Thursday, October 14, 2010
I know there's got to be at least one of your who caught the Studio 60 reference in the title.
I wanted to touch on something that has caused, in my estimation, more than enough pain and suffering in the world. That thing is Christianity. Let me help clear this up for you guys, because for some reason - though I am not a Christian myself - I seem to have, in my infinite wisdom (read: utter bewilderment in the face of the absurdity of life) figured out some things that a lot of the faithful (brainwashed herd?) somehow missed.
And yeah, I know I just lost the entire audience that might have gotten something out of this post by saying that, and now I'm preaching to the choir. As the Lord Jesus Christ said, "Fuck it."
Let's just hammer out a couple basics for what would actually make a good Christian.
First, I'm not going to even talk about God. You don't need to either. You can, if you like, to pass the time. But there is no need. If there is an omnipotent, omnipresent God, he doesn't need you acting as his PR firm. He really doesn't. He has a much larger budget and further reach than you do. You're just embarassing yourself. He also doesn't need a PR firm because he's God. You don't need to prove to me that you exist, do you? Then neither should God. And if he's so insecure about his existence than he probably needs therapy.
Second, throw out your Bible. No really, toss it in the trash immediately. Or burn it. Drown it in a lake. It'd be the most Christian thing you could possibly do. There are some good stories in there, and in between the pages and pages of awfulness, some really beautiful passages as well. But it is just a stumbling block when it comes to actually actively being a Christian. It is a static text full of moral and ideological anachronisms-- most of it is based on the beliefs of people who lived hundreds or thousands of years ago. In fact it is many books, cobbled together through the hands of many scribes over the procession of centuries. Maybe that didn't convince anyone. More to the point: Christ didn't need a damn bible. Why should you?
Let's get right to it. The cornerstone of Christianity is Christ. What can we say of him? A whole lot, obviously, but I think there's enough to be found in three key points.
First, he was a rebel of his time, completely unafraid to stand up for what he believed in even if it got him fucking crucified. Most Christians are terrified about going to Sunday mass wearing clashing socks. This guy took nails to his extremities. Be as Christ? Stop worrying about being like anyone else.
Second, Christ was accepting of people of all mindsets. Though of course the words of this supposed historic figure are rather different depending on which disciple you listen to, it seems pretty evident that he wasn't afraid to hang out with lepers, prostitutes, heathens, you name it. So a good Christian would not be worried about "setting an example," and they wouldn't be afraid to get their hands dirty, so as to bring light to the darkest places on Earth.
Third- when it is said to "be as Christ" it means that you need to accept that you are already dead. Meditating on the crucification means meditating on your own death, just as the Tibetans do. That means that you can't hold on to possessions, money, you shouldn't make any of the decisions that you do based on anything except for the uplifting of "the brotherhood of man," which is to say, divine grace and kindness even in the face of cruelty. Fancy churches? Nice mini-vans? Better get rid of your crosses, heathens. Christ would've started a homeless shelter. What are you doing in the Suburbs in your SUV, Christian? You need to be Saving people. That isn't done with pamphlets and bullshit. It's done with food and resources and love and quite possibly your life.
As I said, I'm not a Christian. But those of you who claim to be really should start acting like it. (And for those of you who do- I have nothing but respect for your path. It just isn't mine.)
Lecture over. Class dismissed.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Palimpsest: "A palimpsest is a manuscript page from a scroll or book that has been scraped off and used again. The word "palimpsest" comes through Latin from Greek παλιν + ψαω = (palin "again" + psao "I scrape"), and meant "scraped (clean and used) again." Romans wrote on wax-coated tablets that could be smoothed and reused, and a passing use of the term "palimpsest" by Cicero seems to refer to this practice.
I'll share a little "behind the scenes" here, hopefully it's useful:
One hypothetical narrative writing process. Writer A and B come up with a concept for a story together. This should ideally be done when they are locked in the same apartment, with a nearly infinite supply of coffee and a complete lack of sexually desirable accomplices. They arc out the plots together. They then each write both of those scenes in screenplay format. Clearly they will work fast and furiously, because they won't get laid until they complete their tasks.
Now you have two screenplays. Enter a third meta- writer who takes those documents and re-writes them as a single screenplay. The previous two authors might develop issues with someone re-writing their work - why should they have the authority?! - but instead they'll be so busy trying to get laid, and drinking, and doing all the other things that writers notoriously would rather be doing except THIS STORY JUST WON'T GET OUT OF MY FUCKING HEAD, etc. (For those of you who like to show greater self restraint and then have the audacity to call themselves writers: sorry I just blew your cover.)
Finally, for bonus, one of the re-writers can re-write that script as a novel or translate it to comic format. But that's just getting wacky.
The process for Fallen Nation: Party At The World's End involved Stackhouse and I writing a screenplay based on Fallen Nation: Babylon Burning. We allocated scenes based on preference and voice, and had a single screenplay at the end. This went through a quick editorial pass - it needs more before it's ready for screens - and now I am re-writing a core novel from all I've gathered sitting on the original text for four years, and re-considering it in screenplay form with another writer.
This will be the way I intended the story to be. I'm not writing this again. After Party At The World's End,* I will most likely be moving on to Nyssa, which amounts to an origins story and further develops some of the cosmogeny of the "world myth."
Note to the world: I think I signed some kind of death-pact with Stackhouse tonight, in regards to never re-writing this particular book again after it is completed. (This does not include other works based within the Fallen Nation "world," of course.) If my body is mysteriously reduced to paste after going nuts and re-writing this book, you know why. But don't blame him. I asked him to.
* Do you like how I slipped that in there? To avoid confusion, I've decided to change the subtitle and simply suspend Babylon Burning on Amazon.