Saturday, October 30, 2010

Coping with Death as an Atheist

I have found myself lately, surrounded by friends and family with near fatal illnesses. My aunt has recently survived a bout of pancreatic cancer which is usually fatal. My father-inlaw has apparently survived mesothelioma though he's not completely out of the woods yet. And my wife's sister's mother is still being treated for stage four breast cancer which has spread into her bones. I have therefore been inundated by statements like "They are in my payers" and "I will pray for her or him" along with requests for prayer by their friends and family. My wife has, understandably, stated in no uncertain terms that if her father dies no one had better come to her and tell her "It was God's will" or "He's in a better place now" or any of the usual vapid religious platitudes. She doesn't care if he's with Jesus and the angels and all of their ancestors. She wants him here with her. She doesn't want him to suffer through lung surgery and chemotherapy only to be "called home to Jesus" and she is a Christian. I hold no such illusions about death so I cannot imagine what I would feel were it my mother going through what Christie's father is going through and I was being bombarded with bullshit.

I know it is well-intentioned bullshit. I know they are stating their sincere and honest beliefs and trying to be consoling and supportive, but the death of a loved-one is really a pretty horrible and distasteful moment to try to foist your beliefs onto someone. I don't think I'd handle it well.

So how do atheists find comfort in moments of sorrow and death? How do we cope with the loss of a loved one or our own impending end? No different than any other tragedy I should think. No different than the loss of a job or a house. We wouldn't say it was God's plan or that it's "all in God's hands" or any such nonsense. We would recognize the unfortunate series of events that led up to this happening and try to figure our way out of it. We would try our best to find cures to employ specialists to find the best treatment and when none of that worked we would resolve ourselves to the reality. We did all we could and now it's over just as the end has come for hundreds of millions of other human beings throughout history. It is the deal we each make with life from the moment we take our first breath, that eventually we will also take our last.

I had a bout with pancreatitis a few years back and the doctors were not certain what was causing it and were not ruling out pancreatic cancer which is often a death sentence. As I was being wheeled into surgery there was a possibility that I might never wake up. The one thought that kept me from panicking was my near certainty that death was the end of all consciousness, all sensation, that I would never experience death since being dead I would not be able to experience anything. The anesthesia would put me under and I would either wake up or I would not. If I didn't I would never know that I didn't because knowing is a condition of the living. Those who do not live do not know. I tend to agree with Epicurus on death:

"Death is nothing to us. For all good and evil consists in sensation, but death is deprivation of sensation. And therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not because it adds to it an infinite span of time, but because it takes away the craving for immortality. For there is nothing terrible in life for the man who has truly comprehended that there is nothing terrible in not living. [Death] does not then concern either the living or the dead, since for the former it is not, and the latter are no more."

I look at the death of a loved one with the same degree of sorrow (and no more) than when a friend moves away to another state or country and I know that I will never see them again. I am sad that we will no longer share each other's company. I cherish the memories we had and I look back upon those memories with longing from time to time. It is painful but seldom devastating. There is no unique or special sadness reserved for death over other types of loss. If it is a friend who has suffered long than I am happy that he or she is no longer suffering.

My wife often asks me if I will feel the same way when my own mother finally passes and I could not imagine how I could possibly feel otherwise. What is the alternative? I have no God to find solace in or rage against and raging against the laws of nature would be absurd. That would be like being angry at gravity were she to perish in a plane crash. Perhaps there would be anger at the failings and limitations of modern medicine or of my doctor in particular but unless I planned to go to medical school and make it my mission to find a cure for whatever finally took her that anger would subside and I would be left with nothing but acceptance and eventual healing just like everyone else, regardless of belief. Because once all the usual religious blatherings have been uttered the truth is that we all feel the same pain and loss regardless of what we believe. It is disingenuous to say that those who believe in an after-life suffer less at the death of a loved one than those who do not. I was once a believer and I can tell you that this is bullshit. What we grieve is that our time with them on earth has ended. That we will never again have a meal together or reminisce about old times or share a joke. It is the loss of their company that we mourn not whether or not they are going to Nirvana or inferno or non-existence. We cry because we miss them and that loss is universal.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

This Is Why You're Hot

If you've read some of my more erotic horror stories, you may have come away with a very distorted image of my sexuality. In fact, you probably think I'm one twisted motherfucker. Perhaps you've read Succulent Prey or The Book of A Thousand Sins, then saw me with my wife and were tempted to slip her a note saying something like:

"Dear Mrs. White,

Run! Run far far away. Your husband is a psycho!


A concerned reader"

You might think my wife must be either crazy, oblivious or as perverted as you imagine me to be for sharing a bed with me. You probably think I'm only turned on by women with whips and chains who dress like strippers, fuck like porn stars and have the sexual appetite and proclivities of a serial killer. The reality, however, is somewhat more mundane.

So, you want to know what really turns me on? I won't get into detailed descriptions of sexual positions but I will tell you what I find attractive:

1. Voluptuous women i.e. thick hips, thighs, breasts, and buttocks. That's one thing that was real in Succulent Prey. I like women with meat on them. I just don't chew it off their bones, because that would be wrong. Wouldn't it?

2. White girls with dreadlocks. Something about Angelina Jolie in The Fast and The Furious just did it for me.

3. Women who fight. Not street fight. I'm talking about boxing, kickboxing, or MMA. There is just something kick-ass about a woman who kicks ass.

4. Women in black latex or leather. Okay, I guess that's a little kinky but have you ever felt latex against bare skin? Oh. My. God.

5. That fresh from the bath smell. Aaaah, it just drives me crazy.

6. A big joyous smile especially before, during and after sex.

7. Women who read. It's a plus if you read my writing.

8. Women who are interested in philosophy.

9. Visual artists (but only if you're good. Bad art is a major turn off.)

10. Writers. But only if you write well and write the kind of books that I actually like to read. Writing cat detective novels will do nothing for me. If you write horror I might cum just by looking at you.

11. Creative individuals of all types.

12. Open-minded and sexually adventurous women. Having a sexy mind is better than having a sexy body. I would take a freaky Paula Poundstone over a prudish Halle Barry.

13. Enthusiasm! The more you like it, the more I like it.

14. Atheists. There is something sexy about intellectual clarity.

15. Generosity. The more you give the more I want to give to you. (And baby, I got lots to give.)

16. Liberals. I just find an open mind sexy in and out of the bedroom. Being conservative about anything turns me off. Besides the fact that most political conservatives that I know are religious nutcases, homophobes, sexists, or racists. And I know that not all of you are so don't write to tell me how you are the exception. I know, you're just a "Fiscal Conservative" which essentially means "I don't want those poor, elderly, handicapped, and minority Americans getting any of my money!" But, as Bill Maher said, "I'm not saying that all Republicans are racists but if you're a racist, you're probably a Republican."

17. Educated women. I don't care if you have a degree in underwater basketweaving. If you hold a college degree then you ma'am are hot.

And no, it is not necessary for a woman to be all of these things. I don't need to eat everything on the menu. Just a main course and perhaps a desert. My wife isn't all of these things and she's hot as hell. So, if you've got one thing from the above menu going for you then rest assured that Wrath James White thinks you are a hottie.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Apex Halloween One Day Sale-ORGY OF SOULS-40% off today only!

Twenty for one. Twenty souls for his brother’s life is a price that seductively beautiful Samson is willing to pay. Twenty souls drenched in blood, powdered with cocaine and more than one kind of ecstasy. A fair trade for the life of a brother. A fair trade for the life of a priest. And everyone he meets seems so willing to give theirs away.

ORGY OF SOULS is a horror novella measuring the price of a man by Maurice Broaddus and Wrath James White you really should read. Especially at today's one day sale (Oct 20) of 40% off. Drop by the Apex Publications Store and get yours now.

“Broaddus and White are an unlikely pairing of talents that works astonishingly well. Orgy of Souls is a powerful, innovative work of fiction and one I recommend wholeheartedly. A damned fine read!”
—James A. Moore, author of Deeper and Cherry Hill

Don't forget, any customer who buys any book between Oct 15th and Oct 30th will have their name put in for a raffle of awesome prizes: A critique Apex Digest Fiction Editor, Cat Valente, or $25 gift card for, or an Apex Minion pack, or a $10 gift certificate to the Apex Store.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Currently Writing

I have some exciting projects in the works including three collaborations, two novellas, and two novels.

I have almost completed my collaboration with Andre Duza, an urban bizarro novel titled Son of A Bitch about a hitman who winds up trapped in the body of a demon dog. Maurice Broaddus and I are still hard at work on our collaboration, an apocalyptic novel about the Old Testament God coming to earth and taking over all the governments of the world titled God's Wrath.

Next month I begin another collaboration, an extreme horror thriller about a guy who drives a billboard truck in Las Vegas advertising escorts. He falls in love with the girl on the billboard only to find out that she is missing. So, he plays amateur sleuth and tries to track her down which leads him into a dark world of sex slavery and devil worship. Sorry, but you'll have to wait to find out who my surprise collaborator is but I promise you it will blow your mind. Your mouth will water for this one.

As for my solo works, I just signed a contract for my novel Pure Hate about a sadistic serial killer obsessed with the former friend who betrayed him fifteen years ago. This one will be brutal. Blood and guts galore. I am editing it now. Look for it to hit the shelves in the fall of 2011.

I am writing another novella for Thunderstorm Books titled Skinzz about a group of punk rockers in Philadelphia who take on a skinhead group from New Jersey in a bloody war in the late eighties. This is another really brutal and extreme story that I think you guys are going to really enjoy.

For those of you who have asked, I am still working on Miles of Hell and hope to finish it next year.

Currently, The Book of A Thousand Sins and Vicious Romantic have been released and are available on Amazon. My short story collection, Scabs, is still available at Horror Mall. And next month will see the release of Poisoning Eros and its long awaited sequel from Sideshow Press.