Make me a temple to bow in, to work in, with pentagrams and all the richest colours of the earth. Let it be adorned with bells and candleholders of brass, with wall sconces to inspire the senses. Let its windows be festooned with yellow, the colour of air. Let from its center water flow, in a font, and above this font let there hang a bowl-shaped candle which burns, always during ritual, representing fire. Let the scents therein be rose, sandalwood, sage and citrus. Let all rituals be modern and fresh, always with a nod of respect to the Ancients. Let the temple be always cold, thereby better stimulating the brain, enlivening the skin, bracing the face, sharpening the eyes for scrying, seeing, or crying. Let there be laughter, tears, joy and power emanating from this temple, and may it serve Will and Love as long as it stands.
Archive for November, 2011
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law
Awaking to a rainstorm, all fat and puffy with low-hanging, wet clouds, dumping their glory on the too-dry ground, I smile. I know that the rain is a sign, an omen. Indeed, it has proven so. The air is fresh and cool, and smells like nostalgia and ecstasy. I have been so, so very buys as of late, and Thanksgiving will provide me with a bit of a respite. I have been basically ignoring this blog for how busy I’ve been. Quite amazing. I do believe I’ve narrated three audiobooks in the past three weeks. Quite a feat, I say, without being modest. Modesty is for jerks…. okay, not really. Modesty has its place. I’m also reading about seven books right now, and I’ll give updates on all of them as I actually progress through them. May all of you have a glorious holiday weekend!
I begin recording a new book tomorrow, Nikolski, about three Quebecois coming of age in Canada, and whose lives, somehow, all end up intermingling. I haven’t yet read the whole manuscript, so I’m not sure the exact secret yet. Anyway, the thing I’m loving about this book, so far, is the fact that it’s that kind of prose that reads like poetry. Like Victor Hugo, or Pat Conroy. That kind of prose that sweeps you away into an airy ocean of ecstasy, and before you know it you’ve damn near missed the story for all the beautiful words, so perfectly strung together. Hopefully I’ll get a lot done tomorrow, for then I’m taking two days off to go have fun and be spiritual in Austin.
May you all have a good night.
I believe that the reason I narrate the way I do, is my willingness to believe in altered states.
What do I mean by “the way I do” ? Well, I have a reputation of being a beast of a narrator. I’m fast, efficient, and if most of my own press it to be believed, fairly good. I chalk this up to two things: using the gift the Universe saw fit to bestow upon me, and treating acting ritualistically. On a good day, when I’m really ready to rock, I literally approach the text on the screen in front of me, the story that must be told, and the characters who need a voice, all as a part of a great ritual that I’m participating in for as long as I’m working.When I enter this state, I can narrate pages at a time without a flub, the characters’ voices come to me with no difficulty, and I can see the text far before my mouth needs to speak it. It is, to me, an altered state. The storytelling pours forth from me, naturally as walking or exercising. Is it still work? Yes, but barely. Does it still tire me out? Yes, but the reward is great, and the process of reaching that reward is eased by the altered state I’m in. This could all be some giant game or trick I play with/ on myself. But, it works.
To learn more about this approach to acting, or at least the core of where I got this idea from, check out this awesome book.
I’ve been a bad, bad naughty blogger! Ignoring my blog, not blogging enough, not putting my all into it, and such.
Okay, actually I’ve just been working a lot, though I don’t really find that a fair excuse, as I believe blogging should be done daily, like a discipline, a routine that routinely tunes, fine-tunes, re-tunes and hones the mind. The way we put words together can be the difference between sheer beauty and abject ugliness. At least, I think so, sometimes. Sound confused? Yeah, I am. I mean, I’m not always sure that things just aren’t in a constant state of flux on this plane of existence, and if that is the case, what are the constants? Love, Spirit, Identity, Magick, Ego, and most importantly Will. But even all those nouns are not nouns I’m absolutely sure of. Identity, for example, seems a bit of a malleable thing, really. And many occultniks would tell me that “Ego” is a big “no-no” in the first place, much less something we should consider a constant in our lives. To that I say two things: One, that I think myself and many of the armchair occultniks are speaking of different things when we use the word Ego, and that second, even if we are agreeing on the noun, I believe it is next-to-impossible to shed oneself of the go in this incarnation, especially with the distractions of our hyper-technolyzed society. I’m not saying it’s impossible to cross the Abyss in this life time… I’m just not even sure we’re meant to. No, I’m not “questioning” or “refuting” the Golden Dawn, or Crowley, or any other branch of initiatory Occultism. I just think that we possibly live in such a time now that crossing the abyss in a single incarnation may not be possible. May not even be a necessity. Why? Why do I think this? I don’t really know. It’s on the tip of my brain, but I can’t really bring it to fruition in verbage right now. I think, beyond everything being so immediate and electronic, there are other issues, as it were. Perhaps one of them being the fact that we are different beings right now. Is it even possible, maybe, that the climbing of the Tree of Life, that Magical journey from Malkuth to Kether, should not always be the aim of Magick? Probably not, but I’m allowed to ask, right? I mean, maybe there are entirely different constructs to consider. Maybe. But who am I? An actor. I’m not a great occultist. I do not devote my life to Ceremonial Magick and occultism, to spirituality. I am a Thelemite, but not a full-time magician, so perhaps my queries are irrelevant, even almost to myself. But still, I think if one has questions, one must ask them, and must seek answers. There’s a reason questions arise.
I woke up, very early, after not a great night of sleep. Something “disagreed” with my lower intestinal system. Ah, well. I took Richard to UH for Grad School, then came back and did some ritual work. Not long after, my engineer Cesar, he of Watermark Audio, told me he was ready to begin work on the audiobook (Switchback) for the day, and thus we began. We knocked out about two hours’ worth of work, equaling about 45 pages of narration. Really good read. Having a fun time with this one, as I don’t often get to do sort of “adult thriller” stuff. I think, however, today is a day of writing, and I need to get plugging away on Blood Scene, if I’m going to finish it any time before 2012. Please, Kyle Ryan fans, be patient. I’m a buuuusy dude! Kyle is not forgotten, rest assured.
Anybody who knows the least little bit about my interests on the pop culture spectrum knows that I love the horror genre, in almost all its permutations. For most of my life, I’ve even been a pretty vocal fan of Stephen King. I don’t know the exact count, but I think I can safely say that I’ve read, at the very least, forty of his titles. This, of course, includes the King classics Pet Sematary, The Shining, and The Stand, but also some of his more obscure, not-so-popular titles such as Duma Key, Cell, Under the Dome, and my favorite, Bag of Bones. I think King is probably one of the stronger, if not the strongest, of the modern, prolific storytellers. I add the “prolific” qualifier because there are some very fine authors out there who have written but a handful of books, but each one stands as a sort of testament to genius and gorgeously seductive prose. But, as has been said before, King may very-well be the 20th and 21st century Dickens, or Poe, or Mark Twain. His writing is varied, his characters are some of the most relate-able in modern fiction, and the guy, like him or not, can make you turn some pages… fast!
Sometimes, though, his darkness discourages me. It’s not that I’m chiding his darkness, for we all have our shadow selves, and Mr. King has been a master at invoking his Shadow Stephen to great effect throughout his career, but the four tales that make up Full Dark, No Stars are specifically meant to be explorations into the dark side of the animal human. And boy does it get rough. I can’t say this is an actual review, because I haven’t yet finished the fourth story, though I’m nearing the end game. How it will play out, I’m not really sure. One thing these stories haven’t been is predictable. I will say, though, that in true King fashion, the guy is not the greatest closer around. I mean, he can write an ending, but for me, he rarely makes an ending SING. And, oddly enough to some, I guess, I’m okay with that. For me, the great joy in reading is all about the build-up, and the getting to know the characters, and watching everything coalesce. It is not, however, all about the resolving actions directly after what may or may not properly be called “the climax”. So, again, King gets a pass there.
What I can’t forgive about this collection is how unrelentingly dark it is. How pessimistic, how very ugly and almost nihilistic in tone. The pop psychology theorists would probably state that this is a book of novellas that properly reflects the psyche of the American and Western European mind right now, what with the fair amount of civil and monetary unrest we are collectively experiencing. Call me a pussy, but, sometimes in “hard times”, I’d just rather read something entertaining, even if it is a bit on the side of fluff. And please don’t misunderstand, I LOVE a good scare. But this goes below and beyond that. This is true, murky, dirty darkness. This is grotesqueness on parade, like a drag show comprised of talentless trannies on heroin. And ya wanna know what the real kicker is? It’s WELL-WRITTEN and compulsively readable. GRRR!
Stephen, I love you and I hate you… but mostly I love you. 🙂
I love the idea of Futuristic living, or even ultra-or-faux-Futuristic living, as a means of escape from decrepitude and melancholia. Since I was very young, I took in the images with which I was bombarded, via the entertainment world of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and would meld these in my mind to create bully-free utopias, androgyne ashrams, sterile temples to a pantheon of steel demigods and goddesses, playpens for robot friends, amusement parks powered by pneumatic tubes, etc. This, of course, was when I was not in “Halloween” or “Horror” mode. I remember when the film version of Orwell’s 1984 came out in, well, 1984, and how dazzled and chilled I was all at once. On the one hand was the dystopian nightmare of the government having its eyes, ears and noses in and around everything we do (aka, 2011), but on the other hand, there was this Land, this Futurescape, if you will ride along with me as I make up words, that was very sexy, secluded, safe-seeming, even. It was that same cold, sexy comfort I felt when I watched films like Blade Runner, or even the original Tron.
Today, of course, we have government oppression, riots, protests, and unrest, but without all the Futuristic Sexy. Hardly seems fair, does it? But there it is. And don’t get me wrong, things could be much worse. Things are not nearly as bleak, not in America nor in most of Western Europe, as they could be, but that’s certainly nothing to be completely satisfied with. Anyhow, I guess the romantic/ artist/ author/ dreamer in me simply thinks it would just be a sexier time, a dreamier time, a more awesome time in which to live if we did have the flying cars, the wrist phones(okay, we almost have that), the ultra-modern architecture, the (dare I wish for it?) Light Cycles and Hoverboards! Ah well, as the Thompson Twins once bleated, Here’s To Future Days!