Thursday, June 30, 2005

Wrath vs Religion

Some of you may know that my mother is a baptist minister. How fucking weird is that? I was raised to believe in God but was never forced to go to church and my mother's own religious epiphany is fairly recent. See, growing up my mother was very much like me. She got into street fights and usually won. She watched horror movies and kung fu movies religiously and devoured every horror novel she could get her hands on. She went out dancing in nightclubs every saturday night. She cussed and told dirty jokes and had lingerie parties where she sold sex toys. She watched pornography and listened to Richard Pryor albums and Eddie Murphy albums and believed in freedom of speech. Then she got fed up with men who could not live up to her idealized image and turned to her perfect man, the one the bible spoke of who was all-powerful and all-knowing and omni-benevolent, the only man she could ever submit herself to, and the woman I had known, the woman who raised me to be the man I am today, ceased to be. I know it sounds overly dramatic but that is exactly what happened.

Pastor White can no longer stomach horror movies. She has no need of male company, detests pornography or comedy with too much profanity or sexual language, and would never read anything that I write. So what happened to her? In my opinion the same thing that happens to everyone who joins any kind of cult. She went in total retreat from reality. She retreated from who she is. One too many dissapointments with men, one too many setbacks in life, so now she has a man who never disappoints. Hard to disappoint when you don't exist. She can make him in whatever image she chooses and he is always perfect because it says so right in the bible. Sorry if I sound cynical but I get pissed off every time I think about it. I want my Mom back. I miss her and I feel like I've been robbed and cheated.

I remember when I was twenty-two years old and my mother came to visit me in San Francisco. I was a bouncer at a night club that played Reggae music and my mother and sister came to the club and danced until the placed closed. I then took them both home and went out to an all-night rave. The next morning I picked them up again and brought them to the "Rave in the Park" where we listened to Techno and House music while a group of girls marveled out loud at how today was the first time they'd seen me with clothes on (another story) and then they shared a joint with my mom. Later that day my mom and I walked together down Haight Street and she questioned me about the metal loops in the ceiling (I had taken down the chains out of respect.) When I told her what they were for she laughed and informed me that she had the same metal loops in her ceiling. Then we both laughed while she relayed a story about her first experiment with bondage. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree she reminded me. At that moment I felt closer to her than I ever had. It is hard to accept that we will never share that kind of closeness again.

I often wonder if her religious fanaticism was some type of reaction to my atheism, which was pretty fanatical at that time. I felt like it was my duty to enlighten the world back then and single-handedly raise the misguided sheep out of the Dark Ages. My mother and I would often argue about religion late into the night. Maybe those discussions with me are what made her curious about religion? I don't know. At times I wonder if it is some type of punishment. All I know is that all the reasons, arguments, and evidence, that I use to present in defense of my skepticism now pale in comparison to this very emotional reason. Yes, I think it is silly to believe in something without evidence and against all contradictory evidence, simply because that is what your parents believed and thier parents before them, or because that's what your culture believes and you are too lazy or cowardly to step outside the herd and entertain other points of view. Yes, there are some very strong arguments against the Western idea of an all powerful perfect deity, not the least of which is the Evidential Argument from Evil. Yes, the history of religion does not paint a very favorable picture of it. All of these things are the reasons I first cast aside my belief in pursuit of true knowledge. I think it is better to admit ignorance than fill in the gaps in your knowledge with unsubstantiated belief. I think that the idea that belief holds the same weight as knowledge leads neccessarily to prejudice and intolerance. All of these reasons are why I am still an atheist today. But they are not why I hate religion. I hate religion for the simple reason that faith took my mom away and replaced her with this bible-thumping zombie that I can no longer relate to. I hate religion every time I remember that day in San Francisco when my mother and I walked down Haight Street and realized that we were not so different after all.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

"What'd you say about my momma?" Posted by Hello

It's About Time

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I burn the candle at both ends. Not in a getting, drunk, getting high, partying every night kind of way. I don't drink, smoke, or use drugs. I overtax myself by working from before sunrise until long after sunset. I worry so much about missing out on anything that I try desperately to do it all. I am afraid of squandering my potential in any area so I struggle to use all of my talents all the time. I am afraid of missing an opportunity so I try to keep myself in position to exploit every opportunity that arises. The result is my current state of exhaustion. The worst part is that my body is so used to operating at the brink of collapse that I could go on this way for years before the inevitable heart attack, stroke, or mental breakdown. Here are just a few of the things on my plate.

I've been going over the edits for The Book Of A thousand Sins all week (just recieved the cover proof with artwork by Mike Bohatch. It is truly awesome!) At the same time I have been checking through the final copy of Succulent Prey for typos before it heads to the printer this week. I also have got to find time to rewrite the first chapter of my latest novel to send to an agent that is interested in representing me. And I've got an unfinished novel I need to work on, a new one I'm dying to get started on, and a couple short stories begging to be written. Add to that the new baby, a new fighter I have to have trained and ready for a big fight in Japan in three months, my other fighter who will be defending his world title after being off for a full year with injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, and a host of lower tier and amateur fighters I am training for various smaller events. I am also trying to switch nine-to-fives so that I can make more money and buy a bigger house so that the baby and the dogs can have more room to run and rip. All good things but all exhausting. Yet, somehow I will get it all done. I always do. And despite a complaint here and there. I wouldn't have it any other way. I love this shit.

I just wish I could get rid of my nine-to-five all together and just concentrate on writing, fighting, and being a father. The only way I will get there however is if you guys buy my books and lots of them. If every one of my fans goes out and buys a thousand copies of my books (any of them. If you buy them they will print them.) I might have a chance to sell a hundred thousand copies and retire from the grind, thus allowing me to write more, attend more conventions, correspond more with my fans, have lots of anonymous sex with women who only want me for my fame and money and then write about it and share it with you guys. So what do you say? Can you help me out?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Don't Spare The Rod

What is this ridiculous notion that corporal punishment is child abuse? What idiot came up with this idea? Why is this even on my mind? Well, last night I met with my older cousin Pauly who I hadn't seen in nearly seventeen years. My first question? "How's your son?" Wrong question. I learned that he dropped out of college, got arrested, had two kids, is so behind on child support that there is a warrant ou for his arrest, has another child on the way, is living with his parents and has no job. Did I mention that Pauly didn't believe in corporal punishment? He thought my mother was barbaric for spanking me. Yet, here I sit with no criminal record, a good job, an undying love and respect for my mother, a beautiful well-mannered son who is an honor roll student, an athlete, a writer, and who loves his father very much, a new daughter and a girlfriend whom I support so that she can raise my daughter, two cars that are paid for and my own house. What is the true barbarism? Raising a child without instilling in them any notion of consequences and repercussions for misbehavior so that they grow up to be parasites on society or just generally miserable human beings or giving them a swat on the ass when they are young so that they understand the relationship between thier actions and reward and punishment? I look at the child screaming at his mother in the grocery store and throwing a tantrum on the floor because she won't give him the brand of cereal he wants and I see a future carjacker, drug dealer, or mugger. I look at the kid who strikes his mother when he doesn't get what he wants and I see a future abuser of women. I look at the little girl that screams at her father for embarrasing her in the mall and I see someone's future ex-wife. I think the children of today suffer from a severe lack of parenting. Today we are quicker to medicate a bad kid and diagnose them as ADD than to discipline them. We are quicker to put them in front of a television set or a video game than to sit them down and teach them something or take them out and do something with them or (God forbid!) give them chores to do. We are breeding a generation of mean, lazy, selfish kids and it is our fault. Not the educational system or the judicial system or the chemist who hasn't come up with the right drug to cure childhood. It is the lazy stupid parents who won't put a foot in thier kid's asses when they fuck up in school. Who won't wash thier mouths out with soap or make them drink Castor Oil when they talk back or use foul language. Who won't take the junk food out of thier hands and make them eat thier vegetables. Who won't take the TV remote and the video game controller out of thier hands and make them read a damn book! This world is a perfect argument for abortion. Not everyone should be a parent. It should be a privilege reserved for the qualified. It should require a certfication class and an aptitude test. Anyone who says "Wait until your father gets home!" or "You're going to get a time out young man!" should never be allowed to reproduce again. Soap box vacated.

The latest

Welcome to the newest thing in my life besides my daughter who is now three weeks old. Once a week I'll dip in here to do a weekly recap of the madness that is my life. More often if the spirit moves me. I am working on many hours of sleep deprivation now. Between Isis waking up every other hour screaming for her mother's tit, the press of deadlines for Succulent Prey and The Book of A Thousand Sins, my nine to five building over-priced homes for wealthy people with no common sense who are willing to pay more for a house than its appraised value, my second job training fighters for mixed martial arts competition, and being a father to Sultan and Isis, a lover to Christie, a friend to my many on-line buddies, I am exhausted. Yet still I have taken on the burden of this blog. Why? Because sometimes you just need to vent. That's why. So stay tuned. There will be lots of humor, horror, and mayhem ahead.