Entry 13.0 "Beyond the Call”
Every so often I dream of flying. I’m not talking about the kind of daydream that seeped through my 5th grade window. Those were commonplace. I mean the kind of nighttime dream that grasped my core and shook. My problem with dreams is that the conscious mind, the one that I trust each day to govern every thought and action, takes an unpaid sabbatical at night and surrenders the reins to its less-than-sane relation, the subconscious. This natural process is not ideal for me, because my subconscious is more than a little weird and not one that I would readily relinquish control to. Why would it put me through watching my teeth fall out in the bathroom mirror? Why would it place me squarely on the cafeteria table wholly unclothed? More importantly, why, in my long-awaited transcendent moment in flight, would I always fall?
Entry 14.0 "Moonlighters”
Pure inspiration happens once in a blue moon. It is the stuff of such undefinable magic that many creatives have refused to take credit for it when it manifested through them. In fact, many of the greatest musical compositions and art pieces in history are solely credited to the Divine.
I am younger than some, but I’ve been bracing myself for the near inevitability that this expedition, that these journeyings and the art I create here, will define my life’s work. I’m not talking about my work up to this point, I mean everything I ever do will be weighed against my short time here in the Throughworlds. This is my “blue moon moment,” and sometimes the expectations I place on myself are crippling.
I’ve never received the magnitude of inspiration felt by the masters, nor have I ever felt worthy to…
What would Vincent’s approach to this mountain range be?
Surely, Monett would’ve been best suited to paint this sunset.
The gravity I give to my worthiness to be here feels heavy, but I’m teaching myself to let some of that pressure dissolve into the margins. With each deliberate brush stroke of my latest piece, I’ve been giving myself limited permission to at least believe that I, me personally, am here for a reason.
Entry 15.0 "The Heart and Other Mighty Places”
The presentation began as follows: “The human heart has chambers, walls and spaces designed with clear function and purpose. The mightiest of chambers, boasts the power to pump blood throughout the entire body.” In front of the classroom, a three-dimensional hologram of a blood-filled veiny heart, the size of some of my shorter classmates, rhythmically pulsated. It filled with more blood and continued to pump and pulsate, pump and pulsate. The rhythmic beating was accentuated by a subwoofer hidden somewhere in the room that I could inexplicably feel in the deeper recesses of my throat.
I can quote the presentation’s opening words because they were the last thing I heard before I lost consciousness.