Hippo Hippo is a loner. She loves the solitude of a mountaintop, the embrace of a summer downpour, the amber rays of the midnight sun, the color of the sheep, the haunting regret of weeping cliffs, the gushing torrents of a waterfall, the courage of the lupins, the soaring wings of an eagle, the reflections of a still lake. Immortal loneliness. And words, words are her life. She wants to take time, to seek out solitude, to take pleasure in beauty, to write, to burry herself in obscure misery and emptiness. She wants to live and love and write. But she got no courage. Her reality is a crashing bore. But every now and then even the mediocre can have adventures and even the fearful can achieve.

But have you ever walked into the eye of a hurricane, where the sun shines through a cloudless blue sky in dead stillness, while all around you is chaos and destruction? Ever petted a baby manatee and gazed into its eyes and seen the wonder of creation, the peacefulness of a careless life? Ever wandered inside the great pyramid and breathed in the musky odor of a mighty Pharaoh long gone? Ever trekked the footsteps of Jesus in the cobble stones of Jerusalem, or bathed in the warm but often stormy waters of the Galilee? Ever let your body float on the poisonous waters of the Dead sea? Ever been on top of Mount Nebo and let your eyes get their fill of the Promised Land? Ever hiked 7 strenuous miles and then jumped into a freezing lake with all your clothes on? Ever stepped on the edge on top of the Half Dome and stared straight down the sheer side? Ever climbed to the top of the Upper Yosemite falls and looked straight down the fall? Ever camped in the Desolation Wilderness with a million bright stars above your naked body? Oh, those midsummer nights, one million stars in the emptiness of the sky. One million lonely souls searching. One lost shooting star dashing across the vastness of heaven. One hundred million bright stars in the night sky. One hundred million bright souls repenting. Oh, dark, crisp, clear summer nights, with a cool breeze that reminds me of my haunting regrets, disastrous thoughts, words unsaid, deeds unaccomplished, all the mistakes I have ever made. Crisp, clear, cool summer nights, that remind me that I'm still alive and that I can live happily ever after -- if I want to. And this is why I write.

Or perhaps I'm just a hopeless romantic and an incorrigible dreamer. Or maybe it's just the Portuguese blood in me. I am like Prince Henry, the Navigator, whose statue by the shores of the Tejo river, stares attentively and intensely into the raging waters of the Atlantic. You see, he doesn't just gaze upon the ocean. His penetrating glance sees beyond the strait of Gibraltar, beyond Africa, and beyond the promontory of New Hope, all the way into the Orient. And that's me and that's why I need to write.

When I look back upon my life
It's always with a sense of shame
I've always been the one to blame
For everything I long to do
No matter when or where or who
Has one thing in common too
It's a sin
Everything I've ever done
Everything I'll ever do
Every place I've ever been
Everywhere I'm going to
It's a sin
At school they taught me how to be
So pure in thought and word and deed
They didnt quite succeed
Father forgive me, I tried not to do it
I know to wear a new leaf
Then I tore right through it
Whatever you taught me
I didnt believe it
Father you fought me
Coz I didnt care and I still dont understand
So I look back upon my life
Forever with a sense of shame
I've always been the one to blame
For everything I long to do
No matter when or where or who
Has one thing in common too
It's a sin
Everything I've ever done
Everything I'll ever do
Every place I've ever been
Everywhere I'm going to
It's a sin
-The PetShop Boys

Whatever I thought right seemed bad to others; Whatever seemed wrong to me, others approved of.
I ran into feuds whenever I found myself, I met disfavor whenever I went; If I longed for happiness, I only stirred up misery; Woe is all I possess
-Wagner, Die Walküre

...given up his soul for fear, little by little, until there was nowhere left in the universe but hell. He stood on the precipice of eternal torment in his mind. It does not surprise me that he fell over."
-The Dante Club

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