New book

I started writing a new book today. It’s a collection of suicide notes. I bet I’ll have a hard time getting it published as it’s essentially a collection of flash/short fiction and that stuff doesn’t really sell, but I can probably get a small press company to publish it. If all else fails, samizdat publishing is easier than ever in this modern age.

Basically, I have a knack for creating characters who seem real and I want to show that off. Some of the notes are one-liners and others are pages long, but each one is written by a fully developed character. The trick to writing is creating a good character. As soon as you have a good character, you barely have to think about it because you know the character so well that you know exactly how they’d react and what they’d say in different circumstances. Obviously since suicide notes are meant to be read by people who know the person who wrote them, I can’t really go into much history because that wouldn’t be believable (one so far goes into some detail of personal history but this character posted her note on the internet for everyone to read). Because of this, I have to find creative ways to drop hints about the person’s history and personality.

I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going. Maybe I’ll post some excerpts for comments.

And in keeping with the theme of suicide, here are some random suicide facts: the suicide rate spikes during the holiday season (Thanksgiving-Christmas); left-handed people are more likely to commit suicide; more people commit suicide on Friday than on any other day of the week; if someone close to you commits suicide, you are 40% more likely to commit suicide; men often choose more violent means of suicide than women; over 1 million people commit suicide per year, and there are an estimated 10-20 million non-fatal suicide attempts per year; it’s the leading cause of death for people over 35 and the 10th leading cause of death worldwide.

Women in Afghanistan

So CNN just did a story about self-mutilating women in Afghanistan. The first person they talked about was a 16-year-old girl who was married to an abusive douche bag who would beat the fuck out of her daily. The cops apparently wouldn’t do shit, so to escape it she set herself on fire. Only then did the cops arrest said douche. Furthermore, the report states, this shit happens all the time over there. Just this week 5 women have been admitted to this hospital for the exact same reason. To illustrate that point, they then told a story of an 11-year-old girl whose mother was marrying her off to a 35-year-old man in exchange for money. To avoid this marriage, the girl set herself on fire. She claims that she is glad she did it, because she couldn’t bear to be married to an older man.

Later, they talk about arranged marriages in the opium trade. As police and American officials crack down on the opium trade in their never-ending attempt to deny people a good time or a lucrative business, many former opium farmers are having to sell their daughters to the drug lords in order to repay their debts. They had some clever name for these marriages, but I forget what it was. They talked to one former poppy farmer who had to marry off his 5 daughters and was still $12,000 in debt.

In the end, the had some dude explain to the viewers that “the lives of women have drastically improved” over the past 8 years (since the American invasion). He cites women getting jobs, going to school, etc. (Because, you know, Americans are a liberated species and therefore qualified to liberate others.) Obviously progress in Afghanistan is even slower than progress in the West, which means that in about 3,000 years they’ll have advanced to the point of implied sexism as opposed to overt woman-beating. Whoopee.

More about god…

As I have said, I am a very devout agnostic. Reading the Bible is a very weird experience for me. You see, I think that anyone claiming to have knowledge of god’s plan is full of bullshit. I can’t imagine how big one’s balls have got to be in order to make such a ridiculous claim. God clearly works on a higher plane than we can understand as mere mortals. How is it even possible that the human mind can wrap itself around god? (I don’t think it’s possible at all.) For that reason I believe that the writers of the Bible, Talmud, and Koran were the most presumptuous people to have ever lived. All they were doing was taking shots in the dark. Sure, there may be some small chance that they got one or two things right, but I find that highly doubtful. For that reason I think that anyone who lives by the word of the Bible is living a blind life. That’s what these religious texts are: blindfolds.

In closing, I’d like to make a slightly inflammatory statement: Everyone who isn’t agnostic is an ignorant fuck. Convert now.

The Christian creation myth

So in both versions of the Bible that I am reading (Amplified and Apologetics Study), the fruit-bearing trees, birds, and animals are referred to as having been created “according to their kind.” This, to me, would suggest that god had some sort of form or template in mind when creating these things, and they were simply made material (presumably from a spirit source). This strikes me as similar to the Greek philosophical idea that every physical instance of something is merely an interpretation of a higher, perfect “form” (I believe it was Plato who thought up this one, or at least he popularized it). The best way to explain it is that the physical world is really a world of shadows or reflections cast by these forms.

Also, thanks to the ASB, I realized that there are time problems present in the creation myth. First, in Gen 1:1-2, it is not made clear whether the earth was plunged into darkness immediately or if this happened at a later date (according to the ASB, some New Agers use this ambiguity as an argument for time for a lost civilization, which I like because I happen to believe in the LC theory). Also, it is not made clear whether the six days of the creation were consecutive or even 24-hour days. This is an argument old Earth creationists use.

Furthermore, man and woman are created twice in the Bible. This woman could have been Lilith, the mother of the vampires. It’s an old pseudo-Christian myth that never really made it into the Bible, but basically Adam had an affair with Lilith and the resulting children became the Christian demons. Later, Lilith named herself Queen of the Demons and began abducting boys and young men and turning them into vampires.

I have secured some Bibles

So I told my mom that I wanted to read the Bible, but I wanted a reliable translation. I asked her if she had the Amplified Bible, but she did not. However, being super-religious and hoping that this would convert me, she rushed out and bought me my very own copy of the Amplified Bible. Also, she got me something called the Apologetics Study Bible, which may be pretty interesting. It sounds like it attempts to combine the field of Bible study with various other fields and reconcile it with history, science, etc. I’ll read them simultaneously, switching off after each chapter to compare the translations. (I thought of switching off after each book, but I chose chapter increments because it would be fresh in my mind and I’d be able to better pick out the differences.)

I’ll post my findings periodically.

RIP Howard Zinn

And of course Howard Zinn died yesterday. Bummer.

For those of you who don’t know, Zinn was a radical historian and told American history like it really was from the viewpoint of the oppressed populations.

RIP J.D. Salinger

So I just found out that J.D. Salinger just died at the ripe old age of 91. He’ll be sorely missed, even though he published his last work in 1965. Catcher in the Rye was one of my favorite books when I was in high school. (How stereotypical is that? The countercultural loner who likes Catcher in the Rye.) Anyway, sad to hear he’s gone.

Fucking Ads by Google

So I was browsing the Trans Group Blog when I found an entirely disturbing ad. It was for some website (www.ladyboykisses.com) and read “Dating with ladyboys” and had a picture of what I assume was a trans woman. How fucking inappropriate is that? Sure sites like that wouldn’t exist without willing “ladyboys” to take part, but it clearly just adds to the problem of sexualizing trans people. Too often we are seen as some sort of freaky fetish or fetishists ourselves. We are often defined as “pre-op” or “post-op” as if having a vagina is what being a trans woman is all about. I really wish that trans women would stop seeing themselves as some sort of fetish and stop supporting sites like this. (In all fairness, I haven’t visited the site so it could be really trans friendly, but I’m guessing that anyone who calls trans women “LADYBOYS” isn’t too concerned about transsexual rights or happiness.) Also, I really hope that predators aren’t using sites like this to abuse innocent trans women. On the one hand, I don’t want to impede anyone’s freedom and prevent consenting adults from doing whatever it is they want to do. But on the other, I think that if anyone gets hurt freedom goes out the door. They probably don’t even have any way of screening their clientele to weed out the predators.

About my Bible reading

So the only copy of the Bible that I own is called The Message and is a translation in very contemporary English. After reading the first few chapters of Genesis, I got the feeling that the translator was editorializing. Also, a reader of this fine blog turned me onto what is now one of my favorite blogs, God Didn’t Say That. Anyway, I just read a post on that blog that implied that my gut feeling was true and that the translator misses the point entirely.

I wish my Greek and Hebrew were good enough to be able to translate the original text of the Bible. All I really know is Latin, and I decided that if I translate it from Latin I might as well be translating it from French or German. So I’ll attempt to find a well-respected and less flowery translation of the Bible and use God Didn’t Say That to help me navigate that translation.

The pitfalls of existential depression

I’m too lazy to check my previous posts to see if I said anything about my existential depression. I’m also too lazy to go into deep detail about it. Suffice it to say that existential depression is a bitch of a disorder arising from the realization of a few of the basic truths of reality. It is basically depression brought on by realizing certain existential truths. It happens disproportionately among “gifted” individuals and the middle-aged (the most common type of existential depression is the midlife crisis). I have suffered from it since I was 10. The real clincher is that the only surefire cure for existential depression is to drastically change the very nature of existence. And since it seems that god isn’t down with that rap, it looks like us thinky types will be cursed with this affliction until the very day we as a race either commit suicide or find a way to become gods. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that individuals suffering from existential depression are more prone to joining cults or becoming hyperinvolved in politics (most probably as a way to either find meaning in their lives or to try to change the world).

On the one hand, I am proud of my existential depression because it played a big part in the development as a person. I highly doubt that I’d be a radical anarchist/feminist/syndicalist/potential national security threat if I wasn’t so in tune with the way things work. Also it gives me a big head because it means I’m more with it than the general population and I can actually see how things work and don’t delude myself with ridiculous fairy tales about the status quo. However, I frequently envy the deluded and wish I was one of them.

Anyway, the whole reason I haven’t posted anything in a week is that I’ve been reeling with a particularly nasty bout of depression. I’ve been getting lots of texts from friends wondering why I’ve dropped off the face of the earth, so I decided to be a little more proactive today and get out of the house and do some shit. Probably spend some money since I have an extra $100 that isn’t earmarked for anything. First I’m going to watch Amazon Women on the Moon to get me in a better mood.

For those of you who want to know more about existential depression, here’s an article about existential depression in gifted youths.

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