Saturday, February 26, 2011

Myth: Common Modern Day Misuse

Myth, the word today is used in many ways and most of them are inaccurate. I can't stand the misuse of the word Myth. I guess it's one of my pet-peeves. But the misuse of the word can only convey the wrong message, and discredits the many historical stories that exist to convey a deeper truth that cannot be conveyed through standard social means.

Today the word Myth is used in the context of saying something is not true; That is a Myth (Better interpreted as that is a Lie; that is an un-truth). Standard cliche remarks Regarding Myth go as follows:
1: It's an enduring myth that money brings happiness.
2: I don't believe the myths and legends about this forest.

If you look at the context of each of the examples you could easily replace the word Myth with Lie, and each sentence would maintain the same meaning. But Myths are not lies. They are symbolic concepts expressed through stories and art that convey the deeper nature of human experience. 

So when someone say's, "That is a Myth." They are essentially saying, "that is a lie," a falsehood.
When it comes to Myth, you cannot address any one Myth for any one reason. When we confront the concepts that appear in Myth's, we come to find that they serve a greater, over-all mythology. Therefor, we cannot talk about Myth unless we address an entire Mythology. Then, and only then, when we look at the multilayered architecture of an entire mythology can we begin to understand what any one myth addressees in relationship to all of the other myth's is exists as a part of. 

A proper analogy might go like this: If we wish to speak about our entire body, and understand the total function and purpose of all of it's parts, we cannot just focus on the hand; the hand is nothing without the entire body, and thus serves no purpose. Sever the hand from the body and it possesses no life. The same goes for Myth and Mythology. If you extract any one Myth from it's body of Mythology, it serves little purpose; but when they are whole and complete, one part working with the other, the purpose and power of the Myth flows with life again.

So to use the word... Myth... as it is so wrongly and widely used today, stands as a reflection of the ignorance of the individual or institution misusing it. Do not be fooled, Mythology is alive and well today... Most people call it Religion. The only misfortune is that there is no, "ONE" unifying mythology. Where do you think all of the religious intolerance comes from... Misinterpretation of what myth actually is and how it works. Not only do the main religious institutions of the worlds misuse it to their advantage today, so do huge conglomerate companies, both of whom are putting forth their best efforts to stop you from thinking for yourself.

For a better explanation I suggest you refer to Joseph Campbell, the Master of Mythology. Watch him explain a little below. I also located a cool one by Deepak Chopra

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gardening: Giving back to the Earth & Creating lasting Family

Gardening, as Wikipedia defines is: The practice of growing plantsOrnamental plants are normally grown for their flowersfoliage, overall appearance, or for their dyes. Useful plants are grown for consumption (vegetablesfruitsherbs, and leaf vegetables) or for medicinal use. A gardener is someone who practices gardening.

Gardening ranges in scale from fruit orchards, to long boulevard plantings with one or more different types of shrubstrees and herbaceous plants, to residential yards including lawns and foundation plantings, to large or small containers grown inside or outside. Gardening may be very specialized, with only one type of plant grown, or involve a large number of different plants in mixed plantings. It involves an active participation in the growing of plants, and tends to be labor intensive, which differentiates it from farming or forestry.
I am a Gardener, not really a good one, but one always in the pursuit of learning. Fortunately, I do have a green thumb, which is helpful. I also have a keen eye for the flow of the landscape. I love nature. And I love participating in the act of trying to take something not so beautiful and turn it into a wonderland. I love birds, butterflies, and bunnies...yes, I know this is horrible. But I equally love bats, snakes, and the other creepy-crawly, critters that invade our nightmares and fears... I like to stay balanced.
So for all of you out there, all over the world from France to India, from the Ukraine to Canada, I'll be leaving posts of my garden. It's not as large as I would like. I don't have acres of land. What I do have though is an entire landscape as my canvas, with certain approval that is.
Why do I garden? Why should we garden? Well, why not. What's more amazing then watching a single seed turn into a plant that grows, flowers, and produces fruits and vegetables to sustain our body? Gardening to me is the highest form of practical-magic. When I look at the world around me, I see magic everywhere. I believe true honest magic, like gardening, is alive and well. It is real. I explain to my Girls that everyone has magic, that everything is magical. This teaches them to appreciate the environment they are growing up in; it also teaches them to appreciate others around them for their own unique abilities.
Back to what I was saying, Why? As I see it, it's the best possible way to stick it to our governing rulers along with ensuring a healthy food source. They want us to eat useless, non-nutritious foods, that are subsidized by our government (keeping cost low through taxpayer dollars, i.e. we are still paying for it) to huge conglomerate companies that are seeking total global domination of food sources through the use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism). Farmers have lost entire parcels of land due to cross contamination of Genetic Strains of crops created by Monsanto, a wicked organization that is well on it's way to ruling the world by controlling the genetic patents on seed. To join in the fight, stop this demonic entity, and bring power back to the people, check out Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Seed Savers Exchange.

So how can you fight back? Grow you own food. Take time with your family, friends and neighbors to create a garden plot where you can begin to rediscover the magic of a seed, dirt, water and sunlight... Life! Not only will your plants grow and your lives and health be improved, your relationship with everyone who participates along with the land will blossom too. Growing food is the most magical thing we can do outside of using our imaginations of corse. One last note, if you're going to do any landscaping, why not use a plant that produces fruit instead of one that doesn't. Plant Nut trees for shade, blueberry bushes for hedges, cranberries for low lying shrubs. Not only does this provide you with food, it helps feed the wildlife around you and ensures the biological diversity for future generations. Happy planting.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Parallel Earth: Writing & Editing, Why Does It Take So Long?

What on Earth is taking so long? I mean, your just writing a novel right, just putting words down on paper. Once the story's told your all done...

Well, that's what many who don't write think. Most people I talk to suffer from the delusion that all you have to do is come up with a real cool idea and, well, just write it down. For all of you who think that writing a book is just letters on paper, let me inform you, you are sadly mistaken.

American Masterpiece
Did any of you know it took  Margaret Mitchell about 20 years to write  Gone with the Wind? Today, it is one of my most favorite reads. It's so epic in scope. The characters are so meticulously written they walk off the pages. And her writing style is impeccable, so easy to understand, I am always amazed.

 Now, to move on to another favorite of mine,  Dune by Frank Herbert. It took him Seven years (or there about) to create the world of Dune. Within the pages of Dune we come to know of an entire worlds, each of which posses their own governments, systems of belief, and mythologies, as well as technology. I can attest, this is no easy feat to achieve such imagination. To connect the dots so it can be understood by a broad and accepting audience is the first objective. But, to date, it the most popular Sci-Fi novel and series in the history of the genre.

Sci-Fi Master
Ok, now this brings me to the King-Puba of them all, J.R.R.Tolkien creator of The Lord of the Rings. Did any of you know it took him about forty years just to write the languages for Middle Earth? Forty Years! Then he wrote the  The Hobbit for his son. Asked to do a sequel to the Hobbit, he embarked on the epic journey of writing the Lord of the Rings. It took him twelve years to write the Lord of the Rings, using stories, his Mythology, dating back to his days in the trenches of World War One, with hand-scribbled notes dating back to 1918. He created most of Middle Earth while many of his friends were dying around him daily; it became his way of passing the time and remaining sane.

J.R.R. Tolkien, Grand Master Wizard of Fantasy

So now, this brings me to Parallel Earth. If you've read any of my older posts, you know I've been working on this project now for almost thirteen years. I started it when I was 25 years old. This March, I will be 38. Why has it taken so long? It's a hell of an epic...

I have had to create everything for Parallel Earth from the ground up. Once I realized what I was actually trying to achieve, I had to do a bit more research, studying, etc, etc. As I began to write the back-story I had to make sure all of the principle ideologies and systems of belief could be interpreted and understood by a wide audience. Also, now being seven Novel's long, I had to make sure that everything begins with the first story.... everything! And let me tell you, that's a whole lot-a-stuff. I mean, how do you go from one culture to at least five subcultures? Even though I know the back-story, it was an entire other challenge to put these ideas into motion through character interaction and relationships.

Another large part of the Novel has to due with philosophical and religious ideas that have to translate today as well as speak along the lines of ancient archetypal principles that service a specific link our spiritual heritage as humanity. Within each culture, I have had to develop a social order as well, and how that social order effects the characters and their situations. How, where, and why their thoughts emerged out of the ancient principle concepts of their culture? Well, in order to write them, you must know the culture, know their personality, and the real challenge is to know how they work in the over-all scope of all Seven Novels. This is no easy task.

Still once all of this is complete, and the first novel is written, then I have to go in a chop away the fat. Yes, I explain it like this: If I am looking at patch of woods and want to build a road, I must first understand the lay of the land so I can plot the best coarse to create this Road (This is the initial concept).

Ok, looking at the woods, I now have to start taring out the trees and remove any large trees and boulders in my way. Now I'm left with a very crude path from point A to point B. I know where I begin and where I end, but the path is still treacherous (This is the first Draft, which took three years to write).

My Drawing of the Holy Doctrine within Parallel Earth
With a cleared path before me, my new proposed road, it now becomes time to go in and remove any large debris such as stumps, stones, and begin to level the ground (This is the first edit, which I am in the process of currently; it's taken about a year).

Alright, the stumps are gone, the ground is almost level, now it comes time to scrape the road to perfection and lay down the gravel (This is the second edit, where you really begin to cut away the fat, refine you characters and concepts).

After that's all said and done, I can go over the manuscript with much more speed and detect inconsistencies, redundancies, and continuity of character arcs and sub plots, all of which must service the end result, being the climax. And in my world, the climax must serve the advancement and further continuation of the series.

Still, once I've completed the manuscript and it's been taken on by an Literary Agent, further refinement will take place. When it reaches an Acquisitions Editor, the manuscript will again be subject to further discretion and editing to create the strongest possible work.

Once the road is complete, it's a sign that the journey has just begun. Every new bend will require a unique set of tools to service the landscape. Every new landscape will rise as a natural extension of the previous road travelled, until, in the end I (we together) will have reached the top. Hopefully, when we get there, we will be inspired to take the journey again. After all, good books, like good movies, are worth reading more than once.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Industrial Degradation of the Soul

Zdzislaw Beksinski: Dystopian Master
We live in volatile times, but maybe this is a misnomer. As far back as I view history, each age suffered. No one era had ever been exempt. But today a new breed of misery endures. It is the woe we experience in the face of the adversity forced on us through the proliferation of the unseen force, the industrial beast which means to rip the souls from our bodies in effort to make us mindless pawns that serve a hypothetical reality based on numbers, profit-margins, and bottom-lines. Our new systems of belief do not emerge through spiritual revelation, rather they are incubated within the hypothetical, ideological world we strive to create for ourselves in an effort to live a better, more productive life.

Void of Consciousness
Once upon a time, we were informed of our spirit through experience--not some pre-existing, dogmatic document that inhibits one's spiritual growth. That is not to say this doesn't occur on a daily basis everyday all around us, but it is belittled by all of the flashy lights and gray noise produced by the powers that be through the ever-expanding forces of modern media. In being entertained, we are pacified. Our pacification leads us into a state of complacency, which lulls us into a state of spiritual inebriation. As apathy sets in as to what it truly means to experience life, we become confused by the many subversive messages forced upon us each and everyday. Who's doing what? What is the hottest trend, the newest gadget? You see these are all ways we are sidetracked from understanding who we are in this ever-increasingly, mechanized landscape. As a people, we can never be fully integrated into the mechanized world populating itself all around us. Why?

We are human, not machines. Although some clever programmers my design some cool software that integrates simulated human behavior into machines, I'm almost certain they will never be able to love. They will never be able to experience the divine, because we, blinded by technology, created them.

H.R. Giger: Master of Nightmare Dreamscapes
I believe this is the reason many of the stories, art, and music we experience today succumbs to dark themes of our impending dystopian future, harbingers of an undeniable fate. Alive and breathing, it is obvious that we, Humanity as a race, are heading in a horrid direction. Yes, their are glimpses of hope. Yes, we can see amazing possibility that may pave a way into a prosperous future. But I doubt it. All of the darkness that floats to the top through our deep seeded frustration by watching our souls being degraded through the impending doom forced on us by the masters of darkness -- CEO's. When we only service our soul One of Seven days, and accept what is a metaphorical document as a literal truth, we are destined to fail to see the relevance of our soul.

But our frustrations boiled to the surface because they are real. They cannot be denied. Slavery today is larger that it has ever been-- and we do it willingly. We can no longer drink the clean waters of the Earth because they have vanished due to incessant forms of pollution. The future we face is bleak. It will be horrible. And many souls will be sacrificed before the cumulative spirit of Humanity reawakens to a Mythology that genuinely places spirit before machine.

Kris Kuksi: Modern Master of Sculpture
What does this entry have to do with Parallel Earth: Advent of Evil? Everything. It is the beginning. The jumping point from which all other observations take place. Parallel Earth: Advent of Evil is that novel by which I have lived the past, and stand atop the beacon of observation and watch the daemonic clouds of wicked shadow-laden revelation flow over me with graven truths. Through our ignorance and greed, we will be made to suffer. To such a degree that it will one day brings us together amongst the veil of night we, Humanity, have created.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Unit 731: Brutal Genocidal Horror

Child's Vivisection: Processed While Alive
It is no surprise when we turn on the news we see worldwide atrocities displayed before us with ever increasing mannerisms of brutality and ignorance. The first updates we receive when we arrive at our preferred news sources always seem to focus on the macabre reality that has become today-- a world torn apart through religious intolerance as entire civilizations are decimated by the takeover of the All-Mighty-Machine, which seems to ever tightens it's grip on the very human souls who fostered its existence.  

Beneath the atrocities of today, exist layer after layer of hidden agenda's and cover-ups that exist to keep those wicked, heinous souls, those evil beings of little humanity in power. One of the most disturbing events of modern history, that our country, the good-oll-USA, would like to sweep under the carpet is their twisted involvement with the Genocidal murder of anyone who entered Unit 731

Beginning Documentary on what is referred to as, "The Forgotten Holocaust."

The brutal death's that unfolded in this place go beyond description of even the most twisted horrors you might imagine. Stranger still (to me at least) is how warped the minds of the scientists had to be in order to engage in such barbarity and classify their deeds as dutiful and just scientific study. I mean come on! If I shoved a knife in you, sliced you wide open, and pulled out your intestines just to see what your super-sized Mc Donald's lunch looked like, you probably wouldn't be to happy-- not even it I had a band-aid or two. Well, just so you know, they didn't get any Mic-e-dee's, they just got slaughtered all in the name of acquiring more power for those heartless Son's-a-bitches that run this wicked world. 

So, with all  of this being said, you might ask yourself, 'How on God's Green Earth does this have anything to do with some Epic Fantasy world that some Author Guy (Me) has created and shall continue to create for some unknown amount of years?' Allow me to expound on the matter...

Parallel Earth: Advent of Evil is the first Book of Seven. It is the beginning of everything all the way down to the very concepts that lead to these kinds of atrocities. When the time comes, as the reader, you will be able to witness the very birth of what evil is and how it can wreck the minds of anyone who becomes open to the concepts inherent within the voice of the practitioner of this deep wickedness. The transition is not swift. It's not all bang-boom, action packed. It's cathartic, subversive, cryptic, and flows over you with unseen magnificence. As the reader, you will experience first hand how beautiful evil can be.

In the end you may understand that you, yourself, have become an inseparable part of this evil. I don't say this to upset anyone. I only say it because it is true. I am a part of it. You are a part of it. Anyone living in this modern world is a part of this evil. They just don't realize it. The only men and women that are free from the burden live off the land free and clear as the remaining traditional indigenous cultures. Only they, who have nothing, and everything, are exempt from the equation. Not that they're not effected. They are. We all are. 

Ooops... Sorry, got off on a little tangent there. Back to what I was saying. Information to stories like Unit 731 inspire me to create the darkest most bleak future for Parallel Earth that I can imagine. It gets pretty bleak. Why? Because I know the Machine is in control. We created the system out of a series of concepts that were designed to free up our time and make life better. Didn't work out that way. The system has become larger than it's creators. We're no longer in control. It dictates to us through a blur of information some might reefer to as Share-holder-statements. What was intended to free us, now enslaves us. So you see, it is all inescapable. We must learn to live in the construct of the monster we have created. We must learn to adapt to the anti-human struggles of the machine in order to rediscover what it means to be human within the construct of a machine driven by idolatry and greed. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blood into Wine: Tool's Maynard James Keenan

I finished rewriting chapter 28 last night and had a notion to watch a movie I've been wanting to see for a while now-- Blood into Wine. A film about Maynard's inspiration to become a wine maker and the labors he's endured to embark on a new ground-breaking masterwork. So, without further ado, I'll put on some tool and write.

I've admired Tool's music now for many years. I can remember the first time I watched "Sober" from the "Undertow," album on MTV when they still played music. I have to say, I didn't understand the music. I was into a different sort of music back them. I didn't get the whole dark ethereal thing at first. It took a while to grow on me. But alas, like all greatness, it often takes our minds a day or two to catch up to what we are experiencing. But after a few more reluctant endeavors into their dark themes, hypnotic rhythms, I couldn't stop listening. Aside from their unflinching musical style, I was struck by Maynard's cryptic lyrics and dark wit, especially on track, "69."

Needless to say, I was hooked and have remained a devout listener and voice for the magic that is Tool's music. Their sonic revelries have inspired many hours of creative thought and artistic deliberation. So what doe's this have to do with the movie, well everything. What does this have to do with my Novel, well, everything.

First off, I recommend the movie to any Maynard fan. It's perhaps the most informative take on who he actually is as a person, as well as what motivates him. You may find this hard to believe, but he's a normal dude, like any of us. Amazing right? But just as his music, be it with Tool, A Perfect Circle, or Puscifer, Maynard's attention to the cerebral and multilayered ebb of spirit remains apparent.

This documentary-movie has illustrates how Maynard is constantly in the process of understanding himself in relationship to this world and the land, or orchard, he walks. His link and relationship to his wine stands a barometer by which he identifies himself through the harvest of his orchard. Ambitious, always trying to learn, both his fortune and misfortune sculpt his character; which in turn forms his palate; which inspires the multi-dimensional wines that flow from Caduceus Vineyards.

His Journey, although highly successful, has always been about trusting his intuition despite the critics. This is the journey for all of us if we only entrust the deeper energies that reside beyond our standard day to day rhetoric. Yes, there is always pain involved. Rhetoric to. But even these may be inspiring stepping stones if we are on the path to, "Following Your Bliss."

I like to think that the more pain we encounter the greater our reward. Success cannot come without sacrifice. Sacrifice is the key to achieving your dreams. Just like Maynard. Just like me. Just like you. We must first give up before we can receive.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Parallel Earth: Musical I write to.

A Dark Ambient Masterwork
I love many forms of music for all different types of reasons. My favorite is typically metal, prog-metal, old-school-metal, wicked Jazz, acid jazz, free-form Jazz. I enjoy great music scores from movies (Not Sound-Tracks) But, being a drummer, anything with a beat distracts me from the free flow of my imagination. This leads me to my most favored music for writing, Ambient, especially Dark Ambient.

I love dark themes in music. But when it comes to writing there is nothing better than Dark Ambient for me. Here's a bit of Wikipedia history: "Dark ambient is a subgenre of ambient music that features foreboding, ominous, or discordant overtones. Although it had its roots in the 1970s, Dark ambient emerged in the 1980s and 1990s with the introduction of newer, smaller, and more affordable Effects unitssynthesizer and sampling technology. Dark ambient is an unusually diverse genre, related to industrial musicnoiseethereal wave, and black metal, yet generally free from derivatives and connections to other genres or styles."

When I begin writing, Dark Ambient transports me into a place of deep inner reflection that somehow allows me to best channel the energies residing deep within myself. I look at Dark Ambient as somehow listening to the flow of my own consciousness through someone else's labors. I relate to the dark themes. They evoke the very nature of the moods and characters that come to life within the context of Parallel Earth.

Another bit of music I listen to, and has been a part of my artistic experience for years now, is Peter Gabriel's "The Last Temptation of Christ" sound track. It is dark, ethereal, a bit depressing, and somehow scrapes the ethos of my soul. I have also come to appreciate ancient Armenian folk music of the middle east. Perhaps my favorite is Djivan Gasparyan duduk player. There is so much amazing music out there that inspires. I just thought I would share a few with you. 

Haunting and Amazing

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Decent into Madness: Origins of Parallel Earth

When and where did it all begin? When did I actually begin down this path of unknown revelation and fortune? I could say from birth, I guess. But, if I were to sum it up to a moment, I would have to say it was back in 1997 when I turned 21. This is an important age for anyone with any common sense and hope to achieve something worthwhile. I mean, it's the halfway point to thirty, when we're all old right? Or so we think when we are young and naive.

I did not want to live a life empty of reward or challenge. Ever since I was young I have experienced a sense that I was born to achieve great things with my life. Of coarse, by the time I was 24, nothing amazing was even beginning to take shape. Or so I hadn't noticed. But, behind it all, behind the experience of my life, I was slowly gathering all of the information that would lead me to where I am today, sitting in front of this computer screen to tell all the world, or at least those who will listen, how we have come to such a terminal state of being. 

This brings me back to my emotions of that time. I was angry at the world. Why? I didn't fit in. Still don't. I was an outcast awaiting to be received into some other time, some other place, where my life could mean something. Was I crazy. Or was it only the world I lived in? I had to find out.

After many hikes in the woods of Western North Carolina, I found solace in the mountainous depths of my home. I walked among the waterfalls. I swam in the Mountain Streams. I pushed myself hard, physically and mentally, always trying to attain a new perspective of this world, this Earth. Still, I knew I had to emerge from this magical place, the bosom of nature, only to find my faculties assailed with all of the rhetoric that comes with this age.

Every time I exited Pisgah National Forest I found myself at a modern-day crossroads of convenience (Or so they lead us to believe). Every corner was populated with Strip-malls, convenience-stores, and large chain-retailers. I was soon remind of what lay ahead. Every time I emerged from this solace of the lush green woods, I felt the stress of my return. And then I wondered, "What's wrong with me? Why do I feel this way?" But as my journey continued, I couldn't help bust ask myself, "How has it come to this? What created his monster we all live with?" I had no answers. I needed them.

Believing I was going out-of-my-mind, that I was physiologically unstable, I recalled my reading of Dante's Inferno. There it was, my answer. I had to embrace the hell I was feeling. I had to engage, not cast away, my feelings of strife in order to understand the root of my conflicted emotions. So I did.

One sunny afternoon, I sat in in front of our donated computer, and with a blank computer screen before me, I began to write. I had no idea what was going to happen. I do know one thing though, I had absolutely no plan for where I would go or what I would experience along the way. I had a concept. Knowing I had to uncover the dark feelings buried deep inside me, I  decided that my journey had to be into my own subconscious in effort to understand the root energies of my feelings. The book was to be called, "The Seven Levels of a Madman's Mind."

This book was to become my account of speaking to, and engaging the deeper energies of my soul, my own mythological Archetypes. I always feared that deep down within me resided daemons just waiting to swim up from the depths of my subconscious to devour me. Now,  I know they exist.  What became even more strange is that these energies, these experiences, took me by the hand and led me down paths of wisdom I had never conceived upon in my waking realm, within this world. The very energies within me were beginning to inform me of who I was,  based out of my experience to the world in which I lived. 

Eventually I gave each of the experiences a name. And so they became the symbols for specific intentions and emotions. The process was long and arduous. Opening ones soul to the energies hiding deep down is a very frightening task. But once the door is opened, there was not shutting it. Looking back over my life, I recalled many of my most vivid dreams and nightmares. I began to integrate as many of the beautiful and horrific images I had witnessed through my subconscious and wove them together into a seamless tapestry that spread out over the span of my life. I had created a quilt of nightmares and dreams, of hopes and aspirations.

As time went on, I began creating works of art that began to expand upon the early concepts. My art began to flow into the world. And the world began to flow into my art. The two became synonymous with each other; both existed as an extension of the other. The landscape grew. The characters multiplied. And the concepts deepened. So, my initial efforts to understand my own psychosis eventually blossomed into my own personal mythology, my system of belief and perspective view of the world in which we live today.

What I planned to become a decent into madness had transformed into something far more epic and elaborate in scope. The seed that was the "Seven Levels of a Madman's Minds," had transformed into the flower that I now call, "Parallel Earth."

I look forward to any comments on this post. And If you have the time, I would love it it if you Followed me. Thanks for stopping in... Scott Clark