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.
Belief is complex. Some are born with blind faith, while others can’t be convinced of something even if all five senses are confirming it simultaneously. I have a healthy dose of skepticism, but consider myself someone who is open to, and enjoys, a proper suspension of my disbelief. That said, I’m not sure if I would be able to process the scene I am currently painting as reality without experiencing it for myself. The reference photos I took for the piece were captured hours after the Wanderment touched down on Valseidon, where we planned to sojourn for several cycles, by virtue of our hosts, Pinnacle Nth.
Besides its distinction as the big tech conglomerate that predominantly sponsored our journeyings, Pinnacle Nth was also responsible for the research, development, and technology that first led to the stable opening of the Link and subsequent exploration and colonization of the Throughworlds. Those facts were not lost on the creatives that made up the compliment of our ancient rocket and, after a few off-the-cuff comments I made about being on our best behavior, we got to breathe the fresh air of another new world.
Valseidon’s sky was so alive with complex colors that to merely call it “violet” seemed like it would warrant an apology to nature herself. I knew I’d never achieve its true color through use of medium, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t relish in the attempt.
Valseidon’s largest moon, Muse, a cerulean blue behemoth, served as the planet’s main source of light. So large that it effectively blocked out much of the sun for days at a time, Muse’s saturated moonlight gave the skies the appearance of a generously sustained sunset. Though breathtaking, the lack of direct sunlight was not ideal for traditional power harnessing and led Pinnacle Nth’s engineers to invent alternate ways to power their colony and all of its diverse operations. It was no surprise to me that they not only solved the problem, but made their solution look like a thing of beauty.
The large floating machines that dotted the sunset skies of Valseidon were first officially named R.L.T.’s, or roving light tankers, but that name didn’t stick. They were redubbed, “Moonlighters.”
The first word that might come to mind when seeing a Moonlighter for the first time would likely be, “contraption.” This because, to the layman’s eye, it’s function would seem complex and inexplicable. The problem with that word is that it carries with it a bit of a stigma that could imply untested improvisation, or unnecessary workmanship – nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the way they were explained to me was clear and concise: Moonlighters were comprised of three separate sections. The top dome was a solar array which harvested and converted the light into energy, the middle section housed huge power banks for the energy’s storage, and the lower segment was dedicated to propulsion. Though that explanation was enough for me to nod with understanding to the one who patiently explained it to me, I still stifled the urge to scratch my head when thinking beyond that level of simplicity.
Because of the intense and specific skillset needed to operate their rigs effectively, and the importance of their contributions, Moonlighter pilots came to be recognized as local heroes and were known to enjoy the perks of membership in an exclusive fraternity. Some healthy competition between pilots here, a little off-the-books gambling there, and a new sport was born that captured the interest of the whole colony.
Like hot air balloons of old, brightly striped Moonlighters dotted Valseidon’s sunset skies, each on their own trajectories to chase the brighter side of Muse. At their helms were proficient pilots jockeying for the brightest route while chiding each other over their coms with quips they hoped were clever enough to trend. Once the banks were at capacity, it was an all-out race back to the hangers.
Most of the extra fanfare was actually sanctioned by Pinnacle Nth; they even footed the bill for each pilot to fully customize their rig with both functional and aesthetic mods based on their own personal specs. The cost was likely astronomical, but the argument for extra productivity for the company, as well as colony morale clearly won the day.
I always add myself last to my paintings. Hands-in-pockets felt right to me. The smaller my silhouette, the larger the scene, and I’m small here. High above, a fleet of this pastel world’s strange contraptions. Far below I witnessed a waterfall born by way of the moon.
I thought about how my journeyings weren’t entirely different from that of the Moonlighters. We were both on a quest to capture light and then to share it.
How could this not be my “blue moon moment?”
Cast in the light of a moon called Muse, that is not just once, but ever blue.