Browsing the archives for the maskmaker tag

Merely Changing the Mask

Change, Life as it is

Recent visitors will see a new look to as I updated the theme for the first time since 2006. This is a change to the outward appearances of the site, much like changing masks. The outside changes, but the inside stays the same.

Mask by Tim Pratt

In addition to the change in the theme, I am trying a few things to make who I am when I am not typing here become more visible to you. In effect, showing more of my footprints as I wander the web, making mistakes sometimes, and trying always to learn from them. I am also trying to put into practice something I have been learning, that is that constant improvement must mean constant change.

Changes have been made in the comments now as well. You may now not only reply to what I have to say, but also to one another so that you may converse and share wisdom between yourselves rather than merely interact with me. And trust me, the wisdom of some of the people who have honored me with their visits and their comments is great indeed. so take a moment and comment on something you like – either from me or from another visitor.

Sometimes the search for a right outward appearance takes a while, but when it works, it can help transform the inside as well. Consider for a moment this poem by Tim Pratt:


Feathers and paint, kohl sticks and smeared
pigments, cerulean blue beads, scales
and links of chain mail heaped on a rough
wooden table in a narrow room, four
hurricane lamps lighting it up. This is
the maskmaker’s workshop on the avenue
of greater dreaming, a place only open
at night.

I have come to find a new
face and body, a truer expression
than the one I see in the mirror. Here is
the Lakota ghost shirt, feathered and white
and clacking, and stone jars of pale
face paint. Here is the zippered leather
mask of a fetishist; it gives me a chill
because I think it can only destroy
identity, not reveal a deeper one. I move on, to
Carnival masks, a crocodile headdress I linger
over but know is not mine, a harlequin’s
cloth face of fixed hilarity, a beautiful
smooth gold mask of the sun. These all have
power, but none are mine.

Then the maskmaker
enters, a lush woman serene and regal as
the moon, her eyes blue and lively behind
a simple silver domino mask. “You want
to be a serpent,” she says, picking up
a length of python skin and putting it down
again. “Or an angel, above everything.” She lets
white silk run through her fingers. “Or
a manitou, with a face that shifts like the sky or
water, changing to fit your needs.” She shakes
her head.

“But you are not those things.” She lifts
a bundle wrapped in gray cobwebs. “You are a
spider. Lonely architect. Thought-maker. Weaver.
Moving in two worlds. Poison-head.” She unwraps
the webbing. I see segmented legs, glossy
black mandibles, and something scuttles under
the trapdoor of my heart. Not a lion, then, or
an eagle, but this feels right. She holds out the spider
mask, sticky filaments still trailing, and eases it
onto my face. I see with spider’s eyes, geometry
and possibility and vibrations in the air, corners
and spirals and prey. The legs on the mask wrap
tightly around my head and I

wake in my dusty bedroom,
looking at the corners where the ceiling meets
the walls, thinking

“I’ve never noticed how much
a spider’s eyes resemble diamonds.”

May these changes help weave a better community, and possibly break free our inner thought-maker as they are intended. May you find some glittering changes along the way as well. And please, if you find any comments left here as having helped you, or at least made you think, please leave a note to tell that visitor. And if I broke anything, please let me know as well. 🙂 Thanks!

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