Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

The Satanic VersesThe Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A confounding, challenging book that leaves impactful philosophical impressions! This book is so many things: a weird odd-couple story that crosses the planes, a tale of the immigrant experience in England, and a fable about surrender to religion versus a rigorous adherence to secular science. I found the narrative to be lovely, especially the description of Jahilia's marketplaces, the sounds, smells, all those bright images.

Rushdie is working on multiple layers. Jahilia is also the state of ignorance of divine guidance, and it is here that the character Mahound (who is based on Muhammad) is tested. This depiction is one of the largest sources of controversy to this novel, which is supposedly sacrilegious, though it is actually not an attack on Islam or even religion at all. It's a story about life's experiences, and how our perception of the essence of life changes as we change.

Throughout the story, we are posed questions even by a God character about who and what we are and what we mean. Whether these are meaningful questions to the reader depends on your ability to be open or closed, as Mirza Saeed Akhtar learns. Sometimes it's better to hold one's breath and swim and sometimes not.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, though I expected more controversy. I'm shocked that Rushdie is persecuted by expressing thoughts that are entirely beneficial to humanity. Questions are never bad. Doubt isn't bad. Answers, especially those that are so certain never to be questioned, will be our ruination.

The writing itself is dense and can be challenging, especially drawing from so many sources. Read it slowly and enjoy it.

That's it.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Dubsmash Experiment

This app was fun for almost a week.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

How Long Do Novels Take? An Infograph


Finish This Sentence: "I was really surprised to find out..."

“I was really surprised to find out…” The author’s sleepy words dribbled off into a mumble. 
His wife’s eyes widened. Why couldn’t he be like other men that enjoy football games, movies, and maybe even come to bed at night? Instead he types like a maniac until the no longer wee hours, drinks coffee until four in the morning, and listens to Symphonie Fantastique again and again, his eyes growing a little wider each time the head rolls. She sighed and handed him another cup of inky java.
“You asked me to read your last revision… What is this, number twelve now? It’s the last one, right? I don’t understand why you say you are surprised. I’ve been telling you for weeks. Your one-legged elf, the Saci-Pererê, runs away from crosses and leaves a sulfur smell behind, but he’s not the same as the Devil.”
“I am just simplifying the folklore for readers who don’t understand the customs.”
“It’s incorrect though. Saci-Pererê is from the children’s literature. It’s kinda cute. You can’t just make him into Lucifer for the sake of expedience.”
“Fine, fine. I know. I mean, I’m going to fix it, but that’s not what I am saying anyhow.” He took a steadying sip and set the dripping mug upon the table already bearing a dozen impressions of other times he forgot to find a coaster. “I meant that I was really surprised to find out that all writers, even the best ones, all face the same adversary, themselves, and that, even with all the experience we muster, our internal war never abates. The only recourse is to reach deeper inside our ever-emptying souls. Bird by bird? A small portrait frame is just a useless device, a ploy! In the end, all of us must steel ourselves and wade naked into the ring to slay the Saci-Pererê, Lucifer, or whatever literary obstruction, and it doesn’t matter what it is. It must die for the story to go forward. We must kill it. That’s the only truth.”
She rolled her eyes. “You must be really tired. That’s a mixed metaphor. You wade into the ocean or a pond. You don’t wade into a ring.”
He raised his hands in a futile gesture of appeal. “But that’s not even the part that matters.”
She kissed him, a feathery brush against the forehead, and offered her hand.
“Just come to bed,” she said.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Secrets of Barrington Hall - Update

Kyle made this delicious cover for me. I love the art, but not so much the layout. Maybe it should just be called Barrington Hall? Secrets sounds sinister but maybe potential readers will think it's a romance. Needs more blood.

I'm going to rewrite it in December from the first person perspective (Bartholomew's) as an experiment to see what I can leach out of his warped mind.

It's only 85000 words long, so it won't take long.


How Areas of Physics All Relate in One Picture

Big version you can read easier.

Salut Salon - La Dispute

A very different take on Vivaldi. :-)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Goodbye Poem

Adiós, ciao, au revoir
Adeus, hamba kahle, Hwyl fawr
Adieu, namaste, shalom
A salaam alaikum
Adéu, peace out, addio
Hasta luego, até logo
Slán go fóill, Viso gero
Paalam, hüvasti, Αντίο
Bon voyage, totsiens, hyvästi
Aloha, Arrivederci
Salve, hiragana, zàijiàn
auf Wiedersehen UND... 
auf Wiederemailen
Bon voyage, vale, deuces
Chalky blokes, I’m bout to dip
Ta Ta, muthafuckas I’m out

Mama Gabrielle, Alaina, Ally, Donna, and Justin: Thanks for sharing all your stories. I really enjoyed this time together. You can email me from the blog if you want to meet up and you can't find me through the wc system.


Uncrossing the Stars

I remember one sunny day in September, sitting on the corner of Dwight and Telegraph, strumming my guitar absent-mindedly—what song is this again?—my myopic eyes in constant scanning patterns, searching crowds, reminiscent of the night before, when I found and lost and found you again. Remember I gave you that American Beauty that my friend plucked from the Cosmic Splat? I still smell its sweet petals somehow. And then we spent the night in a forest of eucalyptus by a running stream and caught the first rays of sunshine in each other’s faces. Yes?

But then you left. I remember watching you go, feeling doom settle into my marrow, regretting that I somehow played my stoic card too well, frightened that indifference leaked in with that borrowed Dylan line: we’ll meet again on the Avenue. What do you do, though, when you’re young and your heart is paved with scar tissue? Loving hard hurts.

And so I bent strings and searched, but the day was fading, and I needed money, so out came my tarot deck for fortune telling: past, present, future, power of individual to control the matter, hopes and fears, fate and environment, final outcome… ad nauseum, always keeping those dark major arcanum at the deck’s bottom. All along my eyes continued darting around, searching desperately.

Fear crept in. Maybe you were lost. You didn’t even know Berkeley, and why… why was I so stupid to let you go? I should have stayed with you, made sure you got home at least. And, then, deep from that dark burrow where rejection resides came a mocking voice, taunting me, assuring me someone so wonderful was never meant for me, “Good fortune has moved on, sucker. Enjoy misery.”

Whatever. Good riddance, right? Women are so complicated anyhow. But now I was pissed, stabbed again. I hate Love. Love is merciless.

Isn’t it funny how life just seems to pivot on a few key moments? Right then was mine, ours, when you appeared and rescued me from loneliness forever.

Thank you, my dearest, for coming back to me.