Friday, March 30, 2018

Weird Fiction for Spring Renewal

"That was the end of our voluntary searchings in the caverns of dream. Awed, shaken, and portentous, my friend who had been beyond the barrier warned me that we must never venture within those realms again." H.P. Lovecraft

“Horror is the removal of masks.” Robert Bloch

“Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-colored sun
Of secret worlds incredible, and take
Their trailing skies for vestment when I soar,
Throned on the mounting zenith, and illume
The spaceward-flown horizons infinite.”

Clark Ashton Smith

"But while our parting was mutually acceptable and even expedient, still it was painful. And I would like to think it hurt both of us, for I certainly felt it: a wrenching inside, like some small but improbably necessary organ was no longer in there, that it was missing, torn or fallen out. And at the time I'd thought that was the end of it; what was missing was gone forever..." Brian Lumley

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

After I die it will not matter.

I do not care if people do not believe me, or in me.  It doesn't make me change, nor does it help or hurt my path forward.  It might hurt my feelings.  It might help me divide the masses from friend, follower or acquaintance.  But overall, I have to be the person who accepts that not everyone will like me, like my work, like the forms of writing, or like reading.  Additionally, I am very much not worried if my work will live on after I die.  After I die it will not matter.  After I die the earth might get invaded by aliens and Hitler's moon colony storm troopers.  After I die my body might be reanimated, with machinery and new organic parts and become the cyborg enforcer of Section 10, Avenue 4. People seem to think that they can hurt me by hurting my work, hating me, or hating my effort.  I don't write for them.  I never did. A writer I had interviewed caused me to get email to be forwarded to the writer.  I forwarded them and the writer accused me of writing the emails entirely.  I can't help what other people think, especially if they are wrong.

Oh well.  I move on.

I leave you with this from cartoonist Wyatt

Sunday, March 25, 2018

My background of study for King Arthur

Many people assume that a fictional work is done without research.  I read more than 3 dozen books about King Arthur and general Celtic myth for my books Lancelot, Arthur Rex Eternus, The Quest of Arthur, King of Ages, and with a focus on non-Arthur Celt myth and legend, Mythic Memories, Sacred Ground, and Visitations into Sidhe and Tir na nOg.  It is the fact that the more true the setting you create feels, (verisimilitude) the more depth the characters you create or use will become.

 “So endeth the story of the winning of Excalibur, and may God give unto you in your life, that you may have His truth to aid you, like a shining sword, for to overcome your enemies; and may He give you Faith (for Faith containeth Truth as a scabbard containeth its sword), and may that Faith heal all your wounds of sorrow as the sheath of Excalibur healed all the wounds of him who wore that excellent weapon. For with Truth and Faith girded upon you, you shall be as well able to fight all your battles as did that noble hero of old, whom men called King Arthur.”
― Howard Pyle, The Story of King Arthur and His Knights

To that extent, my studies focused mostly upon the history that is known, the history that was speculative, and the historical studies that regard the era.  Roman Britain is an area of writing that fascinates me, it moves me, from both sides of the conflict.  The fact that Arthurian legends place a real Arthur, a war general, shortly after Roman withdrawal from Britain suggests that the real life Arthur had been a Britain officer in a Roman Legion.  Perhaps he had risen as a result of being left behind as a leader to be certain of his loyalty to Rome, but it is more likely that he'd been trained and fought at the side of the Romans.

“Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross.”  Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur

Arthurian legend has roots in Britain, as it was a story of pride, tragedy and romance.   A piece of evidence towards the legend having roots in reality, Glastonbury Tor is where Arthur and his queen's bodies were said to be unearthed.  When the legend says he died in Avalon, an island of apple trees and beauty, surrounded by mist.  Glastonbury Tor is a great hill, which is circled on either side by rushing rivers.  In the morning dew, mist, Glastonbury looks very much like an island, surrounded by mists.

The castle Arthur is said to have been born in is found at Tintagel, found in Cornwall, upon the shore of the ocean.  This is a site far from Londinium (modern London), far from the Saxon far shores, perhaps he was born in a place that was a remnant population of Britons, the last stand of such.

For purposes of familiarity I read books that told the story with an eye for the commonalities, rather than the divergences.  But even reading fictional stories, I chose the most scholarly so that I might read the original language and understand the work more deeply.  I made some changes to the legend, because, I can, but also, by casting out a number of late additions one brings the core to further light. I have read that people of the present do not have a familiarity to the story, but more than just that, to the impact of the legends and myths in the past.  King Arthur was a very rich field for prose, non-fiction, art, and almost every form of media.  And as Batman, Superman and Spider-man are the fantasy characters of the present, King Arthur and each additional story were the heroes of the past, especially in Britain.

“Alas that he did not ask the question then! I still sorrow for him on that account. For when the sword was put into his hand, it was a sign to him that he should ask. And I pity too his sweet host whom God's displeasure does not spare and who could have been freed from it by a question.”

Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival

Some have argued for Arthur as the quintessential Briton.  That he was from the original people of Albion, (a name for Britain), he won 12 battles that kept Britain free for 50 years before the Saxons flooded the island.  But while Arthur's core stories are British, they were later enhanced and expanded by French authors, and even Germans.  The nature of the medieval education meant that there was a smaller core of knowledge and those authors of the day wrote about the biggest legend as a means to both fame, but also to establish more of the legend.  Lancelot and my favorite knight Galahad came late to the party, and the holy grail was not part of the original tales.  French poet Chr├ętien de Troyes is the source of the first mention of the Holy Grail, which is a few hundred years after the original tales.  Some argue that the grail saga was commentary of how the leaders of the land grow powerless if they become separated from the land and people.  Only a return to faith by the leader, in this form the Holy Grail, can allow a rebirth of the land.  God has anointed the leader and if he falls away, the leadership becomes corrupted, and can only be redeemed by a return.

"It's obvious that it's after dinner," says sir Kay unable to hold his tongue. "There are more words in a potful of wine than in a barrel of beer". Chr├ętien de Troyes

While for me I loved knights from a very early age, what kicked my mind into overdrive were the books of Geoffrey Ashe.  He explains and explores the roots of the legends.  His work is brilliant, and deeply informed my study.  I have read dozens of the stories, and enjoyed them all.  But of the fiction I most enjoyed Parzival, by Wolfram von Eschenbach and of the non-fiction was probably Roman Britain and Early England by Peter Hunter Blair.  I love the world of King Arthur and I suggest you do a similar study if you are moved to do so.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Human Tragedies

There are times I give in to despair.  I then believe that the God I believe in doesn't believe in me, that he exists, but doesn't hear my prayer, doesn't support my faith or acts.  I've made choices in life that I have to say were sacrifices.  I am not a saint, I am not a genius, but given a chance to advance or be moral, I chose being moral.  Given a chance to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh, or be moral, I chose being moral.  And given a chance to do the right thing when no one is looking, or, advance my own selfish needs, I was moral.  And in the end, I feel like I've done a good job as a representative of my god.  But, after years of sorrow, pain, and failure, it is entirely possible that I might have ended up on a different path given my making different choices.  If I did things different perhaps I'd have a result where I have more agency in my own life than I do.  I waited patiently upon God, and I believe God exists more than I do anything else, and often felt I was a voice in the empty abyss.  No one heard my cry, let alone god.

That doesn't mean I disbelieve.  It doesn't mean I am ready to change my course.  It means that who I am is broken by my own choices and failures, and that brokenness causes me to shrink my reach, and protect my vital organs.  I can't keep trying to do the right thing and get kicked in the testicles.  So, yes, I live in a world with people who are broken.  And I am broken, as well.  But despite acknowledging that, it is more broken than it has a reason to be.  We are told how modern and great we've become technologically.  We are told our human civilization has been responsible for the highest achievement intellectually, and that our world is now moving from humans being at risk for living, due to the dangers of the world, to the present, of humans being at risk for not thriving.  But if we are living longer, and with less disease, is longer life really a good thing?

I am uncertain. 

What is existence?  Is it something more than breath, and surviving? Are we adding to the planet in numbers but not in quality?  If we are unable to feed and clothe those who live, if we are unable to create lives if we are not born White, Rich, Educated, are the hopes offered by longer living, and less unhealthy lives, worth having?  I saw someone on twitter post that the top 10% of humans regarding wealth, own more than 80% of the wealth on the planet.  What I then found, dependent upon how you define it all, if you take the American middle class definition of wealth up to the very top, about 28% of the people, you have 93% or so of wealth in their hands.  Therefore 72% own 7%.  How can anyone do more than survive in that situation?

Things that are f*cked up.

People used to believe that spending 2 dollars for a bottle of spring water was extravagant or insane, but not now.  Water systems in the present in a major city metros are worse than drinking straight from the nearby river.  Lead poisoning, Legionnaire's Disease, and other human diseases and afflictions, can be directly linked to the water system failure in Flint, Michigan.  And Flint, however hard the public officials tried, is a city with more than water issues to worry over.  Financial issues plague the city, directly resulting from major relocation of car plants and other heavy industry leaving the area.  Flint has a majority African American population.  Flint is segregated by race/cultural identity, and as might be expected, segregated by economic health.  Flint is a city experiencing hell.  And that is f*cked up.

Americans are among the most wealthy people in the world, through GDP, and individual income, yet there are many cities with sections of the city being unlivable despite the overall wealth.  Despite the world living in worse conditions, places like Detroit, MI, Flint, MI, Saginaw, MI, Gary, Indiana, East Saint Louis, IL, East Cleveland, OH,  Toledo OH, Youngstown OH, and Trenton, NJ would feel 3rd world to a majority of Americans, due to blight, abandoned buildings, and homelessness.  Tell me that a world with a financial giant, like America still is, can allow the workers to die off due to poisoning, abandonment of Government services, and simple refusal to help, can be a leader.   Other countries, the states of the former Soviet Union and allied states, for example, have abandoned people, and abandoned properties, but they lost the Cold War.  Losing is almost always not a good thing in war.

We have been told that abortion rights allow families to plan better, and to address issues such as unwanted pregnancies, inability to support a family with children, and more. Yet there are reports that in certain parts of the world, that have full access to abortion, males are no longer present in the lives of their children.  In Scotland the BBC reported that most children do not have father figures, and there are many elementary schools without any male teachers.  Isn't that result what not allowing abortion was said to lead toward?

Humans shit where they live.  Landfills are rapidly closing due to being full.  Nuclear power creates waste that cannot be tossed out, it remains dangerous.  Garbage incineration pumps heavy metals and other toxins into the air, and thereafter to enter the water system.  We have advanced technologically, but almost nothing has been done to fix our methods of depositing our waste.  And sooner than later, the heavy metals, toxic chemicals will enter the ground water, and we will watch as lands become barren, and babies are born completely broken, due to defect.

I've mentioned before the problem of Global Climate change.  I am not going to go through it again defining and explaining, but it is a ticking time bomb.  Whether the sun is in a minimum cycle that could lead to an ice age, or there are many factors leading earth into period of rapid and irreversible heating, thus changing climate to an almost unlivable pattern, humans have to face the destructive actions that they have performed.   Sooner or later we'll know which direction climate will take, and if we are freezing or boiling, it'll suck, either direction.  Look into the work of Guy McPherson, Patrick Moore and Judith Curry, dig around.  Not every point of view is equal, but if you do your own research you won't be forced to eat the shit sandwich of following the crowd.

If there is a marching band of forty people, and thirty nine are out of step, the one who isn't marching in sync with the rest is not wrong.  It is possible to be the one voice in the midst of darkness and ignorance.

Every day: Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the "natural" or "background" rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago.  (Aug 17, 2010.  UN Environmental Programme source.) Notable among  Sudan (1973 – 19 March 2018) was a captive northern white rhinoceros, kept in a preserve in the nation of Kenya. He was one of only three living northern white rhinoceroses in the world, and the last known male of his subspecies.

I believe that the world has made choices.  We are all guilty.  The only solution to everything is for us to make different choices.  I am waiting for that.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Things I occasionally think

(Images used are either public domain or are being used as fair use.  No copyright infringement is implied nor ownership claimed).

Things that occur to me:

If the government wanted to arrest David Koresh and his followers for supposed child abuse they wouldn't have pumped flammable gas into the compound for children to asphyxiate or burn if it was ignited.  Unless they didn't care about the children in the first place.

If a president wanted to bring stability to a region in southeast Asia, he would not have encouraged provocative actions near the much better equipped, led, and motivated sovereign people living in the upper half of that country.  The North Vietnamese were the legitimate leaders and the French, US and the rest of the world was complicit in the death of many thousands of people who were trapped in the political wars of the cold war conflict.

It has been said that JFK Jr was quoted as saying he was going to use the magazine GEORGE to help him reveal who killed his father.  Naming the magazine what he did either refers to the first president of the US, or, the name of the person he could not outright name as the killer of his father,  GEORGE HW Bush.

I think sometimes with the JFK Assassination we fail to use common sense.  Of course it was a magic bullet.  Of course this president who challenged the mafia, Cuba, the Soviets, and his own CIA, FBI and the power brokers in US Government, had only one lone nut with a gun who was barely ranked as a shooter on the range could put two or three bullets on target.

If we agree to the phrase, the science is settled on global warming, why, with hundreds of years of civilian gun ownership rights in the US, why isn't the gun-ownership matter settled.  If we don't know by now, when the hell will we ever?  No.   I know, the answer is no, we don't know and will never.

People who like comic books are great.  People who only like comic books are usually, ummm, well, not normal.  If you love a comic that is fantasy, go read Tolkien, RE Howard, if you like horror comics, try Lovecraft, Lumley, Stephen King or Anne Rice books.  Watch a fucking movie, or documentary.  Please, there is so much more in life than comics.  Or books, or games or whatever thing you focus on to the exclusion of everything else.  I love comics.  Trust me.  I might write shitty ones, but I love em. ( I also think that if you sit on your couch watching the world happen on your television in news, sports and reality shows, you've stopped living and you are letting others live for you.  So, if you live vicariously through others, at least choose well.)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Stuff to think about

“Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?”― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

I am not perfect.  I am flawed.  But I've still decided that people suck.  Most people mostly suck, at least.  There is a disease on the internet where people are not allowed their own opinions.  Now, they might not leave comments, that can be deleted, they send emails with complete expectation of non sharing with the public.

“It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realise that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.”
― George Orwell, 1984

For example... I don't know the answer to mass shootings, but I suspect it involves guns and homicidal people. Anything dealing with both is better than anything concentrating on one. But that doesn't mean I know the answer. Quite honestly, I find it remarkably similar to hearing and then smelling a chorus of farts in a closed room, all of the commentators who think they have the answer.  We live in a country of many divisions, and our enemies use those divisions to break us.

“knowledge, absolutely sure of its infallibility, is faith” Yevgeny Zamyatin, We

I wrote about Transgender people, had four people having issues sending hate filled emails, and one that was ok, but needing clarification.  I wrote about gun laws and guns in the US, and had people on both sides send me email threats.  I wrote books about death and life, and people invite me to experience one of them soon.

“The press of the United States? It is a parasitic growth that battens on the capitalist class. Its function is to serve the established by moulding public opinion, and right well it serves it.”  Jack London, The Iron Heel

I have had experiences in the past when I wrote an essay or blog entry that was not meant to convince other people but instead to explain my view.  And then received hatemail when people took issue with the things that I am moved by that explain my view, and then they say I should not be motivated by them... Yes, it is idiocy and madness.  I hope you, the reader, have a good life.  I hope you are happy.  But I do not, exactly, care if you agree with the things that move me to believe whatever it is I believe. To put it simply, if you like Dirty Dancing and think it is art, watch the hell out of it, enjoy it, and be happy.  I dislike it.  I am bored by it.  But it wasn't made for me.  King Kong versus Godzilla was.  And I enjoy it.  This isn't entirely to shat upon opinions.  It might seem that I am saying you shouldn't think something.

“But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

What I am saying is, try to perceive my point of saying it.  Am I trying to convince you?  Or am I reporting my experience?  Whatever it is, is it really worth your time to send hatemail?   Again, I do not care what you like, and I am happy you like it.  Please show me the same respect.  Well unless I suggest abuse or evil deeds are good for me.  Lastly, if you write to me about guns and suggest I should be shot, I think you need to consider the language you use, or you won't be respected as a rational observer.

“Take stock, citizen bacillus,
Now that there are so many billions of you,
Bleeding through your opened veins,
Into your bathtub, or into the Pacific
Of that by which they may remember you.”
John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar


Since people seem to desire to have me be their strawman, to be the subject of false arguments so that you can shred him, I suppose I should try to explain me.  I am not some sort of science minded thinker.  Despite having a relatively high IQ, I am more of a creative artist than science mind.  I don't think on the lines of math, on reason, but upon fire and heartbeats.

I like movies that stir new thoughts in me, I hate movies that pretend to tell something new but are instead old, tired, and stupid.  I like poetry because it lifts me to higher thought.  I like King Kong versus Godzilla because it allows me to not think, just enjoy.  I hate liars.  I hate lying.  I lie.  I wish I didn't.

I read to stimulate my brain.  I read to entertain my brain.  And I read what I do to create new thoughts.  I get tired from being constantly ill.  I have arthritis in three specific places that causes me to have pain that causes my mind to scream.  I have volunteered at many non-profit organizations, but don't do it because I am any kind of great thinker who can change the world.  But I do find that what I do has some success because I am far different than any of the people I've worked with at such places.  I have also given away thousands of books, comics and dollars, despite having few of such things.  And, having said all this, I think that is what I am called to do.  I am called to speak truth when I see it, share of what I have in abundance, and I hope help others.

I've been told by a number of people that I am a fool.  This is true.  None of us can control how we emotionally respond to things, and when I see beauty, kindness or truth it makes me emotional.  It strikes when I am unguarded.  And others seeing this often see this response as weakness, but I promise, it is not.  "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." - Mahatma Gandhi

You may not support my work.  You might.  I do not do this for any single person, well, other than myself.  I write every day.  I love writing.  And writing allows me to understand issues better.  I am close to the end of my publishing life.  I can't continue to publish work without financial reward.  Very few people who bought my first work are around to buy my current works.  I thank those who have persevered and remained steady in their support.  I'd like to suggest, if you liked my early work I've improved as a writer.  If you did not, I understand.