The Empyreal Emblem

May 24, 2009 by

In the last post, I requested readers to vote and comment on a possible tagline for this website. Those suggestions, for which I am very grateful, only affirmed that human opinion is anything but uniform, at least outside of politics, religion and morality, where we bear closer semblance to the creature Mark Twain characterized us as: “To create man was a quaint and original idea, but to add the sheep was tautology.”

In the end I’ve decided to use different taglines depending on the occasion, because Fourth Night is, after all, a chimerical creature with unruly metamorphic tendencies that I can’t always anticipate. So depending on the occasion, I’ll use the most relevant tagline. For now, I’m taking the advice of “A different voice,” namely to disregard the tagline and — something I’ve been meaning to do for some time — reintroduce my old header image. The figure in the photo, by the way, is a sculpture by the Monhegan artist Ted Tihansky, who chainsaws figures out of tree stumps and logs, sets them on fire until they blacken, and then raises them, charred and otherworldly, to contemplate this world.

One comment I’d like to mention came via email. The author said he was not crazy about any of the choices for a tagline and felt the writing “deserves something deeper as a sub-descriptor.” He went on: “I read your About section and for some strange reason the words ‘Missives from the Plague Wagon’ sprang to mind.” I’m not sure if I’ll ever use it, but the fact that it intuitively sprang to his mind after reading my About section makes it without question my favorite tagline. 

For the past few months I’ve spent countless hours scrawling out dozens, or more like hundreds, of sketches for a Fourth Night emblem. Considering that, at last, I have the image to present, I feel entitled to write sparsely today. Thanks to Brian Hall for taking fifteen minutes to walk me through some foreign Photoshop territory (and out of my resigned despair) last night by phone. And thanks to RJ for the Illustrator tutorial back in April, even though I gave up on that program after quickly finding myself in labyrinthine vector-graphics hell.

Please feel free to let me know what you think of the image. Just know that, unlike the tagline, I’m staunchly committed to this one. All the elements that I want are there. After all the sketches and scribbles, I can at last raise a claw to the night and shout, Eureka!                                      


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  1. seldom seen

    is this jon livingston flying into a blue moon? and you shouting “eureka” …? have you found something to write about? because, and i know you’ll believe me when i say i intend on asking until i have an answer, WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

    first whale sighted one mile south of island yesterday evening.

  2. Jon Livingston Lobster?

    “What is it all about?” you ask. The philosophers have been grabbling with that question for millennia and you expect me to offer an answer. I know you look to me for existential guidance, but I’m afraid that this is one question that only you can answer for yourself.

    Was it a breaching sperm whale? That would be a good omen indeed for the emblem.

    As for blue moons, here’s a related Wikipedia entry: “A blue moon is a full moon that is not timed to the regular monthly pattern. Most years have twelve full moons which occur approximately monthly, but in addition to those twelve full lunar cycles each calendar year contains an excess of roughly eleven days. The extra days accumulate, so that every two or three years (on average about every 2.7154 years) there is an extra full moon. The extra moon is called a ‘blue moon.'”

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