Fools, We

I wasn’t going to re-post this for awhile, if ever. And then last night happened.

We’ve got people howling for gun control before they’ve finished collecting the bodies from the square, opposing factions screaming back about ISIS while the conspiracy theorists shuffle along the underbelly of the comment forums, already sniveling about FBI cover-ups, and the mental illness brigade should be out in force soon. Some people see political opportunity as soon as it exposes its rotting underbelly, but goodness knows much of the ranting and raving is genuine. Blind, hopeless desperation scrabbles for a reason why, because it cannot be human nature; cannot look directly at man’s hunger for evil in case we accidentally spot it; cannot wonder if the things we feed the mad dog slavering in the pit of our souls might loose him from his chains. We suckle evil, and wonder why it grows bigger.

I’ve argued with myself about this poem over and over again, wondering when (or even if) I should post it. Not because the things in it aren’t worth saying, but because I don’t intend to set this site up as my soapbox. While my worldview is important to the undergirdings of my themes, character motivations, and world-building, I see myself first and foremost as a secular writer — or rather, a writer who writes secularly. I write to entertain. I don’t want anyone in the entertainment industry to explain their political beliefs to me, let alone try and sway my opinion, and I don’t intend to become the mirror, mirror version in some sort of evil Kirk dimension.

But today I post this anyways, as my one political poem. It’s Law without Gospel, and though I’ve uploaded it as a media file, that’s only to retain the structure for any smartphone users, not because it’s illustrated. I could visualize nothing but a mass of graves, which I couldn’t quite manage to integrate with such a long poem (literally: 12 size font on a 4″ x 21″ Clip Studio canvas). Also, I spent a good chunk of time on the internet hunting down statistics, and if you don’t want to be spoiled about the punchline (such as it is) of the poem, click on the following link before reading the rest of this post.

Fools, We

The breakdown of the numbers is based on a yearly approximation of 1.2 million abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute (whose latest statistics are from 2014, because abortion reporting apparently takes several years to compile), altogether the states reported only 926,200 abortions for that year. If this number is correct and not underreported*, then it actually takes almost eleven and a half minutes to hit the 20 mark. My apologies for the hyperbole.


*Per the Guttmacher Institute website, as of Oct 1, 2017: “For the last four decades, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has partnered with the states to collect aggregate statistics on abortions in the United States. States are not required to submit abortion data to the CDC, but the overwhelming majority do.”

States that opt out: California, Maryland
Reporting from physician to state is voluntary: New Hampshire, New Jersey
Reporting form does not specifically include medication (nonsurgical) abortion: Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, Tennessee


Half full? Half empty? Nah. Just half.

Well, I’ve gotten a whole lot of nothin’ done this evening. I’ve written half a story, but that’s still half a story less than what I need for posting. Of course, I would have more than 2,000 words sitting on my hard-drive if I hadn’t gotten sucked into the ancient and unknown terrors of the Lovecraftian section of YouTube; which is odd, considering that I’m not exactly a fan. I admire the atmospheric, crawlingly-claustrophobic feel that H.P. Lovecraft’s rather poetic prose creates (and I’m a sucker for creepy short stories: Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt,” anyone?), but my favorite stories are driven by the actions, thoughts, motivations, and dialogue of characters. Lovecraft horror works because he first untethers rationality, explains the indescribable by admitting that it’s indescribable (and thereby forcing imagination to take over — and there is nothing like imagination for filling in the holes better than any description could by either words, art, or computer graphics), and then ultimately tells the meat of the story in lengthy prose after the fact. His characters are inevitably doomed, like sleepwalkers who can’t turn left or right. They’re ghost stories told around a campfire, with the added disorientation of dream logic.

What tethers me to reality is a worldview that sits 180 degrees opposite of anything written by the man who created the Cthulhu mythos. I love a good atmospheric story, but it cannot haunt me when I don’t share Lovecraft’s cosmic indifference.

Now all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large. To me there is nothing but puerility in a tale in which the human form—and the local human passions and conditions and standards—are depicted as native to other worlds or other universes. To achieve the essence of real externality, whether of time or space or dimension, one must forget that such things as organic life, good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all. Only the human scenes and characters must have human qualities. These must be handled with unsparing realism, (not catch-penny romanticism) but when we cross the line to the boundless and hideous unknown—the shadow-haunted Outside—we must remember to leave our humanity and terrestrialism at the threshold.

— H. P. Lovecraft, in note to the editor of Weird Tales, on resubmission of “The Call of Cthulhu”

Philosophically, it makes for neat story-telling. Why wouldn’t something non-human live by non-human logic? Yet my worldview puts humanity at the center of the story. Not a side-note in some ancient evil’s locker room talk; not an inevitably doomed experiment forgotten by the Elder Things; not an existence in a universe that’s utterly unbound by law. Instead, I know that all of history hinges on the cross-shaped conjunction of justice and mercy. I can imagine and what-if to my heart’s content, but when I put the pen down there is no escaping the bounds of that describable reality.

And so I cannot write like H.P. Lovecraft.

But I do not have his nightmares either.