In observance of my Birthday weekend, beginning today, I am giving away TWO FREE EBOOKS! I’m giving away my non-fiction collection of essays, “On Writing Horror” and classic haunt collection, “Gothic America.” Click here for the Download links to choose what file versions you want. You must click on the “On Writing Horror” link first to be taken to the 2nd book download as well. Enjoy 🙂
All I ask is that you take the time to leave me some positive reviews for my “Mad Men” fiction anthology in return! And if you like dark fiction, make sure to purchase it as it is only $2.99 and support indie horror!
The Impact of Race and Identity in Native Americans is represented in Leslie Silko’s novel, “Ceremony.” The impact on the ideology on the thinking of Leslie Silko’s character, Tayo, produces much inner anxiety for the native character due to having to juggle multiple ideological agendas, constantly barraging Tayo at a feeble point in his life. The fact that “ideology is the thing that entices you to forget that meaning always happens in a context” and that “ideology is the making natural of a cultural phenomenon” is what causes so much distress in Tayo’s thinking. Tayo is constantly questioning his surroundings and beliefs due to there being multiple cultural expectations of him that stem from his ancient native past; his white man’s education and his military experiences up until the end when Tayo finally decides which path to pave.
One way to look at Tayo’s thought process would be to think about each ideology as a layer of clothing, such as a shirt. He begins his journey with many shirts on at the same time and his thoughts are constantly weaving in and out of cultural context until the end of his journey when he finally finds jus the right shirt, size and all, which provides him with the proper ideologies and subjectivities to perpetuate his existence within his surroundings.
Dealing with the Impact of Race and Identity
As stated, he begins his journey with three cultural ideologies which can be broken down into his military past; his experiences in the white man’s world and what he thinks he should be – and then we have the cultural ideology with which he grew up in, which is that of Native American ancestry.
Through out this novel we see the impact of race and identity with Tayo trying to conform to a “pet ideological agenda.” The idea of ideology is itself paradoxical so this also adds to the confusion in Tayo’s mind. All his thoughts contradict themselves along with the way that he was brought up so this is another layer that author, Leslie Silko adapted to her character. Silko plays on the Man versus Self contradicting paradox – Tayo is battling his own different selves and questioning each one’s argument and one example of this conflict would be when Tayo questions Rocky about drinking the freshly hunted deer’s blood right after they have killed him. Tayo then remembers what he and his best friend, Rocky, learned in school about bacteria and refrigeration and then questions his Native American heritage on their practices in contrast to the white man’s beliefs.
So this would lead the reader to understand that Tayo’s first ideological foundation or ‘shirt’ is with his Native American ancestry. He grew up on a reservation and it is actually an old scalp ceremony that begins Tayo’s quest for his ‘self’ once he has returned from war as a sick Veteran. He had been in the hospital for quite some time in California but upon his return to the reservation is when he tries the scalp ceremony even though the white military doctors had advised against it. The reader then witnesses the debate between two ideologies upon the question of healing and medicine.
A second cultural ideology that was weighting on Tayo’s thinking was his white education that contradicted his ancestry. He had grown up believing that the world was all one and that that was the way the world “should be”, but then the new world had become “entangled with European names” and that “Christianity separated the people from themselves… because Jesus Christ would save only the individual soul. Now Tayo has to deal with religious ideologies that negate each other. IN his adolescence, Tayo grew up with a firm belief in his past even though his best friend Rocky was a believer of the white man’s ways even though it was “Indian witchery that made white people in the first place.” Tayo has been lead to believe that he is living in a white man’s world, yet it is the Indian who created the white man? it’s no wonder he is confused.
Tayo was taking bits and pieces of his military lifestyle or his “third shirt” and mixing them with the civilian world, which again come from the impact of race and identity. in the military, Tayo was a well trained infantry Marine with objectives and surroundings very distinct from his lifestyle back home in New Mexico. Tayo had trouble code-switching between the two cultures due to one experience leaving him with a scarred painful memory of watching his brother dies in war. For example, when he first got home, he would just lay in bed all day thinking about Rocky while throwing up. The room he slept in reminded him of what used to be and not what he had become; he remembers growing up with Rocky in that same room, but just Rocky isn’t there anymore. In his mind, Tayo has flashbacks of watching Rocky die but this is out of context with what is actually around him.
After analyzing each ideology and making the comparison to layers of clothing (shirts), one can understand that Tayo has the option of wearing whichever shirt best fits him. Tayo struggled not only to reduce the amount of shirts he wore, but also figuring out which shirt to wear. He had begun his journey with multiple shirts and never really knowing which one to wear, but in the end he has finally chosen a shirt or cultural ideology – his Native American ancestry.
In the end, Tayo is freed from the impact of race and identity and battling his belief system by what we would automatically assume is “his escaping the past” but according toThe Theory Toolbox, the task is “not to escape cultural ideology but to account for it’s working in the seemingly disinterested and neutral presentations of culture.” So in other words, Tayo learns to “accept each day as a natural fact: Things are the way they are; case closed.” Yet the paradox remains – has Tayo finally chosen a shirt that he feels comfortable in, or has he chosen not to wear any shirt and just let it be?
After reading the “Goblin Market” poem, I was left with an uneasy feeling between the perverse and folly; I was left pondering the multiple end meanings of the poem. Christina Rossetti, the poem’s creator, embodies these two feelings by punning on the sexual/temptation of experience, and the foolish/folly of child archetypes. As an adult I was left with mixed emotions because of having experienced the innocence in folly, and at the same time, fully understanding sexuality and temptation.
To begin with, Rossetti attracts both child and adult readers with epanalepsis: “come buy, come buy” (line 4). The repetition continues throughout this work, setting a playful tone; the conflict in interest lies when epanalepsis is used to reiterate something sexual: “She sucked and sucked and sucked the more Fruits which that unknown orchard bore; she sucked until her lips were sore” (134). Clearly, this is borderline sexual. Laura sucks fruits from the goblin’s unknown orchard until her lips became sore – this orchard represents a tree, shooting out of the earth, offering it’s seeds. The orchard tree can be viewed as the goblin’s sexuality, and her sucking on the fruits can be viewed as her enjoyment in sensual seduction.
Yet, in accordance with the ‘innocence’ of the potential reader, assuming we all experience innocence at one time, the poem still reads as jubilee and silly with a quick rhythm. Could only an adult mind see it as perverse and folly?
Another manner in which Rossetti concocts this scheme is by leaving the end open. In the last stanza, she jumps from Lizzie and Laura being young, to both of them being mothers. An explanation is never dispelled for the exact antidote that Lizzie brings to Laura. Perhaps it is because as adult readers we are just expected to know what the cure is, since we have experienced life, which might be one explanation for the two sisters handing down their knowledge, from the experienced to the innocent. But “Goblin Market” never distinguishes what really cured Laura, leaving the reader to wonder and at the same time still have an idea of what occurred. Rossetti plays on both realities to conflict what is really going to the adult reader.
To the child reader, the scenes are seen as comical or colorful but to the adult reader, whose knowledge would also include the child reader, the scenes can be seen as explicitly sexual with euphemisms. These sexual euphemisms serve as visual guides to the perverse and folly. “Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices” are not normal words one would find in a child’s poem.
Within the poem, “Goblin Market,” the sexual is sublime and it’s childlike folly is apparent for us adult readers. Rosetti has fused both of these elements to seduce both, our experience and our innocence, and once again, question ourselves about what is learned in our very own lives.
My favorite book collections and addiction to bibliophilia began when I started studying for my Bachelor’s in English. I figured, if I’m going to spend money on all these books, I might as well keep them! Lo and behold, I went out and purchased my first book case to fill with books and notebooks. As my shelves grew with academic English anthologies, I realized that I felt a sort of accomplishment, or refinement, in reading classic literature. However, I want to expand my mind to be a renaissance man-ish. That requires a much broader and less snobby approach to book collecting. I now find myself going to local thrift stores and library book sales.
With a coffee in hand, never did I go hunt books to turn a profit, or to find what was popular with the “cool kids.” The adventure and travel to new locations in the search for for those perfect books was enough to get me hooked. My calendar stays full with book sale dates, or I make it a point to travel to antique shops to find the ‘one’ book for the day.
The Quest Continues
Over the years (about 12), I have collected over 800 books within various genres to build up my favorite book collection. My favorite genre and primary target these days is the Dark Fiction Genre. My favorite collection is my dark fiction anthology collection, ranging from a huge collection of Poe, all the way to an indigenous dark fiction collection published by Black Hills Press.
The collection spans into the military genre, Egyptology, non-fiction, self-help, esoteric/new age, science fiction, rhetoric, biographies, poetry, art collections, essays, Westerns, auto-biographies and even coloring books. You name it, I’m sure I have come across that genre in my book collecting days.
I’d love to see your collections, link to them in the comments or let me know what I need in my collection to make it classic. Be sure to support this small press, we have a dark fiction collection for sale, “Mad Men” for only $2.99, and support indie horror!
I fell in love with the book from the first line: “It was a pleasure to burn.” There aren’t many books that have pulled me in so deeply with just a few words but this was one of them. With those six simple words the author, Ray Bradbury, conveys Montag’s obvious satisfaction with his life as a fireman. The exposition of this novel depicts a dystopian future where the vast majority of citizens live in numb contentment.
I could go on and on about this lovely short novel, but I will save that for another post. Here I would just like to share about 8 of the best quotes from the book that I think every reader should know.
1. “It was a pleasure to burn.”
2. “He was not happy. He was not happy. He said the words to himself. He recognized this as the true state of affairs. He wore his happiness like a mask and the girl had run off across the lawn with the mask and there was no way of going to knock on her door and ask for it back.”
3. “We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”
4. “There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”
5. “A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon.”
6. “What is there about fire that’s so lovely? No matter what age we are, what draws us to it?’ Beatty blew out the flame and lit it again. ‘It’s perpetual motion; the thing man wanted to invent but never did.”
7. “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.”
8. “If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”
9. “We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.”
10. “Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for shore.”
11. “The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”
12. “The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”
13. “I don’t talk things, sir. I talk the meaning of things.”
14. “See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask for no guarantees, ask for no security.”
And last but not least:
15. “Stuff your eyes with wonder,’ he said, ‘live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic that any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that,’ he said, ‘shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.”
Also, were you aware that HBO recently adapted a film version of this book? I must admit that I actually enjoyed the film (don’t hate me.) It was rather strange, just as strange as the book was. The film had it’s expected differences from the book, but honestly, I liked how they were able to keep me entertained since I already knew how the book ended. If you ever find yourself chilling at home on a cold evening, throw on that film adaptation of “Fahrenheit 451,” and hopefully it will entertain you as much as it did me.
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Today we launch our first multi-author fiction anthology exploring three disturbing tales about the nature of man and the true nature of what lies inside of him.
The cost is only 2.99, so that’s one dollar a story and all of our writers are indie horror authors. Available on all major platforms.
Mad Men is a collection of three disturbing horror shorts from authors living in the Midwest. The themes explored in this collection range from man versus self, man versus man, and man versus creature.
We start with Matt’s tale, a thought-provoking thriller which causes the reader to question his reality and what he fears within himself. The second tale explores the grotesque juxtaposed with beautiful nature, where the ending unfolds into a horrific dream, waking in even more terrible pain. The third tale is by seasoned horror writer, A.R. Braun – and his diabolical creatures never disappoint! A.R. Braun’s goal is to be on the banned book list; we think this tale may just be evil enough to be considered. A must read before it does get banned!
Mainstream Horror Shorts don’t always satisfy us in the way they should. They don’t open conversations about what it is that we fear or why we fear such things, they focus mainly on pop culture and gore. The writers in this anthology understand the need for literate horror, opening discussions of man’s psyche. When these writers set out to tell a story, they are less interested in conveying fear and more interested in wonder, the sublime, and the infinite strangeness that drives all man and woman. Highly recommended for tweens, teens, and adults.
2020 was my year. Despite the pandemic, my wife and I were fortunate enough to be able to continue working. And I was able to continue giving back to the community and growing.
For years I had wanted to learn yoga from an educational viewpoint and not just take classes here and there. I was able to do that virtually this year, thanks to covid. In September, I earned my 200 hour yoga certificate while learning from home.
I was also able to finally put together a boxing class for kids. I had been teaching adults, but I truly wanted to transition to teaching our youth. I was able to work with at least 15 kids this year. I currently run a class with about 9 to 10 kids. Although we weren’t able to travel for competition, I have still been able to train new kids with no prior fight experience and at a much more detailed pace for them to learn proper technique.
I published my non fiction anthology, which my graduate teachers said I would never do. In spite of them, I started my own business and published my work exactly how I wanted to do it. And now I’m working with two other writers to publish their fiction works.
I’m more stable in life, and I have finally let go of my former self and what I was expecting of that person. I can say I’m more mindful, I can appreciate these moments. As a Veteran, I’m not continually angry for no reason, well, at least not every day.
And the best part is, I have even bigger plans for 2021. Life is like riding a bike, you gotta keep moving or it doesnt work. Whether your physically moving or mentally developing, or spiritually growing, keep it moving.