A Villainous Life

Good day, and welcome to another session of, The Further Promotion of ME.  I–that would be ME–am your host for today’s festivities.  Thanks for stopping by.

Today we have a special treat in store for you.  Recently, I had the opportunity, during a break in scenes, to sit down and chat with the lead villain of MY most recent work, Flutter.  We discussed his motivations, his dreams, the true side to that demonic darling, Natasha, and whether or not the life of an angel is everything it’s cracked up to be.  His name is Morpheus, the angel of dreams, and God’s second-in-command.  The following is the transcript from the conversation.

(Morpheus enters, side-stage, dressed in a flowing white cloak, that seems to bury him in his nearly translucent pale skin.  He sparkles a gleaming smiled, offers me a wink of a blue eye, and sits, hands in a steeple in his lap.)

ME: Welcome, Morpheus.  It is a delight to have you, and a joy to talk with you.

Morpheus: I appreciate the opportunity, and thank you for inviting me.

ME:  Well, let’s just jump right into, shall we?  Who is Morpheus?  Aside from the character in the Matrix, of course. (I laugh, but Morpheus just stares cooly in MY direction)

Morpheus: Right.  Well, I like to think of myself as an architect of dreams–a conductor even, if that imagery is more apropos.  I am the keeper of the dreams of humanity, and the most prominent ear in God’s hierarchy of arch-angels.  It is a blessed existence, despite the obvious shortcomings of being immersed in the insanity of the sleeping human mind, yes?

ME: Um, yes.  I guess.  Anyway, I have to admit, Morpheus, that doesn’t sound very villainous.

Morpheus: (bristling) Oh, I never professed to be a villain, sir.  I might call that slander, in fact.  All that I do, I do for the glory of angel-kind.  I serve the interest of Heaven, and wish only to bring about a greater sense of pride in the angelic populace.

ME: But, in, Flutter, you orchestrate a rebellion, and propose a war on humanity.  Is that not the mark of villainy?

Morpheus: (he smiles broadly.  I can’t help but feel the reports of his ways are slightly misconstrued.) Is it?  I think not.  After all, what is a villain?  I, for what worth it may grant your opinion of me, am not a killer.  I am a dreamer.  I do not exercise might, but practice in the art of conversation.  It is not my way to simply sweep into a room, barricade the doors, and blast everyone to oblivion, should they fail to do as I ask.  No, sir.  I am a diplomat.  It is why God leans on my presence so in Heaven.  I have learned from the master.

ME: So, tell us about Flutter.  Not the book!  Forgive ME, I mean the device for which our story is named.  Where did it come from, and what is its purpose?

Morpheus: Well, I suppose there are some matters to which it would not behoove me to speak, yes?  But, allow me to simplify an answer for you, and your readers, so that there is some facet of understanding.  Flutter is a social networking system, not dissimilar from your, ‘Twitter.’  It operates under the same philosophy, as well as the same parameters.  You see, we angels do pay curious amounts of attention to you humans.  And, often, we find something of use in your actions, or your tools; and though we do not generally agree with your motives, we cannot deny ourselves useful means of banter, or activity, if it fits our needs.  Flutter is an example of that.  What better to unite the angelic populace, than a device–and its corresponding network–whose sole function is to gather thought, and opinion, as well as a good dose of cheek. (Morpheus winks, and I nearly giggle.)

ME: (once I compose MYSELF) Humans have found social networking to be a bit of a distraction.  Much in the same way that texting, or gaming, or cell phones themselves have left us in tricky, if not altogether perilous, situations.  What do you say to those who might suggest that angels will suffer the same fate? 

Morpheus: As with all luxuries, there is an acceptable level of distraction that comes hand in hand.  But, please do understand, that angels do not sleep.  We do not cook dinner.  We do not mow the lawn.  Our job is constant, with very little in the way of a break.  Just ask an angel the last time they took a vacation, and see the ire that brings! (again, the laugh, which is airy, yet hearty, and quite full)  So, why not?  We deserve to have a form of distraction, especially if that engenders a greater sense of community, and union in Heaven.

ME: It has been reported that many of the, ‘flaps,’ as you refer to them, have been somewhat anti-human. 

Morpheus:  Preposterous.  Is a mere reflection of question, or doubt, in something meant to imply a stance against it?  Of course not.  Are there angels who have a negative view of humanity?  Of course.  How could they not?  They are in servitude to them, day and night, and without celebration or fanfare from the Boss.  Amongst even humans, there is a constant chatter–on your Twitter, such as–of complaint toward employers, and the businesses they run.  Do they stand in opposition to them?  Are they considered anti-employer?  Heavens no.  That would be a ridiculous sentiment, yes?

ME: I suppose that’s a reasonable argument, given–

Morpheus: (interrupting ME with a polite gesture of a hand) Forgive me for the interruption, but I would prefer to discuss matters of great importance, rather than instigating a full-fledged debate on the loyalty of God’s populace of angels.  We serve.  It is what we do.  Humanity stands, still.  That should be enough to assuage the curiosity, yes?

ME: (I nod, buying time, while I flip through MY notes.) Let’s talk about Natasha.  Humanity sees her as a vile, corrupting force, and has denounced her in many, if not all, religious circles.  How does the angelic populace view the angel known to humans as, “Satan”?

Morpheus: (for the first time, he seems uncomfortable, distracted) It may be prudent to simply move on.  I do not profess to be Natasha’s publicist, though I am quite certain she could use one.

ME: But surely you can speak to the image portrayed?  If she is, in fact, a soul of great repute in Heaven, then wouldn’t it be fair–to better understand and appreciate all angels–to speak of the general opinion of her in Heaven?

Morpheus: (his feet twitch a bit, and he’s staring off, and muttering something silently.  When he looks MY way, he sighs, rolls his eyes, and relents.) Very well.  Natasha and I have been acquaintances for many millennia.  The angelic populace regard her…quite…highly (he says through gritted teeth), and with good reason.  That is all I wish to say on the matter.

ME: All right.  Well, then, let’s get to the big question: Will there be a war on humanity?

Morpheus: (leans in, smiles a devilish grin) Well, it would not be a prudent move for me to answer that, if in fact there is, now would it?

ME: So, you’re not denying it?

Morpheus: I’m not confirming it.  After all, if there were a war waged on humanity, it would be swift–more so if you were unaware of it beforehand.  I can tell you this, friend: There will not be a war waged on humanity, so long as angels have a reason not to act, or have not the means by which to carry it out.  Besides, how would we wage a war on humanity with God standing guard?

ME: So, if God were not, you’re saying that you would?

Morpheus: Trickery does not befit a man of your character.  I have answered your question.  I have nothing more to say on the matter.

ME: (I could do this for hours, but it’s clear to me that Morpheus is running low on desire, so I decide to leave the rabbits in the hat, in hopes that he will agree to come back another time.) Well, I know that you are quite busy, and are required for an upcoming scene, so I’ll wrap things up here with a final question.  Tell MY readers, in three words or less, what it is that Morpheus, angel of dreams, wants most.

Morpheus: (he thinks for a moment, flashes one more generous smile.) To surprise you.

Bored Much?

Ok, so, I have indulged in the ritualistic feastings of yet another Thanksgiving (last year, admittedly, Alice and I did, in fact, eat our Thanksgiving at Golden Corral, which bears no shortage of holiday edibles, I confess), and in the throes of my stuffdom from overindulgence in turkey and potatoes, I was suddenly possessed with an odd, and rather ridiculous question: What idiot would ever truly wish to be an Oscar Meyer Weiner?

It took me to the age of 37 to ask this question, and now I am perplexed beyond hope of recovery.  I mean, I remember the Genie joke regarding wishing to be an Oscar Meyer wiener, and I had my share of laughs over it.  I even recall commenting on how stupid one would have to be in order to be so careless, and reckless, with a solitary remaining wish.  You can’t just toss the word, ‘wish,’ around when you have a real wish on the line!  But never, not once, in the whole of my existence, has the absurdity of this jingle ever hit me square in the jaw (or inflated belly as the case was) as it did today. 

Let’s just ponder this for a moment.  If it is true that, to be an Oscar Meyer Weiner, you would suddenly find that the world is, “in love with me,” then you have to ask what part of you they would be in love with?  The part going in, or the part going out?  Either way, you will be eaten, that much is assured.  There’s little chance that someone looks at you, in your hot doggity essence, and says, “My, I do so love that Oscar Meyer wiener!  And to prove my love, I shall refrain from eating and digesting it, and instead, take it home and place it on a shelf where I will admire it daily!”

No…you’re gonna be eaten.  That’s it.  You wished to be something that someone, without question, absolutely wants to eat.  QUA?

I can prove it.  Take these numbers, and love them like the hot dog they represent!

From the wonderful researchers at Hungry Monster we find that 20 billion hot dogs were purchased in 2001 (I must believe that this number, like inflation of the dollar, has to be adjusted to accomodate dietary changes, and the ever-present growth of hot dog affection), 150 million of which were consumed on July 4th alone!  That’s almost 1 hot dog for every 2 people in America, and could stretch from D.C to L.A five times over!  7 billion hot dogs were purchased between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  That’s almost half the yearly total in just over a quarter of the year!

On a wonderful site, aptly named hotdogbook.com, you can see the evidence of hot dog mania in action.  In 1983, for instance, a record-setting hot dog of 1,983 feet was made in Zeeland, Wisconsin, for no better reason that love as much of a hot dog as possible, I can only imagine.  Never let it be said that size doesn’t matter!  The top dog most often purchased is the six incher, beating out the less popular 7 incher by a 2 to 1 margin!  450 hot dogs are eaten in America every second!  900 hot dogs were eaten while I typed that sentence!

And the folks of Chicago and L.A need to step up their game if they’re going to beat out New York City.  That freakin’ city lives on Hot Dogs!  For fun trivia, you can check out this site

So…hot dogs.  Yeah.  Not saying I’m about to wish to be one, or anything, but I am hungry all of a sudden.

Rejecting Rejection

(this blog first appeared on A Good Blog is Hard to Find)

I made it through the entirety of high school without having to endure the potential tragedy of a date.

Now, in that, it might seem as though I celebrate that I escaped the awkwardness of a staggered and indecisive conversation over a delightful dinner at Taco Bell, or that I rejoice in the passing of another dance without collapsing in a heap atop the punch bowl by way of two very clumsy, and inexperienced steps, or even that I am proud that I never had to answer that terrifying throttle of Ahab’s harpoon to the nerves, “Should I use my tongue, or would she slap ME?” But that would imply a choice in the matter. Sure, I was the shy kid that would blush if someone next to ME sneezed, but for the most part I gave gallant, if not altogether misguided, attempts at finding a girl who, “got ME.” The problem–the ultimate failing in this course–was that I spent those years of my life chasing after every single girl in the school that would rather have structured their weekends around delightfully dull dinners with their parents and younger siblings, than to have succumbed to MY cherubic charm (absent the charm). It made for quite a run of rejection, to be honest. The kind that, more often than not, left me standing bewildered in a hallway of students, a mere bumper to the course, a potential ramp of skateboarding delight, wondering why it was that a slap to the face could make MY feet hurt so badly.

The pure fact of it all is that rejection sucks. Sure, you can pick yourself up, you can tell yourself that they just didn’t get you, and that someday you’ll find someone to flaunt in front of the line of people that rejected you, and take the high road, give a simple raise of the brow, and maybe a knowing smile (which always works best with the tongue out, if you ask ME), and you’ll revel in your triumph, hand in hand with acceptance. But those words…those god-awful words, just never leave you.

“No, you’re just really not cool enough for me.”

“Yeah, um, I’m just not looking for you right now. Check back with me in a couple of years.”

“You’re a really great guy, and you have great potential as a companion, but I don’t think you fully understand what dating is all about. Maybe you should be looking for someone with lower standards.”

“You know, I might have gotten those messages, but I haven’t really had a chance to listen to them. How about you call me in a few weeks, and, if I’ve had a chance to review your proposal, we’ll talk then?”

“See, the problem is your pitch. If you had begun with the most important part–where you ask me out–I might not have lost interest so quickly. The whole, ‘I’ve been thinking a lot about what to say,’ bit is a horribly cliche start. It’s the way these things work, though. I get so many offers each week, and I only have so much time to listen.”

It’s a tired, tired, um, tired…thing, but you carry on. You carry on because you’re stubborn. You carry on because you just couldn’t imagine another day without a companion by your side. You carry on because, well, because you’re just plain lonely, and really want someone to share your time with. Mostly, you carry on because you refuse to be denied, and know that someday the right girl is going to come around, and that you will utterly, absolutely, and undeniably rock her world. You do this because the failure to do so, would mean the end of your dating life, which is something you just cannot allow.

But never mind that, we’re here to talk about writing, which has nothing at all to do with anything I have thus far said. After all, people will always appreciate you for spilling your guts out on the computer tremendously more than they do if you do so in person. You need thick skin in any area of life that presents the possibility for rejection, but writing is pretty straightforward, and is unlikely to ever cause you pain, or grief, or to feel like your brains have just been sucked out through your nose.

For example, I was on the verge of snagging a literary agent once at the William Morris Agency, but was declined, after a thorough reading, not due to poorly written material, but due to problematic scheduling, and an untimely submission. See for yourself: “Though we appreciate, and value, your talent as a writer, we feel that your manuscript is just not right for our agency, or for the market at this time. Please consider us for future projects, however.”

See? That’s not a rejection at all, and sounds nothing like the rejections posted above! They clearly wanted to represent ME, but were unable to because of the market. They just couldn’t wait to read the rest of MY work!

Earlier that same year, I had sent sample writings to the wonderfully compassionate, and caring, people at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. They were so very considerate in their attempts to encourage MY writing skills, that they sent me a letter to MY request that included the following: “Writing is a skill that we wish to harness, and cultivate, in each, and every, writer. We feel, though you do show great potential, that you would be best served to improve your skill further before applying again for Bread Loaf. Please consider sending us more material in a couple of years.”

Again, such a willingness to lead ME in the right direction! How can I feel anything but complete acceptance of MY skill, and ability? Goodness knows, I might very well have languished in a perpetual state of un-improvement for years to come! Now I’m a published author! Thank you, Bread Loaf!

Sometimes–yes, even in the publishing industry!–the level of acceptance you receive from publishers, or agents, or editors, or the like, can be twinged ever so slightly with a heavy, yet suggestive, hand. You might even feel a bit put off by the words they have chosen, but rest assured that they only have your best interests at heart, and want nothing more than to see you in their fold, successful and happy! They try so hard to offer you their acceptance that they will chance to wake you from your blissful rest with a most carefully aimed bomb. For example, I sent a manuscript to Harper Collins many years ago, offering them the glorious chance to view a book I knew they would trip over themselves to purchase. What I received was a carefully worded letter, indicating that my work was such a stellar piece of art, that they wanted to ensure I knew how elated they were that such a young man (I was 18 at the time, and fresh off a new branch of female-induced rejection) had, “taken up writing as a hobby.” Wow! What kind words! I mean, I’m sure that spell-check missed the, “hobby,” part of that. Obviously, they meant, “career,” but such are the follies of the computer age!

So, rest assured, dear friends of the craft, that rejection is not something you will ever have to deal with. Your best interests, and the cultivation of your art, will be coddled by those in your midst: by your friends, fellow writers, agents, editors, the kindly old lady in the cafe that threatened to beat you with her walker if you talked about your writing just once more, and so on. They want only to see you succeed. All you have to do is smile, and wait for the offers to pour in.

Just don’t ask ME for dating advice.

Dangling From the Vine

So, I’m still amidst MY archeological dig through the desert of MY past.  I don’t know why I insist on it, or what purpose it ultimately serves, but as it amuses ME to no end, well…this is MY blog, right?  So, why not?  I’ve found, in going through these journal entries that date back to high school (which was, what? like only a few years ago, right?  20?  Oh.  Eek!), that I can’t help but feel alien to the little kid who so scribbled his heart onto paper with nothing but the venom of his own emotional fang.  And yet, I find oddities that I might very well have written last week.  Such as this line from January 18th, 1990 (at approximately 5:27 p.m, should you be checking your date book): “Well, somebody wants me to learn patience.  Seeing as how I have none, I don’t find that particularly funny.”  Or I could cite some modern thought in a line from January 25th, of the same year: “I’ve never thought of writing about death before , but riding in that piece o’ shit DC-9 yesterday made me want to.” Or this nugget a couple of months later: “Emotions are like nuclear weapons.  If you mishandle them, they fuck you up.”

I will also quote, once again, MY favorite thus far, which is also from 1990, on March 25th: “Confusion is a state of mind.  I’d like to expand on that, but I can’t.”

Seems I had a lot of interesting things to say that year.  Granted, a lot of it was about celebrity crushes, the end of high school, girls, girls, and more girls (and the never-ending hope that, someday, one would actually like ME), writing and the satisfied confidence that I would someday be rich from it, and various other innanities that I deemed worthy of discussion, but that were as fascinating as the result of a goopy sneeze.

And yet, through 4 years of entries that I have thus far read, I have yet to find any inkling of the man who would write Anointed.  No sense, or sign, or struggle with religion, or God, or Christianity, or the entire mythos surrounding them all.  Humor, sure.  A desire to impale MYSELF upon the blade of loneliness, yup.  A sort of burgeoning awareness of the universe, and the concepts of the law of attraction, true.  But God was just sort of this bearded fella sitting in the, um, the…whatchacallit chair that a tennis umpire (umpire? is that right? Google anyone?) sits in.  He just sort of watched the game I was playing, and occasionally shouted, “Fault!” or, “Out!” or, “Game, Mr. Steele, Life serving!”  It wasn’t an absence from MY writing.  Rather, He was the parent I was trying to impress, the brother I didn’t want to beat ME up, or the best friend I wanted to chat movies with.  To that end, I may have still missed the point of God, after all.  At least the Biblical point, anyhow.  I rather think I nailed the reality of it.  But, as to the future voice of devil fiction that I would become, it was veiled, and notably absent.

The most remarkable thing is that I somehow thought that cogent, coherent, and other-worldly wise, thought was unleashed somewhere beyond the stroke of midnight, a point to which I know, unmistakably now and despite MY efforts to refrain, to be wholly untrue.  When I begin an entry at 4:25 a.m, with the words, “I’m a nutcase,” it seems to imply that I have crossed some immovable line of sanity that I cannot return from, when in fact, I probably had indigestion from too much pizza at midnight to allow ME to sleep, and the remnant of thought that had survived so late into the coming morning, was soundly, and decisively, coated in marinara and pepperoni bits.  Or perhaps Dunkin’ Donuts.  Either would not have been a stretch, both at once quite probable.  The sheer volume of deep, intricate, seemingly unwavering, philosophical thought I vomited after MY brain had officially checked out for the night, actually gives ME more insight into what living in a commune of hippies would be like, than does it MY awakening awareness to a world gone awry that I handled so heavily.

And yet, I’m there, somewhere.  Hiding behind Motley Crue posters, Debbie Gibson mania, and a pen.  Somewhere amidst the pages of, “Strings of the Heart” (gak!  bleh!), the first book I wrote while in high school, and the recap of MY five months dating a stripper, there lies something of who I am.  Somewhere between MY daily whine of loneliness, and MY prattling on about hitting the road and drifting MY way through America.  Somewhere at a beach in Florida, in the back of MY truck, at a campsite in the southern deserts of Arizona, in MY car at the Texas-Mexican border, or in every home I lived in over that time (and there were a few).  Somewhere, in all of that, is ME.  The ME I am.  The ME I still hope to be.  The ME that still insists on pontificating after his carriage has already diffused into a pumpkin, and the mice are nipping at his heels.  I guess I’m glad I wrote all this inane drivel, to be honest.  At least I know that I’m not crazy.  I’ve just always been this way.

Wading Through the Quagmire

There is no one word to adequately express the behemoth that has been 2009.  Oh, well, I guess behemoth works nicely, now that I consider it.  Drunken suck monkey ass clown might work, but it’s more than one word.  It’s sort of a series of descriptive-type words, I suppose, all of which might only serve to qualify as vignettes of the overall piece of work that this year has been.  I’m not sure which word applies to what portion of 2009, but I’m quite confident there’s a fit there somewhere.  Then again, I’m not alone.  It’s been a bit of a bastard to a number of people, as well.  It’s been troubling at times to ME, for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which has been a lack of attentiveness to this blog, and to writing in general.  It seems–and I must feign shock at this, if only to seem suddenly abhorrent to the thought–that writing humorously is a tad difficult when stressed to unforseen limits.  I mean, sure, the entire point of humor, to ME, is to lampoon the very insanities that stress ME out and frustrate ME so, but it seems that, while immersed in them, I only sort of look at what I write, and want to punch the screen.  “That’s not very effin’ funny, you know?” I might shout, to no avail, at the blinking cursor.  “Damn tempter of insanity!  Mocker of the besieged!  Purveyor of heinous fuckery! (thanks to Chris Moore for that one)”

I’ve been going through journal entries from MY days of youth, of late.  Specifically the end of high school, and into MY early 20’s.  I’m going to attempt to be brave enough to share some of them, as I found that I was sufficient enough of a retard (a reh-tard, for those of you seeking an enunciation guide) to warrant sharing it with the world.  It’s almost unbelievable in its wanton silliness and juvenile hormonal lunacy, in the end, so therefore, you’re more likely to read it and decry, “Surely not!  This is simpleton garbage!  This is not the work of the great and amazing writer I know!” or something equally supportive.  For ME, it’s still somehow like reading someone else’s dirty secrets, and perusing their worst fears of loneliness, poor bowling scores, and life without pop-singing celebrities.  And also, it’s home to lines of such wonderment, and awe-inspired brilliance, that you might simply pass out from the sheer magnitude of their philosophical insight.  For example, an entry that begins, “Confusion is a state of mind.  I’d like to explain that, but I can’t.”  Brilliant!  From where does such genius arise?  I was destined for greatness from a young age, with such veritable wisdom in tow!

Honestly, it’s inane drivel, for the most part, but I have begun to realize something about MYSELF that I don’t think I could have realized otherwise.  I was never meant for normalcy.  No, really, I mean it.  Seriously.  I mean, I need to ask MY mother about the day I was born, and see if she can’t tell ME a little bit more about the doctor’s reaction to MY arrival.  Surely the words, “It’s a boy,” and, “Congratulations,” were uttered, but I’m suddenly quite curious as to the facial expressions, or the method in which these straightforward, and quite factual, bits of MY beginning were delivered.  True, I am in fact male, and, additionally, every woman should, in fact, be congratulated simply for surviving the process of bringing a screaming mass of belligerence into the world (not to mention for undertaking the sheer lunacy of raising said malevolent hob-knobler), but we lack some deeper subtext here.  Lip curled?  A slight tick to the eye, or cheek?  Possibly some stifled screams from the nurses?  Did the doctor hold on with every ounce of his reserve, begging, pleading within to avoid screaming, “DEAR GOD, WOMAN!  IT’S A MONSTER!  AND IT’S HUMMING SOME INSIPID POP-STAR QUALITY TUNE!  MAKE IT STOP!”  These are the questions that I hope will further define ME going forward.  Did I emerge with a pen in hand?  Was MY first act of defiance to pee on a Bible?  Did I point MY mini-wee at the nurses and profess MY love for them?  What happened?????

And so I am left to wonder.  Answers to these burning questions may indeed resolve lingering questions about MYSELF today.  Perhaps even unfold the great cheese mystery (not that there’s much mystery…I just reallyreallyreallyreally like cheese).  I asked MY mother recently if she had read anything to ME while I labored (ha!) in utero, or perhaps if she had gone on a secret Habanero binge that might explain MY off-kilter sense of normalcy.  She said, after only a few second’s thought, “No, your grandmother did like to sneak me donuts though.”  Yeah?  Well?  See MY point here?  Yeah?  Exactly.  “Well, that’s useless, mom.  No help at all.  Thanks for–oooh, hey Pumpkin Muffins are back at Dunkin Donuts!  Let’s go!  PUNKIN’ MUFFINS! (sometimes it helps to just scream this randomly to get out of sticky situations.  Nothing trips people out of an argument better than another person screaming their love for pumpkin muffins.)” 

So…that’s something to look forward to.  Not the Pumpkin Muffins, though they are rather delightful, but the senseless venturing into MY past via Journal Entries of the Normalcy Challenged.  I’ll round up a few of the worst, and see what further damage I can do to MY languishing reputation as a sane man.  In the meantime, I need to call MY mommy.

As I was prone to saying in MY journals: See ME later.

Ramble On

No, this is not a post about Led Zepplin, so please put away all pipes, all bottles, and all frilly blonde wigs that you might be digging through your closet to find.  Actually, the truth of the matter is I really don’t have anything to say, which is a bit of a danger, since ME not knowing what I will say usually results in bizarro world type stuff.  For the most part, it’s how I write, and how I get about to writing some of the weird stuff that goes into print.  Which brings to mind what I am working on now.  Since I am without trendy topics, or useful talking points, you get what I know best: ME.

I’ve been working moderately steadily (EEK! Double ‘ly’s) on the follow up to Anointed.  At the moment, it is called Flutter, and aside from following the paths of a few of Anointed‘s favorite line-up, it introduces aspects of Heaven, angels with a grudge, God incognito, a virgin conception, a redemption of Biblical proportions, and social networking gone awry.  Oh, and, Alvin, Simon, & Theodore, now that I think on it, though, as with all things in MY world, even they are not quite what they seem. 

Essentially, there is a portion of the angelic populace (the Malcontents the earlier title represented), that has decided that the experiment known as “humanity” must come to an end.  Their weapon of choice: A social networking device they call, “Flutter.”  There’s only one problem with the plan: Angels aren’t all that smart, and have never done all that well with the, ‘war’, thing.  And, as if their own inadequacies aren’t enough, they also have to deal with the newly christened angel, “Timothy,” and his angel of desire, Natasha, whom as usual, would kind of rather see humans survive.

That’s the short of it, anyway.  If all goes according to schedule, you will hopefully be holding it in hand by summer 2010.  And since I really don’t want to spoil it further, I will instead offer you a look into the world of Flutter, by way of the first chapter.  I have read this twice in public already, and as no one threw rotten shoes, or leathery fruit at ME, then I suppose it wasn’t horrible.  Well, it is for Randall Crane, but that’s the story, isn’t it?

Feel free to pass along your thoughts.  Enjoy!

Chapter One

The Tweet of Death

Randall Crane did not know that he was about to die.  This, in no way, separated him from the rest of humanity, but did make the event rather surprising all the same.  He never looked up from his cell phone to see the car, never realized he had been hit, and witnesses later verified that he did not even appear at all aware that he had moved straight into the intersection.  He was eighty-six characters into an update on Twitter when he was tossed over the roof of a car driven by a very shocked, and later inefficiently suicidal, lawyer.  By no conscious act of his own, but somewhere through the force of the collision, Randall managed to send his partial message, leaving his three-thousand three hundred and sixty-one followers with a cryptic, and modest cliffhanger of a final statement.

#newrev lol@chipperchrist, ez 2 c u there. going 2 c finalized copy, hope it looks goo

When his body hit the pavement, broken and only mostly intact, he was still holding the cell phone.  He felt no pain, sensed no discomfort, and was remarkably coherent for a man who had just been crushed and tossed into the air by a few thousand pounds of unrelenting metal and fiberglass.  For a moment, he just lay there, listening to the screams, the cries for help, and the occasional blast of a car horn, thoroughly confused.  People crowded overtop him, though only briefly, as a good majority of them darted off with their hands cupped over their mouths.  A frazzled gentleman in a business suit, thin-framed glasses, and an expression that spoke in volumes of unrelenting pain, screamed and threw a handful of business cards at him.  Randall couldn’t understand why he had done this, but he could see that the man was in a great deal of distress, and was insistent on being vocal about it, so he said nothing.

But it’s all a bit odd, isn’t it? Randall thought.  Why am I on the ground?  He attempted to move, in order to gain a better view of his situation, but found his vision distracted, not by the oddity of his position, but instead by the pure blue clarity of the cloudless sky.  He was having a terribly hard time remembering the last time he had looked at the sky, or, when it had last seemed so pristine.  For that matter, he was having a hard time remembering when the world looked so…colorful.

“Randall Crane?”

Randall spun his head away from the perfect sky and the screaming, blubbering man in the business suit, and looked at a figure looming just behind him.  He was extraordinarily pale, dark hair curling neatly across his forehead, black pupils complementing the black robe he wore.

“Are you a vampire?”

The pale man looked at him with raised eyebrows.  “Not remotely, no.”

“Oh, well, that’s good,” said Randall.  “I don’t care much for vampires.”

“Have you encountered many?”

Randall thought about that. “No.  None that I can remember, exactly.  I just read a book recently that made me really not like them anymore.  Horrible book.  Bad dialogue.  Shallow characters.”

“I see.  Absorbing though that may be to you, I don’t particularly care.  It is time for you to go.”

“Time to go where?”  Randall attempted to shoo the babbling man and his business cards away, but to no avail.  Several people joined in, attempting to do the very same, but the man was rather hysterical and prepared to be a bit loud about it.

“You should get up now,” said the monotone voice above Randall.

Randall frowned.  “I was thinking that a few seconds ago, you know, but I haven’t yet figured out why I’m down here to begin with.”

“Does that matter?”

“Seems like it should, I think.  Sort of help me to deal with whatever decision I have to make to get myself out of whatever predicament it is that I’ve gotten myself into.  Now that I think about it, I’d appreciate any help you could offer.”

“I am not here to help you,” he said.  “Not in that context, anyhow.”

“Then why are you talking to me?” asked Randall.  “Seems you’re doing nothing more than keeping me from thinking.  I’d rather deal with this guy.” Hysterical Business Card Man was now on his knees and crying.  Randall was starting to feel a touch unnerved by it all.

“This is all quite fascinating, however irrelevant it may be.  You must go.  Now.”

“Go?  Go where?”  The man just stared at him, and feeling a bit odd in his place, and distracted by the babbling man at his side, Randall reluctantly stood.  He felt light and unencumbered, and his thoughts were a bit, well, they were a tad minimal, actually.  There seemed to be a limited number of them to deal with, which was thoroughly abnormal, and more than a little disconcerting.  “Well, how about I ask who you are then?  I’ll worry about my problems later.”

The man seemed to consider this for a time.  “Do you understand what has happened?” he asked finally.

Randall shrugged.  “Beats me.  I was just…just,” he paused, trying to remember exactly what it was that he had been doing.  “Well, I was just doing something.  Talking to someone, I think.  Yes, that was it.  I was Tweeting about my meeting.  Hah!  That rhymes!  I should tweet that!”  Randall looked at his hands for a moment, and then absently patted himself down.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Tweeting.  On Twitter.  140 characters or less.  Updating my daily ongoings, and the like.  Big thing now.  Quite a lot of people interested in what I am doing.  As well they should be.  Hey, have you seen my phone?”

The man offered only a raised eyebrow. 

Randall looked on the ground around his feet.  “Next thing I know, I’m on the ground with people screaming at me.”  Randall motioned to the activity behind him. “Seriously, where’s my phone?  I need to tweet this before I forget.”

“You don’t remember anything else?”

“Depends on what you’re trying to get me to remember.  I remember that I peed myself in fourth grade when my friend Tim shot a spitball in Suzie Perkins’ ear, if that helps.”

“It does not,” said the man, moving a step closer to grip Randall by the shoulder.  He offered something that closely resembled a sigh.  “My name is Gavin.  I am an angel of death, and—” 

“Where’s your scythe, then?” Randall asked, one eye cut to a slit as if trying to peer a line through multiple dimensions.

“Scythe?  I don’t carry a scythe.”

“Well, you can’t very well be Death without the scythe.”

Gavin rolled his eyes, and looked around impatiently.  “Listen, human, I am not Death, I am an angel of death, I don’t carry a scythe—but for what point it matters, I do have a rather fine sword I carry from time to time—and you are dead.”

Randall laughed.  “Dead?  I’m not dead.  I’m quite fine, in fact.  Look at me.  Just because I was on the ground there—whoa!”  He jumped back from the crumpled and bloodied version of himself.  “My arm does not go there!  Where’s my leg?  Hey, there’s my phone.”  Two medics squeezed their way through the crowd, and wasted little time beyond a cursory check for a pulse.  Thirty seconds later, his broken body was blanketed in a white sheet.

Gavin increased his grip on Randall.  “You must go now.”

“Go?  I don’t understand this at all!  I’m fine!  I’m right here!” he shouted at the medics, who were already prepping the gurney.  “Don’t put me on that thing!  I’m not dead!  And give me my phone back!”

“You are, and you must go.”

Randall slapped Gavin’s hand off his shoulder.  “What are you…go where?”

Gavin shrugged.  “Where everyone goes, eventually.”

“Heaven?”

“It’s a possibility.  I’m not a Judge.  Just an angel of death.  Your fate will be theirs to decide.”

Randall scanned the street, and the horrified faces of the people staring at his body as it was lifted onto the gurney.  “My fate?  Heaven?  I can’t go…I can’t be dead!  I have a wife, and kids, and a dog—”

“No, you don’t.”

Randall frowned.  “Oh.  Well, no, I can’t really back that up, but it seemed like the appropriate thing to say.  I was kind of hoping it would help my cause.”  Actually, now that he reflected on it, he was quite sure he remembered something about a wife—his, or, somebody’s wife, any way—and it seemed quite important, but his memory was a bit foggy.  “So, what if I don’t want to go?”

Gavin forced a smile.  “You are dead.  You can’t change that, whether you want to or not.  One way or another, one time or another, you will go.  It’s best if you accept that now, and move on.  Things can get a bit sticky otherwise.”

“Sticky?”

“The Judges don’t take too well to spirits who don’t move on.  You may walk here for a while, haunt friends or places, or whatever you choose, but they will come for you eventually, as do they for everyone, and let me assure you that it will not help your case any.”

“My case?  Judges?  This is ridiculous!  I have to go to this, this, thing that I have to go to!  It’s very important that I—”

“I am fully aware of where you were going.  And had you not met your fate, I am sure that you would have accomplished what you set out to accomplish.  But that’s irrelevant now.  You are dead.  That’s it.  Your road is at an end.  Deal with it and move on.”

“But I don’t want to be dead!”

Gavin offered another sigh.  “Well, that should make all the difference, I imagine.”

“Will it?”

“No.”

“So, what do I do?”

“You choose,” said Gavin.  “That’s all I can offer.  I’m here to help you along.  If you choose to stay, you do so understanding that you are trapped here, unless the Judges decide to retrieve you—a process you may find quite unpleasant.  If you go, you face your inevitability, and the Judges will decide your fate.  Otherwise, you cannot escape two distinct facts: You are dead, and the Judges will have their say.”

For a moment, Randall just looked around, watching the crowd thin, the babbling business card man—who stared at his cell phone as he was consoled, as if it were the cause of his pain—and the doors of the ambulance as they closed on his body, and, apparently, his life.  But Randall could still think, or at least he thought he could think, which was thoughtful in and of itself.  He was still here, and that could only mean that, to some degree, he was still alive.  He couldn’t deny that.  He couldn’t be dead.  Not now.  He still had…still had…something that he was having trouble remembering.

“I’m not dead, and I’m not going,” he said finally.

“Are you sure?”

Randall nodded.  “I’m not dead.  I refuse to accept that my life is over.  I don’t care what you, or these, these judge people say.  I have to go to, well, to wherever it is I have to go, if you don’t mind.”  That said, Randall drove his hands in the pockets of his jeans and walked off.

Gavin watched as the shimmering form of Randall Crane vanished around a corner. “Stupid humans.  So predictable.”

A Blog About Not ME

In most cases…ok in all cases, I come to you in order to talk about the wonder and magnificence of being ME.  I talk to you about Anointed, I talk to you about The Storyteller, I talk to you about MY views on writing, or on stupid politicians, or perhaps even the glory of cheese.  Today, I will depart from that, because I have been possessed with the need for you all to be aware of another writer.  Yes, believe it or not, there are other writers, aside from ME.

I will allow you a moment to pick yourself up off the floor…

Better?

There we go.  Now…keep focused, try not lose consciousness once again, and check this out:

I did an event on July 23rd, sponsored, and hosted, by The Georgia Center for the Book.  In that event, I was paired with another local author, whose book I did a horrible job of acquiring and reading before the day arrived.  By horrible, I mean to say that I didn’t do it.  Shoot ME.  I felt horrible enough when I arrived, and this author…this Joshua Corin fella, looked ME in the eyes, and said, “I loved your book.”  Deer in headlights.  No, more like a deer in headlights, frozen not by the oncoming car, but by the overwhelming guilt that it did not properly introduce itself to the car before allowing it to splinter it into a billion juicy bits.

Um…ew.

Anyway, Joshua was a super nice guy, the drama-school type that reads with the proper influence in his characters.  I still hear the eerie, wheezy, tone of his bad guy in my head.  I can’t sleep. Haven’t slept for 2 months because of it.  And by that, I mean to say that I have.  I’ve slept fairly well, actually.  Anyway, that’s not the point.  The point is, the idea of this character, spent in my mind with this creepy voice, intrigued ME.  Not to mention, after purchasing my copy from the owner of the great Eagle Eye Bookshop, the copy of this book–Nuclear Winter Wonderland–haunted me from the cozy confines of my nightstand.  It mocked me, and my growing pile of books stacked atop it, and seemed to indicate that I was unworthy of its pages.

So, finally, I relented, and read it.

The first thing I read, in one of the first few pages of jibber-jabber that accompanies almost every tome, was from Booklist.  A portion of it read thusly:

…if that isn’t enough to make you dive right into the novel, consider this: it is remarkably polished and stylishly written (remarkably, because the author hasn’t been doing this for years: this is his first novel). It is richly comic, surreal without being silly—except where it intends to be silly—and playful in its use of language. Christopher Moore writes this way, and so does Robert Rankin, although it would be a serious mistake to assume that Corin is imitating them or anyone else in any way. If you can judge a writer’s future output based on his first novel, Corin is one of those writers who, years from now, other newcomers will be imitating.

Well, that’s a pretty good sell, wouldn’t you say?  Alright, I was skeptical.  But I forged on…

…and could not stop.

Joshua does indeed capture much of what is valued in Moore’s writing, albeit with an alternated vantage point of northeastern insanity (he’s from Quahog…I mean, Rhode Island).  His characters are rich–just deep enough to make you want to know more, but not so deep that you are without mystery–and ascend nicely to the conclusion of the book.  It’s as much reminiscent to ME of the writing of Toni McGee Causey (look her up, if you haven’t already, for Timmy Christ’s sake, she’s awesome!), and the non-stop action-hilarity, than it is of Moore.  From the standpoint of an author deemed to write “devil fiction”, it’s easily one of the most ludicrously enjoyable storylines I’ve read in a while.  Seriously, it takes about twenty minutes at night for me to read enough to want to fall asleep.  If you can keep me up for nearly four hours, you’ve accomplished something I reserve for Christopher Moore, Terry Pratchett, and the great J.K Rowling.  I don’t devote that much continuous time to anything that doesn’t produce a pizza, in the end, otherwise.  Go, and read the plot of this story, be entertained by the possibilities, and buy this book.  Now!  Support Joshua (and, hey, remember to support ME as well!), and encourage him to keep this up.  I would love to dream of the day that he and I can reunite on the stage, this time as the next great author duo of fictional madness, beloved by millions.

There.  That’s my image of the day.  I rather like it.  Especially because it includes ME.

Well, sort of because it includes ME.

Also, because this book rocks.

The Path to Redemption

In MYongoing effort to stay current on this here bloggity thing, I am…oh, wait.  No, that won’t work at all.  The correct word would be, “failing.”  I am failing.  That said, I living the spartan life, shaking MYbones to the core of their Old West roots (of which I have none) and enduring a life at home without the interwebbies for which to guide my wayward and lost soul.  Fortunately, there’s Jittery Joe’s, which is not only home to excellent coffee, but free wi-fi.  In a way, I like it.  In another way, it’s a pure living hell being detached from all of the wonderfully useless websites I love to visit.  At some point, the world will right itself, and I will be able to connect anytime I wish.  Either that, or I’m pirating somebody’s signal, with or without the eye-patch, and riding the interwebbie waves of doom to my ultimate peril.  And to yours, if you are so inclined to follow MY ramblings.

So…

I hear the “Lion of the Senate” is dead.  No need to link, I’m sure if you’ve moved today, somebody (television, Internet or random person on the street) has yelled it in your face.  And in an interesting twist of mind, I have come to realization that Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy is the ultimate embodiment of modern religion–most specifically, Christianity.  No, Kennedy was not Christ.  He wasn’t even the cheap knock-off pageant Christ with a bad beard, shady eyeliner, and a bad robe that would better befit a cheap hotel room.  No, he was the ultimate embodiment of sin and redemption.  I think he was baptized by the media, or perhaps just had a really good PR team, because somewhere along the line, his great deeds outweighed his, um, less than great deeds.  This is the guy the murdered a woman, right?  I mean, I’ve heard the litany of excuses, or, “reasons”, for the, “accident”, in which the young girl died, but what cannot be changed is that he walked away from it, and went off into his Kennedy-safe world, where he was, ultimately, protected from prosecution.  Now, before I get carried away on this point, or before I frustrate those who find these remarks tactless, or without proper research, or some such, allow me to keep to the original point.  It cannot be argued that this event will not be at the forefront of articles or documentaries about the man.  In fact, I would be surprised if it was mentioned much at all.  After all, we do not dissect the sins of the fallen.  Rather we praise their achievements.  It’s a human thing.  You’ll find very few roasts at a funeral.

The point I make is this: In the same way that a man could commit a heinous crime, or live a life molded in, “sin”, so too can the same man be redeemed in the eyes of God by a simple wash of the skin.  Jump in a bath with a man of the cloth (which has been done many times in a very improper way as well), confess your sins, and live the life that Christ sacrificed Himself for, and poof!  You’re whole again.  Your demented deeds are forgiven and you are free from the shame and ignominy of your acts, and accepted into the fold, as well as given the keys to the gate of heaven. 

What bothers me with this is that there is no real accountability for what you have done in life.  Maybe there’s a review of your acts in Heaven, and maybe some good finger waggling, but if you have truly turned to Christ (in that same way you might turn to the alternate gender when undergoing a trans-gender surgery…a true commitment there) then you could literally have been the most evil and deranged being on earth, but with a pure heart, with pure actions, with a turn in your soul, it’s all washed away.  I find that the scene in O’ Brother Where Art Thou?when Delmar steps from the river after being baptized, and professes, “all of my sins has been washed away,” that we have, in a microcosm, what is truly wrong with this system.  The system of beliefs only acknowledges wrongdoings in those that are not part of the flock.  Once you are initiated, you are forgiven.  Literally, all the wrongs you have committed, are viewed to have been washed away from who you now are.  See…if I’m God, I don’t have that short of an attention span.  HI, He might say.  REMEMBER ME?  THE GUY WITH THE EIGHT-BALL?  WELL, IT SO HAPPENS THAT I AM NOT ENTIRELY DAMP, YOU KNOW?  I SAW ALL OF THOSE THINGS YOU DID, AND IT’S IMPORTANT THAT YOU NOW COME TO TERMS WITH THEM.  I CANNOT HELP YOU WITH THAT.  GOOD LUCK.  SEE YOU WHEN YOU UNDERSTAND.

Because, truly, does a child understand the wrongs it has committed if its father or mother promptly forgives without explanation upon hearing the child profess true sorrow and a willingness to live properly?  I mean, does that help the child at all?  Do we truly believe that one simple moment like this will, once and for all, leave the child with no true course but that of purity?  Well, no, of course not.  The child is still human, after all.  It will wrong again.  And if it knows it can be forgiven, if it knows it can avoid the pain and suffering of ultimate punishment, then it will apologize again, sincerely, be forgiven, and move on.  Sometimes, a child just needs a good smack on the rump to realize how far it has fallen into a path it should not walk.  And that is a pain, a reminder, that lingers. 

Don’t get ME wrong here.  Senator Kennedy is no more or less a sinner than any one of us.  He just happened to have taken a life along the way there.  The one facet of Christianity I will agree with is that we are all sinners.  Hell, we are all human.  Such is the way.  If weren’t, there wouldn’t be much point to life, would there?  There would be nothing to learn.  Nothing from which to grow, spiritually speaking.  There would just be…life, and not-life.  Kind of like sitting at home all day, never having to work, never having to worry for growth.  Just play Wii and be happy.  Then, someday, the Wii gets shut off, and you leave.

So, praise the man, praise his acts, praise everything that he may or may not have meant to the political landscape, but remember what he did along the way.  What he did to get there.  What he must now, whether we mention it or not, come to terms with.  A woman died because of his actions.  If we forget that, then there truly is no such thing as judgment.

So…yeah.  That’s all I have to say about that.

The Writing Life

(I wrote this post on the Southern Author’s Blog, so it’s a bit of a duplicate)

I haven’t been writing for the entirety of the limited experience that I call, “life”. I mean, well, obviously I wasn’t writing in the womb, nor did I pop out with pen and paper and get to scribing my experiences in utero. I suppose that would have been quite the story, if not, an altogether painful experience for my poor mother. So, what I mean to say, is that, though I may have spent the majority of my capable time on this earth writing, I have some lingering years remaining that offer no insight whatsoever into my life as a writer.

What is that supposed to mean? I take it to mean that I need more coffee.

The thing about life, see, is that life, in and of itself, is a story. Not the words you put on paper (or screen in this modern age), or in the ideas floating about the nether regions of your mind, plucking you awake at the most obscene hours of the night, but in every aspect of every person in every day that you live. Writing is, more or less, the centrifuge to the swath of stories we swim through on a daily basis. I’ve been told many times that, “there is no story that has yet to be written,” and to some degree I get the concept of that statement. To some degree, yes, the stories that are written are nothing more than variances of stories that have been around for centuries. Stories that your grandfather told you on cold nights by the fire, stories that you heard while eavesdropping on that squabbling couple in the cafe, stories that were chipped in tablets and handed down (or succinctly dropped on the floor and cracked into peices by that snarky caveman-esque editor with no appreciation for the man-mammoth-woman love triangle). But in each familiar story, in each tale that rings of familiarity, there in a unique perspective, a unique slant, something that only happened that one time.

Oddly, it took me a while to see this. I had to actually look up from the page, so to speak, and take a nice long look at the world. I had to see how, in its persistent way, that life prodded the art of storytelling. Sometimes, as a writer, you become a bit insulated. A bit protected from reality whilst you delve into the preferred insanity that is your chosen world of fantasy. It’s safer there. You can do what you want. You can kill someone, feel remorse, and move on without consequence. You can encourage affairs, you can win the lottery and stick your tongue out at the world, you can rule the moon, you can take the fragile psyche of a beaten soul and thrash it upon the ground like a small child who is curious to see what happens to the turtle inside the shell once it is broken. But you’re safe because it isn’t real. It’s just a story, and they are all just characters bent to the will of your madness.

I heard it stated that every writer has within them a musician wishing to break out (actually I ready that today from a source I’d rather never listen to again, but I liked it, so now it’s mine…bwahahaha!), and I have to agree. However, it would be irresponsible to music to claim that it resides within any one person. Stories, music, dance, painting, sculpting, they’re all art. They’re all the same. They are all the fabric of life. They all flow. And not one is inspired from within, nor do any reside there. Life is the art. Life is the song. Every life is a story, and in turn, every story is alive.

Ok, so the idea is a touch out there. It’s as inspired as it is insane (though there really isn’t a difference…all artists are insane with inspiration). It’s something out of a Russell Crowe, or Dustin Hoffman-type movie, but it’s true. It’s so very easy to forget that your little experiences, your seemingly insurmountable trials, your possessed frustrations are shared by all of those around you. We all feel a bit like Truman, trapped on the stage, the world as our audience…every so alone in our experiences. But the world is replete in repetition, and in shared experience. No, the mind of that person next to you is not yours, and their similarities are not as yours, but their story is like your story, only in variation, and that variation is enough to make it unique. We are bound by what we are: living creatures who wander like mobile trumpets, blaring our stories for the world to hear. You only have to listen.

Life is everywhere. So are the stories.

Go find them. It isn’t hard. They are waiting for you.

Kicking Around in the Dust Bin

I was doing MY writerly duties this morning (and, as always, seeking a way to use the word, “duties,” in a sentence), when I found an dust bin of old writings pertaining to God and the creation of the Universe.  Well, MY universe, that is to say.  The Anointed universe, to be more precise.  At that point in MY life, everything I wrote about linked back to God and MY never-ending ambitions to twist His universe into something more likely to appease MY need to understand it.  So, I decided, since it amused ME to no end, to share it with you.  Enoy and feel free to drop in your thoughts.  I have more of these, and I’m not entirely sure how many of them will find their way into books.  So, they’ll end up out here, until I decide that they need to all be collected and put in a book that I will call, “Stuff That Makes No Sense.”

Enjoy.

In the beginning, the Creator created God.  And God looked upon his Creator, saw that he was good, and denied him anyway.  God then created heaven and earth, an occupational playground for his thorn-bristle curiosity, filled them with beings of light and flesh, commanded their love and adoration, and reigned as the universe’s first atheist.

There is a mode of thought that goes something like this:

The illusory nature of life is, in and of itself, infinite by design.  Spatial law disallows the limitation of thought, and or, to that end, the universe.  One cannot, in this sense, prescribe by way of mental apathy, a fixation on finality, an apocalyptic end of all, or a frontier that is anything but endless.  The resulting impact of such a contradiction of reasoning—the absence of infinity implied—would be paramount to a cosmic implosion. 

Life—or the universe more accurately—in this roving pontification of philosophical thought knotting, is akin to the proclamation that a single balloon may encapsulate a planetary mass of water, thereby solidifying the postulation that infinite structure can be limited by intellectual bounds.  It is akin to this only by way of structural integrity, in that, any attempt to bind infinity precipitates cataclysmic rupture.  And to the dimwit saturated by the deluge of celestial innards no longer flowing free on the planetary body but a glacial iceberg drifting now unchecked through the cosmos, there is only resignation of hope, desecration of a formerly proud and sage intellect, and the deferred sentiment, “Oh, wow, guess I was wrong then, huh?  Terribly sorry there.  Infinite it is.”

Such is the banality of the grand illusion of life.

It is the dogmatic individuals of this same school of thought that first challenged the heavenly hierarchy.  First challenged the existentialism and divine right to supremacy of God.  It is true, they would say, that in the beginning God created heaven and earth, but in the beginning of what?  And in the beginning of that unspecified and mystical time, who created God?  And in the beginning of God, who created the universe?  Could it not be stated, they would continue, that the very nature of existence, infinite in bounds, infinite in proportions, immeasurable in perception, could be nothing more than the wandering thoughts of a twelve-year-old boy named Elijah Emmanuel?  Could we be but the imaginative concoctions of a child genius?

Of course, it should also be stated that another of the more famous of their idle bits of pondering was, “Say, there sure are a lot of you with torches.  Are we having a bonfire?”  Which is something to take into account as you read on.

Still, it is said that no other collection of thought has since breached the innate wisdom of this collection of nomadic thinkers.  It could be said this because almost all concerned were promptly lynched and burned at the stake as heretics, the rest scattered and rendered philosophically mute.  Which is a shame, human compassion aside, because it could be said that this group of cindered prophets and future spiritual mimes of the world were the only group to have ever gotten it right.  It could be said that they had transcended truth and defined existence to the letter.

So it could be said.  Though one would be hard pressed to contrive the means by which to prove it.

Just one of those faith things.

God created man in his image.  And to a degree this is true.  As God is, in effect, a being of infinite light, so too is man, albeit with a pliable sheath of protection.  Beings of infinite light have a rather poor sense of restriction and tend to encompass, well, everything.  So, it is man who stands as the beneficiary of this practical yet fleshy veneer as it eliminates the continuation of only one singular being of infinite light and instead creates billions of beings of light with Dura-last coating and a singular purpose: existence in the world of a singular God.

Which is all well and good because it brought a sense of purpose to God as well.