January 16, 2013

I am attempting to involve myself in an inpatient medical study in California. 31 days in an observed facility – I can’t leave, I can have visitors, but my movements will be restricted.

This feels risky, but the reward would be significant.

We shall see.



September 19, 2012

Very few people mention the bombing of the USS Cole when discussing September 11. I’ve seen it a few times, but not often.
I was a young man when the Cole was bombed. It startled me, but it didn’t stick with me. I didn’t grasp what Sam Harris recently called ‘the jolt of history.’ That was saved for September 11, 2001. But in the first moments of 9/11, when I first realized the scale and scope of what was happening, I knew that the two were inextricable. The first had been but the prelude to the second. I don’t believe they were performed by the same exact group, but the motivations were clearly the same.
And yet at the time I missed the point once again. I thought it was political. I didn’t understand the full scope of the religious motivation behind it.

As time has passed I have grown to synthesize these ideas more and more, to see the unifying threads beneath them. Again and again, it’s the same motivation.

It really does poison everything.


Music of Note

January 30, 2012

On this wonderful community called Grief Beyond Belief, there was recently a discussion of songs that people find have helped with their grieving process. GBB is a facebook group dedicated to providing a faith-free grief support community, because the last thing a grieving atheist or agnostic needs to hear is that their loved ones will ‘certainly’ be somewhere, be it heaven, hell, or the next turn of the karmic wheel.

As is usually the case, much music that is used to inspire people is religious, and let’s be frank, how could religious music not be inspiring in some cases? Songs of victory over personal demons, triumph over the darkness, and peace given to those who seek it are uplifting to many people.

They are not to us.

Read the rest of this entry »


To Fly

January 28, 2012

I have always loved flying, even though I have a terrific fear of heights. I wouldn’t call it a phobia per se, but I do find myself frightened when driving through the mountains around my home in California. But there’s just something about flying. The bustle as everyone tries to seat themselves, the quiet discussions among family members who have been forced into different sections of the plane because of last minute changes, the roar of the engines as the plane drives itself into the sky – all of these speak to me, and are part of my meditation process now that I’ve begun practicing mindfulness exercises.

Read the rest of this entry »


On Help

January 15, 2012

We all need it when we grieve. We needed those people who brought us food and drink and help around the house when Mom died. I needed to hear Hitch 22 again when Christopher Hitchens died late last year. We are a society that spurns it. “No, I’ve got this,” seem to be the words that sum up our culture, the strength mindset is our go-to mode. I come to you today to argue that this is pure, unadulterated bullshit.

Read the rest of this entry »


Goodbye, Christopher

January 3, 2012

Well, that’s it then. The finest writer whose works I have ever read has passed away. What more can I say? What can my feeble little pen hope to say about the loss I have endured, and what’s more who will care? Why should I want them to?

Christopher Hitchens would chide me that this is all so much rubbish, and put it so beautifully I wouldn’t feel the least bit slighted. A writer is born to write. It is the life I have chosen for myself, and in failing to do so for nearly an entire year I have betrayed a part of myself I should hold very dear. Enough of that then, here is my goodbye letter to Christopher Hitchens.

Read the rest of this entry »


Plot Types

April 2, 2011

As a writer, I’ve come up against the usual canard that there are ‘this many’ plot types, and that all stories can be categorized within them. The most common one I see is 7 plot types, in the vein of:

  1. [wo]man vs. nature
  2. [wo]man vs. [wo]man
  3. [wo]man vs. the environment
  4. [wo]man vs. machines/technology
  5. [wo]man vs. the supernatural
  6. [wo]man vs. self
  7. [wo]man vs. god/religion

My angle on this is, as usual, going to be slightly nuanced, but I’m going to argue that the only plot type that matters one whit is [wo]man vs [wo]man.

Read the rest of this entry »