I want to talk about my brother.
I was lucky enough to have an older brother who is close enough in age to me that we got to share our childhood together. We were constant playmates. We weren’t (and aren’t) always best pals, but we were (and are) more than friends: we are brothers, linked by more than convenience and proximity.
Throughout my childhood, Phil led our play. Phil guided us through vast, unseen worlds full of spark. He pointed out the flora and the fauna. He knew all the big battles. He could astutely recall the subsurface conflict motivating this ruler or that dynastic family. He always corrected our mis-identification of our weapons, our means of transport, our armor, our weaknesses/strengths. He was the mother of our playscapes. The midwife of our dreams.
Phil birthed more faraway lands, futuristic post-industrial city hubs, war-torn factory towns, and seaside sword fights than history seemed capable of doing herself. Phil’s mind is a wonder of the world.
I remember vividly running around the yard encircling our parents’ house with a few close friends, but it was not our parents’ yard at all. With a few well-crafted sentences, Phil had transformed our suburban blase into a crumbling bridge, demons at our backs, closing steel gate ahead in the middle of a long lost valley being overtaken by corrupt sorcerers.
From a young age, Phil possessed a knack for building universes. The steady, surreal craftsmanship of creating palaces out of nothing came readily to Phil. Phil expanded my mind. He challenged my eyes and taught me to see beyond this place.
Phil also knew no world could be perfectly fair. Phil would let us die time and time again. Phil would also let us be reborn anew. Spring eternal.
Phil’s mind is a hurricane of humanity: sadness, remorse, shame; pride, joy, humor. At times, Phil appears to struggle with connecting with others, but that is simply because few people are prepared to eschew the reality offered by the material world and enter the supremely more interesting and strange world Phil’s mind offers them.
I am fortunate to have Phil in my life. Phil’s very existence has permitted me to live a thousand lives already. Phil is the creative spark that has given birth to any limited imagination I may possess. Phil’s demons will always be more provocative and more sublime than my angels.
I only hope that Phil continues unceasingly to produce something money can’t buy and practice cannot permit: more of himself, less of the oppressive boxes the world seems so bent on pushing him through.
Phil is my brother and the work is always for him.