Sunday, November 22, 2015

JAMIE DELANO Master of Horror, the original Hellblazer

The best writer of a long running series Hellblazer was Jamie Delano.  There were a list of great writers upon the series, and to name a single one as best would seem foolhardy, especially since I find many of the people to be favorites in other areas, or at least all around great writers.  But Jamie is better as a writer of this kind of darkness, and he does so without any sort of apology.  He is unashamed, brash, and able to speak the language of vulgar without accent.  I have pointed to his work elsewhere, but do so again with this work specifically because it shows the truth of my comments.

Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Paul Jenkins, Brian Azzarello, and Mike Carey all kick my ass with awesome, but Jamie runs circles around the bunch.  I like the entire series, mind you, but in a way since Jamie was the first, it was a bit of catch up after he left.  The reason I am doing this now, regarding Hellblazer is that there have been two attempts to make Hellblazer/John Constantine appeal for Film and TV.  It is important to read the best works of the series and realize, John Constantine isn't pretty, he doesn't have proper teeth, he isn't gentle, he isn't well groomed.  He is a survivor, he has been a warrior who walks the razor's edge of sanity.  And neither the Keanu Reeves of film nor Matt Ryan of television work.  Both are too pretty.

Anyhow, read any of the Hellblazer runs, and as with most literary vs. movie comparisons, the depth of the written will destroy the visual and simple of the film.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Nope I am not, but just in case you need it to be more clear

I am not going to kill myself.

"Life is only a long and bitter suicide, and faith alone can transform this suicide into a sacrifice."  Franz Liszt


Need help? United States:
1 (800) 273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Languages: English, Spanish

Inevitably people ask if I am alright if I refer to suicide in anything I write.  I get emails and messages from concerned people, and from the occasional asshole telling me how to do it best.  I explain that I am using the term figuratively.  But I have struggled with the suicidal thoughts and am depressed often.  But I am not about to kill myself.

I realize some people cannot even begin to imagine suicide.  To them it is a sin or would rob them of so many things.  To others it is a last resort, and they haven't come anywhere close to that in their existence.  In my world, I guess I just have never felt as though I belonged here, so suicide might answer that and relieve my pain and remove the world's pain of me.  However, I am aware now, and wasn't then, that I have people who love me, and some who actually need me.  So I am not going to do anything.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Life goes on, sort of

I lost my mother in 2012.  She had had alzheimer's disease.  It was a malicious disease and the watch and wait robbed me of joy for many years prior, and obviously since. 

In 2013 I was diagnosed with cancer, lymphoma.  During the chemo I was afflicted with an intravenous staph infection that nearly killed me, and phlebitis.  I was hospitalized and had two surgeries that weren't, altogether, successful.  My wife saved my life during this event.  The staph came very close to killing me, and she believed I was more sick than just chemo aftermath sick.

In 2014 I beat cancer.  It was odd though, my flesh was exhausted, and my outlook, which had been warrior-like, didn't change upon beating the cancer.  In May I was finished with the treatments.  But in August I learned that a person I love deeply committed suicide.   Along with a number of people who chose to attack me now that I was "healed" or safe to fight with, I went into a deep deep depression that was perhaps the worst I ever experienced. 

2015 is almost over.  I just came out of a year long depression.  People who supported me in my cancer treatment are still here, and there are a vast number of people who were called friends, who really were not.  I guess it is good to arrive through to the other end of the tunnel of naivety.  I thought that being generous and forgiving would make friends last forever.  But as I've arrived at this older and wiser state I've found that many people are self interested, self centered, and lack depth.  Don't think this is an indictment on humanity.  I received kind gifts of money, food, and support across the web, and this came from many sources, including people I had never met.  When friends of 30 years or more can't be bothered to check in on you, but strangers can, that tells you something real.

Now, I am NOT talking about family.  I was in a state, for example, in hospital, where I did not want and nor could I have visitors.  Mine would have showed up without a moment pause.  But, truly, the staph infection made me miserable and visitors were limited due to my being vulnerable to infection.

I was trapped by illness.  I was scourged by sorrow.  I was wounded by life.  I was limited by fear. But now, the gate is open, and I've escaped.    And no one is taking me back in.

Who am I now?  One month from 2016?  I don't altogether know.  I know who I won't work with, that list has one person on it.  I know I need to finish 4 big projects soon, despite distant deadlines, the co-creatives are all handing in their work.  I hate being the slacker.  My writing is improving, I promise.  Writing is my love, along with family, friends and my beloved cats, Sophia and the brilliant ninja cat Katya.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

When Darkness Breaks

In the middle of chaos steel and blood met.  The battle of Towton was said by some to be decisive because the king was changed by the result.  But the War of the Roses went on, a dozen more battles took place before a final accounting was to be final.

That is my life and depression.    I've found that no matter how good and happy I manage to achieve in my mood, my world finds some way to crush my spirit.  Every day good is balanced by frustration or sorrow.  But, the darkness has broken, my year long depression does seem to have broken.

Some of this is because I am able to understand that false attacks by people who didn't do their part in a partnership means the attacks are meaningless.  I know the truth, so whatever the other says is false and I can go on.  I can move on in life in the area of hope.  I have hope for the world in which I live because instead of seeing only death and misery, I can try to do my part, encourage others to help, and at least do something rather than be frozen in place and be paralyzed by the horrors of modernity's plunge into the sucking of a whirlpool into the abyss.  I can rise up from my place of hiding in the corner, because there are people who believe my work is good.  When you tend to get only hate mail, you do not have a perspective that is healthy.  I lost one friend I loved to suicide, and lost another who was toxic and I am better for his leaving.  I mourned long enough the first, and I am moving on from the other.

The future is beautiful.  It has not been written.  It has not been promised to anyone.  So it is there for me to claim.  My son is soon entering college.  I am soon going to announce some very big news of some creative projects that will introduce my work to many new audiences. My wife and son and I will be moving to another home sometime too.  Changes approach, and I approach these changes with a new heart.  I refuse to be crushed by the past.

Life isn't easy, it is a battle, and battles leave casualties.  But as long as I survive, I intend to be a victor in the battle.  I bear the banner of my king, and there is only my king.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Perfect Warrior Achilles

When he was born Achilles was foretold by seers and prophets to die young.  To prevent this his mother dipped him in the river Styx holding him by the ankle. The areas of his body, were nearly all covered, but for his ankle. In combat he was considered invulnerable, many then thought that his mother's act had made him invulnerable.

But in combat, Achilles had become prideful. He took risks that some thought seemed suicidal. Or that, instead, he believed that he was immortal, a god acting among men. But the brother of his most talented adversary, hardly an apt warrior, fired an arrow that went errant and struck Achilles in the vulnerable heel and ankle. At first Achilles was shocked that anyone would deign to strike him.  Then he became horrified, that he felt pain for the very first time in his life. He eventually pulled the arrow out, poison now running through his body, Achilles knew he was neither god, nor immortal.

“Achilles glared at him and answered, "Fool, prate not to me about covenants. There can be no covenants between men and lions, wolves and lambs can never be of one mind, but hate each other out and out an through. Therefore there can be no understanding between you and me, nor may there be any covenants between us, till one or other shall fall”  Homer

His inability to be hurt, led him to be rash in his actions, unwilling to believe in the fragility of his own flesh.

"Fear, O Achilles, the wrath of heaven; think on your own father and have compassion on me, who am the more."  Homer

Iliad-- Homer

 “And overpowered by memory
Both men gave way to grief. Priam wept freely
For man - killing Hector, throbbing, crouching
Before Achilles' feet as Achilles wept himself,
Now for his father, now for Patroclus once again
And their sobbing rose and fell throughout the house.”

“It is always as it was between Achilles and Homer: one person has the experience, the sensation, the other describes it."   Friedrich Nietzsche

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Look back at a magnificent artist


Yes you read that name right.  And I am not
going to try to dance around any facts about
my friend Jeffrey Catherine Jones.  I knew her
as Catherine.  But she was born Jeffrey.

Artist Jeffrey Catherine Jones was a kind, gentle soul.  I interviewed her after a year of exchanging emails, and while the answers given to my question were rather evasive, and not particularly clear, they were by far more than I should have expected.  Life had in many ways hurt her.  She'd grown up as a male, and while always attracted to women, did not feel like her body reflected her thoughts, and her vision of her gender.

At a later age in life she had surgery, and hormone therapy.  And she went through a number of issues dealing with stress, depression and other issues I wasn't aware of and do not know now.   But, as I was beginning my public career as a creative person, she was beginning to end her own.  She wasn't planning an end, but rather, the cigarettes and various other momentary forms of distraction, had in fact ruined her lungs.  She died of pneumonia and other issues, with many great works still ready to birth.  I wasn't a close friend, but rather, someone who admired her courage, was awed by her talents, and found some great encouragement from her words.  And I miss her.   She was among the best artists of modern times.  And she is remembered for her skills and talents as a painter.

Her paintings  all rights copyright JCJones estate

Click to enlarge images

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Different sorts of the Final Act

For some people the end is believed to be the end of everything, and oblivion is entered.  There is nothing more, and nothing less.

For some people the end is a doorway to judgment and a trip either to heaven or to hell, based upon the beliefs and actions of the person being judged.  The judged might or might not get a chance to defend their life, depending upon the religious system invoked.

For some people the end is the ascension or descent to another level of the steps of existence.  If they have lived justly the soul ascends.  If they have not lived well, descent.

And lastly for me, I really don't know.  Yes I am a Christian, but, since I don't honestly understand why certain aspects of Christianity are how they are, for me there are points of my faith where I simply have to shrug my shoulders.

Things I shrug my shoulders over and wonder why:

How could a god who is just have allowed the Holocaust?

How could a god who is good allow thousands of people, many of them children to die from starvation, disease and violence every single day?

How could a god who is all powerful and good and just, make humans, who happen to be the apex predator but also relentlessly destructive and procreative?  Humans are over fishing, over logging, over mining, over polluting, over killing, over using the world, at a rate, that will kill the earth, or at least, the earth's ability to exist as a living planet.

I've been told that perhaps we live in the kingdom of heaven in our hearts here upon the earth.  Well, I cannot accept that.  I've seen too much, been injured too often, and seen my loved ones hurt, to ever seen this world as heaven.  Ever.

I am not writing this as yet another bullshit attempt to depress everyone.  I am just saying, that while I believe in an afterlife, I am uncertain what my afterlife will contain.  I just hope it isn't here.  This place is dirty, loud, angry, and it smells.