Introduction: Never weep, never weep.

With clear eyes explore the pit.

Sometime at the last gasp comes peace
To every soul.
Never to mine until I find out and speak
The things that I know.

Welcome to Near-Earth Object, a website, newsletter, and podcast (coming soon!) by me, Paul Fidalgo. These are the falling years.

First, an introduction.

This is a project through which I, an odd duck, work through the problem of how to be a person in the world. That’s it. Through written and spoken words, my own and those of others, I try to figure out what to think, what to believe, and how to feel. And then I publish it for the public, which is frankly the most dubious part of this whole enterprise.

As I hope you’ve guessed, the name Near-Earth Object is not about things that float in space. It’s about the experience of being part of something—be it a family, a society, or a species—while also being slightly outside of it. It’s about being part of a cosmic system, but in an erratic orbit.

This newsletter is intended to serve as a regular conduit between me and whoever else out there who might find value in watching this process unfold. I’ll certainly highlight my own work and happily direct you to it, but it will also be an opportunity for me to share thoughts and ideas I’ve collected from other sources, old and new. The format is known as a “newsletter,” but it will not be “newsy.” While commentary and reflection on current events is unavoidable, my hope is that any edition of this publication could be read by someone in the far future and found as worthy of their time and attention as it would be the day it was published.

Speaking of these times...

The tagline of this project, “These are the falling years,” and the lines —that appear at this newsletter’s opening—I read at the show’s opening, all come from a poem by Robinson Jeffers written around 1940 titled “For Una.” In it, Jeffers writes about a stone tower he had built for his wife, a place of solitude and sanctuary for the two of them and an expression of his love for her. But he is writing while processing the apocalyptic horrors of the Second World War, which at the time must truly have felt like the end of all things.

I’m beginning this project in the autumn of 2020, the Lost Year. This is my personal creative endeavor, and it’s happening against the backdrop of the anxiety, fear, disappointment, disillusionment, and despair of our current age, and there’s no getting away from that. These truly are falling years.

And though I am an odd duck, I am not a young one. According to actuarial tables, I’ve just kicked off the second half of my life, meaning I have fewer days ahead of me than I do before. I am a near-Earth object in a descending orbit. These are *my* falling years, too.

“Never weep, never weep,” wrote Robinson Jeffers. Well, I certainly won’t tell you not to weep. But there is much to see and much to say in between the tears.

Thanks for taking the time. If you’re still interested, read on.

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Who the hell is this guy?

I’m an actor, musician, writer, and father.

In a former life I was a professional stage actor, which included five amazing years with the American Shakespeare Center.

I have written and recorded quite a bit of music in my time, much of which you can find on the major streaming and download platforms. Just about all of it is available on SoundCloud.

I have been working in nonprofit communications since 2007, and of course no employer of mine necessarily endorses any of my opinions that are expressed on this or any other platform.

After about a decade as a professional actor, I earned a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University in Washington, DC, and worked in various areas of national politics. I now live in Maine. I was for a time a contributor for Friendly Atheist and Android Police.

In 2016, at the age of 38, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, also known as autism spectrum disorder.

I was one of the contributors to the book What Do We Do About Inequality? from the Wicked Problems Collaborative, with the essay “Noble Fictions and Sacred Texts.”

My essay “The Dead Tree” was published in the thirteenth Dark Mountain book.

For one brief shining moment I hosted the podcast Point of Inquiry.

  • Listen to my music.

  • Follow me on Twitter.

  • See what I read.

  • Send me an e-mail (no promises of a reply).

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