In memory of Stefan Karl on his birthday, July 10

    Article written by his wife, Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir for his birthday, written for her site Kvennablaðið on July 10t<>h 2020, you can read the original article here.

    <>This is a translation of what was written from Icelandic to English.

    Today, my dear Stefán Karl would have turned 45 years old. On this occasion the return of the “Betty Fucker” chocolate cakes, which I can not, despite going by the bulletproof package directions, do as well as he did. All about it, it will be baked and we get a slice and drink cold milk with it.

    It’s been almost two years since he died, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, more often than not it is because of something mundane that I know he would have found a reason to turn into a hollering funny joke. Stefán had the rare qualities of being able to wake up every day as if he had been given a new opportunity. He wouldn’t dwell for a moment on the past, even if things go wrong or he has run into something. At times, this quality of his ability was almost irresponsible, but I know that exactly this ability to always think ahead and not beat down on mistakes or quick skills was also his good fortune. He accomplished so much in a short time, ever keen to create something new and exciting with these great gifts and uniquely innovative and creative thinking in his mind.

    I also see him acting daily in our children Júlía and Steini. They have developed incredibly quickly over the past two years, as is often the case with children 😉 and many of Stefán’s qualities become clearer and clearer in their behavior. Steini has inherited his father’s body image, rests one foot behind the other in the same way as Stefán in the standing position and is a brilliant comedian, inventive and energetic with ends. Júlía is also terribly witty, and clever with her father’s hands and the same sky blue in her eyes. They are both musically and melodically passionate about music like Stefán.

    Thus, we as human beings, replicate those who raised us and those who raised them. Those who go on to live a good life in us and with us.

    When I think of Stefán’s struggle with the gallbladder cancer that nearly kills everyone who receives that sentence, I feel horrified at the physical suffering he had to endure in his illness. There I stand for compassion for him and his unfulfilled dreams rather than self-pity. I have no permission to pity myself, I got to live and I have children to see.

    I remember how determined he was to celebrate his fiftieth birthday and repeatedly invited his doctors to that party of hope. I also remember the black doubt in their eyes, even though they accepted the invitation with gratitude and sorrow that they could not hide no matter how hard they tried to push the steel into us at times. Despite my professionalism, it never occurred to me how difficult it is for good doctors to watch young people die little by little in their hands.

    In the battle of Stefán, he lost the battle, there was no justice, just ruthless cruelty itself, but I have also understood the adversity I faced with him taught me so many things and has enabled me to deal with things without fear and with much greater courage than before. Gifts can be found in the strangest of situations.

    My settlement now, if it can be called a settlement, is to think that I know that I acted in impossible situations, I did what I could to be good to him during difficult times, left everything behind, and put almost everything else aside.

    Not only did I do it for his sake, but for my sake. My conscience told me that I couldn’t continue to live with myself and our children and be useful if I didn’t make his illness and struggle the main thing.

    I do not regret it, I have not achieved anything in the days that are more instructive and rewarding. And if anyone is in doubt as to why we are usually born, the answer is: we are here to be as good as we can to those who need us. I’ve said this before. To love and to be loved is the only thing that matters. Everything else is rubbish.

    Young people with fatal diseases are in a race against time that the rest of us think is endless. Stefán’s two-year battle is now two years later like a painfully charged moment, a roaring scream, a final sigh. In the meantime, the feeling was like being stuck in a slow car accident, where you can’t handle anything but know that you are aiming for a wall and everything will be black. I couldn’t cure Stefán but I desperately did what I could to make myself useful. I tried to be beautiful around him, sometimes filling the house with good people he loved, giving him the food he wanted, watching the movies he chose with him, listening to the same jazz song 18 times if that was changing, taking full part in his dreams of things that were on his mind, which was perhaps the most difficult because we both knew that much of it we could never accomplish together and otherwise he would not live to see it come true.

    For the past few months, the future ceased to exist in our conversations between them, he himself said he couldn’t think of him not seeing his children grow up, it was just too painful. At that time, he also distanced himself from the children and me and withdrew more. It is common with those who know that it is not far behind. Stefán eventually became cold and distant as he unconsciously wanted to prepare us all for the separation. Let go of us.

    Stefán karl with his mother Hulda Karen 17.June.2018

    Stefán’s family will always be my family, just as my loved ones are. Hulda is my mother-in-law, Björgvin is brother as I call him, his wife Steinunn my sister-in-law and sister and all their children are - even though Stefán is gone - my people and all my children. Having such people is a great blessing for me.

    I also owe a lot to my niece Valgerður, but she took it upon herself to be my right hand in Stefán’s illness last year and traveled with me and the children across the globe to fulfill Stefán’s wishes for a grave in the hot distant sea. A lot was put into it, but the descendants of Lína’s grandmother and Þorsteinn’s grandfather are no strangers. Flexible but unbreakable steel is my Vala.

    Nothing will be back anyway. Never. But I can rejoice so much and life is really good for me. Stefán taught me one thing, worries and outbursts are a complete waste of time. You only wither if you don’t persist in your dreams and ideals in your arms.

    Stefán Karl at work in favorite ideal and dream project Spretta, that lives a good life.

    I know many people remember Stefán today and that there is hope. He was the most fun of all people. Get yourself a chocolate cake!

    <>Original Article 

    this made me tear up a little. we truly lost an amazing human being two years ago…

    <>Personages in the History of English Magic from the Twelfth to Nineteenth Centuries: <>David Eleizer Montefiore (b.1737)

    Not himself a magician, Dr David Montefiore is known to us primarily through his lasting affiliation with the fairy Tom Brightwind who, unlike the majority of his race, traveled openly and often in England and other Christian lands. Through Brightwind’s influence the pair met with the social, political, artistic and scientific paragons of the eighteenth- and present centuries. Much of these adventures were documented not only by Montefiore himself, but by those he encountered and who were naturally impressed by the Hebrew Doctor and his unusual company.

    In addition to the factual, Montefiore and Brightwind inspired many works of fiction: plays, stories, songs, and oral “Tom and David” tales which thrive to this day. Whether these tales are at all accurate is a matter of debate, and their primary dramatis personae do not care for the stories enough to confirm or deny them.

    Yet why would a fairy choose for companion a man so remarkably unremarkable? And why pursue a somewhat ordinary friendship (though the effort was of course admirable) in favour of the old Fairy habit of kidnapping? Though a native of Italy, Montefiore lived in England for decades and was in most respects no different from other men. He was happily married to a girl he had known in childhood, Miriam (b. 1740) and was, outside of his association with Brightwind, perfectly commonplace. Some theories, yet to be confirmed, consider the Hebrew amulets and other paraphernalia to ward children from the demoness Lilit; considering the effect of Christian artefacts upon Fairy magic, such a thing may have served as protection from abduction into Faerie.

    [mdzs] Analysis of Jiang Cheng’s name and character traits

    After my previous posts on WWX and LWJ’s names (now LSZ’s also), I decided to do another one on Jiang Cheng, as I think this reference sheds so much light on his significance in the story.

    Jiang Cheng’s name derives from a poem by renowned Tang Dynasty poet Du Mu. “烟深树,江澄水浴秋” (yún kuò yān shēn shù, jiāng chéng shuǐ yù qiū) translates to “vast clouds and mists entwine the deep forest trees; autumn bathes in the clear river”. Cheng (澄) itself means “to make [sth] clear and unclouded”.

    The poem paints a vivid picture of autumn’s colours dancing on the clear water. Interestingly, the phrase 秋水 (directly meaning autumn waters), is used to describe a longing gaze, deriving from the Chinese idioms 秋水人 (meaning the friend one is longing for) and 望穿秋水 (meaning await with great anxiety).

    My heart aches at this discovery. Doesn’t this bring to mind JC’s plight of persuading WWX to abandon the dark and perilous demonic path, his envy of WWX and LWJ’s relationship, the months he spent waiting anxiously for his return from the Burial Mounds, and looking after Chen Qing for 13 years whilst keeping faith that one day he might see his brother again? JC’s father chose his name to mean “clear, untarnished”, however throughout his life he lived in WWX’s shadow... he hid his true feelings towards him behind brash words in life and raging condemnation in death.

    Jiang Cheng’s zi, or courtesy name Wan Yin (晚吟), comes from a poem by another Tang Dynasty poet Xu Hui. “香秋梦后,松韵晚吟时” (chá xiāng qiū mèng hòu, sōng yùn wǎn yín shí) translates to “I wake from a hazy nap in autumn, enshrouded by the fragrant aroma of tealeaves; at dusk I saunter and recite poetry, the pine branches swaying in time”. The words Wan (晚) means “at night” and Yin (吟) means “to recite” or “to lament”. The poem’s depiction of a deep sense of abstruse melancholy – as the poet spends his days in Autumn idly, being indifferent to the world – is widely quoted by Chinese literati of today’s age.

    To me, this is a great depiction of how lost and despondent JC would have been the first few years after WWX’s death. Let’s not forget that he is the only surviving character in the story who lost every single person dear to him the moment WWX died – it’s hard to imagine how he managed to rebuild the Sect without anyone by his side...

    <>Bonus trivia: Both JC’s birth and courtesy names are taken from scenic moments set in Autumn. In Chinese tradition, the Autumn season is associated with the emotions of both courage (霜气秋) and sadness (秋风叶), the act of mourning (秋祭), and is also connected to the Westward direction, often considered to be the direction of dreams and enlightenment. These words depict JC’s key events in mdzs – courage when he saved WWX from the Xuan Wu cave, sadness when WWX defected from the Jiang Sect, mourning when he lost all his loved ones, and enlightenment when he found out about the golden core and finally resolved his inner turmoil.