Siege Diaries 7/23/2021

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: How can I make sure none of it goes to my head–good or bad?

The context here is reacting to the ups and downs of life with equanimity. Just as you shouldn’t let praise, or good fortune, or well-deserved accolades go to your head and make you full of yourself, you should also be ready for those times where things aren’t going so well and not beat yourself up about them or let them occupy real estate in your head. Enjoy the moment or face the disappointment–but don’t get stuck. Praise can make you float on air, but criticism can deflate your balloon rather quickly. You’re going to get both unless you’re an absolute saint or an absolute devil.

Today, I got two things done for SMASH and started in on the initial work for the An Tir scribal challenge.

Birchbark letter, Novgorod, 11th-13th century

Novgorod, as a trading centre, was apparently a literate town, as hundreds of examples of letters written on birchbark remain, including my favourite, which reads: “From Nikita to Ulyanitsa. Marry me. I want you and you me. And as witness will be Ignato.” There are also drawings found amongst these letters, including crude icons of St. Barbara and Christ.I’ve adapted this text a little bit so that it now reads: From Nika to Svetozar. Marry me. I want you and you me. Accept this icon as a token of love.I also went out and collected some birch bark from local trees. It was too rough and dark for writing, so I’ve made my own ersatz “birchbark” by pasting an image of birch to some of the pieces I collected to at least honour the attempt. (And found real birchbark paper at Etsy, so that in the future I can create wholly authentic birchbark letters.)

The other activity today, other than the scroll work, was a heraldic consult for a friend. And it was one of those happy things where the design suggested turned out to have no conflicts. I’ll be formatting it up for formal submission in the next couple of days.

I can’t share images of the scroll I am working on yet. It’s a Pelican scroll, and because there are size limits, I’ve gotten permission to do it as a diptych. My inspiration is the Hours of Mary of Burgundy, since my recipient liked the idea of a lot of vinework and blues, golds, and greens. It took me awhile to warm up to the idea, mostly because I was not expecting another Pelican scroll, but now that I’m working on it and making good progress, it’s better.

Tomorrow I’ll be going down in the morning to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the outdoor concert that rain scuttled. Again, I’m going in with absolutely no idea of what will be played, but the desire for live music is intense and I will take whatever is on offer. Plus, Niagara-on-the-Lake is gorgeous. It’ll be a nice diversion before I start back in on the scroll.