Friday Favorite Beauty in Darkness I: Nightwish

The moment I saw this over at Cafe Philos, I knew I had to post it:

Tuomas Holopainen by Priscila Alanis

That, my darlings, is one of the members of Nightwish, and he is the BMILF. If you can’t figure out what that means, I applaud your innocence. Of course, I developed these fond feelings for Tuomas before Nightwish kicked Tarja out and hired someone for looks more than voice – but that’s a sad story, and we shan’t tell it here.

Instead, we shall celebrate the beauty in darkness. Before Tarja left (and wouldn’t I love to see her drawn by the artist who did the above portrait!), Nightwish was one of the best symphonic metal bands on the planet. They were my first. Before them, I’d actually never liked female leads too much, the closest I’d gotten to operatic sopranos was Sara Brightman and the cast of Les Miserables, and if you’d told me that a few years later that a plurality of my music collection would consist of fabulous females, I’d have laughed you out of the house. I listened to Dimmu Borgir, damn it!

Times and tastes change.

So kick back. Turn the lights down, the volume up, and come along on a little journey with me. We’ll start with some traveling music. There’s nothing like the album Oceanborn to drive an epic landscape to:

Gethsemane – Nightwish

I’ve played this album driving up the San Francisco Peaks, winding down Oak Creek Canyon, and sweeping up the Pacific Coast. And it’s probably the best place to start if you want to develop a Nightwish addiction.

After travels come travails. Light a few candles and put yourself in a somber frame of mind:

Two For Tragedy – Nightwish

That is true beauty in darkness.

Let’s sail with Odysseus, now, lash ourselves to the ship’s wheel and hear a siren’s song:

The Siren – Nightwish

You now know which song I use as the litmus test for any sound system I put in. Fantastic, isn’t it just? I’ll be Homer never thought he’d inspire such wonders.

Can’t get enough? Like those wonderful, complex songs that change and move and seem like a symphony in themselves? I have precisely what you’ve been wishing for:

Beauty Of The Beast – Nightwish

That last song comes from an album called Century Child. If you get really, really impatient, and decide you absolutely must have a sneak-peek at what my entire series of novels shall be like, nearly the entire story is contained therein. Well, not the details, obviously, but the overarching theme that unfolds throughout the whole.

And there you have it, my darlings. There is indeed beauty in darkness. Nightwish was just the beginning. There will be other tales told in the long nights to come. There may even be spectacular art to go with them, depending on what delights Paul manages to find in the coming months.

Friday Favorite Beauty in Darkness I: Nightwish

Friday Favorite On Hiatus – Have Some LOLZ Instead

Ever had one of those nights where, by the end of it, all you could do was sit numbly paging through Yeah.

Let this be your foreshadowing for next week’s Friday Favorite:

I actually used to watch that show. And yes, he would actually say things like that. Scary, huh?


It finally stopped raining. The sun might even come out today.

I think I’m going to get this one on my tombstone.

Somehow, I just can’t think of a better way to sum up a life than that.

Happy Friday, my darlings.

Friday Favorite On Hiatus – Have Some LOLZ Instead

Friday Favorite True Crime Author

True crime books are my brain candy. I know, I know, I’m weird. But look – one of my main characters is an FBI profiler. So I justify my enjoyment by claiming I’m doing “research.” Really. That’s what I’m doing. Serious hard work.

I’ve always loved a good true crime book. I love watching police detectives piece together the various clues and build a case. It’s intellectually stimulating (well, the kind of true crime I read is, anyway – I try to stay away from the more sensationalist bullshit). But sometimes, it’s heavy going. After a while, all of the authors start to sound the same. It’s all very somber. The detectives are heroes, the criminal is dangerous, the victims are tragic, the survivors noble, etc. etc.

This is why I love Simon Read.

I met Simon just after his first book, On the House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloy, was published. I dropped in on The Writer forum thread where he announced the happy news and expressed my congratulations. We’ve been fast friends ever since.

When I picked up On the House, I was expecting the usual. I didn’t get the usual. Simon doesn’t do average. The very last thing you expect to do while reading a true crime book is start laughing your ass off, but I laughed nearly the whole way through. He’d discovered the most inept band of crooks ever to disgrace the 1930s and pulled absolutely no punches denigrating them. The victim became a virtual comic Superman, totally indestructible and utterly oblivious to the fact that his “friends” wanted to murder him for insurance money. Simon gave due respect to the victim and the detectives who eventually solved the crime, but he didn’t minimize the stupidity of the Keystone Kriminals his tale centered around at all.

John Douglas, FBI profiler extraordinaire, once said that society treats serial killers with too much respect, treating them as if they’re some sort of special evil rather than the inadequate losers they are. We feed their fantasies of being “important” by speaking of their crimes in hushed, horrified tones and using their full names. What we should be doing, he said, is treating them with contempt. Trot out despised childhood nicknames, highlight the fact that they’re useless pieces of shit, take away their mystique, and point them out as the useless pricks they are.

Simon has absolutely no trouble doing that. His second book, In the Dark: The True Story of the Blackout Ripper, was far more serious than On the House. It dealt with a serial killer who haunted London’s streets, preying on vulnerable women, during the Blitz. Most authors would have treated this subject with a sort of awed reverence, turned the Blackout Ripper into a terrifying monster, and made the whole thing feel profound. Not Simon. He managed to tease out every last inadequacy the killer possessed and waved it around for the world to see. You were left with the sense that here was a killer who was a clever loser, but ultimately a loser. And I loved it.

Having the opportunity to read it in manuscript form was even more awesome. It’s good to know the author!

Simon’s finished his third installment in the true crime genre, War of Words: A True Tale of Newsprint and Murder. I have been salivating for this book for nearly two years now, ever since Simon told me its premise:

Gun-toting newspaper publisher Charles de Young won circulation wars by spilling ink that destroyed political candidates he didn’t like—and Isaac Kalloch, a hellfire preacher whose lust for the ladies equaled his craving to be mayor, was an obvious target. First angry words flew, then bullets, when de Young ambushed Kalloch and shot him. Miraculously, Kalloch survived and won the election, only to see his son enact revenge on his behalf five months later by walking into the newsroom and fatally shooting de Young.

Simon actually described it better than that boiler-plate back cover stuff, but alas, AOL appears to have eaten that email. I just remember shaking him by the virtual lapels and demanding more more MORE. This book was made for me! Old West, writers, murder, mayhem! I’ve read the first chapter. It’s going to be teh awesome. Simon puts you right there on the muddy streets of 19th century San Francisco, right smack in the midst of the mayhem. Of all the things I have to look forward to in ’09, this is one of the major ones.

I’ve reviewed On the House and In the Dark here, complete with a link to an excerpt from On the House. You can preorder War of Words on Amazon. And you can take it from me that even if you don’t like true crime all that much, you’ll be delighted with Simon Read’s wordsmithing. There’s a good reason why he’s my favorite true crime author of all time.

Friday Favorite True Crime Author

Friday Favorite Winter Wonders

I’m trying very hard right now to think good things about winter. Considering my road and parking lot are buried under nearly six inches of icy slush that’s nigh-impossible to navigate, this is difficult. But there are redeeming qualities to winter. I even have a few favorite things about snow.

For one thing, it makes shriveled berries look rather artistic and lovely:

Everything looks prettier with a coat of new snow. And it’s a lot of fun to go tramping through. Long rambles going nowhere in particular, watching rays of sunlight set the snow aglow, is tremendous fun. I like watching how the light varies: now bright and sparkling, then muted and soft-focus. Then there’s the running: when you come across a long flat stretch, it’s almost impossible not to indulge in a good gallop, just for the sheer wacky fun of it.

Just ask this guy:

So yes, snow can be fun. And what better tribute to it than Loreena McKennitt’s song “Snow”? I found this video montage of figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi set to it, and thus combined two of my great loves: beautiful music and art on ice.

I used to be an enormous figure skating fan. One of my best memories is the Alberville Olympics. My friend JT and I spent weeks watching the figure skating competitions together. You have not experienced a truly surreal figure skating viewing experience until you’ve sat there getting all ooey and aahy with a 6’4, heavy-metal listening, cowboy boot wearing, red-blooded male. After several weeks of exposure, we both decided that we absolutely had to drive to Flagstaff and indulge in some skating ourselves. So no shit, there we were, filled with visions of triple axels, inching our way across the ice like ancient grannies. The reality definitely did not match the fantasy. And then there was the speed-skater-in-training who snookered us into holding hands with her. We didn’t expect her to take off like a rocket and drag us along.

We discovered we were not speed skaters, but we were certainly speed fallers.

That was the year I fell utterly in love with Sergei Ponomarenko and Marina Klimova. They are the epitome of art on ice. They aren’t just phenomenal ice dancers, they are superb storytellers. Not to mention Marina is a drop-dead gorgeous redhead, which adds a whole new dimension of beauty.

Here they are doing Dracula:

Even if you don’t like figure skating, you have to admit that was something outstanding.

Here’s another something outstanding. If you want to see courage defined as endurance for one moment more, go watch Elvis Stojko win the Olympic silver in 1998. Most viewers had no clue he was suffering from a groin pull until he nearly collapsed after finishing his long program. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

So those are a few of my favorite winter wonders. Turns out it’s not such a bad season after all…

Friday Favorite Winter Wonders

Friday Favorite Creative Wastes of Time

Not that I’ve had time to indulge recently, but I look back upon the days when I could spend several weeks in pursuit of nothing in particular with great fondness.

Sometimes, when you’re stuck in a rut and feeling about as dull as unpolished lead, just doing something mindlessly creative is the best escape. I discovered this by accident many years ago when suffering from a massive case of writer’s block. I turned to crafts. Don’t ask me where the wild hair came from, but I decided that what my house really needed was a diorama of a Japanese village. Off to the craft store I went for rice paper scraps, sticks, paint and glue. Then I spent a few weeks building mah village. I never finished the damned thing, but it graces one of my bookshelves well enough, and Misha seems to enjoy it, which is really all that matters:

You’ll note that it’s standing in a small box of sand. That is one o’ my patented Zen Gardens, in fact. They’re another thing I build when I’m feeling a little non-creative. I decorate them with rocks taken from interesting places I’ve been. I believe most of the rocks in these two came from Flagstaff, with maybe one or two from the California coast. I guess my next project should be marking the rocks with their damned origins.

One day, hopefully before she dies or is too old to see it, me mum will be getting a ballerina doll. As much as I like building when I’m blocked, I like sewing by hand, too. I suck at it. It takes flipping forever. But I like figuring out ways to compensate for my complete lack of textile talent, and for a while there I could sew beads onto petal-shaped pieces of fabric in a nice vine pattern like nobody’s business. And Mom will love it no matter how much it sucks – she’s my mom.

My other great love which I’m no good at is drawing. I haven’t had the opportunity to bust out the Wacom tablet lately, but when I do, I can lose myself for hours in trying to force my paltry skills to achieve the desired results. Someday, eventually, I’ll have brilliant relief maps of my worlds put together – or so I like to think. I’ve at least managed to get Cariicedraas somewhat done:

The best thing about all of this nonsense is what it leads to: a veritable flood of creativity. I get so focused for so long on the minutiae of colors and textures and trying things every-which-way until they work that my subconscious mind gets a chance to work without the fetters of my dreaded Inner Editor. Every time I’ve spent a few weeks doing creative things that have not that much to do with writing, I’ve ended up inspired. I think it has something to do with taking the pressure off, and something more to do with thinking in entirely different ways. I’ve noticed that theme with a lot of people who have to think their way to solutions, including scientists: they had their flash of brilliant insight after they gave up and started playing with other things.

So if you don’t already, the next time you’re stuck, go play. Indulge in your favorite creative wastes of time. You can tell people honestly that you’re hard at work.

Friday Favorite Creative Wastes of Time

Friday Favorite Things About Writing This Blog

I won’t lie: running the cantina is a gargantuan amount of work, and there are times when I think I should scale it back and focus on my fiction instead. That’s still the most important thing in my life. And I had little enough time for things like friends, family and fun before – I have far less now.

But after nearly a year of doing this, I’ve discovered too many reasons to keep going full speed ahead.

First and foremost, there’s you. Yes, you. Maybe I’m partial, but I believe I have some of the best commenters in the blogosphere. Your input and insights keep me going through the hard times. Your passion for issues and your willingness to hold substantive discussions have restored my faith in my fellow humans – something that was desperately lacking before I met you. And I can always rely on you for answers to thorny questions, encouragement on my crazy projects, and reality checks that never bounce. You make this worthwhile.

Another thing that delights me is when we have folks jump in to the conversation who see the world in a completely different way. We’ve had the occasional rare troll who’s just around to try to piss in everyone’s Wheaties (which is a whole other realm of fun). But most of the people here who don’t share the same views manage a dialogue rather than diatribe. I love watching that happen. It proves we don’t have to agree on every thing, or even most things, to have a good talk.

My wonderful readers are the main reason I keep doing this. But there’s plenty more to love. It gives me an excuse to keep up on the political news of the day, which in turn makes me a better citizen. I’ve never felt more engaged in my country, and the world. I would punk off my political reading if it wasn’t for the fact I know I have to feed this blog. And the thing I’ve discovered about democracy is, it goes a lot better when the citizens not only have a say, but are informed enough to speak well.

Politics is also rather endlessly fun. I didn’t expect that at all.

I enjoy coming up with creative little things, finding a narrative thread to string a post on, mixing pictures and music to enhance a theme. I’ve actually found it a little more difficult to write prose lately because of that – I keep wanting to insert hyperlinks, YouTube videos and LOL pics, especially when I’m writing non-fiction.

We could be here all weekend with my raving about all my favorite things. I’ll bring this to a merciful end, and turn the floor over to you. What’s your favorite thing about writing or reading blogs?

Friday Favorite Things About Writing This Blog

Friday Favorite Exchange This Week

Crap in a hat, I nearly forgot it’s Friday. Time for something favorite, and the choice is easy: you guys.

The vast majority of my commenters here are outstanding. One of the absolute joys of writing a blog is having a comments section, in which you often say things that make me laugh, weep, think, and marvel. I can ask a question, and I get answers. The book I’m writing now has been shaped in no small way by your input and assistance. I’ll never be able to thank you enough.

I don’t often highlight specific comments, because I don’t like to play favorites, and it’s usually too difficult to choose between you all. But for the purposes of this week’s Friday Favorite, I’m extracting the exchange that had me absolutely howling:

Howard said…

One more thing: When the topic of “what atheists believe” comes up, I like to say, “I believe in chairs.”

When someone offers me a chair, I sit in it. Given that there is a nonzero chance that the chair will collapse, spilling me onto the ground (as I can personally attest), this is a remarkable leap of faith. And yet it is one I make on a daily basis. I don’t stop to evaluate the structural integrity of every chair I’m offered, I simply trust that it will support my weight and offer sweet respite from the tedious grind of standing upright.

And yet, despite my miraculous faith in chairs, I know that my belief is easily falsifiable. And on those rare occasions when I suffer a bad chair, I know that it is the chair that has failed, and not I who has failed the chair.

To which stevec said…

Howard, I would disagree that you have faith in chairs. You have plenty of evidence (in the form of past experience) that chairs generally work. And if you were to sit down on a chair, and it were to creak portentously, you might well get up and take a hard look at the chair, and maybe gingerly test it a bit before sitting on it again.

To put it more shortly, you do not appear to believe in the structural soundness of chairs to a degree which exceeds the available evidence. And that is what faith is, as best I can tell, believing something to a degree of certainty which exceeds what it warranted by the available evidence. So, to be blunt, I doubt your faith in chairs. You are no chair-believer, you.


While I’m singling people out, I want to speechify Woozle, George, and Cujo359, who have all worked their guts out sending me material that’s proven extremely useful, clarifying my thoughts, and providing the support and encouragement that this book so desperately needs. All of you who have commented or emailed me have been of vital service, but those three have really taken this project to heart, and so have earned an extra tip o’ the shot glass.

I know you all have extremely busy lives. I know you probably have eleventy-one thousand better things to do than hang about here, adding your wisdom to my work. The fact that those of you who have commented on this book-in-progress, no to mention those who have read and commented on my other posts, have found it worthwhile to add your insights is incredible to me. There’s no greater gift you can give to a writer.

I need to work on this whole becoming rich and famous thing so that I can gather you all together in a real cantina, and show my appreciation with a lavish application of food, drink, and entertainment. You deserve nothing less, and a great deal more.

Muchos gracias, mis amigos. Salud.

Friday Favorite Exchange This Week

Friday Favorite Pep Talk

If there is no dull and determined effort, there will be no brilliant achievement. – Hsun-tzu

Nine days.

For those of us engaging in NaNoMadNess, that’s it. That’s all we’ve got left. At the end of nine days, we’ve either got 50,000 words or we’re putting our pictures up on FAIL Blog.

Some of you may be panicking about now. Your well of words may have gone dry at this critical moment. You’re staring at the blank pages stretching out before you, you’re looking in despair at the disparity between the words you’ve completed versus the words you have yet to write, and you’re having a Very Bad Moment.

In the immortal words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t Panic.”

We’ve got only nine days, but that includes two weekends. Some of us even have a four-day weekend coming up. Fuck the family. Let some other bugger cook the turkey. We’ll catch up at Christmas. This holiday, we write.

We can do this thing.

Ten thousand word weekends are possible. I’ve done them. Chuck the Inner Editor out the window and just get typing. Run through the tape. Push through the pain. Do that, and you’ll win.

Last year, Neil Gaiman emailed a sorely-needed pep talk to NaNo sufferers. I’m sure he won’t mind if I reproduce it in full here:

Dear NaNoWriMo Author,

By now you’re probably ready to give up. You’re past that first fine furious rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining. You’re not yet at the momentous downhill slide to the end, when words and images tumble out of your head sometimes faster than you can get them down on paper. You’re in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random
email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more—and that even when they do you’re preoccupied and no fun. You don’t know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined
that anyone would want to read it, and you’re pretty sure that even if you finish it it won’t have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began—a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel,
in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read—it falls so painfully short that you’re pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.

Welcome to the club.

That’s how novels get written.

You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What
matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

A dry-stone wall is a lovely thing when you see it bordering a field in the middle of nowhere but becomes more impressive when you realise that it was built without mortar, that the builder needed to choose each interlocking stone and fit it in. Writing is like building a wall. It’s a continual search for the word that will fit in the text, in your mind, on the page. Plot and character and metaphor and style, all these become secondary to the words. The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn’t build it it won’t be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.

The search for the word gets no easier but nobody else is going to write your novel for you.

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the
plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I cou ld abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing
with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm—or even arguing with me—she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, “Oh, you’re at that part of the book, are you?”

I was shocked. “You mean I’ve done this before?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Not really.”

“Oh yes,” she said. “You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients.”

I didn’t even get to feel unique in my despair.

So I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.

One word after another.

That’s the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes in to Chapter Nine, it’s the only way to do it.

So keep on keeping on. Write another word and then another.

Pretty soon you’ll be on the downward slide, and it’s not impossible that soon you’ll be at the end. Good luck…

Neil Gaiman

You see now why Neil Gaiman has always been my North Star when it comes to writing. And he believes in us. Neil’s never been wrong yet, so we’re likely going to do just fine.

Stop worrying. Take a deep breath. Start typing.

Don’t stop.

You’ll get there.

You must act as if it is impossible to fail. – Ashanti proverb

Friday Favorite Pep Talk

Friday Favorite Things About Winter

Oshit. So busy with NaNoMadNess that I almost forgot the Friday Favorite. No bed for Dana just yet.

So, look, I know it’s not officially winter yet, and some of you down south are about to experience a nice balmy summer, but the temperature in Seattle dropped severely over the past day, there’s snow on the ground in parts of the world, and damn it, I’m thinking of winter. Especially since my toes are freezing after walking the trash out in sandals.

I hate winter, actually. It’s one of my least-favorite seasons. But, paradoxically, it’s one of my most productive seasons as a writer. The short, gray days and the long nights are very friendly to someone who only writes well when it’s dark. There’s no warm breeze and blooming flowers to lure me from my lair. The cold snaps me awake and gets my creative juices flowing. So I love winter for the writing.

Those days when a cold rain’s falling or snow’s accumulating are the perfect excuse to curl up in bed with a warm purring cat and a good book and tell the world to shove off. I get a lot of quality reading time in.

And I love watching snow fall. I love the hush when a really good storm hits. The world is a different place when it’s covered in frozen white water. I sometimes take walks in snowstorms, bundled in a heavy jacket and my trusty hooded cloak, watching the details blur as snow covers them. The cold is sharp, but everything looks soft and new.

Finally, one must not forget the holidays. Extra time off work is always a bonus when all one wants to do is scribble and then read. I don’t have family up here, so I get to beg off and be alone with my creative juices. Most people hate being alone on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I love it.

Right, then. Seriously off to bed now. Tell me your favorite things, if you like.

Friday Favorite Things About Winter

Friday Favorite Election Moments

One day, when I resemble something that just emerged from a crypt, I’ll be regaling children with the story of the most historic election in United States history. This will entail having to explain things like YouTube, having to use a device to access the intertoobz rather than just thinking up a connection, and other sundry things. Yes, I’ll throw in a “walked to work barefoot in the snow uphill both ways” for good measure. But the thing that will be hardest to explain in the joy.

I’ve never seen my country react like this to a presidential election. There’s been excitement and celebration in the past, but since when did we take to the streets? Have we ever gathered at Pennsylvania Avenue and chanted a politician’s name in adoration? I don’t remember it happening.

Here they were, outside of the White House, spontaneously singing the national anthem:

The title of the diary entry where that’s posted is “Like We Overthrew a Dictator….” And it is like that. I hope the children of this country will never again have to know what it’s like to wake up from an eight-year nightmare. I hope they’ll never have to spend the run-up to an election wondering if the country will survive the result.

My favorite moment, of course, was the one that came immediately after I’d refreshed The Washington Monthly, and Steve Benen’s victory announcement flashed on my screen:

At 11 p.m. EST, the networks have called California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii for Barack Obama.

And with that announcement, Obama will be the 44th president of the United States.

Yes. He. Did.

I read that, and I started crying. It was the most perfect moment I’ve ever experienced. All of the fear, all of the pain, all of the anger that had become a never-ending houseguest over the past several years finally packed up its bags and moved on. I sat there at my desk, weeping with hope and relief, and it would have continued to be the most perfect moment of my life if a damned call hadn’t come in.

It’s the first and only time I’ve ever posted from my work computer. I couldn’t wait to announce this. I had to capture that moment. From staunchly apolitical to caring enough about the outcome of a presidential election to risk losing my job just so I could scream victory to the world at large: it’s been an incredible journey.

Then there was you. All of you who commented that night and the nights after, your hope and joy, your excitement, made me feel as if you were there with me. Every comment that came in shone like the sun. Thank you for being there, and thank you for all you’ve done to make this moment possible.

In the pre-dawn hours of November 5th, I watched Obama’s speech, and cried all over again. This is the man we elected. This is the man who pulled America back from the abyss:

We made the right choice. It’s never been more clear.

I read the headlines from around the world, and knew that Americans weren’t the only ones waking from a nightmare. The headlines were as giddy as those Americans celebrating in the streets of every city from D.C. to Seattle. I feel as though we’ve given a gift to the world, begun to make amends for the hell of the last eight years. We have a long way to go, promises we must not break, but one of the most gratifying moments was realizing that the world welcomed us back with open arms. Nothing will be easy. But we’re not alone, and we have hope.

No election in my lifetime will ever again come close to matching this one. This moment is my favorite one, because it is our moment. We brought hope back, together.

This is the moment we realized, without doubt: Yes. We. Can.

Friday Favorite Election Moments