Will We Make Beautiful Fossils?


This question comes from Mark O’Connell’s new book Notes from an Apocalypse . In it he explores contemporary apocalyptic movements from prepper forums to blockchain billionaires working to found a world ruled by autonomous “cognitive elites,” and more. Though the poet Rumi offers that we should bow to each crowd of sorrows as divine messengers it is difficult to wake every day and search for shining horizons. Especially in a time when we all dream of shipwrecks.

I am looking forward to beginning the edits on my novel Dream Kids which will be out in 2022 from Vine Leaves Press. I haven’t looked at the manuscript in more than four years, so it will be strange to go back into that old mind. What we write become souvenirs of former selves; mile markers counting distance covered and ahead. My current project is coming along slower than I would like, but any progress is a reward.

“Not waving / but drowning.”- Vic Chestnutt

This summer has given me time to run and be in my body. It has given me time to read more than I have in years. For the last week I’ve been catching up on graphic novels. They’re one of my favorite forms of storytelling since they demand action and immediacy.

The Sanskrit word for “mind” encapsulates both consciousness and emotions. It feels more true, like a tenant from Rilke’s Church in the East.

“Security is mostly superstition.”- Helen Keller

I hope you are all well. Go outside. There are still dogs and flowers waiting there, and a sun above. We don’t have to turn to stone just yet.

Read this

“Somewhere to the East There’s a Church” -Rilke

My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies Ed Brubaker

Listen to this

“Stevie Smith” Vic Chestnutt

Dr. Michael Greger’s book How Not to Die changed the way I eat. In this interview he shares insights into the current global pandemic from his previous work.

“How to Survive a Pandemic” Michael Greger Rich Roll Podcast

Try this

Phase Six is one of my current favorite movement practices. I have included a link to a sample flow below, and if you want more follow @steph.rose.phase6 on Instagram.

Phase Six flow

Fractured Latin Heart 07/09/20

I love Latin: the way it cords our language back to common ancestor, how it comes in slivers while fluency escapes. For the last few weeks it has visited me one word at a time like sunlight filtered and fractured through a triple-canopy of concern. Lip and tongue placed to breath forgotten notes inked on the mother bar of time. Sounds I can’t pronounce drift softly over my mind like a quilt, patch-worked and familiar, to remind that the heart precedes mind.

The English word “nature” comes from the Latin word “natura” which means “birth”, and ultimately from “nasci” which means “to be born.” Thus English words like “natal” and “nascent.” Latin marks our birth in nature. I spend most of my time in the wild to be in my heart– to be home.

In his book Blue Mind Wallace Nichols talks about biophelia: the peace that covers us when we return to the world in which we lived for most of all of our 300,000 years of existence. 

Primitive tribes to classical societies have held the essential soul, the beacon of being, rests in the heart.

I feed my heart outdated college rock and single-album punk mystics. I feed it paperbacks and facts. I take it on long runs in the woods, then push it to climb trees barefoot.

 In Science of the Heart Vol 1., researchers concluded that studies proved the heart, with its 40,000 independent neurons, had a mind of its own that communicates with the brain, “…influencing information processing, perception, emotions and health.” James N. Kirby reached to the same conclusion when, in Frontiers in Public Health in 2014, he states that, “The evolution of mammalian caregiving involving hormones such as oxytocin, vasopressin and the myelinated vagal nerve as part of the ventral parasympathetic system, enables humans to connect, co-regulate each other’s emotions and create pro-sociality.” In short, that our hearts shape ourselves and others through the neuro-magnetic field.

I am free when I return to my “ferus” or “feral” self. J.G. Ballard writes about this neuronic memory in The Drowned World. It pulses through particle exchange theory; the more one is in contact with any other force or mass the more he or she becomes it and it becomes them. Wild bleeds into wild. Salvation is cellular.

I have given up on fighting for self-discipline. Instead, each day I wrestle loose from ambitions to control. Some scientists argue that self-discipline is finite. They theorize that practicing self-discipline alone, denying our wants to adhere to our goals, results in “ego-depletion” and a dangerous loss of control. 

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that entropy is inescapable in a closed set. But pressure can only build to the limits of density before it expands into creation. This is one of the “fundamenta” of physics, a “valorem” of art, and the “promissum” coded in every human heart. Rip it up, and start again.

Download this

I’ve read, or listened to, over sixty books this year. I have used Kindle and Audible without giving any money to Amazon. Instead I’ve used this app to support my local library system. It’s wonderful, and available for both Apple and Android devices.


Listen to this

Sparks “Eaten by the Monster of Love”

Read this

Consilience Journal: Issue 1

Maria Popova “Why the Scientific Method is Like Love”

On Ego and Archetypes 7/1/2020

On Ego and Archetypes


On May 20th, 1937 George Orwell was shot through the neck. The bullet missed his carotid artery by a centimeter. He had come to Spain to fight fascism filled with what he termed “oversimplification,” and was fortunate to both avoid bleeding to death and to escape back to England. As he already suffered from tuberculosis before being shot it would take him a year to recover. Another twelve years would pass before he wrote 1984. But by the end of his life he became an icon of the twentieth century writer: passionate but broken, a survivor of his own recklessness, and masculine wit edged with performance. Like so many other dorm room heroes his image imprinted itself on my naive English-major heart in smoked sepia tones, an archetype for the romantic loss that came with a life in words.

This summer I have failed at every writing goal I have set. Trying to say something that matters to another human being is painful. This is not unique. All writers love the have done over the doing; the ascent over the climb. The fear of writing doesn’t come from the threat of being a mind exposed and imperfect on the page. It is born from the unspoken threat that one’s naked soul is, in the end, boring and all too common. The writer’s block we create is the search for the right way to say___ staked to the terror of it not meaning much in the end either way. Even our moderating, realistic Freudian egos fail to trust the next line makes a difference.

The Jungian authorial archetypes who informed my sense of what it means to be a writer never had the chance to indulge in metaphysical torpor though. Most were journalists who had to write to make a living. The chaos of crushing authoritarianism, of the moral and right beaten in the streets, and the terror of a world spiraling apart was ever-present. But they marched on, and hit the keys before they collapsed into one more try. There is a lesson in that I am trying to learn with so much in my life out of my control right now. This fall I could be in Roswell, New Mexico or Imperial, California or a dozen other places or nowhere. But I can control the next key I hit. And that is an “auspicious beginning” as the lead in Five Easy Pieces says. And the smallest do-overs can soothe the teeth marks on our hearts.

Today I signed the publishing contract for my punk rock coming-of-age novel Dream Kids. It will be released in March 2022 from Vine Leaves Press. It’s been four years since that book first tried to find its place in the world. Four years that I spent longing and thinking too much sublimed this morning with the invitation of a fresh auspicious beginning.

Read this
George Orwell “Why I Write”

Listen to this
Miles Davis “Blue in Green”
Samuel Barber “Adagio for Strings”