Monthly Archives: April 2012
By this point, if you haven’t picked up a copy of this magnificent work of art, you should. It’s worth every penny. In this excerpt, our hero Mark is becoming a bit disenchanted with his place within the evil organization known as N.I.C.E. Things seem ambiguous…without direction. And as frustrating as this is, Fairy Hardcastle explains that it is exactly how things have to be. Enjoy!
“I’ve no notion of spending my life writing newspaper articles,” Mark said. “And if I had, I’d want to know a good deal more about the politics of the N.I.C.E. before I went in for that sort of thing.”
“Haven’t you been told that it’s strictly non-political?”
“I’ve been told so many things that I don’t know whether I’m on my head or my heels,” said Mark. “But I don’t see how one’s going to start a newspaper stunt without being political. Is it Left or Right papers that are going to print all this rot?”
“Both, honey, both,” said Miss Hardcastle. “Don’t you understand anything? Isn’t it absolutely essential to keep a fierce Left and a fierce Right, both on their toes and terrified of the other? That’s how things get done. Any opposition to the N.I.C.E. is represented as a Left racket in the Right papers and a Right racket in the Left papers. If it’s properly done, you get each side outbidding the other in support of us–to refute the enemy slanders. Of course we’re non-political. The real power always is.”
“I don’t believe you can do that,” said Mark. “Not with the papers that are read by educated people.”
“Why you fool, it’s the educated reader that can be gulled. All our difficulty comes from the others. When did you meet a workman who believes in the papers? He takes it for granted that they’re all propaganda and skips the leading articles. He buys his paper for the football results and the little paragraphs about girls falling out of windows and corpses found in Mayfair Flats. He is our problem. We need to recondition him. But the educated public, the people who read the highbrow weeklies, don’t need reconditioning. They are all right already. They’ll believe anything.”
Now do you believe?
Long, long ago and far, far away…
(Pause for restructuring of certain syllables
in order to properly express symbols of elegant etiquette)
You’ve put our relationship in a place without time.
It was ART in her presence.
(But she didn’t want that out of life [you know, to be a presence] she wanted to be somebody’s
But it was art.
Primal rhythm to her speech
ac-sensual-ated by the periodical ringing
of the spoon on a coffee cup in the middle of transformation.
Then I remembered
(or thought I did)
What it was like to hold realistic expectations of passion in such high regard.
Seems like forever
(but we know what forever really is: The cloudy explosion of non-dairy creamer in a coffee cup.) Forever
Is the tendrils, patterns, swirling around in an attempt to make you forget that you really don’t need stimulants to become a whole person.
If God were a painter
–there in time–in no time–in suspended time
was his picture.
It was his instance of Platonic perfection manifested for men
so they (we) know that there is something
and we (they) can never have it.
A scene from my Tuesday afternoon:
“Teacher look at my bruise on my leg,” the chubby ginger boy said, pointing to a moderate bruise.
“Owch. That looks like it hurt,” said teacher distractedly, trying to corral children into a line.
“It’s OK. I can still dance,” the boy assured her and proceeded to dance to his place in line, twirling and spinning, feeling the music inside his head.
Another piece from Rumi. Wisdom? Judgement? Even the wise judges can lose sight of their God-given wisdom. This is illustrated in the following poem: Enjoy!
SOLOMON’S CROOKED CROWN
Solomon was busy judging others,
when it was his personal thoughts
that were disrupting the community.
His crown slid crooked on his head.
He put it straight, but the crown went
awry again. Eight times this happened.
Finally he began to talk to his headpiece.
“Why do you keep tilting over my eyes?”
“I have to. When your power loses compassion,
I have to show you what such a condition looks like.”
Immediately Solomon recognized the truth.
He knelt and asked forgiveness.
The crown centered itself on his crown.
When something goes wrong, accuse yourself first.
Even the wisdom of Plato or Solomon
can wobble and go blind.
Listen when your crown reminds you
of what makes you cold toward others,
as you pamper the greedy energy inside.
This needs to be read and applied by EVERY world leader today. And a vast majority of the laity could benefit from this simple lesson too. Unfortunately, humanity has become too proud to kneel and ask forgiveness.
Today’s bit of brightness comes from The Essential Rumi as translated by, Coleman Barks. I can’t get enough of this book. Beautiful metaphysical and love poetry. Almost every poem tugs at my heart. Truly a timeless joy. The selection comes from a poem called, “The Worm’s Waking”. Enjoy!
This is how a human being can change:
there’s a worm addicted to eating
Suddenly, he wakes up,
call it grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he’s no longer
He’s the entire vineyard
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn’t need
One day, all us worms will wake up and realize we don’t need to devour to survive, that we don’t need to consume to find happiness and completion in our lives.
Awaken young minds!
To the Theater of the Unattainable Dream.
Marvel at the many puppets dancing for the pleasure of your kings.
Sitting on their thrones—fleshy, bloated, filthy.
Living in perfect accordance with the morals of Mammon.
Through it all,
leering demons stuff the orifices of our souls with hopes and dreams
stolen while the tainted innocent slept.
So sing you forgotten spirits!
Sing your joyful songs of death and suffering,
off key as they may be,
they are lovely hymns for the delicate ears of angels.
Today’s Wisdom-ism comes from That Hideous Strength once again. The more I read this book, the more I’m convinced that C.S. Lewis was looking into a crystal ball when he wrote it. In this excerpt, Mark (the main character) discusses security and police work in the new world created by N.I.C.E. with a stern policewoman named Fairy Hardcastle. Enjoy!
Note: The passage in the second paragraph down: “For deserved was always finite” was actually printed in the book as, “For desert was always finite”.
“As regards crime in general, they had already popularised in the press the idea that the Institute should be allowed to experiment pretty largely in the hope of discovering how far humane, remedial treatment could be substituted for the old notion of ‘retributive’ or ‘vindictive’ punishment. That was where a lot of legal Red Tape stood in their way. ‘But there are only two papers we don’t control,’ said the Fairy, ‘And we’ll smash them. You’ve got to get the ordinary man into the state in which he says ‘Sadism’ automatically when he hears the word Punishment.’ And then one would have carte blanche
The Fairy pointed out that what had hampered every English police force up to date was precisely the idea of deserved punishment. For deserved was always finite: you could do so much to the criminal and no more. Remedial treatment, on the other hand, need have no fixed limit; it could go on till it had effected a cure, and those who were carrying it out would decide when that was. And if a cure were humane and desirable, how much more prevention? Soon anyone who had ever been in the hands of the police at all would come under the control of N.I.C.E.; in the end, every citizen. (Bold my addition–J.) ‘And that’s where you and I come in, Sonny,’ added the Fairy, ‘there’s no distinction in the long run between police work and sociology’.”—-That Hideous Strength
Sound familiar? It should.
When does that spark return? Do you feel the moment or does it just explode into you like a supernova of revelation? PKD had VALIS. But, we aren’t all fortunate enough to be blessed with PKD’s… idiosyncrasies. What is it then? Where does passion well from? I suppose that’s more a question of inspiration and/or muses.
I think passion-inspiration-muses-whatever are like energies. Flowing tendrils of energy criss-crossing the earth behind the Veil. Passion throughout the ages, is spurned then, by people tapping into these tendrils. Stepping into the flow of the river, as it were. It washes over a person and then BAM!
Of course I don’t think this concept is limited to the Arts. Passion is universal. There is a passion for everything. The question remains then, how do we tap into these conduits of inspiration?
Obviously a passion for something is helpful. But this is easy. The problem with this is the connection is only temporary. After a while, it dwindles away, though it remains inside you like smoldering embers.
So it makes sense that like embers, you have to stoke your muse from time to time to reignite your connection to inspiration. I call this “Overcoming Writer’s Block”.
Easier said than done. Life gets in the way. Beautiful, distracting, all-important LIFE. Without it, we are dead. But with it, we are chained inside our own limited perceptions. We are contained to the flesh, forced to sustain it. Thus survival supersedes inspiration. This is always the case. The days of pure artists are gone. Now everyone (myself included) is an artist in their free time. Trying to tap into the matrix of inspiration as part of a scheduled routine. But that’s not how inspiration works.
Muses work on their own schedules and if you aren’t ready when they are then forget you. They’ll move along and give that great idea to someone else. And you’ll kick yourself later when you see your idea in a book store or on television.
I’m beginning to realize, I can’t serve two masters. Either give in to my muse’s strict demands or struggle trying to make inspiration work for me. When really, it’s always the other way around.
We are all slaves in chains. Cultivating fields for evil deities. Trapped in a false world. Leading fake lives. All praying for real deaths whether we realize it or not. This is NOT our state of being. It’s the state we’re trapped in. It’s what we fell into. And the Deceiver laughs triumphantly as It builds a twisted creation for us to inhabit. A mighty Machine for us to call God. An illusion for us to worship. A corrupted memory for us amnesic shells of once-greatness to toil in.
This Flow is spiritual. Energizing Taoist Matrices. You do not see the Paths of the Way when you are being blinded by light. Walk carefully, hands outstretched, stumbling over yourself, you are a blind fool journeying toward the final stop on this most Underground of Railroads. Wake up and remember.
They never saw the raiders coming, nor did they expect the plague that came in their wake.
The skull-faced marauders fell on the village, striking them from the mountain that had nestled and protected it for centuries. The villagers had looked upon the mountain with reverence and now death fell upon them like an avalanche from the very mountain that had given them sustenance.
The wild men came, their skulls gleaming whitely where their faces should be, adorned with parts and pieces of their victims. A necklace of ears here, jerkins sewn from human flesh there. Everywhere trophies of slaughter and gore that the raiders only added to as they tore through the village, hacking and slashing anything that shrieked or moved. The reavers left the village smoldering in its own ashes and returned to the mountain, great plumes of smoke rising high above the mountain peak.
The survivors (those not killed or taken as slaves) dug themselves from the rubble and looked upon the devastation with tear-streaked faces. But their reason for tears was only beginning. Three days after they buried their dead, the plague came.
It claimed the dead first. Eating away at their flesh until only a hideous skeletal visage remained. Possessed with a sinister new life and an insatiable hunger for bloodshed, they dug their way to freedom and forced the survivors to barricade themselves in the town hall. The next to fall were the sick and wounded. Whatever condition they suffered from worsened exponentially, killing them within a week and transforming them in the process. Having no other recourse, the healthy villagers that survived threw out the remaining sick and injured and cowered in corners, awaiting starvation.
“I’m telling you, it’s the perfect getaway spot,” Infinity Jones insisted to his companions. “Hot springs. Mountain air. Pristine surroundings. Exactly what an over-stressed, newly-wedded couple needs.”
“If I want to get away, I set sail from the harbor,” grumbled the Pirate Prince Perfidious. “All this stable earth beneath my feet makes me nauseous.”
Jones laughed. “Spoken like a true scourge of the seas! But seriously. It’s awesome. And it’s home to the famous Haunted Vino Basement. You’ve heard of it, I’m sure. Supposedly the poltergeist activity makes the vino better.”
“I’d rather not have vino tainted by spirits,” snapped the Pirate Prince.
“Come on, husband,” cooed Mistress G to Perfidious. “Infinity speaks truth. I’ve been there myself. It’s beautiful. Serene. Very Zen. And the vino is simply otherworldly.”
“As you like it. How much farther?”
“It’s just over those hills. Nestled against the mountain. Near that giant plume of smoke.” Infinity pointed. “See?”
“Steam from your hot springs?” asked Perfidious sarcastically.
“Most probably. It is the steamy season after all,” said Infinity cheerily, but his face was clouded with worry.
They rode into town the next day. Infinity wept at the sight. The pristine village had been reduced to ashes and cinders. Smoke filled the air, thick enough to choke the life from the living.
“Charming,” sneered Perfidious between coughs.
“Is anyone alive?” called Infinity.
Somewhere in the cloud of smoke, rocks slid and tumbled.
“Careful,” warned the Pirate Prince, drawing his blade, “Could be scavengers.”
“Human or animal?” asked Mistress G.
“It doesn’t matter. They are scavengers. One in the same.”
Humanoid shapes appeared in the smoke moving toward the trio with a deliberate but jerky gait.
“Why are they walking like that?” asked Mistress G.
“I’ve walked like that a few times,” admitted Jones, “Usually after a long night at the pub.”
“Well they would have something to drink about,” joked Perfidious, “What with their village being naught but smoke and cinders.”
“Hullo, good folk,” called Jones. “Can you tell us what happened here?”
“Rooooo….” Answered the shambling form in the forefront that was almost in sight.
“I said, ‘Ho there!’” Infinity reasserted. “What’s the deal?”
“Ruuuhhhhh,” answered the villager then stepped into view. His head was devoid of flesh, his eyes replaced with pitch black orbs, swirling with a sinuous and sinister motion. Flesh hung from the rest of his body, most of it looking to flee the horror it was attached to.
The sight caused the horses to rear up, spilling their riders on the ground before they broke and fled into the mountains.
Infinity and Mistress G leapt up at the ready, but Perfidious was too slow.
The skeleton-headed monster fell on him, gnashing at the frantic prince with his terrible teeth. Perfidious held the monster back, throwing it off and sustaining only minor scratches.
Jones rushed over and ran the abomination through, but to his horror, it didn’t die.
“Look!” yelled Mistress G and pointed.
A whole crowd of shambling monsters was limping toward the prone travelers. Nobody needed to be told to run. They did it instinctively. Fleeing the monstrosities without direction, only trying to find safety. They checked every door along their path. All were locked or filled with more of the walking dead. The crowd’s numbers swelled and they closed in on the adventurers with deliberate determination.
“How are we to kill these things if they refused to die?” wondered Perfidious. His face was flushed and beads of sweat collected on his brow like a crown.
“We don’t kill them,” said Infinity, pulling a barble (a glass marble) from his pouch and setting it at his feet. Closing his eyes he chanted,
“Now that I find myself in trouble, secure me and mine in this hamster bubble.”
Energy flashed and the orb grew to do just that. The trio was encased in a large glass bubble just as the horde broke through the smoke.
“How long with this hold?” asked Mistress G above the din of the frustrated and howling skull-faces flailing futiley against the glass barrier.
Jones shrugged. “Until they get tired and leave or we run out of air. Whichever comes first.”
“The dead don’t tire,” wheezed Perfidious. He looked feverish, his scratches and cuts oozing green puss.
“My love! Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” he reassured his wife. “Just…a…scratch,” he wheezed and collapsed against the bubble.
“Jones! Help him,” pleaded Mistress G. “I think he’s dying.”
“I can’t help him here. We have to move and find safety.” Jones nodded in the direction of the town hall. “That’ll be the most fortified place in the whole village. We can hole up in there.”
Mistress G reluctantly agreed and together they began the slow journey, rolling the glass ball toward safety. The horde stayed on them the entire time, never relenting. Some of the abominations were caught beneath the orb and having their skulls crushed, didn’t rise again.
As they approached the town hall, the door opened and six pairs of eyes peeked out.
“Survivors!” cheered Infinity and redoubled his efforts.
They rolled the glass ball to a stop at the door. Gore streaked down the sphere in thick rivulets.
“How do we get out?” snapped Mistress G. “I don’t want to get any skeleton in my hair.”
“Watch and be amazed,” said Jones theatrically. He traced a person-sized rectangle on the glass facing the door, finishing with a small circle, acting as a crude doorknob. He opened the glass door and knocked politely on the door. “Excuse me, good folk. Would you please let us in? As you may know, the village is beset with ruffians.”
The door opened swiftly and the three amigos were rushed inside. Once secure, Jones let his magic slip and there was an audible pop followed by the sound of numerous thumps and splatters—like obese rain falling.