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What's inspiring me? - May 2021

· inspirations

Inspiration can come from all sorts of places. What am I doing, reading, playing, watching this month that's inspiring me?

Berlin Always Berlin. This city, in the memorable words of Karl Scheffler, "condemned forever to become and never to be." I keep a map of the 1848 city on my wall, and of all the places I've lived, there isn't a more beautiful, sad, hopeful, yearning place. You can't walk these streets without walking in the shadows of history--in the footsteps of failed revolutions, broken promises, horrific oppression, walls built and torn down, time and again. And yet there is a persistent, defiant joy in Berlin life: when the sun comes out and people flood the streets and fill the parks. Of course, the current chapter of Berlin is still being written: a struggle to be a truly diverse, welcoming, multicultural city; a struggle against skyrocketing rents and the erosion of city life and culture that comes with it. Berlin is a dream: not here yet, but maybe one day.

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla Specifically Eivor. She's such a fun character: tough, but very funny, and they're not afraid to put her into awkward or humiliating situations (in contrast to how many games take their protagonists--especially their tough female protagonists--way too seriously.) They've done a good job with this one creating a mix of high-stakes questlines and interesting little side events that feel unique, even if there are some rougher edges. Some people say it's not much of an Assasin's Creed game, and that's true, but it's a heck of a fun viking game, and that's working for me right now.

The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe by Bryan P. Levack. I'm between personal projects at the moment, which is always the time I pick an area of history that intrigues me and start diving into the research. So far, it's an engaging, thoroughly researched read that takes the belief of people (historical and modern) in witchcraft seriously while also sifting the myths about it created by credulous torturers and Christian theologians from the realities of the early modern practice. 

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