I am not drawn to the familiar but to that which is different, whether a different geography, a different culture, or a different perspective; that is, a different way of seeing. For me, in writing, it is beautiful to make the empathetic leap, living in someone else’s skin for a while.
My earliest recollections of beauty were from when I was very young, perhaps only a few years old. I had a physical reaction to certain images or to colors. I became entranced and immobile, immersed in my sense impressions of the outer world invading the inner.
In the afternoon, sunlight hits the clear water and the rocks underneath, coloring them golden. When I gaze at the spot and then turn to look further upstream, where some Sierra peak stands in the background, I know this soars to the spiritual realm that classifies as beauty, because every way I try to describe it misses the mark.
The real creation was done by our contributors, who wrote and thought and painted and photographed and sculpted and played and composed. There's so much talent out there, such incredible minds, legions of people doing wonderful things, even if conditions seem sometimes unpropitious.
Beauty is mystical in the strict sense --- that is, it is knowable by direct experience that inspires awe and fascination, without necessarily being susceptible to definition --- and also involves the notion of limit. Only that which comes to an end is beautiful.