Came across this today on twitter via xkcd while reading about everyone freaking out about a poem that Amanda Palmer wrote that might maybe sort of involve seeing people as complex and not just “bad guys” vs “good guys” (though mostly everyone screamed that she was anti-american and should go shave her pits) and I thought it was pure awesome so I’m sharing it here:
As for what Amanda wrote – while I don’t think it’s a great poem – I think that attacking someone (and mostly attacking the fact that she is a woman) for saying something thought provoking or heaven forbid out of the norm has unfortunately become de rigueur in this country and that is a dangerous, dangerous thing. We used to believe in civil discourse. Now we just slam down anyone who expresses anything different from what we want to hear, accuse them of being part of the problem and then suggest that they go blow themselves up.
I wrote a poem about it too but no one attacked me cause I’m not a celebrity.
I believe that Susan Jacoby’s book, The Age of American Unreason should at this point be required reading.
Also I killed a plant and feel horrible about it and said so on facebook. I got the following comment from a friend:
“Empathy, even for plants, is a strength not a weakness. The world could use more of it. Be proud.”
And while that was about a plant specifically – I’m pretty sure it’s going to become my new mantra. So thanks, Greg.
In other news today is Shakespeare’s birthday. Yay!
I wanted to celebrate it by offering Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb for free as an ebook and discounted as a paperback on amazon but life seems to have gotten in the way so I’ll be doing that in May instead. A wee bit belated, but still happening. As for the reason that life got in the way, I leave very soon for Austria where I imagine I will eat more sacher torte than is probably recommended by most physicians.
In the meantime, maybe we can all just take a deep breath and try to be a little more reasonable.
That’s all I’m asking. Thanks, guys.
On the train, he reads the paper glancing at the headline
about the nineteen year old boy who brought
a city to its knees until they found him
hiding in a boat.
And then American won again, the way we always promise
we will win.
He reads parts of the article aloud
whistling low and long
at the hours that it took to find
this nineteen year old boy.
Boy oh boy, he says,
and whistles again.
Boy oh boy. What a country.
and then flips to the back
Lots of sports on tonight, he says.
Lots of good ballgames
good old american games.
Thank God, eh? He says to no one.
Just like John Cougar Melloncamp sang about.
I grew up in a small town.
Really small. Too small to have a McDonalds until I was in high school. The highlight of life was the movie theater with the ripped screen, the diner and driving around doing nothing but waiting to grow up.
When I started looking at colleges I only wanted one thing. A city. Any city. Anything with noise and life and bustling chugging buses and people and art and big libraries that took up a whole block, not just one room. And I lucked out and got that.
I know what it’s like to need to leave.
So I wrote this poem for my friend, Christian who needs to leave. Even if she needs to leave one of the biggest cities in the world.
Many thanks to Susie and Mo at Blue Hour for publishing it.
I’ve been reading a lot of Nietzsche lately – both his own writing as well as people writing about him. My books are filled with little post-it-notes with quotes like this:
But then it [the individual] discovers that it is itself something changing and has a changing taste. It discovers in its freedom the mystery that there is no individual, that in the smallest moment it is something other than in the next moment…the infinitely small moment is the higher reality and truth is a lighting flash out of eternal flux.
Mostly it’s been this notion of eternal recurrence that’s been staying with me. And yes, in full disclosure nearly all of this is for book research, which I’m not going to go into here other than to say I was struck today that my main character needs to be the Lighting Flash Out of Eternal Flux. And that this idea of eternal recurrence is a very central theme.
Basically Nietzsche said that this moment, right now, you reading these words, my typing them, my foot tapping as I do so has occurred in every possible time for all time. It will continue to occur. Everything in your life has already happened and it will continue to happen. (Those of you who are Battlestar Galactica or Matrix fans have already been weaned on these ideas. Only with cylons and cool stunts).
So that moment, this moment, the next moment, it’s all already happened. Your great family, your horrible job. They’re a constant. They will keep happening for all time. Unless you choose to change it. Granted if that notion doesn’t scare the bejesus out of you I don’t know what will. God created Man to create God.
Anyway, the point is this stuff is fascinating and I really could use way more free time to study it.
Also, bonus! I finally found a reason for YouTube. This guy does a bang up job of explaining Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence (British accent bonus!)
And Armand Assante is rocking it as Nietzsche (in When Nietzsch Wept). Guess who I’m gonna be for Halloween? I just need a big mustache.
Many thanks to Jack Marlowe at Gutter Eloquence for accepting the poem, Simply, Yes.
I think it’s kind of cool that this poem was published now because I’ve been reading Nietzsche and his theory of Eternal Recurrence for novel research and I found this quote. I feel like he said, what I was trying to say in the poem only, you know, better cause he’s Nietzsche (duh):
“I come again with this sun, with this earth, with this eagle, with this serpent – not to a new life, or a better life, or a similar life. I come again eternally to this identical and self-same life, in its greatest and its smallest to teach again the eternal return of all things”
Nice, right? Yeah. I thought so too. Thanks again Jack.
Hi folks. I’m over at Dab of Darkness talking about poetry and fiction and goats and why I’m obsessed with Robert Falcon Scott and this:
Paper Heart which was published by Jersey Devil Press, was a story I was very proud of mainly because I had adopted a completely different writing style for that one and that was no easy feat. It was rejected numerous times before it found a home – most people were hung up on the notion that a person would be born with Ectopia cordis(a heart on the outside of the body) and that it would be made of paper. Also, the boy with no tear ducts seemed to baffle people. That’s why I’m thankful for places like Jersey Devil Press. They let me send them all my really weird stuff. And they were kind enough to nominate me for a Pushcart – which while I realize TONS of people get nominated for and it doesn’t really mean anything – but it meant something to me that the editors at Jersey Devil picked my story out of all the other fantastic stories they had published.
You hear that JDP? You guys rock.
Many thanks to Susan at Dab of Darkness for the interview. And how do we say thanks? With candy!
Also completely unrelated I fell for the Doctor Who Fan facebook page April Fool’s Day joke where they said Matt was leaving (Me: oh sadness) and that David Tennant was coming back (Me: ohmygodohmygodohmygod) and I gotta say, shame on you Doctor Who Fan page. It’s not nice to toy with a woman like that.