Monthly Archives: September 2013

REVELATIONS

 

The Bible In 90 Days New International Version

The Bible In 90 Days New International Version

SPOILER ALERT! There’s a dragon! This post is about the end of a book. If you haven’t read it and want to be surprised, see ya next week. Also, none of my Bibles have an ISBN number, and I’m learning the proper capitalization of G/god so by all means correct me in the comments.

I first read some of the Bible at the tender age of five in Catechism classes. Between cutting out animals for the great flood gluing them to straws to perform a mini puppet show and being told that I was preparing to “marry” God at my First Communion, I distinctly remember being cast out of class for asking logical questions. What does God eat for breakfast? If God made us in His likeness and I’m a girl, then why is God a boy and not a girl? Why would God give me the ability to ask questions if He didn’t want me to ask questions? Who is God’s God? Does God wear underwear? Adults never had answers. LAME.

Twenty years later, I thought it would be a good idea to finish the book. I bought The Bible In 90 Days, New International Version. Ninety days?! I assumed it would take me three years to read such a thick book with such little font. Four months later, I was knee deep in Deuteronomy with some new questions. Why haven’t I seen Jesus, yet? He’s like the main character, shouldn’t he have been introduced in the first chapter? Who wrote this? It’s pretty ambitious… Surely there must be a History Channel special that covers this in one hour.

Five years, several Ancient Aliens programs, and one MFA later, I decided to pick up the good book once more beginning with the end.

The first reason I started with Revelations: It’s a good contrast to the last post. I’m not sure if anyone around here has noticed, but I suffer from Catholic guilt. There’s this creepy underlying theme of my ‘given’ (not chosen) religion that if you sin you must seek forgiveness IMMEDIATELY. YOU WILL BURN IN THE ETERNAL FLAMES OF HELL if you veer from His Plan. Also, His Plan may or may not equal your ETERNAL BURNING from the jump. Those who claim the book is only about love obviously haven’t read the end. That joke will cost me ten Hail Marys. I feel bad for thinking it. Even worse for writing it. Can I get some sunscreen over here?

The second reason I started with the end: I felt it would be a good reference for my big project. I wondered what the epic battle/end was to the number one best selling book of all time. As a non-judgmental person, I wanted to know more about the ultimate judgment. Plus, the project has me attempting to create two imaginary worlds, each with their own imaginary creatures. My guess was that there were bound to be one or two imaginary creatures somewhere in there.

I was not disappointed. Let me just say that the four horsemen are just the tip of the iceberg. There are four creatures covered in eyes with six wings that chant day and night! There’s a zombie Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes! Locusts with man faces, woman hair, lion teeth, and the ability to sting like a scorpion! Horses with lion heads, fire breath, and snake tails! A sea beast with ten horns, seven heads, that look kinda like a leopard but have bear paws and a lion mouth! Did I mention the DRAGON?!

If I were work shopping it, this would be my critique: On the whole this is a pretty solid piece. I liked your use of the first person, third may have given it too much distance. You know, for me, I’m thinking the story really starts after the notes to the seven churches, so you could probably cut them out. The part I found least believable, aside from a wrathful God destroying nonbelievers, was that future people would leave two dead bodies in the street for days. Have we learned nothing from the Bubonic Plague? That’s just giving pestilence the green light. Also, the only woman you have in the story is a drunken adulterous blood-drinking prostitute. Sometimes less is better. I mean this is fine, she’s definitely an interesting character, but consider giving her even more depth by adding a few positive traits. I like that you kept the ending upbeat, giving those in Hades a second chance. The city made of gold was the perfect way to symbolize the greed of humanity and how we changed, but not really. Classic. With a few more drafts and a bit of trimming, I could totally see this getting published in the New Yorker. Totally!

Wait. What? This is nonfiction? John was your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great a whole lot of greats grandfather? Are you enacting creative license with the use of the first person or did you find his stone tablet diary in a cave? It was a scroll in some pottery? Okay, well this changes things. Yeah, I mean forget what I said about the female character. If she honestly was a drunken adulterous blood-drinking prostitute, then yeah, I mean you’re bound to the limits of what really happened. Otherwise this would be fiction, which, obviously it is not. You know what? You got a good story here. You don’t need to sensationalize it.

THE END

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Filed under Books, humor, Life, Literature, Memoir, Non Fiction, Random, Writing

ISBN: 1-57322-333-6

No Death, No Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh

No Death, No Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh

Writing this post is hard when I keep staring out the window. It’s dreary and drizzly, a day for sweaters and leggings and apples and tea and books. I should note that I’ve only just learned how to wear leggings and every day is a good day for tea and books.

I devote autumn to thinking about time. I’m the type of girl who has been known to ask what day it is several times a day. In my defense, people ask for the time more than once a day, and that’s considered normal.

Minutes, hours, days, years, these mean little to me. I tell time by the color of the leaves on trees or lack thereof. My days are measured in keystrokes or yoga poses, sometimes by phone conversations, other times by births and deaths and weddings and graduations.  How many trips the hummingbird makes to the feeder. The distance Shadow and I go for walks. The purr and mewl of my cats.

Journal notes remind me of the end of summer: Why does it cost six bucks to get into a beach on the lake? Who ever thought up the great idea for metal lifeguard chairs? Warm Powerade tastes like warm Jell-O water before it sets. Warm Jell-O water takes me back twenty-five summers to my grandmother’s kitchen, when I measured time by the many uses for a cardboard box—a car, a castle, a place to hide, a hat to ram into the wall with, a Barbie house, a dangerous way to slide down the stairs. Crochet swimsuit equals bad tan lines, transports me back to the beach where a little kid eats a scoop of sand. All I want to do is eat some sand. The texture, not the taste, is an experience I want.  The lifeguard’s whistle is half day. Two ice creams later, the lifeguards return to their posts and a mass of children charge back into the lake. Mass of children charging lake equals the way I’d like to spend the rest of my summers.

Notes from the beginning of autumn: Twelve miles on my bike, over hills, past farmhouses and cornfields equals the breaking apart of a novel, equals imagining all the people in Syria as ribbons floating from the sky as I wish them one-by-one into a better place—a peaceful future. The duration of a car ride equals passing four flags at half-mast. A nation of flags at half-mast equals the end of twelve lives. An intention for those lives equals slipping out of downward dog multiple times, a glance at a clock: 7:15, 7:39.

I measure the time before I was born by others’ lives: Plato, Cervantes, Edgar Allen Poe, Abraham Lincoln, Einstein, Hitler. This reminds me of two ideas of time that have always conflicted in my mind: nothing is permanent and energy cannot be created or destroyed.

Nothing is permanent. People come and go from my life. I have learned to be thankful for the part of their life they spend in mine and learned to let them go without asking for more. Everything dies, ceases to exist, ends. That is, these people and objects move from a state I am familiar with into a state I am not. I first read No Death, No Fear Comforting Wisdom for Life by Thich Nhat Hanh, fifty-eight blog posts, four stories, one screenplay, one-third novel, and half a thesis ago. I found the book, or the book found me, when I most needed it. I return to its knowledge because I forgot that these people never truly leave. Even friendships lost return to me when I see crocks, Sailor Jerry, golf on TV, macaroons, lab-created sapphires, or ketchup and mustard on a sidewalk. Friendships return in the form of a ToDo list that entails tearing up an apartment then eating a sandwich that makes my breath stink.

There is no coming, no going.

All that exists always exists. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Manifestations arise when the conditions are right. Manifestations arise when they are needed. Radio waves float around my head. I am only conscious of Justin Timberlake’s voice when a radio is present to transform those waves into a familiar sound. What else exists, undetectable to my senses, waiting for the perfect conditions to arise?

Autumn winds twist and turn the leaves beyond my window. In them I see Syria, Einstein, children running toward a lake, flags at half-mast, the wish I make when I pass fountains, keystrokes, green gone gold. Trials of Van Occupanther by Midlake plays four times for these seven hundred and ninety five words. Autumn winds are the sound of your voice reading this post.

No coming, no going.

The true meaning of time, life.

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Filed under Bike Rides, Books, Cats, Growing up, Life, Literature, Love, Memoir, Non Fiction, Random