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There's a schizoid quality to our relationship with animals, in which sentiment and brutality exist side by side. Half the dogs in America will receive Christmas presents this year, yet few of us pause to consider the miserable life of the pig - an animal easily as intelligent as a dog - that becomes the Christmas ham.
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He was the most astonishing contradiction of components I'd ever encountered. Shy yet fiercely communicative when putting an idea into your head. Vocally astringent regarding his own abilities but not to the point that he couldn't produce-he was as prolific an artist (yes, an artist, and I never use the term, especially regarding people I like) I've ever seen. But I could feel it. Everything he sketched, penciled, inked, made-was a payment, one he could scarcely afford; as if it physically hurt him to put pencil to paper. Yet that only seemed to spur him on, to live far beyond his means. He was unable not to. For Sketch, to draw was to breath, and so the air became lead-silvery in the right light, dark soot in the wrong; heavy, slick and malleable-into shapes he brought together in glorious orchestration, with a child's eye and a rocket scientist's precision, all fortified by a furious melancholy, a quiet engine of sourceless shame and humility. When it came to another's work, he longed to praise it but then couldn't resist critiquing it all within an inch of its life, analyzing deficiencies with uncontrollable abandon and laser accuracy. He was sharp as his Radio 914 pen nibs, and as pointed. And then he'd apologize. Oh, he would apologize: Oh my GOD, forgive me, please don't hate me, I'm SORRY, don't listen to me, why am I saying things, what do I know, I don't know anything, why do you listen to me you should just tell me to shut UP, I'm awful, forgive me, you hate me, don't you? Tell the truth. Please don't hate me. Please don't. Please.
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Many people think that love represents chains, bondage, the opposite of freedom. But people who believe such things are simple-minded creatures who have been lied to, and who easily accept the general trend of the lie. It is in fact love that is the only thing powerful enough to set one free from even the most deeply-embedded and thoroughly-wound chains of the soul, the mind, and the body. The fact is that we are born into chains and born into bondages; these things are put upon us by fear, pain and doubt. When you are thoroughly loved by someone in mind and in heart, this has the power to set you so free, more free than you have ever been before. And that is because freedom is not the equivalent of detachment. Freedom is the equivalent of that which sets you free. And when someone loves you the way that only they can, that is what sets you free.
C. JoyBell C.
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