Month: July 2010

New Short Story opener

For those who haven’t noticed the twitter entry, Ordo Lupus has been accepted for publication by creatspace.

How is this for a short story opener. Is it worth pursuing?

“God’s body man, giveth me the 4th gear! Now!”
“Fucking press the damned clutch you madman!” I shouted back over the reverberating din of the V8 Chevy block, attempting some humility and knowing ‘damned’ was the only swear-word King Henry VIII would actually acknowledge.
The large pallid face broke into a toothy grin. “Raymond. You are an impertinent – what is the modern phrase – jackass, but I like you!” His big foot, somewhat incongruously contained in a size 14 Nike trainer, pressed clumsily down on the accelerator and I slammed the gearstick into 4th. A moment later the King, hunched over the royal Sparco steering wheel, turned the car to the left, and as, dirt spurting from the drifting rear wheels, we emerged from the turn, I realised we were actually going to finish in third place. Not yet a win, but for a man new, not only to the sport, but to the century, it was not a bad effort. Henry roared his approval as we crossed the line.

New Short Story

I just finished a new story Eighteen, Blue. I am going to publish it on Kindle quickly along with the free first chapter of The Ice Boat Volume I and either another short story Another One for No 19 or the free first chapter of Ordo Lupus and The Temple Gate – haven’t quite decided yet. It’s a formula that seems to work.

Winged Serpents

I am going to take my time to respond to Gary’s recent comment comment that the serpent in the Garden of Eden is depicted with wings in some cases.

Although I have never seen images like this (to my knowledge) of a serpent with wings in the Garden of Eden, it does not suprise me to see one now. We have often had little tussles Gary over the way I see themes at the core of Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate, and the way you see them. I have referred sometimes to werewolves and warg.

The reason I can do this (and still think myself sane) is because, for me the modern concept of werewolves and vampires etc, is probably a romanticised and glamorized version of what was once, by some, seen as more real than mere myth. I see the roots of these myths and legends being far more interesting, buried as they are deep within esoteric knowledge that is hidden from most of the world. That is why the wolves in my book are not just wolves but communicate on some level with people. The main character in the book is a wolf-being in a human body (ie with the Earthly clothes of a human).
Similarly the Serpent was once a human.

I must also make it clear I see the esoteric world, or the world we perceive with esoteric knowledge or ‘awareness’ as being different to the normal physical world. This is a common idea.

Have you read The Secret History of the World by Mark Booth?

He takes the approach of a journalist trying to strip away the mystery and mystique of secret cults and organisations like the Freemasons to reveal what he has learned of their secret knowledge. He explored very extensively this idea that there is a separate history of the world, one which you cannot see in the physical world but one that existed and still exists inside us – a knowledge of the world as experienced by people. So he is saying that there is another type of consciousness.

Of course if you simply want to explore modern scientific ideas of consciousness you could try Susan Blackmore’s Conversations on Consciousness. The trouble is that science will always remain on the side of objectivity and so will never really cross that line to understand properly consciousness. Not that I am saying any of us ever will, but our own minds affect how we feel about things and to simply try to observe ones consciousness without accepting that by observing it you are affecting it, is to inevitably fall short of a proper understanding. Some areas of science are beginning to accept this now.

Returning to The Secret History of the World, I found that many of the ideas in there about man’s early perception of himself and our deep-seated feeling that there was a Garden of Eden and that the species-memory even stretches back much further than that, really resonated.

So what I am saying is that the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, and the Garden itself, really existed but perhaps not in the physical world as one place, but as a state of consciousness that humans passed through on their way to where we are now.

Thus, it could well be that the idea of a Winged Serpent has some meaning for us, well beyond simply the image of a snake with wings.

On the subject of how we see the world and what that means, it is my hypothesis that our visual blindspot is actually connected in some way with our own moral or ethical blindspot, which (another hypothesis) could be thought of as evil. If you look for your blindspot (a small black spot while you are looking at things – helps to do this in a white room or looking at a white wall) – mine normally seems to be off to the right somewhere, then the feeling that one has inside or one’s mood is similar to what one feels when one is in a black mood or during the ‘darker’ episodes of one’s moods. ie the Yang side of things. At least this is the way it is for me. But then I am particularly sensitive to colour. How do others feel about this?

I must point out at this point that I was brought up as a Buddhist, my father being a practicing Buddhist and since I was not convinced by answers to questions in Sunday School , I naturally gravitated towards Buddhism. This incorporates many esoteric ideas and has probably given me a wider perspective on religion and beliefs.

I am also a big fan of Gurdjieff and esoteric thinkers of his time although I am not a big fan of Aleister Crowley. Paul Brunton was a very interesting writer at the time too. Son of an English lord, he travelled extensively in Asia in the 20s and thirties writing about culture, and particular religion. He wrote a lot about saddhus and mystics and spent a whole year living and training with a snake-charmer. In the winter he would retire to a hut on top of a foothill of the Himalayas to write up his findings. Anything by him is worth reading but you may have to scour the second-hand bookshops as much of his stuff is out of print. His best and deepest work in my opinion is ‘The Wisdom of the Overself‘. I haven’t read the collections of his work published since his death by his son.

Film Stars

Quick post today and off-subject but I am in the mood:

A poll:
Which is your favourite film actor in a War Movie:

I have assigned my votes now so please add yours (10 for best down to 1)
Update: I have had a slight rethink. there are not enough Korean and Vietnam movies and also I forgot how good Brando is in The Men. At first I though yeah – well he is good but its about wounded men in USA trying to recover from war. But then I thought well actually that is exactly what war is about. So I am adding it. This has changed my voting by moving Burton’s performance in Bitter Victory down one and all my lower entries.

James Coburn in Iron Cross 20
Lee Marvin in The Big Red One
George Peppard in The Blue Max
Jack Palance in 10 Seconds to Hell 7
Lee Marvin in The Dirty Dozen 4
Jack Palance in Attack 6
John Thaw in Goodnight, Mr Tom 8
Richard Burton in The Longest Day 5
Robert Mitchum in Heaven Knows Mr Allison
Robert Shaw in The Battle of Britain 1
Robert Mitchum in The Longest Day
Richard Burton in Bitter Victory 3
Charlton Heston in Midway
Ton Hanks in Saving Private Ryan 7
Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder 6
Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam 5
Cliff Robertson in 633 Squadron 8
Steve McQueen in The War Lover 9
Steve McQueen in The Great Escape 5
Jeff Chandler in Merril’s Marauders 5
Brando in The Men 4
Nick Knolte in The Thin Red Line 3
R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket (suggested) 12
Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now (suggested) 9
Gregory Peck in Guns of Navarone (suggested) 4
Steve McQueen in Hell is for Heroes 2
Sylvester Stallone in First Blood 1
Alec Guiness in Bridge on the River Kwai (suggested) 7
William Holden in Bridge on the River Kwai (I thought he was much better) 6
Kirk Douglas in Paths of Glory (suggested) 8
Jurgen Prochnow in Das Boot (suggested) 1
Willem Defoe in Platoon 9
Brando in Apocalypse Now
Robert Mitchum in The Hunters

We could have a category for turkeys I guess:
James Franciscus in The Hell Boats?
Sylvester Stallone in Rambo (suggested)
Ben Affleck in Pearl Harbour (suggested)
Sylvester Stallone for Rambo II, III & IV
Richard Attenborough

Any other suggestions for either category welcome.

Short and brief

Been thinking a bit about writing style – the fact that sometimes I am torn between short, really punchy writing like Warren Ellis and more discursive writing like Tolkien.

The thing is that I think very tight dialogue is great if the world is very familiar and so you don’t have to worry too much about the reader knowing his/her way round. It’s especially good too if the main character follows some kind of template – stereotype is too strong a word.
But since my writing is really mainly about people, my characters don’t comfortably fit into patterns so there really seems to be a limit to how often I can do that kind of brief writing.

Any thoughts anyone. You will see I have added my twitter updates to a panel on the right now.

I find it quite nice to post brief thoughts to twitter but 140 characters is a bit short to really get anything down other than soundbites on philosophical matters.

Too Bright The Sun

Okay so I am playing around here. That may be the title of new book and may not. I finished the first draft anyway. It’s looking good but who am I to tell. Wait for the first reader to tell me it’s crap.

Been messing around doing the synopsise (is that the correct plural?) for my books so I can publish as E-books on createspace and kindle. I realised that the tags within createspace and kindle don’t work that great really and then I discovered that social tagging is the next big thing. In fact I have been investigating a product (or suite of products really) called OpenCalais (Link no longer available) which is for Web 3.0 stuff. Very technical really but they have this tool here:
(Link no longer available)
which allows you to paste in text and it works out the social tags for you. It’s really pretty good although its bit freaky sometimes just how good it is. For instance I put in this text:

“He has a unique gift, but his daughter has been murdered by a Winged Serpent which only he believes in. His grandfather, a writer and occultist, is not where he should be; in his grave, and time is running out for a marriage forged in the resistance struggles of the Second World War. Can he use his gift to save his marriage and survive the mysterious events which threaten to overwhelm him?”

and one of the tags it came up with was Adam and Eve. I mean where is that from? And the freaky thing is that the book really does have a bit about Adam and Eve in a pivotal scene and this underpins everything in this paragraph.