I don’t need your permission

Note: If you are a kind of person that does not care what other people believe in, this post is not for you. I never judged a person according to their basic metaphysical worldview; Jews, Christians, Muslims, Atheists or whatever are all fine with me. As long as you don’t try to force me to become a part of your little camp I do not care.

I’ll make no apologies for myself.
I am who I am. There are things I believe in, based on my experiences. And there is nothing more relevant to my life (and this is true of anybody’s life as well) than my experiences.

I fully expect I will come under attack because of it. There is a movement out there that seeks to bury everything that doesn’t conform to it’s own idea of reality, who will take a dim view of me and my work.

Yet I do not care.
To those who come not in peace, but with jagged stones in hand and hatred in your eyes, I say this:
I don’t need your permission.
I do not ask for it. I did not ask for it. I will not ask for it. You have no power over me, and never will. Go and bother someone else. You will not find a victim willing to roll over; I will not bow before pseudo intellectual idols.

You have nothing to offer me.
I couldn’t give a less of a fuck for your false pep talk about how awesome you are. I don’t need others to feed my ego with cult-like fervor, saying how smart we are for figuring it all out, unlike those other people who are still wallowing in ignorance.
Echochambers always bored me immensely.

Ad hominem is for the weak.
I’ve heard lot’s of arguments in my time, and chances are huge you’re not going to come up with something original. But if you’re a kind of person that this post is aimed for, you won’t write an argument backed up with logic at all, won’t you? You’re not interested in debate; you’ve figured it all out. All that is left is crushing the opposition now.
With insults of course; I have no doubt you would like to use force if you could. But tanks are apparently in short supply these days.
Personal insults have always been the last sanctuary of those who ran out of arguments.

Which is why it’s a rare argument that I read from extremists that doesn’t contain a torrent of filth.

Freedom of speech- more than just one law

If you spend some time on the internet, you’ll probably see a pattern tied with deleting someone’s posts (or tweets, statuses, comments etc.). The victim will argue that they are being censored, and that their right to  is broken. The usual answer they’ll receive is that “first amendment only applies to governments”.

Funny enough, this pattern plays itself out even on websites that are hosted outside of USA, whose owners and members often aren’t citizens of USA and thus have no connection with constitution of USA. But that is by far the least problematic thing with these arguments, considering almost every other country in the world protects (or pays lip service to) the free speech.

So, to clear this up, let’s first look at what freedom of speech actually is. This is a quote from wikipedia:

Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas using one’s body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

Important word in above definition is “political right”. Again, from our old buddy wikipedia:

Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.

Bold part is mine.

So, it’s not just government that can censor you, private organization can do it as well. This is important, because so many people believe that if you aren’t government, you cannot censor someone, or infringe on their right to free speech.

When people think of censorship, they usually think of removing someone’s text, video or audio clip or whatever, but this is not the only way. There are others, far more vile methods that are rarely seen as outright censorship.

Let’s say you have a group, and it might not be anything more complicated than couple of friends, harass you every time you try to express your opinion. Let’s say it’s not physical harassment, not a hair will fall from your head, but at the end you’ll feel like a piece of shit. You’ll feel stupid, rejected, insane. You’ll eventually ask “Why bother”. You won’t speak out anymore. And the group that silenced you, will have a field of debate only to themselves.
And don’t forget the old saying, straight from the Nazi mouth “Lie repeated often enough becomes truth”. If you can have a field of debate without anyone countering your talking points, you can sell anything. This is why the above hypothetical scenario occurs so much, on the net, tv, radio or whatever. Having the ability to influence hearts and minds is tremendous power, and folks all over are ready to do anything for power.

Anyway, I’ll reiterate my conclusion in bold. It’s effective, right?

If a person cannot express their thoughts, ideas and theories without being bullied, ridiculed and beaten down into submission, then they are being censored, regardless who is doing it.

Caveat- That doesn’t mean criticism is automatically in this category. But if criticism turns into personal insults, vicious spewing of bile on the level a gay guy would receive on skinhead convention, then it squarely falls into harassment. Also, website owner deleting someone’s post or comment can be a double edge sword. If removal benefits one side of debate over another, I’d say it’s definitely censorship.

I suppose, in the end, the best way to go around respecting the right of others while being able to retain yours in respect to free speech, is to remember the words of Will Wheaton: Don’t be a dick.

Quote

“There is no gr…

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou

I randomly came upon this quote while riding the crazy wave of kewl intertubez. When I read it, I had this mad grin slashed on my face.

Every day, I have tons of crazy ideas. Most of them aren’t all that good, but some stick around. I usually let them stew around, to see if they’ll survive- after all, if I forget them, it means they weren’t that interesting to begin with.

But some of them persist. They refuse to lie down into dust of my memories, to get buried into catacombs of my mind.

They coil around my mind like a mass of twisted crows, clawing at me and begging me to release them.

I used to blurt these ideas at inappropriate moments. While it did bring me peace, it also made people think I’m far crazier than I really am (I’m pretty sane guy, honest!). Also, I got less invites to parties. Damn those crazy ideas!

So, now I’m writing these ideas down, shaping them into stories.I just hope that I’ll be able to entertain some people, and maybe even get to live of it. No reason not to turn my quirks into a job.

Loneliness is a terrible thing

Our sense of reality is always tied to what other people consider real. Hang out with materialists and your boundaries of what is acceptable will conform roughly to Richard Dawkins’ standards. Hang out with new agers and you are in Terence McKenna territory. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But what happens if you’re isolated? And I don’t mean “put in a cell” sort of thing. You can be absolutely surrounded by people every day, and still be unable to relate to them. You can hang out in crowded spots and not talk with anybody.

How does that impact your reality?

I arrived to an answer through personal experience. Walls of your reality come crashing down. There is nobody to moderate you, nobody to tell you you’re sinful, deluded, immoral, or wrong. Sure, it can be a bad thing. Hardcore delusions sometimes happen to people; I’ve seen great deal of it on weirder corners of the net.

But there are also great things awaiting for you in the deep, dark bottom of the well of loneliness. Unbridled creativity focused on ontological questions give strange and terrible rewards, but beautiful ones as well.

I guess this is a reason why all those mystics choose to live as hermits in hard to reach places.

Confession

I love trashy fiction non ironically. Modern penny dreadful mass market paperback fantasy or sci fi, tie in novels for some other media; that sort of thing.

It all started when I was a kid. I was drawn to fantasy and speculative fiction. I remember going to the bookstore; it was almost a religious experience. The smell, books lined up and just waiting to be picked up and suck me into incredible worlds. Brave barbarians and sneaky wizards, knights and bounty hunters; these were companions waiting for me to pick the Call and embark on another adventure.

In time I grew older. I learned the difference between the good and the bad prose. But I still like this stuff. Perhaps it is because most of the time it’s non pretentious. Writer knows this project isn’t going to be Height Of Art (TM), and readers don’t pretend it is. It’s just a bit of fun really, nothing more and and nothing less. Author really focuses on the story, and sometimes on the prose, not feeling any obligation. It’s like bunch of friends gathered in a pub with guitars and decided to play a local folk song. It ain’t Steve Vai, but it doesn’t have to be.

Now, I admit some such works are bad, there are also lot that aren’t. I’d definitely recommend to everyone reading R. A. Salvatore’s “The Dark elf trilogy”. It’s a trilogy set in forgotten realms line, and actually pretty good and what I consider art.

I thought about putting some examples of bad work, but I decided against it. While I do intend to post reviews of specific works on this blog, this is very controversial category. I’ve seen cases of famous writers who don’t want to associate with any kind of speculative fiction label because of these penny dreadfuls. Placing an author in this category is just calling for bloody vendetta.Many academics consider everything that isn’t “literary fiction” (I doubt more hipsterish term has every been invented) to be crap, and there’s too much bad blood already. These guys are already criticized by pseudo-intellectuals, they don’t need me piling on them.

Pretty little liars

After a few wretched days filled with procrastination (such a complicated word that masks reality of being lazy) I’ve dived back into writing my short story collection. Right now I’m taking a short break. By writing this post, weirdly enough.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a bit about what it means to be a writer. I wrote this down after reading Harry Alton’s latest post where he gives his thoughts about this topic. Check it out, trust me, the whole blog is great. Especially the short stories.

Long story short (har har), we are liars. We give accounts of things that never happened and never will. Of people never born, who in some cases couldn’t be born. And we have to be good about it, otherwise suspension of belief will fall down, and audience will bring out torches and pitchforks.

What is a mark of great writer? The ability to suck his readers into his work, and make them forget that it isn’t true. Basically, he has to be great liar.

Not that I think being a liar is necessarily bad. Lie can hurt someone, or ruin their life,  but it can also make them feel wonderful or even save them. Things are never black and white.

Anyway, back to work.

Excerpt, opening scene

Excerpt, opening scene.

A pretty cool post by a writer I’m following here. WARNING: Slightly NSFW after the jump.

Anyway, a short excerpt to whet your appetite:

And least of all she’s mine

Chapter 1.

“Who did you say were?”

The girl at the reception stared blankly at me. I, in turn, stared back at her, baffled.

Who I was? She didn’t remember?

Six months, admittedly, was a long time, but I still remembered her. Trish Goldstone, 26 years old with two small children and a flat in Peckham. Fan of the X-men movies and with a thing for geraniums, which the fresh bouquet on the reception desk was a proof of – her boyfriend still delivered them fresh to her job every other day.