O One; Distant One, Dear One,

Let me not be blind to the beauty and ugliness and truth that my eyes don’t see,

and are as present as the scent among fields of lavender

and the warm summer air on my grateful back.

5 Thoughts: EthnoReligiUfology

1. IF YOU DON’T READ THIS carefully, you’ll come away thinking that I think “God” is an alien, Moses a contactee and the Event at Sinai one of the humankind’s first recorded UFO sightings.

2. I really really don’t. But I do “believe” (cf. that Something Impressive happened in the Sinai desert 3,200 years ago.

3. As high-integrity weird-event investigator Jacques Vallee writes, however, it’s difficult for someone schooled in biblical and weirdological literatures (e.g., me; e.e.g., the 1917 “Fatima event”) not to notice apparent parallels between the two classes of experience: e.g., bright lights coming down from the sky, booming sounds and voices, messages of cosmic import, experienced sensations of timelessness, et al. That doesn’t mean the experiences are the same — or that they have the same catalyst or purpose — only that the patterns appear similar.

4. I have no idea what this means. The patterns appear similar — and because I accept the validity (though none of the explanations) of the so-called UFO experience, it’s easy for me to accept the validity of (though not necessarily any particular explanation for) Torah. (For some people, it’s got to be the word of God in order to take it seriously; for me, it’s just got to be Inspired Writing. And it is — and a recognizable-to-me genre to boot.)

5. Really, I have no idea what this means. But if you, like me, incline toward theories philosophical, aesthetic and noncommittal, you might agree that it’s kind of neat to think about.

Spacetime Coordination

“So the first thing is where. My first thought is the Heart of Green.”

“Off to the Right?”

“No, before that and down hill. At the base of the Stairstream.”

“Oh. Under that cliffy flat place that leads to Blasted Heath, over the cliffs.”

“Yes, where Keith started cursing out the valley in neo-Sumerian.”


“Quite. Anyway, what about there?”

“Okay. Sure. Then we could go by Elven Rocks…”

“The rocks on the right, or the ones on top of the hill with the view down the back and, what is that, north?”

“Yeah … I think they filmed part of Harold and Maude out there. Looks like it. The bridge scene.”

“That was San Mateo.”

“Right, but if it wasn’t, then there. But on the from where the view is.”

“Roger Dean Rocks.”

“Roger Dean Rocks. Right. The acorn mortars.”

“Right. And through that sort of on top of the hill lane. You know? By the rock by the tree.”

“Oh! Yeah! The birthday rock!”

“Didn’t you play the flute up there once?”

“I’ll bring it.”

“Who else can we invite?”

“Who else knows the way?”

Pithyism #4 of 8+

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, BUT SO is imagination: isn’t it sad that today’s kids will never know the fun we had speculating about Martians?

5 Thoughts: Why (and How) We Write

HANGING BY OUR COMPUTER IS a sheet of paper I look to for inspiration. Sometimes it inspires me, sometimes it depresses me, but always it gets me back on the horse. It’s called “Why (and How) We Write.” If you too find it useful, please hang it by your computer.

1. Do it for the buzz.
— Stephen King

2. Finish what you start. Keep submitting until it sells.
— Robert Heinlein

3. a) Fanaticize yourself
b) Fanaticize something greater than yourself
c) “Sheer delight in what you are doing.”
— Robert Anton Wilson

4. a) Arrange events in linear order
b) Now arrange them in narrative order.
c) Write the story.
d) Revise the story.
— H. P. Lovecraft

5. “Most of the characteristics which make for success in writing are precisely those which we are all taught to repress … the firm belief that you are an important person, that you are a lot smarter than most people, and that your ideas are so damned important that everybody should listen to you.”
— Robert Anton Wilson, reprise

Our Own Little “Zone”

IF YOU WERE CONSIDERED A teenage weirdo in the late 1970s/early 1980s in Northern California’s suburban Diablo Valley, you could always find a place on Friday nights at an independent cinema-house in Walnut Creek, gathering with others of your tribe to enact the mythic and terrible rites associated with “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Aside from the ritualized viewing experience itself, this weekly event included standing in line hobnobbing with dozens of fellow viewers outside the El Rey Cinema for an hour or two before the film started at midnight.

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(See Also: Robert Anton Wilson / HP Lovecraft / Writing / 5 Thoughts / Text As Life)

First Graf: The DQ of UK

THIS TITLE DOESN’T REFER TO either German nobility, soft ice cream or the British Isles, but the first paragraph (“graf” in news-speak) of one of my favorite novellae, H.P. Lovecraft‘s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. Though mostly famous for his don’t-read-at-3-a.m. Cthulhu Mythos tales, the Old Gentleman’s most lyric imagery is to be found in his stories of The Dreamlands: a sort of “collective unconscious” vaguely surrounding Earth and accessible to it at certain points. Lovecraft is often accused of unreadably purple prose; I like to think he writes more for effect than for accuracy (like a Brian Eno composition, Lovecraft’s words are best enjoyed by letting them wash over you like a salty, warm, faintly ichorous sea). Thus, and in the hopes of spreading the Old Gentleman’s visions as far and wide as possible:

THREE TIMES Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvelous city, and three times was he snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace above it. All golden and lovely it blazed in the sunset, with walls, temples, colonnades and arched bridges of veined marble, silver-basined fountains of prismatic spray in broad squares and perfumed gardens, and wide streets marching between delicate trees and blossom-laden urns and ivory statues in gleaming rows; while on steep northward slopes climbed tiers of red roofs and old peaked gables harbouring little lanes of grassy cobbles. It was a fever of the gods, a fanfare of supernal trumpets and the clash of immortal cymbals. Mystery hung about it as clouds about a fabulous unvisited mountains; and as Carter stood breathless and expectant on that balustraded parapet there swept up to him the poignancy and suspense of almost-vanished memory, the pain of lost things and the maddening need to place again what once had been an awesome and momentous place.

(Eh? EH? THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about.)

Three Reasons Why I Like My New Yorker Rejection Slip

1. THEY RECOGNIZE THE SUPERIOR QUALITY of my work by admitting that they “regret that (they) are unable to carry it in the magazine.” You can’t regret doing something that’s not regretworthy, right? Right?

2. They spelled my name right. BOTH names. I could plotz from that alone.

3. It gives me a chance to plug the original (as well as its backstory: Drifting into a reverie one afternoon, a series of images — colored panels in the style of Nicole Claveloux or George Herriman — began flipping before my eyes. I could barely write them down fast enough. That usually doesn’t happen to me; I usually compose either at the keyboard or while pacing the room. The version I sent to TNY omitted the dialog, which is inconsequential anyway; I didn’t know what else to do with it, so I sent it off. As William S Burroughs so famously quoth in Naked Lunch, “Wouldn’t you?”).