The Wolves of Midwinter

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Philosophy of the Vampire Chronicles: Part 2:
Preservation of Childlike Innocence: Analysis of Claudia Part 2:

      An innumerable amount of vampire myths explore the dangers involved with transfiguration of children into vampires. By principle, the mutability of their bodies is stalled. In a sense, they become immutable in terms of bodily changes. There is no deterioration process in which their bodies slowly go through some process of entropy that is similar to the  method in which our universe will inevitably go. The implications of this is that there happens to be physical manifestations of this through the sudden precedence and through development of sexual arousal within vampire. 

      Claudia is a conundrum because  though physically she never goes through any growth processes that are the signature signs of maturation. Intellectually, she seems to mature at an exponential rate. Without knowing she was a vampire, some people might believe she is just a precocious girl: she is someone who has the intellectual capacity to absorb knowledge. Or, there is some intrinsic desire within her to use books, artwork, and music to form some tentative idea of the purpose of our existence and very being.

   When Louis selects Claudia, he is enamored with this subtle adult-like intelligence.  I highly doubt that Claudia's vampire nature suddenly instills her with the tools to expand her knowledge. Within herself, there always lies some wonderment and inquisitiveness about the world. Louis uses her to relive that lost possession of his : the lost artifact of childlike innocence. During his mortal life, he was only accustomed to the oppressive darkness and arid territory of the world. In many ways, his extended life may have caused him to defy certain ingrained moral codes in order to survive. Even so, he could still have some remaining time to extract conclusions about the mysteries of the world that seem to infinitely puzzle him.

   Claudia's entry into his life presents that granule of hope that there must still be some hope for restoration and salvation within his life. By vicariously living through her, he can re-explore all those  perplexing mysteries about the world. In many other ways, he can stall the brunt of pain and guilt associated with feeding from humans. Similarly to the way in which widows suddenly purchase pets for emotional comfort. Louis uses the responsibility of being Claudia's caretaker to provide him with some tangible purpose within his life which will help him stave off the angst that is produced by the rumination over the unsolvable mysteries forced by the intangible elements.

 Within the next post, I will explore in-depth the paradox of Claudia's very existence: How can someone dually be both an adult yet a child? In many ways, Claudia could be depicted as spiritually being an adult yet physically being a child. Perhaps, its this very element that represents some greater concern about human development that Anne Rice further explores within the Mayfair Witch novels. 

Review of Richard Doetsch's "The Thieves of Darkness."

 Book Blurb:(Taken respectively from the publisher's detailing of the novel on
Will A Treacherous Mission Lead Them Into Ancient Paradise...

Reformed master thief Michael St. Pierre thinks his criminal days are behind him when his best friend Simon is sentenced to die in a brutal desert prison.  Breaking into jail for the first time in his checkered career, Michael frees his friend only to discover his own girlfriend in the next cell...

Or Straight To A Ruthless Enemy?

With a madman on their heels, the trio plots a series of daring thefts inside the world’s most celebrated and heavily guarded sanctums to find the mysterious artifact that landed them behind bars: a map to a secret holy place predating Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  From the glittering banks of the Bosporus to the highest peaks of the Himalayas, they embark on a globe-trotting adventure to preserve the relics at stake and protect the fate of humanity.

Blog Author's Side Note:

   In comparison with other reviews of mine, this one will not be nearly as extensive. Instead, it will be rather abbreviated. Surely, every visitor to this blog either remembers or is currently experiencing the college midterm crunch. At this period, half my life is spent maintaining assignment due dates and also reminding myself that my mind is indeed still intact and active.


    "The Thieves of Darkness," seems to exude some promise of esoteric secrets, based upon the cover and premise alone. When, I first picked up the novel, I certainly envisioned a man with an eclectic wardrobe and strengths being forced into some mystery that is far larger than himself. As the novel progresses, his past almost seems interconnected with the present story in that they each work with one another to impel the character forward towards some higher level of growth.

   In many ways, this novel did not exactly deviate from the generic blueprint that nearly all thrillers follow in some respects. They all have capable, agile characters who are having mundane struggles while some larger force in the background begins to penetrate into their life.

    Later on, the character is then thrust into the fabric of the mystery and the writer then must maintain two separate stories at the same time.  Past and present time becomes entwined as the story chugs furiously towards the climax and the revelation of the mystery. According to this book, it seems to hold the irresistible promise of new found, controversial religious knowledge. Our finely manicured hero must then sort out the mundane conflict of relationship difficulties or personal religious identification problems. Or, he must internally forgive some unforgivable circumstance that befall in within the past.

   Then he must proceed to apply emotional salve to those scars and be allowed to empower himself to overcome this mind fog. It seemed impenetrable and formidable before. But now, he finds that he can focus intently on the problems that are being created in the imminent future.
   Certainly, this book was written in a way that engrosses the reader. It also proves to be a book that is filled with an abundant amount of interesting historical factoids. Being a history nut, I really appreciate these because they enhanced the novel's quality and allowed me to keep plowing through the novel. Though, there were some trouble spots that proved to be too formulaic and uninteresting for me to read through. Therefore, having these historical facts or allusions to particular pieces of artwork added to the sumptuous interior of the novel. Nearly all crime stories that involve riches must be written in a way that gives the reader a sense of the sumptuous materials that are implanted within the story.

     Anyways, do I recommend this novel? I am wary to phrase this novel as being groundbreaking by any means. But, I certainly would recommend it for anyone who wants something engaging without the guarantee of being innovative in any way. It certainly proved to be a highly entertaining novel which was fueled mostly by a writer who is definitely adept at grabbing the attention of readers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Within Temptation Song Meaning Detective Game:

    Normally, book blogs with a certain rank or reputation utilize contests to persuade more people to check out their blogs. Without any offense to these bloggers, I've always found contests to be something that cheapens the substance of a blog. Overall, I do completely understand both the necessity and purpose of these contests.

   By the way, if you are new visitor to this  or completely oblivious to the existence of Within Temptation. Let me refer you to this unearthed blog post from the past. Right now, I don't feel like dragging words together to summarize Within Temptation's creative sound. Long ago, I wrote a much better post that explained the band to the uninitiated.

  My form of contests do not involve  prizes or any sort of incentive. They are primarily modeled to persuade people to post comments on this blog rather than casually peruse it. More often than not, this blog does occasionally gain many views though there is no clear evidence of these views. People make visitations to this blog yet never really leave any comments within the "comment box."

  In order to involve more people on this blog by means of comments, I plan to have a Within Temptation Detective Game. The basic objective of this game is to form your own hypothetical meanings of the songs included on their newest album, "The Unforgiving," which will be released March 29th in the United States.

     Instead of slogging through a list of cryptic instructions, I'll be providing an example of my own ideas of the meanings behind the songs on Within Temptation's new album. Actually, I'm primarily doing this activity to overcome my writer's block that has been plaguing me for the past few days. Even right now, the easiest sentence seems to require deep concentration. Writer's block always feels like you are seeking out something in darkness that is nonexistent. So, writing this blog post feels like I'm pulling similar objects together to form something coherent or interesting.

Anyways here is my listing of the track titles on Within Temptation's new album along with my idea of their meaning..

1.     Why Not Me:
     What does this song title suggest? "Why not me?" seems to indicate that the character within the context of this song is ruminating over potential reasons as to why they are excluded from life itself. Or, within a respite from the incessant action of their life, they are offering the listeners of this album their justification for their detached existence. Potentially, they might be fabricating moral details of their life in order to distract us from the telltale signs that they are not highly moral. Instead, they may have even committed numerous crimes that are largely immoral. Yet, they brush those aside and convince the listener of their unnoticed innocence. Possibly, they might even use situational ethics to display their necessity for committing a certain crime to bring about rescue from their own perilous position.

If anything, this song seems to sound like a broadcast from the Joker who futilely tries to position themselves in a place of victim-hood: "Why not me?" he sardonically ask the listeners. "Why wouldn't I not commit those crimes? Does there have to be a structured system of morals in a world whose very creation lacked any known structure or order. Isn't the world morally ambiguous? Though, it  has a clever veneer of being moral according to our own devised moral system which is based solely on whatever ethical system we were indoctrinated into. Then again, don't most people create their own moral system to assuage their guilt or allow them to fulfill their own relative desires?

2.     Shot In The Dark
    Shot in the Dark typically describes the lonesome sound of alarm that rings out in the darkness of immorality. It is that one human scream that interrupts the violence of the feral growl of the gun.  After the speaker asserts their moral innocence within the last song. They transition into presenting their nightly routine to you. Again, from their perspective, we are under the potential false belief that they are morally immaculate. We believe that they are the sole persons who must reverse the cycle of nightly violence and bring justice into the immoral calamity.

3.     In The Middle Of The Night
   "In the Middle of the Night," relates to the second song specifically by bringing us to a sequence where the title character of the album  rushes to the scene where the gun shot originates from. As with reading books from the first-person perspective, we see the action mainly from the eyes of the main character. They keep denouncing our anxiety about them being an malicious person in reality.

Instead of mustering their strength to argue with us, they throw themselves into the action being played out at the scene of the violence.

4.     Faster
 Faster relates to the alacrity involved within the action of this scene. The background music in of itself propels the song forward to the main scene of confrontation with the perpetuation of the violence. Again, the main character's views may potentially be fallacious. As they are fighting fiercely with the criminal and trying to incapacitate them. We imbibe a sense of unsureness about the entire sequence: we do not effectively know if either people engaged in the present violence are purely innocent.

The main character could very well be unthinkingly involving themselves in violence due to the fast-paced action involve. With this rapid pace, they have no time to contemplate their motives or actions. Instead they can thrown themselves into the dizzying action and divest themselves of moral consideration.

5.     Fire And Ice

Pacifically, ice universally cools the senseless violence that is produced through both sides of a struggle.  It does not separate itself from the process of thoughtful consideration. Within the realm of the active, moral mind, it calculates every potential reason or justification for a person's intended actions. Then, it seeks out some area of neutrality. Mostly, the ice tries to assuage the vengeful feelings of all persons and seeks resolution between two forces of opposition.
6.     Iron
 Iron relates specifically to the discriminating force of malice. When violence is involved in anything, personal bias's intercedes on the potential actions of our force of reason. Instead of committing sensible actions that require patience and drawn-out calculation. Violence expediently subdues a particular foe that is a threat to our own personally designed world where we fashion the values and discriminatory measures.

Relating to the character of the song, maybe they've decided to designate certain people for violent encounters to escape the darkness of their own thoughts. Maybe, they cannot even penetrate their own minds due to the violence that has been wrought in their past. Therefore, without their explicit consent, their minds have blockaded the past and put up an impenetrable, iron defense around this pained mind.
7.     Where Is The Edge
Even with the creation of this mental fortress that divides us between our past and thoughtless present, some thoughts still trickle in.  We thought our lifestyle of justified violence or assassination secluded us from the menace of these thoughts. Yet, our consciences that we have tried so hard to repress seems to push forward some thoughts that stop us from being effective killers.

In the dwellings of our minds without moral definitions, we thought we would be exempt from bring hit full force by the train of our thoughts. During some moments of quietude, we thought we could focus solely on our next objective. We've tried and struggled hard to justify these actions. According to some source, these murders are a requisite part of maintaining justice in the world we think seems perpetually absent of goodness.

At the edge of our violent selves,can we even consider the possibility that our current lifestyle that seems inescapable may not be realistically justified?Could our supposed moral selves really be deceitful? In reality, we might even be inseparable from the immoral fiends that we vanquish on a nightly basis. The morals that we take for granted could very well be a defense mechanism that keeps us from free-falling into the chasm of meaninglessness.
8.     Sinéad
"Sinead," the identity the character owned during their past resurfaces. It seems that that mental fortress we thought was indomitable had the illusion of being so. Within the darkness of their dreams, the name "Sinead," was whispered carefully within their ears. Afterwords, the images flow through without stall. One moment before, the darkness overwhelmed their dreams. Soon enough though, the light being produced by these past images lighted up and became manifest.

9.     Lost
In these dreams, they are still not sure as to whether they really are "Sinead." Potentially, the neurons within our slumbering mind might be misfiring and triggering these false images. These dreams could be trying to grant us some suggestion that they once had purpose, symmetry, and reason to the lost rhythm of their life. Yet, the title character tries to eradicate these dreams stop them from reigning over the inertness of our sleeping state.

More than likely, they know implicitly that all these dreams if allowed to be recognized then acknowledged would show the error of their present. It would also show that their current lives was a method of escape from the unresolved matters of their life and the unforgivable moments  contained in those past memories. Instead, is it not better to disassociate one's identity from this dream and keep living the frenetic life of stopping the forces of evil within the dark underworld they currently inhabit.
10.   Murder
Suddenly, Sinead shows that one image that the main character had thought had been long buried. Yet, the image fills the darkness of their sleeping refuge. Since, the character is immobilized by sleep, they cannot actively recirculate their  thoughts and potentially rid themselves of this triggered memory.

Even so, the image overtakes and shows Sinead's murder. Strangely, she had been murdered by the very authorities who operated the company that had hired her for these nightly assignments of fighting supposed crime. Inexplicably, the forces thought they could engineer the souls of highly sensitive individuals and use their sensitivity to fight against the very forces who they identify as being enemies to the peace these individuals believe to be sacred.

11.   A Demon’s Fate

Our character of the album finally becomes accepting of their present status and their name "Sinead." With a name and acknowledgment of their captivity to this post-death delusion, they urge themselves to go after these manipulative forces. Sinead begins doubting her thoughts though because she does not know whether or not they can be trusted. Every element of her may have been carefully crafted to lend to her ability of being a successful murderer.

Suddenly, she recalls that all the enemies she had been fighting were not murderous foes. Conversely, they were individuals who were seeking to destroy the operatives of this false afterlife. The city that all these people inhabited had all died within the real world. Yet, they have now been snatched away from their automatic movements towards the unimagined, ineffable afterlife. Of course, there could very well be no afterlife. Maybe, their mortality was forcefully be extended through genetic manipulation or the introduction of synthetic, genetic mutations that allowed for immortality to take effect.
12.   Stairway To The Skies

Sinead  defeats the combative forces that she believed were heavenly hosts who offered her missions that would be used to eliminate evil. Instead, these forces had only identified something that was not evil as "evil," in order to preserve the fragile wasteland of their pretend afterlife.

All the test subjects who were unwillingly ensnared by this artificial afterlife begin to float away from their preserved, pallid corpses. Sinead begins to rise from her body and uses her formerly ignored mind. She reverently analyzes the genius of her consciousness and becomes fearful of the loss of this consciousness. On her Earth, before this, many people informed her that the belief within a continuation of life after death was a whimsical, illogical ideal.

Except, as Sinead faces her true death, she could not help but envision a comforting image of steep, white stairs that have arisen from the grimy grounds of this wrecked playground of an afterlife. Stepping upon the stairs, she wonders why she ever sought to ignore the device of the consciousness that was embedded in her minds by either spontaneous evolution over a series of years or by some superior creator. Walking up the stairs apprehensively, she recounts all her glorified moments of consciousness and climbs to the top of the stairway to this imagined heaven to find out if life is meaningless or not.

Monday, February 07, 2011

 RIP Brian Jacques: A Sentimental Account of my Fond Memories of Reading Redwall/Castaways of the Flying Dutchman..

Fantasy tales with classical elements baffle people. More so, they are easily dismissed because they are not considered relevant anymore. Some people take that belief far to the extent where they dismiss these stories or view them anachronistically: If they reflect values from an earlier point in time then therefore that mode of thinking should be abolished or frowned upon.

Yes, I love books with substance that mirrors some idealized world or the real world with brutal detail. But sometimes, I love those novels that I can plunge into a world that is totally different from my own. I want a world that is not cluttered only with those elements of real life that are grimy. There is a piece of me that wants that classic story that includes heroics and adventure. It may seem that these desires are immature and could probably be viewed as a technique for my mind to regress to simpler things. Yet, that desire fastens on to some simpler idea of goodness where true forgiveness, love, and sensitivity is upheld.

At the age of eleven, Redwall offered me that escapist destination. Within the variegated world of Redwall, there were medieval elements, talkative animals, sumptuous feasts, elusive rats, and the enigmatic Badger Lord. When Lord of the Rings proved too much of a trial to read, the Redwall books provided me a more accessible fantasy tale that was equally as rich in many regards. Plus, it instilled within me an unending fascination with the map.

Every time, I read a Redwall book, I bookmarked the area of the book where the map was located. I would track the paths of all my favorite characters. I could easily visualize the relative location of these places to others. It offered me a sense of realism when most people would have the preconceived notion that no one can fool us into believing that talking animals could exist. Momentarily, within the world of Redwall, I was under the belief that this parallel world of feasts, sword battles,heroics, and riddles aplenty was real.

I still recall reading the Redwall books during our study breaks in sixth grade. We used to have this little alcove in the back of the room where I was tempted to pick out every Redwall book there to read. During that time in elementary school, I was fairly reserved. Well, I would get enthusiastic about Harry Potter around that time or some other book I read. Actually, sixth grade offered me a cornucopia of many good books like the Artemis Fowl books, Madeleine L'Engle's Time series, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Giver, and The Series of Unfortunate Events.

Still, Redwall was fastened to me. I could not shrug off the withdrawal symptoms that developed out of neglecting them. Those pleasurable memories of those feasts, tricky riddles, and empowering stories kept tempting me back. Most people would quickly misapply the term "unhealthy," to this addiction of mine. Many people would look with disdain that I can remember books more than particular in that class.  Perhaps, they've never been spellbound for a book. Or, they've never had that experience of reading a book that offers them some mental image that shows them some sort of glimpse of heaven.

These books were a great emotional comfort for me. The world around me was rapidly changing. While, I was eleven or twelve, I was forcibly being thrust into the dangerous realm of adulthood. If anything, the Redwall books assuaged the discomfort brought on by this wild change of climate. Beyond the horizon of childhood, I believed that I could still retain memories of all that goodness that could be overwhelmed by future darkness. Just as I am doing now, I am venturing through the happiness, the joyful nostalgia of the memories produced by these books. They make me believe in the internal order and symmetry of all things.

C.S. Lewis once related his experience of sighting the hidden Christian elements that lie below the surface of a well constructed story. I think all great books have a disguised Christian meaning or hope of transcendence far below the surface. Redwall always held that below the surface. It always offered that hope or faith in glorification and resurrection.

Moreover, it helped to clarify the hope in a fogged mind that was disturbed by the oppressive darkness of the present. In conspiratorial whispers, it begged that at the end of everything, we would all be resplendent and dining in Redwall abbey in fellowship. We would be there to recount every detail of all adventures and how everything transpired to allow for the ultimate good to overtake. Of course, there were be some unexpected guests at the feast. They were the ones who never announced their internal faith in meaning or life beyond just the pain and suffering of short timed wars. Wouldn't the abbot be smiling from the front of room in assurance that everything before us is not just some construct of our delusional minds? That all that blissful memories from good tales were really just appetizers for the real feast that awaits us all after this long, arduous battle is done.

Currently, I can bask in that hope that Brian Jacques can be a happy attendant to his own feast. He has written many feasts. But now, I think he can finally rest in the fact that he has no need to try to replicate the events that are followed and even ended with a feast. He is enjoying that feast that continues on infinitely without stall. Those happy memories were not blotted out by the universe's dementia that forgot that it had a creator or a purpose. It remembered that everything stretches beyond the surface just as every wonderful piece of art does. Surely, Brian Jacques is smiling and joining the largest league of Inklings who are all seeing their imaginations become manifested. Madeleine L'Engle, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Robert Jordan, and others are probably talking, laughing and realizing that all of their stories, artwork, or music served some greater purpose to keep our minds fixed upon the idea that this world around us really is just the surface of things that await us.

Readers, I hope all of us can try to remember every wonderful memory that we all had within the world of Redwall. Hopefully, all of us will today reminisce on all those beautiful memories spent within Brian Jacque's stories. Certainly, I hope that his family is greatly comforted by the idea that many people were impacted positively and infinitely entertained by the worlds Brian Jacques created. I'm certainly glad that he always persevered to be a writer even when that one person told him he was "foolish, delusional, or had unsound thoughts."

For now, I'll be procuring some copies of forgotten books by this author. Over the course of the next few weeks, I hope to explore the world of Redwall again after nine or ten years.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Exodus from Eden-A zombie story

*Be forewarned that this story presents my Stephen King inspired insanity!  It also contains a few obscenities, sexual references, scary sequences, heretical ruminations, and incomplete sentences towards the end. Reader discretion is advised!*

                Applying the last bit of blush to my cheeks, I thought through my itinerary for the day again. I also glanced downwards at the cleavage showing through my green top. Everything had to be approximately sexy. Tonight was the night I was planning to ravage a boy in zombie drag.
                Well, we were not exactly zombies as of yet. Everything though was set in motion for us to eventually become such decrepit creatures. A little bit of zombie pallor was already setting in. If a person were to analyze my skin, they would see a small, halogen glow radiating off my skin.

Supposedly the glow came before the process of decomposition. For the next few weeks, I would be at the precipice of the living-dead. What an oxymoron? How can something be dead yet definably living all at the same time? Well, I’ll just put my trust in the specialists over at the executive office to allow for a small ounce of consciousness to remain after the final stage of erosion.
With my last bit of human instinct, I spun myself around and away from the mirror on my dorm wall. Standing in front of me was the man who did not bother to ever knock on doors. Impropriety was his strong suit. As he crept closer to being a zombie, that particular trait seemed to be augmented.
“My, aren’t you looking quite desiccated?” Henry announced. I dusted the imaginary dust that had possibly accumulated on either my naked arms or straps. Internal anxiety always kept me busy with these silly stress-relief tasks that served no greater purpose. Why do we self consciously dust ourselves off especially as zombies who will only shed off that layer of skin in the end?
“Yes, I’ve made sure to appear elegant though half deaf. Tonight is the last night before we all are “distilled.” So, you’d better prepare yourself for my naughty side? I haven’t had much time to flex it.” I replied. He mockingly smiled at me as though I wasn’t the type of girl who was capable of getting down and dirty. In the sex department, I supposedly had a moral incapacity to commit such things. Back the community, I was known as the prudish little girl who would be appalled by my present descent into the thralls of darkness. 
Well, circumstances change rapidly. Before this, I had been Tess of D’Urbervilles who had strived to be decadent, straight-laced, and moral upstanding. Now, I was resigning that tidy role and making my way to become a zombie.  The church led me here; they coerced me. Their betrayal ultimately tore me down. 
Lanced around my wrist was the only heirloom I sought to keep after my conscience was thoroughly eradicated. It was a friendship bracelet with one drop of irremovable blood. That friend of mine had committed suicide because his willingness to love tore down the façade of our community of church. As he shone in the light of morality, the church was shown in their depravity when they denounced him for this love.
Now, I too was incriminated for being an accomplice to his downfall. For authenticity of feelings, I was disinherited and eventually displaced. Here I was now, ready to exterminate every last ounce of humanity to stop the psychological process of emotional degradation. For myself and my fallen friend, I’d rather toss it all away.
“Catherine, What are thinking? You’ve been staring at these boring white walls for the last five minutes. Right now, you’re about to experience the greatest known pleasure. Yet, you’re taking the time now to brood over it. What the hell? Snap out of it!!!” he yelled in frustration.
“Henry, can you give any woman some clearance? Sometimes, we just need some room to think. I’m sorry if you are closer to losing humanity than I. I’m not on the cusp just yet.” I trotted over to the far wall within my utilitarian dorm room and then plopped myself down on the brown-stained concrete floor. I felt my hand automatically land against my forehead as if to force cheery thoughts out of my mind’s stalemate.
Without looking up, I heard the sound of Henry’s shoes reverberating through the room. The sound was discordant, similar to the grating noise of a fork being scraped against a place. Henry’s very presence was infuriating. I was having second doubts about this penultimate sinful act thing. Here was my conscience working its wonders yet again. The informant at this company clearly told me that the conscience would wear away before the memories. Yet, it was still entwined with every thought that my worried brain developed.
“Do you know what I told my last girlfriend when she seemed over-concerned? I told her to drink some wine to allow it ease herself into the right frame of mind. You just need something like alcohol to have that same effect on you. Then, you’ll be able to enjoy the full bliss involved in this sorta thing.”Henry replied condescendingly. It only further exasperated me when guys talked to women as though they were beyond their understanding. Or, they approached us as rambunctious five year olds that needed to be lightly reprimanded about their incessant questions.
If someone could take my thoughts piece by piece out of my head, they’d see dozens of thoughts that envisioned every scenario or hypothetical outcome that could possibly arise out of the present.  Was it really some sort of internal feminine self that caused my brain to go haywire with all these possibilities?
 I always thought it was a human thing. Perhaps, a few women just attend to them more so than men. Therefore, the honesty of those women just helped to form stereotypes. Weren’t stereotypes just a method of ignoring human complexity?  In the same vein, wasn’t legalistic Christianity just another method of denying that mystery of the human self?
Humans do not like mystery. Take Pandora or Eve for instance, for following their whims, they supposedly ushered in the destruction of humanity. How could they be content with letting the mystery stay cooped up in the dark? Pandora opened the box to discover firm knowledge of the inner contents. Eve plucked the apple because God was the patriarch who found her obstinate curiosity to be both lethal and absurd.
Neither the congregation nor the pastor of the Christianity utopia liked my sagacity. After the tragedy of my friend, I began to scrutinize every edict of the community.  Seeing their human frailty made me sight even more of it within their rules.
Once I found the science books that were strictly banned within the community, I learned a bevy of information about gravity. Everything had a gravitational pull and the interaction of these pulls permitted objects within our world to stand upright or not to topple.
My gravitational pull of inquisitiveness neutralized the church’s own pull or influence. Now, I knew that Noah’s Ark filled with every species of animal was far too dense to float in water.  Of course my pastor objected and told me that God could have turned off the gravity in order to allow it to float. I had the upper hand in that argument because I knew that a world without gravity would cause chaos. Space itself and everything in it would fall apart as if their unseen strings were suddenly severed.
The worst act of my defiance though came in the form of “speaking.” I told the administrators at this zombie community that I had consensual sex with my father. Though, I only formed that falsehood because zombie communities required grave sins for entry.
I hadn’t really committed any real grievous sins albeit the speaking arrangement. See, our church community every year held a celebration before the portended apocalypse. Or at least, they informed me that the apocalypse was bound to happen. This would be followed with the rapture that would lead only the true Christians to heaven for protection.
They spoke about the current world that had seen ruin with the rash of droughts, famines and wars. Now, the world had been detained by an obsession with the ability to be immortal. Recently, some harbinger of sin brought out new forms of technology that would supposedly transform willing humans into zombies to safe keep their bodies.
 He is gathering flocks of interested people because they do not want to die. Even if this artificial enhancement destroyed their conscience, intelligence, and everything else related to our higher selves. Instead, they would be united with their base desires in an inextricable bond. For the remainder of the universe’s time, they would be able to engage in frivolity without any conscience to deter them from it.
 I could not remember the remainder because it was sheer bullshit. There were not droves of people heading to these zombie depots. Contrary to that, the people heading there were all escapees from these Christian utopias that existed outside of the stable, secular society. Many of which were the gays, lesbians, artists, or defiant women that were born within the community.
Why couldn’t any of us just join the supposed perfected societies? Well, none of us were exactly welcomed into those metropolises. Therefore, many of us apostates had to be the experimental pawns for these zombie operations without our explicit permission.
Sometimes, I wonder if I could have chosen some other option besides interrupting the pastor’s speech that day and speaking proudly and liberally as a woman. I always wondered if there would have been a difference if I had a penis, a gruffer voice, and a pragmatic mind. Would my punishment have been lighter? Would my thoughts be surrounded around a strong belief in their trite beliefs? Could I have determinably believed in their bullshit without dissecting it for untruth?
Was it really my female brain that made me think all sorts of heresies? Was it my friend’s suicide and my community’s inhuman response that ignited my brain to share these hidden truths? I mean, I once believed in their bullshit without much contention. Now, I could not stop thinking of every wrong factor to their beliefs. Even now, I still wondered if I should have intervened on the pastor’s speech when he began speaking unfairly about my friend.  Something in my consciousness could not bear the smug smile the pastor bore as he spoke about my friend’s unsalvageable situation. Essentially, he was burning within hell for being something different from everyone else.
When I stood on that podium and announced my views, I shed my skin of falsity and screamed every truth that littered my brain. The incensed crowd screamed over my confident voice that defied all the lies they shouted. I bombarded them with so much truth and love for my friend that they began looking more like Satan’s minions as they called me names like “hartlot,” “Eve conspirator,” and even “fag.”
Though, I’m sure the latter was their opinion of my friend whom they had already considered a lost cause within the mire of their immoral minds. After that speech, the community together led me out of the metal gates out of the community and locked the door permanently.
                I could still recall the numbing wind of the winter air. But also, I still could recount every beautiful pine tree that stood around me. I wondered if Eve sang a woeful tune after she was ejected without having the opportunity to argue. How many other Eve’s displayed their humanity only to lose favor with the rulers who pretended to be infallible.
 Was God really gladdened by Eve’s honesty? Would he have rather had her commit perjury every time God asked her questions?  Somewhere in my mind, I still felt some connection with some God, some stray hope that he still existed even after this tragedy.
I still imagined God crying tears and shaking the ramparts of heaven as he sobbed. This was a tearful, feminized God that I always clutched after my leave. I did not want to believe that God emulated the church’s close mindedness or their misogyny.
Maybe this whole visual of an emotive God was balderdash, a placebo that took the place of the true, vindictive God. I could not keep steady though when thinking of the God of wrath and inhuman jealousy. There was something human about him. Why would a supreme being destroy whole cities for the sin of two or three humans? Since, when did Judea become the only moralistic nation while the other ancient nations were thoroughly corrupted?
These answers will always be left hanging just as my dejected self felt detached from my surroundings. Even now as Henry sat across from me on the floor and looked into my eyes for some sign of life. I only stared back at him with lifelessness.
After I left the community, I was detained by the security forces that were reportedly protecting their cities from Christian influence. When they informed me that my only option was to undergo a procedure to become a “zombie,” I screamed loudly and assaulted one of those guards.
In that moment, I felt so much power in my ability to topple over a male guard. Throwing a punch to his face and another one to the side of his head, I felt strangely unlike myself. Initially, I thought this unleashed violence would produce gratification.
Instead, it emptied me of every last bit of sanity or reasons to prolong my existence. I ended up affixing my teary eyes towards the assaulted guard’s green eyes. The interval of time between this and my moment of capture were less than ten seconds.
Yet, my mind exaggerated the length and made it appear longer. I studied him: his angular face, his small, pimpled nose, the slight cleft in his chin, his brown, curly hair. Part of my hands felt around his abs and sensed the arousal within me that was unfurled.
I’ve never had these feelings of weakness before. I snapped myself out of this unhealthy downward spiral to weakness. No element of me wanted to revert to that state. Even now as I stared at Henry in the present, I did not want to resume that deteriorative process.
Henry was not exactly as sexually stimulating as that guard had been. Instead, he was haggardly like Mr. Rochester had been accurately described in the original Jane Eyre film. Before, the studio executives decided to pretty him with the involvement of Timothy Dalton.  
But, Henry had that hawk-like nose that seemed fitting for his face. His lips were excessively chapped, while his face was ruptured by pimples that were red with agitation. The worst feature was his unkempt, uncut brown locks that were the most Mr. Rochester piece of him.
Jane Eyre might have been less superficial than me. She might have even thought that all those detractive features of Henry were actually attractive. Also, she might have liked Henry’s ineptitude when it came to acting masculine. In the end, he acted like a man in drag. While he attempted to act like a stereotypical manly man, he ended up somewhere in between a submissive female and a domineering male. Some could certainly say that Henry was androgynous. I just thought of him as someone who was authentic.
I peered in the mirror one last time and caught a glance of my shortened auburn locks. When the security guards originally manacled me, they shaved off all my hair because they just wanted me to feel shaken to the core. It was mostly scare tactics that were customary in prison procedures. Logically, they didn’t really need to cut my hair except to put me back in my place.
Now the hair has grown in length over the last six months of being situated here. It was that main feature of females that men have forcibly cut off historically. Because, men’s lustful feelings were supposedly uncontrollable back in ancient times. So, they took it upon themselves to have us cut off that unique female feature to help them with their temptation problems.
Maybe, everyone within the Garden of Eden story was jealous that Eve had the opportunity to gain power or prominence. So, God imposed barriers on their garden utopia to keep Eve from maturing. God did not want Eve to seek knowledge about God. He didn’t want any of his creations for that matter to make extrapolations about their compositions and the answer to the many “Why?” questions that percolated in their God designed brains.
Back in the present, Henry tapped his finger impatiently on the bureau below my mirror. He was becoming impertinent as he kept making loud noises to announce his strong need to have sex with me. I had told him in the Zombie Institute’s cafeteria one day that I would try to have sex with him. Ever since reading about it within many of the novels we were permitted to read, I have been greatly curious about sex.
The Zombie Institute held many books about sex and all different subjects. These subjects were strictly forbidden at the Christian utopia. Ironically, they permitted us to peruse any book because they knew that we needed to engage in the few mortal pleasures we had before we went through the dehumanizing zombie operation.
Back at the utopia, the idea of sex and the implications captivated me. Now, that I knew that the pleasure was fleeting, I was not exactly excited. Should I say that my more rational self felt a bit disappointed by these depictions of sex? Sex did not sate you till long until you needed more of it to keep yourself content.
Plus, from reading the history books in the library, sex only seemed design as just another practice to feel depowered. Even the saintly Christians in history used their ceremonious, unbinding wedding arrangements to enslave women for pleasurable purposes. All the monarchs like King Henry the 8th ignored many biblical commandments as long as it allowed him that one opportunity to devalue and deflower women. These men just forced women into a status of slavery so they could satiate themselves without biblical guilt.
Did Adam commit a whole slew of sins before Eve committed that one petty sin? Adam could have lied, abused Eve, or even have denied God a thousand times. If Adam really existed, we would not know these truths because there were no eyewitnesses. But, if he didn’t then it really was just some fabricated cautionary tale that informed religious communities about the hidden seductive power of women.
So, I remained immovable as Henry shook me and begged earnestly for us to have sex. “Please, Catherine.. You promised!” He spoke with a whiny lisp that made him sound like immature child begging their parents to dote on them.
“Henry, I’ve decided I’m just not in the right mood. I’m going to go take a walk. Okay!” I stood up from the floor and headed towards the pale wooden door of my dorm room.
“Catherine, it will help lower your stress and stop your thoughts from going out of control. I mean it. I’ve done it plenty of times, it’s definitely safe. Why are you being such a pussy? It’s not like your Mary, Mother Redeemer anymore.” Henry spoke with that grating tone that made my brain feel like it was hemorrhaging. With alacrity, I walked outside of the room without looking back.
As I walked through the uniform white walls of the institution’s hallway, I began feeling lithe. All around me, the walls seemed to liquidate while the framed pictures of different species of animals were stretched thin. A pang of panic coiled around my nerves while some undetected object seemed to wrap itself around my throat
With a raspy voice, I screamed. “HELP!”
Suddenly, I noticed I had tumbled to the floor into a pile of sticky residue. With my fogged vision, I noted that the liquid was red. With the last bit of consciousness, I registered the liquid as blood. I should have felt more panicked or wholly afraid. Instead, I felt apathetic or numb. I did not know how to define a feeling where those feelings are voided. Every feeling had suddenly vanished.
But, I still could think though at a decelerated pace. The subtle pallor of my skin increased while sheets of skin were torn off of me. With my brain going through a process of retardation, I made a correlation between the blood and my skin. A slight pulse of panic, though stray and unconnected with this prism of no feeling, alerted me to the fact that I was premature.
One last hoarse screamed erupted with the aid of the last bit of brain matter that still produced consciousness.
Everything was going black.
Where so….ul go?
De…ad….. I….. am…. D………


Friday, February 04, 2011

The Philosophy of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles:

   Philosophical discussions of Anne Rice's beautiful series are a rare find. I've pored over many internet pages in a search for some credible analysis of her books through a philosophical lens. Perhaps, the reason lies with the misconception of Anne Rice's books. She mainly writes about vampires and her prose is often seen as being superfluous. These are roadblocks to the deep meaning that lies beneath. For the next few weeks, I'll be doing a series of posts that will try and alter the scene on Google where the discussion of Anne Rice's philosophical content are rare.

First Theory: The Philosophy of Death in the Anne Rice books Part 1:(Next Part delves into the character of Claudia)

      Throughout Anne Rice's books, death is seen as an enigmatic, unknowable reality within the world. None of the titular characters aim themselves towards the pursuit of death. In Greek philosophy, we are accustomed to Plato's idea of pursuing death or in a sense, living a life that actively seeks it or fully realizes it. Plato does not mean that we should want to actively try to commit suicide in this pursuit. Instead, he characterizes this pursuit as a life lived with death overhanging us. Instead of being encumbered by this fear, we are promoted by its inevitability to live a life that seeks high moral character. 

   Louis, from the beginning of Anne Rice's novel, is frightened by the prospect of death. In many ways, he was completely blind to it until the reality of it dawned on him upon the death of his brother. From there, he finds that the reality of death looms on him and seems to be inescapable. Yet, as with most mortals who find themselves at a debased moment, he decides to succumb to Lestat's offering of immortality  in order to efficiently escape the reality of death.
     Interestingly, the sequence of events where Louis accepts Lestat's offering of immortality reflects "The Garden of Eden," In a very strange interpretation that I have formed, I believe Eve is attracted to Satan's idea of immortality because she does not trust in Eden's ability to provide her longevity. Satan in many ways encroached upon Eve's blind happiness and shows the possibility that God may obliterate both her and Adam's existence. In the end, they might revert back to the very dust that God created them with. Within that life of dust lies no meaning or purpose for one's existence. In effect, it is the horrific reality of an atheistic universe.
  Christian philosophy highlights the importance of Godly immortality. God's immortality offers serenity and a life that is lived in full union with a person's soul. Vampire immortality reflects the Augustinian idea of evil where it is a corrupt method to seek a good. Louis is desirous of immortality. He does not want to live a life that is  ultimately void of any purpose. He wants his immortality to redeem his character and prove that his choices, passions and blunders all serve some sort of purpose.

     A Vampire's composition effectively describes Augustine's concept that evil is an absence of good. Louis himself spiritually is a good person. His aim ultimately is towards achieving transcendence. Except, the vampire immortality he willingly accepts due to a uncontrollable fear of death only augments that fear. Within the vampire vessel, his animalistic desires overtake. They are the dominant force that continues his existence. It permits him to live within the world but only if he demoralizes himself. To some extent, he must forestall all his moral ideals and submit to the desires of his base self. 

   In some ways, this act of uncontrollably committing immorality against your beliefs, reflects Anne Rice's notion of hell. In many ways, hell is envisioned as living within a corrupted self that cannot be tamed. Against your conscience, you must act in defiance of it even when you desire the high good. Louis views this existence as something far worse than death. Throughout the novel, he is tormented over the possibility that both hell and the idea of nihilism (nothingness) might be the only forces behind the masquerade of our existence. Due to this, he never truly comes to grip with the idea of death. He cannot readily accept it because he doesn't know if he really believes in God. For many reasons he senses that he cannot because of the sinfulness of his vampire self that cannot be divested of. Also, he senses that believing in God might be futile because there might be no consciousness of self after death. Within that unconscious existence that he greatly fears, every single question ever raised about one's existence becomes worthless.
Click below to become entrapped in the dark, sprawling world of Death Seer!

(Well, I'm not going to reveal any plot specifics. Its actually just a new blog created for the purpose of writing mainly about my quest to finish my first novel!)