A Cure for Tunnel Vision

Today my first Darling letter came out! I actually wrote this the other night when I couldn't sleep — it was fun to edit it for their new e-newsletter.

It's pared back to a personal letter, written from a friend to a friend. If that sounds good to your inbox, you can subscribe here.

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100% delighted that the TLDR version appears with an editorial that was shot in Denmark for Issue 19. Celine Hallas also shot the images that were paired with my Issue 21 story on Copenhagen and Bornholm last year.

The Balance Issue is still available to purchase, and here's also some free reading on Denmark. Always scheming to get back there. Dream with me for a little!!

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I even got a fancy quote graphic. Wowza!

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Here's to being young grasshoppers. :)

Superhuman

One of my favorite ways to describe working at Darling has been to cite Themiscyra, or Wonder Woman's island.

I am filled with cheese, yes.

But while watching the film months back, it wasn't just seeing how strong, beautiful and supportive the Amazons were that reminded me of my own sort of heritage of confidence.

When Diana (Gal Gadot) translates enemy plans to gas Allied troops at the Western Front, she's astonished that the Supreme War Council won't go straight to the front to prevent the attack.

"You fight without honor!" she shouts, incredulous.

 Photo by Clay Enos - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC

Photo by Clay Enos - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC

That's the part that reminded me of my team. Honor above all. An acute sense and desire to distill truth to help the world.

It's a sort of naïveté isn't it? Idealism for justice, glory and the use of power? Maybe that's the only word we have as mortals we can think of in the face of super-heroism.

 Photo by Clay Enos - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC

Photo by Clay Enos - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC

I am hopeful that believing in something and doing something about it is just the tip of an iceberg we are all called to summit.

In Darling Issue 23, (the IMAGINATION issue) we explored the double-edged sword that is our imagination. It is either an open door to envision a brighter future, or we can become dragged down in anxiety.

Anxiety is an issue all too prevalent today, but I don't think we're done fighting if superheroes keep capturing our imaginations (and movie $) the way they do.

This was a fun story by Jaimie Li to illustrate for the spring 2018 issue.

Don't forget all of the power you, too, still possess.

Enjoy!

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DARLING 23 | Melanie Loon Illustration 2.jpg

Along for the ride / What is this thing?

Last year, concerts were my vehicle of choice for combatting my comfort zone. Well, they served me in that way all throughout college, beginning with my first real concert: tight standing room in teeny Chain Reaction in Anaheim for The Rocket Summer, Classic Crime and Joe Brooks.

This year, that comfort zone key was a pretty simple decision -- I also kind of lost steam on the concerts lol -- and "simple" is an adjective like a pebble dropped in a pond, pulled straight down by gravity.

 Cameron's Books, Portland, OR. January 2018.

Cameron's Books, Portland, OR. January 2018.

So as March closes the first quarter of the year, it seems like a natural time to ponder the progression of 2018. Each month has brought some sort of tectonic change.

Instead of mapping out safe, musical prods at my comfort zone, I decided I would face whichever ones came my way like a friend and not a stranger -- not so dazzled by the good that I would not step up to serve the privilege of it, and not so alarmed by the difficult that I would count it unrecognizable or uncharted.

I'd like to say my West Coast travels so far (Portland, Berkeley) have been the next level up from concerts, but really those have been surprises I have been along for the ride for, and I am too quickly trying to pick up the pattern.

Strangely, the first signal of this hastiness is that to mirror that past experience is boring. Room has to be left for the unintentional, serendipitous, uncharted, and well, sort of better. Absolutely better.

So it's natural to look ahead and wonder, "What's next? Where is the next hold? What will convince me to extend my legs all the way from where I stand now?"

Recently I've been studying the web portfolios of artists and other professionals I admire, and one thing they nail is conciseness.

I am... not concise. I am long-winded and circling and I pull at the edge of a tablecloth of experience, ironically filter-feeding as I slowly knock all of a table's dressings from its edges. Toppled candlesticks and forks leave their mark in my story and may roll radially away and then swerve back, but I pull, and gather, and glean and I forget how in my mind that takes time. And words.

Mostly I don't want to miss out. But it really helps me breathe when I trust the peripheral vision lent to me by my friends.

It boggles me a little bit to see how quieted, resolved I look in this picture taken by my friend Lawrence in Portland this January. It's hard to deny a through-line of Life's faithfulness when somehow peace and joy still surprise you.

I don't always have sense or understanding, and that's good -- to know that and embrace it.

In a picture of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, perhaps that is exactly the strange middle in which I lie, running hard to one side and then the other, hoping the bouncing energy in between that keeps either side from winning out is what will keep me humble and human.

Home versus away, institution versus hooplah, silence versus noise, security in composure versus trust in patience.

So on pondering January to March 2018, perhaps it is all too soon to tell what's to come... aside from a future that seems to smile first and unflinchingly at this dare I've given myself -- to smile back.

Anyway, I suppose I am more grateful than confused (or I hope to return to that north star...), and at the end of the day, this win is enough -- to exhale in the kindness of the friends so carefully placed in our lives, who let us know that Faithfulness is still by and on our side.

Photo by Lawrence Yong

The Book Art Card

I was rummaging through childhood things (read: junk) some time ago when I came across a folded piece of printer paper with the insignia to the left below.

Fast forward to now in the future, I can make anything into an icon with a tap of Adobe Capture on my phone. So I saved it. To the right is about how I write normally now.

I had to have been about 5 when I signed my name the first way, and even as a child I had kind of a designer's deep weighing of the permanence with which I chose a method to sign my name, my mark. Every new glyph a statement of identity. Anxious child!

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Numerous chalk pastel paintings from my childhood are signed "MAL" with a sun arching over my initials. Very funny considering MAL means "bad" and at least one definition of Melanie is "clothed in darkness." As a summer baby, I like to think of myself as "sun-mingled."

I often wonder if there are things we will "always be" and how hard throughout our lives we will fight that. Or love that. Or never know that.

I titled the SVG file Capture saved as "The Book Art Card," which I think was written inside that printer paper folded half way. Can't fight it. Kind of love it. Might never remember why I thought to write that.