Ernie, in process

Allo!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I wanted to give a quick update on a character some might remember from time past: Ernie the Philosopher.  As Ernie is in process of migrating to book form (all very grassroots for now), I thought I’d post a few pics from the ‘beta’ book. 🙂

It remains to be seen what’s next, but it’s been gratifying to witness a 3D Ernie, and I’ll be sure to post any news as it unfolds.  The original Ernie stories can be seen here: https://simonandfinn.com/stories/ernie-stories/

June 2015 Update: Happy to announce that the story, Ernie & The Forest of Envy, tied for first place in Toronto Writers’ Cooperative Helen Knight Short Story contest.

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Ernie & The Nietzsche Monster

There once was a rotund chap named Ernie.

Ernie was a happy sort.  He liked to wander through his domain…

Laughing and chatting with his friends along the way..

Yep, Ernie was a happy chap.

One day though, Ernie noticed something strange..

Ernie did not know it, but he had stumbled across a monster!

Now Ernie – in addition to being a happy chap – was also a bit naive..So Ernie decided to be friends, and associate himself with the monster.Ernie took the monster under his wing (or paw), frequenting all his favourite haunts..Over time though, Ernie started to notice something peculiar..Ernie wasn’t sure.. but it seemed like his friends were disappearing!Little did Ernie know that – when he wasn’t looking – the monster had cut a swathe of destruction through his kingdom!

Ernie started to grow suspicious of the monster…With that the monster started crying, which made Ernie feel bad.And this is when Ernie made a big mistake.With that pronouncement, Ernie thought of a plan.  He would somehow help make the monster become less – well – less ‘monster-ish’.He took the monster jogging….…to the library……and even out for sushi…But monster remained a monster.Over time, Ernie’s spirit grew tired of battling the monster’s nature……became despondent…… and eventually, weak.Several years passed, and Ernie forgot who he was – and the difference between him and the monster.Ernie had thought he could change the monster, but the monster – true to its nature – had changed him.After a long time of monster-like living, Ernie had a strange dream.He dreamt he was walking through his domain…When all of a sudden he fell into an abyss!The abyss seemed to go on forever..His fall abruptly ended when Ernie emerged from a huge hole..…which turned out to be the eye of a gigantic being!

Ernie stared, transfixed, at the apparition.All at once, it spoke!And with that, Ernie woke in a fright!Ernie thought carefully.  He thought back to his kingdom…the appearance of the monster.. the disappearance of his friends… and the gradual darkening of his life…

And Ernie then realized:And with that realization, his monster-shell fell away and Ernie regained his true spirit.With his renewal, Ernie decided to deal with the monster for once and all.And the monster left.Slowly, peace and joy returned to the kingdom.Things were almost as before.But sometimes, a cloud would pass over the sun and Ernie would remember his strange dream….Years later, when Ernie would notice someone befriending a monster, he would shake his head and enigmatically pronounce:“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”  – Friedrich Nietzsche

For more Ernie stories click here!

Ernie & The Forest of Envy

Once upon a time, there lived a small rotund creature named Ernie.

Ernie was a happy sort of chap.

He liked meandering through his domain, chatting with friends here and there.

One day though, Ernie happened upon a patch of forest he had never seen before.

Ernie decided to explore further, completely ignoring all childhood tales of woe associated with dark woods.

As he entered, he passed small warning signs that are sometimes referred to as foreshadowing.

Yep, he pretty much blithely sailed on through many such warning signs..

Ernie wasn’t always the most astute observer, especially when he was having a good time.

As he sauntered on, Ernie didn’t really notice that the light was getting dimmer and that he was slowly forgetting his way back home.

All of a sudden, Ernie stumbled upon something he found highly unusual – a person with a crown!

Ernie watched, fascinated!  He had never seen a crown before – and, oh – how it gleamed..Ernie found himself possessed by a strange yearning – never had he seen anything so enchanting..

As he thought back to his life, it seemed but pale and ridiculous compared to the beauty of the creature’s crown.

Ernie grew obsessed by the idea of the golden crown!  He had to have it!

What Ernie didn’t know that he had inadvertently stumbled into the Forest of Envy, which blinded the souls of all who entered, filling them with insatiable longing for the fortunes of others.

All he could think about was the crown – the precious crown.

By night he would lie awake in the forest, ruminating obsessively about the crown.

By day, he would watch the crowned one, a dark and hulking shadow.Needless to say, Ernie grew increasingly unhappy and dissatisfied.

One day though, Ernie noticed something strange.The crowned one was staring fixedly at another in the distance – one with a crown.. and a sceptre!

As Ernie watched, he could almost see a transformation take place in the crowned one…

Ernie wanted to yell – what are you so unhappy about, you at least have a crown!

All of a sudden Ernie was struck by a realization.

And with that, Ernie’s heart grew large towards the crowned one.

With those single words, the clear rays of light came shining through the Forest of Envy.

And with that, Ernie decided it was time to go home and strolled away, leaving the changed forest behind.

Years later, when asked about his time in the Forest of Envy, Ernie was fond of expounding the wisdom of Bertrand Russell, and would simply say:“To find the right road out of this despair civilized man must enlarge his heart as he has enlarged his mind. He must learn to transcend self, and in so doing to acquire the freedom of the Universe.” – Bertrand Russell

For more Ernie stories click here!

Ernie and The Secret of Plato’s Cave

A long time ago in a galaxy sort of near, lived a small rotund creature named Ernie.

Ernie was a happy type of chap.

He would meander through his domain…

… channeling Mr. Rogers with all his friends.

One day though, Ernie came across a dark opening in his world..

Ernie drew closer…

.. and closer …

… and close-

How rude!

Anyway, Ernie finally plucked up the courage to go inside the cave…

Where he witnessed a strange sight!  He saw others of his kind, shackled, facing a blank wall of flickering light.

Ernie noticed with curiosity that they stared fixedly at the shadows cast on the wall..

… and muttered darkly amongst themselves about the images they were seeing.

As Ernie looked on, the strange ones bickered about their world..

… which led Ernie to be a little immature..

Over time though, Ernie started to find it less funny and even a little sad, for it seemed that this world of shadows was all they knew –

Ernie decided it was time for a change!

Little did he know at the time, but as it turns out Ernie had accidentally stumbled across his world’s version of Plato’s Cave.

Ernie was glad to finally leave the cave.... but couldn’t help but muse upon what he had seen.

Years later when asked about his experience with the cave-dwellers, Ernie would smile enigmatically and pronounce:

“Everyone has a cave or den of his own, which refracts and discolours the light of nature…” – Sir Francis Bacon

For more Ernie stories click here!

The Importance of Being Ernie-est

Once upon a time there lived a small rotund creature named Ernie.

Ernie was a fairly simple soul, and he lived a peaceful and quiet life…

..enjoying many rich friendships along the way.

One day though, Ernie received a letter!

“Dear Ernie”, it read. “We have noticed your interpersonal skills and would like to invite you to join our prestigious organization: the Senate, or the house of sober second thought.”

Ernie felt a rush of pride!  Nobody had ever asked him to be ‘a somebody’ before.

He also felt the stirrings of other strange and new emotions.. perhaps a touch of vanity.. and a small, slight glimmer of greed.

These created some changes in Ernie – he started to stand a little straighter…

.. walk with a hint of a swagger…

.. and found his previous pursuits not quite apropos to his new found status.

Ernie took to curling his tuft of hair into little ringlets…

… and traveling by litter so as to not sully his person with the common folk.

Having a gift for oration, Ernie rose quickly in his new senate position…

.. and soon found himself in high demand…

…with multiple social engagements and societal responsibilities.

Anyway, time passed as it always does…

…and Ernie started to find himself wearying of all the demands on him.

He found himself longing for more simple times..

…and thinking of his old friend Rosebud the bird.

One night Ernie bolted awake: he had an epiphany!He realized that he had given – nay – thrown!  to others freely the only thing he truly had in life – his time!

At that moment, Ernie resolved: no more.  And with that, his spirit rejoiced (and his hair uncurled).

He wasted no more time in saying goodbye to the gilded cage that his ambition, greed, and vanity had created, and ran off into the forest…

.. and lived peacefully – and contentedly – ever after.

Later, when asked about his time in the Senate, Ernie was fond of quoting Seneca, and would say with a small smile: “Sir, when you see a man repeatedly wearing the robe of office, or one whose name is often spoken in the Forum, do not envy him: these things are won at the cost of life.  In order that one year may be dated from their names they will waste all their own years.”

For more Ernie stories click here!

Ernie and the Conquest of Happiness

A long time ago in a galaxy very very near, there lived a small rotund creature named Ernie.

As you can see, Ernie was a saccharine mix of innocent, playful, and roundly cute. Ernie loved to frolic in the woods with all the birds and the bees (not in that way) and in general his days were full of joy and slightly annoying laughter.

One dark day though, Ernie came across a puzzling creature in the forest: “Bernie”.

Ernie was at a bit of a loss at this odd treatment but chose to interpret it as one would the darker passages of Wagner’s Ring Cycle (which on his planet was known as the Rinse Cycle).  Being a creature of perpetual sweetness and light, Ernie decided to overlook this omen and engage Bernie in friendship.

Despite Bernie’s strange social skills and beanie, Ernie was intrigued by his new friend and sought to cultivate the relationship.

He offered strolls…

He tried shows…

Even the building blocks of life were met with derision.

Anyway, this went on for a while.  As he continued to spend time with Bernie, Ernie noticed something strange was happening.  He started to find himself a little less full of sweetness and light.

In fact, Ernie was also becoming noticeably less rotund, while Bernie, conversely, seemed overly inflated..

He couldn’t quite put his paw on it, but Ernie knew that something was amiss.

One memorable day though, Ernie had a lot of coffee and wine at the same time and experienced an epiphany!

At this very moment, Ernie realized that he had let Bernie become the authoritative downer on how his time should be experienced.  With that realization, Ernie’s joie de vivre instantly expanded to its former rotund proportions – he was free of the tyranny!

Years later, when Ernie was asked about this dark period in his life, he was fond of paraphrasing Bertrand Russell. With a knowing air, Ernie would straighten up and proudly pronounce:

“The person who says he has many dislikes and is disinterested in so many things has given themselves less opportunity to enjoy life.  Conversely, those with many interests have given themselves just that many more opportunities for joy”.

And he lived happily ever after.

For more Ernie stories click here!