Friday, December 03, 2010

John Merrick kidnapped by faeries

Apparently I am an expert on John Merrick.

An expert? How so? you ask.

Well, my blog gets dozens of hits per day to this page right here:

John Merrick was known as "The Elephant Man" because he had a rare skin disease.

Well, now I am here to tell you the WHOLE STORY.

Here's a little poem by Isaac Watts that was a favorite of John Merrick:

'Tis true my form is something odd,
But blaming me is blaming God;
Could I create myself anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.

If I could reach from pole to pole
Or grasp the ocean with a span,
I would be measured by the soul;
The mind's the standard of the man.

It is interesting when you think about the fact that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and there is a beauty of spirit that transcends any grotesqueness of body.

Fairies, conceptually, are all about beautiful little creatures that wreak havoc, causing misery and misfortune wherever they go. If you think about it, there are some parallels.

The important thing is that Merrick was actually kidnapped by fairies (that bad sort) as an infant and brought back with all these physical deformities. How he lived his life thereafter is a testament to courage.

As for me, I'm trying to kidnap my own blog and bring it back on topic.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Silence the Feeling

There is nothing so lonely
As knowing
That I cannot love you

You think you have a nightmare
But you do not know
Can never know
The storm

There is nothing so lovely
As knowing
That I love you

The Desolate Places

The desolate places
dry without thirst
water without fire
the empty places
consuming all
all but desire

The desolate places
search the world
and you shall find none
so desolate as my soul

Live ineffably gives birth
moment consumes moment
until all that is left are

The desolate places
No love but no rejection
No peace but no pain
No rest but no fear

The dry languid consequence of soul

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


This is a beautiful song. My daughter has been trying to get me interested in it, and tonight was the first time I actually sat down and listened to it. Great stuff!

Yellow, by Coldplay

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah, they were all yellow

I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do
And it was called "Yellow"

So then I took my turn
Oh what a thing to have done
And it was all "Yellow"

Your skin
Oh yeah, your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
And you know,
You know I love you so
You know I love you so

I swam across
I jumped across for you
Oh what a thing to do
'Cause you were all "Yellow"

I drew a line
I drew a line for you
Oh what a thing to do
And it was all "Yellow"

Your skin
Oh yeah your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
And you know
For you I'd bleed myself dry
For you I'd bleed myself dry

It's true, look how they shine for you
Look how they shine for you
Look how they shine for
Look how they shine for you
Look how they shine for you
Look how they shine

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And all the things that you do

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sticks and Stones, Luv...

I wasn't meaning to become so philosophical when I posted this little blurb:

I'll just tell you now
'cause I dont think you know
The things you tried to kill
I found a way to grow
I'll just tell you now
You may have made your mark
But I'm still here today
Knowing who you are
I'll just tell you now

I wasn't meaning to become philosophical, but someone unfortunately asked me "who is killing"?

That question has an easy answer and a hard answer.

The easy answer is to tell yourself that you are the only one who has the power to destroy your own life. It is so common and so easy to tell someone that only they can control their mood, that they only they can give themselves a bad day, that how we meet something (whether face on, accepting it, or whether as a victim) is 100% in our own hands. But that philosophical notion does not take into account the reality of the fact that being demoralized by others can actually and truly be demoralizing. It takes a great deal of personal struggle to rise up above demoralization.

Part of that is learning, teaching yourself, to not allow demoralizing influences to demoralize you. But it is truly easier said than done. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me" sounds all good and well, but generally it isn't true. More harm is done by words than any other way. Words inflame passions, they cause misunderstandings, and often these passions and misunderstandings lead to even worse problems. Wordless demoralization can be even more intense than demoralization by words. The phrase actions speak louder than words, is a notion to be reckoned with.

How often does a look demoralize someone even more than mere words? Or how often can silence demoralize someone? The silence, for example, you find if someone refuses to ever speak to you again?

The "hard" answer would be to accuse someone, or to point out someone's faults as if they were deliberately and intentionally causing you personal harm. This is both hard because it has the tone of accusation associated with it, and hard because you don't really want to mention the fact that someone is demoralizing you, whether it is intentional or unintentional on their part.

I find that, philosophically, neither the hard nor the easy approach give any solution. All a person who feels they have been victimized (such as I feel) can do is say that they forgive. It is difficult in many ways to forgive someone who doesn't recognize any fault with respect to you. Would the Christian thing to do be to confront them with their faults, even if it stirs up more trouble and hardship in everyone's life, when you've got peace about it all yourself, and don't want to put yourself through that turmoil all over again?

It would be cease to be useful if I stirred up dust again, especially now that the dust has settled.

Another "easy answer" is to blame the devil, the deceiver, the divider, the one who stirs up trouble and alienation between people. I find that approach equally unsatisfactory, since the devil needs some help. He really can do nothing without us.

So, I am left with asking myself: is it I who have helped the devil make progress in your lives, separating you from one another, and from God, from me, by giving you such wonderful reasons to hate me?

If you go up to someone out of the blue and say "I forgive you" does it not imply you are accusing them of some offense? And if you go up to someone out of the blue and say "forgive me" does it imply that you are acknowledging in yourself of some secret offense you've committed in your heart against them? Is not an obvious answer to each of these questions, "what for?"

Personal relationships are truly confounding, confusing, troubling, and plagued with misunderstandings. I can sometimes understand why a person would chose to live as a recluse in a cave, cut off from all others. But then there would be no opportunity for forgiveness, understanding, love, would there?

I wish I could say to everyone: I love you, and I forgive you, and I bear no ill-will against you, and I do not accuse you of ever intentionally harming me, and I too, do not feel any sense of wishing to harm you in my heart or soul. Anything you have heard to the contrary is a falsehood. I encourage you to confront the falsehoods, to seek peace, and love and understanding. Everything else in life is a waste of time and energy. Everything else in life will lead you to destruction.

As for me, the thing that someone, something, some power, or some entity tried to stamp out, to kill, to destroy, has become for me life, and peace, and love, and a path into the future. I am sorry if this bothers you in any way.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


somehow I am free

I could not have guessed
I could not have predicted this

I am enchanted with beauty

the sights and sounds of beauty


light and color
shape and outline
darkness and light
intensity of form and perception

I am in love with beauty
and nothing else matters
but somehow
like never before
and never expected

I am free

I still love you
every one

but I am not bound by you
all your sorrows and your sins
are tears on my cheek
running down my beard

but I will walk on
and I will keep loving
pain or no pain

thankful for moments of bliss along the way

Friday, September 03, 2010

I'm sick of Orthodox Christianity, and I just figured out why...

... well, now that I have your attention.

Yeah, really.

And no, it doesn't have anything to do with "all the inner turmoil" I've experienced this year.

Yeah, well, I know this doesn't sound "all that pious" of me. Enjoying the scandal? Might as well find out why. Keep reading.

Tonight I landed upon this article here which has the interesting title More Teens Becoming 'Fake' Christians. Rather catchy, eh? While reading this article, I realized what it is that has been bothering me for some time - the whole year really - ever since I met the first truly authentic Orthodox Christian I had encountered in a very long time. I say authentic Orthodox Christian, when she wasn't even actually an Orthodox Christian at the time, because she was/is a truly authentic person. And nobody is really buying into authenticity these days. Except for the teens. And that's why they are leaving the Church.

I'll tell you the full-meal-deal. Thing is, when I said "I'm sick of Orthodox Christianity" I didn't mean our religious faith, really I didn't mean I was sick of our religion itself. What I'm sick of is the way we have decided as an Orthodox culture to practice our faith. That's what I'm sick of, and I'll tell you why.

Authenticity. I remember when I was a young person, I got lucky. I just happened upon a Christian Church where "the youth were on fire." Have any of you ever encountered that in your protestant Christian days? What it meant at the time was that the teens of the Church were sick and tired of their parents and grandparents being stuffy old pew-stuffers who just sat there to please themselves each Sunday by looking nice and sharing their painted-on faces with one another and their Amen's and God-Bless-Yous. What these teenagers started doing was reading the scriptures, getting involved in charitable activities, and discussing REAL topics, from REAL life from a Christian point of view.

Why are we Orthodox so self-absorbed? We've got the marvelous example of the saints and the things they've done, but all we do is sit on our comfy couches, drinking our comfy micro-brews, singing our apostolic songs, that are so true and so wonderful because they are so ancient, and never internalizing anything, never taking action in our own lives to follow in the footsteps of those Godly beacons of faith, or even to actually do the wonderful things we love quoting to one another on our facebook walls. We are stuff old pew-stuffers who love to say our Amens and God-Bless-Yous in the original Greek (or Slavonic), and we call THAT authenticity.

Now, I know I'll be accused of being sanctimonious here, of making myself out to be better than everyone else, and all that. Ok, I admit all this doesn't sound so good. I can tell you that I'm just as rotten as all those I'm supposedly accusing, and I am, but I'm not accusing anyone here anyway. I'm just pointing some things out. It is easy to get sick of mediocrity - in ourselves and in Church leaders that don't challenge us to make progress in our lives.

But the next time you ask yourself why so many of the youth are leaving the Church maybe you should consider this. Most teenagers start asking questions. They start probing all the things they've been taught their whole lives, and challenging those things. They aren't doing this out of rebellion. They are doing it out of an ordinary sense of need for authenticity. Most young people start asking themselves such questions in their teen years, and it lasts well into early adulthood - sometimes their whole lives. That's a good thing, not a bad thing. If all they learn in Church is about how Godly Saint Blagalucious was beheaded and had his right hand chopped off for the sake of God in 1542, are they going to remember that or the words to their favorite pop song? You guess.

We need instruction that is relevant to our own lives, that's all I'm saying. We need to be engaged by the reality and authenticity that is inherent in our liturgical tradition, and not something that wears a mask of indifference to the world around us. I'm sick of phonies, and you know what? So are the youth.


That's crazy.

I just spent an hour modifying my Fly In The Holy Oil page ONLY because I wanted to have titles to my posts!!!! Gah!

Now I can't remember what I wanted to post any more.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Wandering Love Cycle

The moon glistens on a silhouette
and tears well up in my eyes

There is so much to taste here
to touch to hold

to devour

Night upon star-filled night

To love too much?
Or to feel too little?

To understand the consequences
of each subtle glance
of each gentle fragrance
of each tender embrace

My heart is so full
it cannot contain another breath
My burden so light
that it gives me wings
and I fly

To contemplate the nuances
of each subtle glance
of each gentle fragrance
of each tender embrace

The dewdrops that glisten
The leaves and the tears

The rhythms that pulsate
in my weeping brow

Do you think I love too much?
Do you feel so little?

Beauty fills the air
like a fragrance
that intoxicates

I find myself
in the mirror of your loveliness

Speak to me
Kiss my wounds
and you will own my love

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Falling Asleep

It is a dark night of soul
laced with the movement
of soft shadows, wind,
moonlight streaming through tears,
where branches scrape the hollows.

It is a deep night of soul
dank with the smell of
white and black
the shimmer of resonant
voices against the dream.

It is the sleep of sorrows
drawing me near the depths
the steep draught, hopeless
impersonating death,
infinite in finality.

It is a bright day of soul
a dawn of illusion, a
whisper of kindness
drawn out under a breath
a wink, a kiss.

It is better here if I lay
in grief and observe the
subtle nuisances of stupidity
as it grips and scours
my scorched soul.

Why did, how could, for what would
I lay such a burden as this upon you?

I should not, but have.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Map Of The Problematique

I think this is one of my favorite Muse songs.

Map Of The Problematique

And panic in the air
I want to be free
From desolation and despair
And I feel
Like everything I saw
Is being swept away
When I refuse to let you go

I can't get it right
Get it right
Since I met you

Loneliness be over
When will this loneliness be over?

Will flash before my eyes
So scattered and lost
I want to touch the other side
And no one
Thinks they are to blame
Why can't we see
That when we bleed we bleed the same?

I can't get it right
Get it right
Since I met you

Loneliness be over
When will this Loneliness be over?

Loneliness be over
When will this Loneliness be over?

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Thought for the day from Circa Survive

I've tried so hard
to be what you needed
your imaginary enemy
I've tried for so long
to make you believe it
that I am not the enemy
imaginary enemy

Thursday, August 05, 2010

R & J

If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep,
My dreams presage some joyful news at hand:
My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne;
And all this day an unaccustom'd spirit
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.
I dreamt my lady came and found me dead--
Strange dream, that gives a dead man leave
to think!--
And breathed such life with kisses in my lips,
That I revived, and was an emperor.
Ah me! how sweet is love itself possess'd,
When but love's shadows are so rich in joy!

* * * *

Wow. Such wonderful irony. If you were hearing it for the first time you wouldn't necessarily know, but if you already know how the story turns out, then you know when you hear it that it is straight irony.

I've read, seen movies, seen the ballet numerous times, etc. of Romeo and Juliet, but this was, I think, the first time I've ever actually seen the play live. We went to a free outdoor performance tonight - Shakespeare in the park - and I was blown away at how good it was. Such a rich and relevant story after all these years.

I was struck by the directors comments that I read in the program before the play, that Romeo and Juliet is all about HATRED. Wow. We concentrate on the "love" and how the love is so intense but left unfulfilled, but truly this story is all about hatred - it is about people and their hatred keeping even the most pure, most beautiful and most wondrous love from actually reaching any sort of "happily ever after." We tend to focus on the great tragedy of suicide. We tend to focus on a sort of love-out-of-control that leads someone to the point of suicide, when really it isn't the love-out-of-control that leads them to suicide, it is the intervention of well-meaning but stupid individuals whose prejudices take something beautiful (their love for each other) and make it into something destructive.

Such a sad, sad tale. But the reality is: it is just like real life! People are still doing that today... constantly! I think it happens more often than any other way, with parents mucking in the relationships that their kids develop as they grow up and start reaching out to others on their own. Especially in romantic relationships, but it can happen in other relationships, too. And it need not be their parents mucking in their lives, it could be other respected and well-meaning adults.

Tonight's performance was so awesome, and the script so well crafted, that it brought me to tears more than once, even though a certain someone seated next to me couldn't handle the intensity of emotions and kept breaking up laughing. But I respect that everyone handles such intensity in their own way.

As for me, it really made me start thinking about life, stories, tales, and how I want to write. For me it was really a "second look at Romeo and Juliet" - a story I had always felt was melodramatic to the point of no longer being relevant. How wrong I was!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Confuzzlement and confoundation

is my heart really such a mess?

I want to share magic with the world
but I don't feel any inside.

I want to miss someone that I love
I know that the love is there
even though I don't feel it
but I feel the absence of it

I want to remember the sweetness
of songs in the moonlight
the turmoil in my heart
that you awoke in me

I want to get angry
at the rough and rugged road
at the lack of signs
where came forks and intersections
at those who stood by the road
and pointed every which way
not to help me find my direction
but to make themselves feel superior

I don't want to fall in love again
but I find myself helpless
and I ask myself why
or how many times
or who I really am

your birthday sweeps past
and I must pretend I don't even know
but I never forget a thing
not even the birthday mislabeled
and the sweet soft giggle in your heart

there is no way, it seems,
to build a bridge over these waters
so I stand on the brink with my
virtual eyes and look into the past

what once was an abyss
has become for me a door

and I WILL go through it...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Don't let him beat you down
your heart is full of dreams

let them speak
let them grow
sprout wings and fly

your heart is filled with beauty
let it drive you to overcome
let it speak to you
whispering in the night
let it carry you on the wind

bring your magic
to the world awaiting

you are not a nothing
not a nobody

what stirs in your soul is a fire
burning with meaning
let it empower you
stoke your passion
to achieve
to do good

Don't let him beat you down
your heart is full of dreams

let them speak
let them grow
sprout wings and fly

and walk away
when the time is right
to cast off all illusions


you simply need to rest in your soul
and be

being will come easy
once you take the first steps

Don't let him beat you down
your heart is full of dreams

let them speak
let them grow
sprout wings and fly

He wounds you with his indifference
He destroys your soul
with lies
that you are a nothing and a nobody

but see the lie
and rise up above it

you can accomplish
you can achieve

don't let anyone stop you
don't let anyone crush your dreams


Monday, July 05, 2010

Food for Thought From Muse...

This is "Our Time is Running Out" by Muse:

i think i'm drowning
i wanna break this spell
that you've created

you're something beautiful
a contradiction
i wanna play the game
i wan't the friction

you will be the death of me
you will be the death of me

bury it
i won't let you bury it
i won't let you smother it
i won't let you murder it

our time is running out
our time is running out
you can't push it underground
you can't stop it screaming out

i wanted freedom
bound and restricted
i tried to give you up
but i'm addicted

now that you know i'm trapped
sense of elation
you'd never dream of
breaking this fixation

you will squeeze the life out of me

bury it
i won't let you bury it
i won't let you smother it
i won't let you murder it

and our time is running out
and our time is running out
you can't push it underground
you can't stop it screaming out
how did it come to this?

you will suck the life out of me

bury it
i won't let you bury it
i won't let you smother it
i won't let you murder it

and our time is running out
and our time is running out
you can't push it underground
you can't stop it screaming out
how did it come to this?

Monday, June 28, 2010


Thank you, God, for giving me the opportunity to see the world, the pain, the sorrow of lost love, through somebody else's eyes.

Please help them. Please let them know that YOU love them.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Let love...

Let love rule and guide your hearts and minds this day.

May you seek peace, true peace, by making your heart compassionate
and refusing to blame others no matter how many times
the devil places their wrongs before you in your heart
and mind.

It isn't always easy but you can do it.
You can forgive, you can grow,
you can reach out your arms like wings and soar.

Do not look down.
Do not fear for the height.

If God did not believe you could fly he would not have brought you here.
If God did not believe you could walk on water he would not have placed you there.
Do not look at the waves that buffet you on all sides.

Keep your mind and heart clear
Your vision on the Higher One
who leads, guides, loves and holds you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Sleepless Fire

The fire burns in my heart
it brings me again to tears

the agony of everything
that is so far, far out of reach

the muscle spasms
brain spasms
the wild stories in my head
the conjectures

I really don't want to feel ill of anyone

why do they continue to bring me pain?

and they go on their merry way
thinking themselves so righteous

if I appear before them
in person or in a dream
is it not an act of God
to convict them for their sins?

but they do not see it
they see nothing but their
misguided delusions about me

In my world view
only those with hearts of evil bring pain to others.
well, I have repented of my evil
(even though it was unintentional all along)
what about them?
They neither repent of it,
nor cease their deliberately painful behavior.
There is no one to rebuke them
there is no one to tell them "repent"
as their own leader continues to feed them
the food of their delusions

I cannot speak, I cannot dream
I cannot sleep, I cannot win
I cannot survive

I scatter my words about me
but they bring me no comfort

[I think even now, they sit their smug
in their self-righteousness, saying:
"God will make him a righteous being
through these sufferings."]

it is as if I am clothed in rags
and they fall off as I walk along
I need muddy myself
to make them cling to me

I stand naked and alone
all the world can see my sorrow

how can I lead others to joy?
how can I bend minds to do good
when I am considered a thing of evil?

I want so much to live words of wisdom
to wrap divine sophia about me like a pure white cloak

but the moment I do they sling their mud

you think it is all in my mind
but it is not:
it is in your mind and heart who think evil of me.

the light of the body is the eye
purify your eye
cast away the darkness with which you have fettered the eye
and SEE

God be merciful to me a sinner.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Just when you feel like giving up...

Thank God for my daughter.

She's at the age of adolescence where we need to have discussions about life quite a lot. This really only started a couple of months ago.

Last night we were talking about communications within our family. Particularly the difficulty sometimes of communicating. I told her that one of our regular family communications problems was my fault, because I was a complete failure at this particular thing (I won't bore you with details) and then she said something that surprised me:

"Well, sometimes the only thing that gives me confidence to keep on going when things get difficult is you, Dad. Because you encounter all these difficulties and you don't give up, I feel like I shouldn't give up when I encounter difficulties too."

Wow! That really took me by surprise. Now I have another reason not to give up. Of course, my family should always be my primary reason to never give up, but sometimes I forget.

Thank you God! And thank you Xenia!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"You just keep on trying till you run out of cake."
(or How Not To Love, In Fourteen Easy Installments)

Yesterday I realized that I totally fail and something that is really important to me: love.

I imagine that I have a huge heart, an enormous heart, because I feel such love for everyone – even those who annoy me. The annoyance is temporary. So is my snapping back at you in frustration. But in my heart of hearts I forgive you your faults – never mind how it appears on the surface. I love you. I truly, truly love, accept and forgive you.

I just don't always have time to show it.

OK, I'm becoming melodramatic here.

Yesterday I was reading I Corinthians 13 (that's from the Bible, for those of you who don't know – or from the Holy Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians, for those of you who do.)

I came across this remarkable passage. (This is where I realized I'm an idiot too – because I've known this passage my whole life.)

(3)If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
(4)Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (5)It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (6)Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

How this led to such a revelation (and revolution) in my heart is as follows. As I went through that checklist above I discovered that I failed completely in love at ALL of the various points, with the exception of three. That's not so good considering there are 14 different aspects that define love pointed out here. 3/14ths is only slightly more than 20%.

I won't bore you with the details. But now that I've discovered this I realize that when I tell someone "I love you" – whether it be my own immediate family, or someone I'm actually reaching out to, maybe even with the notion that I'm "trying to help" – well, the way it works out is, what I really mean is "I want to love you."

Yes, I'd like very much to treat you with patience and kindness, in a way that is un-envious and non-boastful, and neither proud, nor self-seeking, nor rude, nor easily angered.

Maybe I should just never tell someone I love them – not even "love in Christ" - and especially in the sight of witnesses who will tear me to shreds as soon as they realize how faulty I am in my "love."

The only three aspects of love that I think I've been successful at are ones that I'm only successful at because of my stupidity (I'll sing the rest of the song in a moment, so that you'll understand.) Namely: I rejoice with the truth rather than delighting in evil, I hope, and I persevere.

Yeah, nobody can tell me I don't persevere after you all keep telling me I'm obsessed. You don't even understand what I'm obsessed about (well, you have your ideas, but they are all greatly mistaken), but you do at least recognize that I "wont give up" when I've got my mind set on something, don't you? Yeah, well, that's perseverance. And the fact that I now must persevere in complete isolation from the object of my "love" is called "hope" (yes the second aspect of love I can actually claim I'm good at – sometimes... when I'm not despairing.) And what is it I'm obsessed about (I've told you before) – truth.

Sometimes the truth can be unkind, and unfriendly, and the fact that you are obsessed with it makes you seem rude and self-seeking. So, to be honest, my pursuit of the truth has been un-loving. But not for lack of wanting to be loving. More for the lack of proper skills.

The bottom line is that I've FAILED completely at love. I feel grievously foolish about that and I can tell you all I'm terribly sorry, but you won't believe me until you actually SEE me exercise love. (This is what we call repentance.) But I am sorry. At least I feel sorry... the same way I "felt" love.

Now, I'm going to press on and try to succeed.

{the rest of the song...}
I'm not even angry.
I'm being so sincere right now.
Even though you broke my heart.
And killed me.
And tore me to pieces.
And threw every piece into a fire.
As they burned it hurt because I was so happy for you!
Now these points of data make a beautiful line.
And we're out of beta.
We're releasing on time.
So I'm GLaD. I got burned.
Think of all the things we learned
for the people who are still alive.
Go ahead and leave me.
I think I prefer to stay inside.
Maybe you'll find someone else to help you.
Maybe Black Mesa
Anyway, this cake is great.
It's so delicious and moist.
Look at me still talking
when there's Science to do.
When I look out there, it makes me GLaD I'm not you.
I've experiments to run.
There is research to be done.
On the people who are still alive.
And believe me I am still alive.
I'm doing Science and I'm still alive.
I feel FANTASTIC and I'm still alive.
While you're dying I'll be still alive.
And when you're dead I will be still alive.

[yes, still not dead... but starting to understand life anew...]
{theme song from Portal inserted because it works so beautifully with the theme of this blog post.}

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lessons Learned

The most important lesson I've learned so far this year is "never sprint forward into the dark." No, I didn't bang my head on a low ceiling and knock myself out. I didn't come smashing through a huge window and cut myself all up. No, I didn't accidentally crash into a waiter with 13 plates precariously balanced on a tray (although I did upset a dainty little table full of teacups where some little old ladies were having a tea party.) No, I didn't even accidentally step off a cliff, or fall into a boiling cauldron, or embarrassingly find myself in the ladies restroom.

No, the main reason you never want to sprint forward into the dark is that there is always someone hiding in the shadows with a pie in their right hand which is carefully aligned to act as a catapult toward your face just as you round that corner.

The second most important lesson I've learned so far this year has been how to act dignified at a dinner party when you have pie all over your face.

It is a lesson I am still learning, as there is still pie all over my face. You'd think I'd wash my face, wouldn't you? But I leave the pie there, just so that everyone who sees me will realize I've learned my first lesson, which was "never sprint forward into the dark."

Not to mention, I can have it as a snack later on.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Thought For The Day

"I need someone to protect me from all the measures they take in order to protect me." -Banksy

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wisdom from Antiquity

"Suppressed grief suffocates, it rages within the breast, and is forced to multiply its strength." -Ovid

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Buzzing Around

This blog seems like really it is just the dumping ground for any random thought I have. Often what I post here is unworthy of mention. But often it is the most remarkable thing I ever thought of.

Well, today I've posted some poetry. It expresses some things that are in my heart in an abstract way that I needed in order to memorialize a moment that was and is very important to me. I doubt if anyone can understand what I'm talking about in this poem, but there are glimpses of things that probably anyone can identify with.

It's over on the companion blog to this one, Dreamer of Dreams:

Enjoy! (Or ignore...)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A Faith of Verbs

I really like this quote:

"This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek." ~ Terry Tempest Williams (Leap)

I love words of action and experience, motifs that spread themselves out across the broad spectrum of humanity, rather like a Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, or an Everyman perspective of the world.

There is a lot to experience in this world - a lot of diversity in humanity. It is not possible to be fully human without experiencing the diversity of souls in humanity.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

How Things Stand

It seems I never blog here any more.
I have lost all sense of feeling in my soul
and have nothing to blog.

But it seems tragic to leave this here unused, so...

I'll sit by the shore and
leave a message in a bottle.

If it is for you, you'll understand it.
If you don't understand it,
it isn't for you.

Very simple.

It begins with "I'm sorry"
and ends that way too.

I'm sorry

I know you don't really want to hear it from me
At least that's what it seems
But how can I know?
How can I possibly understand anything that
happened right in front of my own face
right in my own heart, earlier this year,
when I have been completely cut off from it all
before anything could ever get cleared up?

But, still, I'm sorry
This is not how I would have had it
I've never experienced anything remotely like this before
and so, I completely don't understand it

I've experienced a lot in my years
maybe that's what confused you
you thought I'd know and understand everything
but I didn't and I don't
(were you ever confused?
you see, I don't even know that much)

I know what to do with things I understand
If someone's heart is full of love for me
I know what to do to keep from hurting them
to make it all better, and soothe-away every concern
without compromising myself.

Or if someone doesn't really like me at all
and doesn't want to be around me... I know,
I can handle it, deal with it, understand what to do.

Things we understand are easy to deal with.

But what can I do when I don't understand?
When I haven't got a single clue?

The only thing I understand
(yes there is one single thing)
is that misunderstanding compounded
upon misunderstanding
upon misunderstanding...

And there was never the slightest opportunity
to clear anything up
and it drove me crazy

And it was not your fault.
It was definitely never your fault.
And the sad fact is, I started to get angry and to blame
the two people that I really wanted all along
to keep peace with.

I knew everything depended on me
keeping their trust, but
I started to feel that it was all their fault
That they were negligent in their duty to you
and had only made everything far worse
by their haphazard attempts to intervene

I don't want to blame them
but ultimately, I think I did
and I couldn't stand waiting any longer
for them to follow through
on so many things I expected from them
and maybe never should have expected from them
but did anyway

They gave me a glimmer of hope
a glimmer of hope that someone else in this world
understood what was in my soul...
and how can I turn my back on such a thing as that?
but they also gave me conflicting notions that
they understood nothing at all

Well, I'm fragile in that way
I can't stand not being understood
it drives me crazy

when it is something small, I get over it
but when it is a misunderstanding
that someone I've started to care deeply about
has over something as significant as my soul?

Well, how can I stand that?

So, I broke...
I pushed them for some sort of resolution
when I shouldn't have

Well, it was resolved, but not to my liking.

There is the claim of peace, but really,
it isn't peace, I don't think

It is more like a slamming of doors
and I hate to say it, but because I was the person in need
it is the slamming of a door
in the face of Christ as he stands outside
hungry, and alone...

I'm so sorry.

I know it isn't my right or my duty
that I have no right whatsoever
to say such things

But I was given an invitation
and then a slammed door

How can I not weep for something like that?

And I don't weep for myself,
I weep for the one slamming the door
because of the lost opportunity,
and what portion of their salvation
is lost with that opportunity?

I can sleep nights now.
Not because anyone ever gave me peace
but because the "final word" was so final
(it reads like a death-wish)
that I could see no way around it.

There was, and is, nothing at all I can possibly do.

And in a sense, there's a sort of relief you feel
when things fall into place like that.
When you can't do anything at all.

So, here I am
leaving messages in bottles

Have I not forgotten you?
How could I?

Yes, silly isn't it
that a couple weeks of my life
would speak that way to me
stay forever in my heart and soul

I am strange that way.

I was just remembering the other day
the two most vivid experiences I've had
in my life with tea.

Yes, tea.

Why tea? I have no idea.

But there have been two cups of tea in my life
that were life-changing.

One was about 8 years ago
And the other was about a month ago.
On Holy Friday, in fact.

I've never had a memorable experience with coffee
But I remember each of those two cups of tea vividly
I remember who I was drinking it with
and what we were discussing

I've once had a memorable experience with wine
but only once.

I've only had the experience I had with you
twice in my life
Once was about 20 years ago
Yes, ages.
And the other was with you.

The one 20 years ago ended peacefully
as it should have
because there was, to be honest,
nobody meddling
and I had to give something up then too
but in both cases it was worth it

Only this time, everything fell to pieces

I can't explain what this experience was
any better than I can explain
why those two cups of tea were life-changing

Or the one glass of wine.

I only know that because of something I can't explain
you are firmly embedded forever in my soul

don't consider that a burden, please.
I never wanted to burden you with anything at all.
I still think if it hadn't been for meddling outsiders
it wouldn't have burdened you one bit.
And still, I really, seriously...
I don't want to burden you with anything.

I want you to be free.
I want you to free yourself
mind, heart and soul
and be everything that you have inside

we can do that, you know
some of us can
I think you are one of the ones who can
and I think you will

I hope I hear about it from a distance
so I can smile
because when I think of you,
I do still smile.

I smile for you
and pray for you daily.
It is a part of my life now
to what purpose and aim,
I do not know.

And about them?
I don't know if I can ever repair the damage that is done

You once wished me luck
Well, if we ever meet again
wish me luck once more,
because I think I shall need it.

And more...
God's grace.

I could Leave some other words here
dangling Oddly
but i'm afraid they would be misunderstood
not by you, but by others.
one Version of a thing or another
and Everyone thinks they understand YOU.

But they don't do they?

And they don't understand words I might dangle
as if from a tree,
as if fruit to be picked

but I want you to understand I mean it only
the most honorable way possible
and have never meant it any other way
but have always felt it inside

Can that make any sense at all
seeing who you are
and who am I?

I don't know
but I shall always be rooting for you from the sidelines of life
so what more can I say?

You are still reading?
You already know how this will end
with a simple, and quiet
just over the horizon... I truly am...

And let me just say,
I want nothing from you
I'm not writing this to get anything back from you
but to leave behind the promise
that maybe, some day you will understand
and THAT gives me peace

so let me say what I truly am,
that I'm sorry.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This Blog Reborn
I took this blog down for a while to rework it. It was vastly in need of some repair.
Well, now it is back, but I'd like to provide a sort of overview.

This blog is truth straight from the heart. Because of that is unsuitable for most people to read. Most people can't handle the truth.

I recognize that the truth is as perceived. The truth you will find here changes constantly, but it is always true at the moment it is written. So, it is rather a form of poetry written in prose. You could even say it is fiction, which is often the best place to encapsulate truth, because if you hide your truth in fiction you avoid offending anyone.

But much of the time it is caustic. It may sound like I hate my reader from time to time. I do not. I am just expressing the truth at that moment.
A moment of despair..

... sometimes there is nowhere to turn in your despair. You try to see everything through eyes of joy, and the world collapses in on you. If it were an earthquake, everything would be OK - they'd come looking for you to save you. But you are just one person alone in the world, and there is nobody you can talk to about it all.

You get glimpses of love, sparks of beauty that encourage you, and make you have hope. But you wonder if the hope is merely an illusion.

You wait, you wait... what are you waiting for? Are you waiting for anything at all? You are so happy when you are given great joy, but it can be taken away from you in a moment - every last trace. You try to remember what it was like to feel stability. Every trace of stability has been taken away from you.

This Holy Week I go to the cross with Christ like never before. And you with all your religious observances, meticulously counting every moment you spend at services like notches on your gun handle, you spit upon me. You spit upon me and then you tell yourself he deserves it.

No, I am not drunk. I am extremely sober. You should try it some time. You know who you are.

Your falsehoods and your lies.. they are all you know, aren't they?

Do I speak to myself or to another? I know what I have in my heart, and it is beautiful - it is cast in HIS image. But you would deny it to me, forcing me instead into this vessel of refuse and filth...

As someone wise once said: "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted."

I don't need anyone to talk to. I need it all to just stop. Or would you rather I tell the world all your secrets, so that you too can stand there naked and alone as I do?

By hurting me, you hurt even more the one you think you love. I cannot say it all.

Those of you who are my friends. I love you and I thank you. Even those of you who are my friends but find yourselves forbidden to encourage me.

I want to see you all be happy. I want to see you all soar on wings. I want to see you all grow and flourish with God.

Do not listen to those who deceive you, and you will know who they are because they point fingers. They see impurity everywhere they look: because that's all they have in their hearts.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Digging Through the Ashes of My Past Lives

I've spent the better part of the evening digging through the ashes of my past lives. That may seem odd, but it is true.

Oh, I am the same man I have always been...

... but not.

There is a such a thing as "repentance" and repentance directs you to change course.

I have shifted course many times, but never lost a certain common thread - an enchantment with beauty and mystery, with secret glimpses of my God of Light in strange and dark places.

I was about to completely close down an entire web site I've got - nail boards across the windows and such - because I haven't sold a book as that author in more than 2 years, and the things that I wrote about way back when were as scandalous as they were beautiful. But it turned out that several things stayed my hand: One was a story my wife told me about a box of letters she had and how she was about to throw it away until a certain priest stopped her. His perspective was: that's your cross to bear, it is a part of you, and don't ever throw yourself away.

The second was the fact that I actually got fan mail. It happens so seldom, and I was quite surprised, but pleasantly. Once or twice a year I get an email from some junior high, or high school kid asking if they can have permission to use, quote, whatever, my poetry. I've had paintings made, and recitations performed, and even a play and a ballet done based on my poetry. This was one more reminder that perhaps there is some beauty I've left there for others to cherish.

The final thing that did it was I started reading my own poetry. I'm not saying I'm brilliant or a great poet or anything like that, but as I read some of the things I had once written I realized I could still FEEL them. To me that's what poetry is all about. I don't know if anybody else feels anything when they read it, but if anybody does at all, then I'm doing a good thing by giving it to them, so why take it away?

So, instead I decided to shore up the collapsing house a little, remove a few broken links, take away things that were completely obsolete. I found two whole branches of the building that I think I need to completely gut, they are in such decay.

But I am still tormented that I should remove it, because I am still tormented that I will offend someone, cause someone shame, or hurt someone by what they may find there. Is that my cross? That I should live out my days knowing that in order to do good, I constantly take the risk that I may cause offense to someone?

One of the final, final things, that may nudge me and set my mind at ease, was one of the old reviews I read on - it was from someone I know and he told me he was going to write it. He is a priest's son, and currently a novice in a monastery, and I could tell by what he wrote that I touched him in a very positive way. But somehow I still struggle with it all. I still sometimes wonder if the cross is too great to bear.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A walk at night through the soul

Wisdom walks at midnight
amidst the stars and dandelions
upon dew-covered feet

She comes as a great gaping
hole in the night to devour
and consume me

Her subtle bliss enshrouds
me as a poultice and a
two-edged sword of flame


Wisdom sits beside me
upon the rock where honey
and water have freely flown

She speaks to me of humblings
and alienations, of love ill-found
and misunderstood

Her truths cut open the wounds
and they bleed-forth
unto my healing


Wisdom rises to take me
not in her arms as a friend
but as a babe gently upborne

Her loving breast nourishes
my soul with sorrows and
the solitude of humanity

She whispers to me of sunshine
as I can only dream
in this dark place of soul


Wisdom takes my hand
and walks beside me as
our feet crunch on the frost

She warms me as no other
in her tender arms
wide and vast as the heavens

Her sharp words set me
in the path to where I would
have never known to go


Wisdom flies at midnight
amidst the stars and dandelions
upon dew-covered wings

She takes me to the realms
I would never choose to go
amidst the pasts and futures

Her subtle bliss enshrouds
me as a poultice and a
two-edged sword of flame

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Across Dark Waters

Today was a wondrous day, and tomorrow is sure to be even more wondrous. I can say this now because my heart is truly at peace, the way a man might be who is about to go to the gallows.

It might surprise you, but I have a past, the way that many people have a past. I have largely ignored my past and let it slowly rot and decay, become burred in leaves, infested with cock roaches, and covered with a canopy of cobwebs like a silk lace to keep out all but the truly hardy of heart. I made the discovery today that someone actually found my past. I was quite surprised that anyone would, because I had truly forgotten about it.

This wasn't really a pleasant surprise. I'm trying to turn over a new leaf, and for the most part disavow many of the notions of my past. Yet I struggle: should all that I created in that distant world become but dust? I've left it around for a reason, I guess. To see if it could ever amount to anything. And now I wonder if that was so wise.

You see there are things that are important to me for the future, and many of them do not coincide very well with my past.

And worst of all, it is quite possible that this whole distraction of reconciling my past with my present is something outside the scope of what I await on the morrow.

I have wanted only one thing my entire life: the ability to express myself in a way that was meaningful and beneficial to others. I have been through many cycles in terms of how I managed all forms of expression, but there has always been a central theme: to shine forth in beauty the Glory of God's love. I do not always speak of God, in fact, I seldom speak of God, but I try to write in such a way that He is always just around each corner.

I find my motifs in things of beauty: the arts, ballet, mountains, rivers, trees, the vastness of the heavens, magic, love, romance, mystery, suspense, and most particularly young women. I think I must be unapologetic in the later of these things, because it would be hypocritical to do otherwise. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the state of my marital happiness. It has nothing whatsoever to do with sexuality. And my notion is not in the least bit preoccupied with physical beauty. If you were to read through my literary works you would find that most of the young women in them have a beauty that surpasses any physical beauty - it may be a beauty of soul, a beauty of spirit, a beauty of determination. But it is still beauty.

Benjamin Frankly apparently once said that "beer is proof that there is a God and that He loves us." Well, I'd like to trump (and yes, I think this is trumping because if there is one thing the world loves more than beer it is women) Mr. Franklin by stating that "beautiful women are proof that there is a God and that He loves us."

But why young women? After many years working with the oppressed, the downtrodden, the outsider, the mentally ill, I came to recognize certain things: that the victims are usually women, that no matter how abused, battered, neglected they are, they still have an inner beauty deep inside. I think it is the beauty of the inner child - still unspoiled and undisturbed by the abuse that later has devoured them.

And so, you will find in my literary works, that most of my characters are young women struggling for something: perhaps they are struggling to end years of abuse, perhaps they are struggling for freedom, for truth, for love, for understanding. Perhaps their struggle is against magical creatures that seek to destroy the world. Perhaps their struggle is against the demons inside.

Whatever the case, I find that by creating characters that are young women, and helping them triumph over obstacles and adversity, I am able to tacitly proclaim divine truths about the nature of the universe and the God who created a universe of perfect and pristine beauty, a virginal universe if you will, and now seeks to restore it to its sublime state of wholeness and light.

I think it is fitting to note that the world is constantly destroying and perverting feminine beauty toward twisted ends by a unnatural focus on sexuality. As Christians, particularly Orthodox Christians, we celebrate the Holy Virgin, and even her Ever-Virginity, as an ideal of Godliness, and I would add, beauty. The whores, strippers, and sexy rock-star-goddesses that we celebrate in our secular media are no match for the holiness of a virgin who has given herself up totally to God when it comes to speaking of beauty, and they do not stand up to the holiness of a godly mother either. If you think about it, in a sense society itself conspires to create the image of The Female that is perverse when compared to the godly counterparts of a young virgin or a devoted mother.

I think it should come as no surprise to anyone then, that the place to fight society's constant destruction of femininity in the movies, books and on TV is with feminine characters that rise up above society's demoralization and accomplish great things. And, I am happy to say, that no matter the past and how it informs the future, I as a literary artist am committed (and have always been committed) to that very thing.

~ Basil

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I have discovered that my life is too ordinary to report on here any more.

Everything of significance that I could ever have to say can be narrowed down to only 440 characters and posted on my Facebook Account which is here:

I invite you there with all sincerity to join me on my many misadventures.

Meanwhile, if I decide to post on anything that is truly meaningful, I'll be posting it here: buried in subterfuge and pseudonymity.

Because, really, that's all we have: our thoughts and feelings right?

I don't think so.