October 1, 2017 · 8:48 am
I recently visited my daughter in Los Angeles. While I was there, she insisted on taking me to her favorite comic store: A Shop Called Quest. It was a very cool store and while we were there, she encouraged me to purchase the first volume of “Outcast,” certain that I would like it. She knows me well.
The tale is basically about demonic possession and exorcism. The main character, Kyle, is an outcast in society, grappling with his own personal inner demons. But outcast is a double entendre in this book. It also refers to the casting out of demons, an innate power which Kyle seems to possess. He accompanies a preacher who senses an impending rise in evil and is striving to combat it.
The artwork and writing in this book are both excellent. The artist uses shading techniques to illustrate the differences between events that are happening at the time, and events that are being relived through memory. The format works very well.
This is a nice, creepy story, perfect to start the Halloween season. I will leave you with a quote from the text that I found interesting.
Look at this world around us, filled with wickedness. I think about the things I’ve seen and I can’t help but ask, “Why God, why?” And let me tell you a secret. He does not answer back. Sometimes I get a feeling and sometimes there’s a sign… but I don’t hear his voice. Not like Moses did, or Abraham, or Jesus… why? Maybe he got too preoccupied with the war and he forgot about us. Maybe he’s losing.
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Tagged as A Shop Called Quest, art, artwork, blog, books, comics, dark fantasy, demons, double entendre, exorcism, geek, god, graphic novel, Halloween, horror, literature, Los Angeles, macabre, memory, nerd, outcast, pop culture, possession, psychology, reading, review, writing
February 19, 2017 · 12:50 pm
The Death of Don Quixote — Gustave Dore
So I finally finished Don Quixote, and I figured I would give my overall impression and final thoughts, since I published a whole series of posts exploring specific aspects of the text (see links below).
As a whole, I liked this book a lot. It was funny yet thought-provoking. It’s pretty much an easy read (although quite long) and the story holds up well today, since it deals with some universal truths about humanity.
I really related to both Sancho and Don Quixote as characters, because they are essentially outcasts, as well as archetypes of creative and passionate people. And like most creative and romantic outcasts, they are picked on, ridiculed, and taunted by people who are more popular, richer, and “smarter” than they are. But in spite of all the abuse, the two remain steadfast in their ideals and follow their passions until the end. This is something I admire greatly.
It is a person’s dreams, imagination, and aspirations that make life meaningful and worth living. When deprived of these, we lose our will to live and we begin the process of dying. This is what happened to Don Quixote when he was defeated and had to relinquish living as a knight-errant.
But for all this, Don Quixote could not shake off his sadness. His friends called in the doctor, who felt his pulse and was not very well satisfied with it, and said that in any case it would be well for him to attend to the health of his soul, as that of his body was in a bad way. Don Quixote heard this calmly; but not so the housekeeper, his niece, and his squire, who fell weeping bitterly, as if they had him lying dead before them. The doctor’s opinion was that melancholy and depression were bringing him to his end.
The only way that feels right in bringing this blog series to a close is to share the epitaph for Don Quixote’s tomb:
A doughty gentleman lies here;
A stranger all his life to fear;
Nor in his death could Death prevail,
In that last hour, to make him quail.
He for the world but little cared;
And at his feats the world was scared;
A crazy man his life he passed,
But in his senses died at last.
For those of you who are interested, here are the links to my previous posts on the book:
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Tagged as analysis, banned books, blog, blogging, book reviews, books, Cervantes, creativity, criticism, death, depression, Don Quixote, dreams, epitaph, errant, imagination, knight, literature, melancholy, outcast, review, romantic, sadness, Sancho Panza, tomb, writing
November 26, 2013 · 7:41 am
Image from Wikipedia
Often, for pastime, mariners will ensnare
The albatross, that vast sea-bird who sweeps
On high companionable pinion where
Their vessel glides upon the bitter deeps.
Torn from his native space, this captive king
Flounders on the deck in stricken pride,
And pitiably lets his great white wing
Drag like a heavy paddle at his side.
This rider of winds, how awkward he is, and weak!
How droll he seems, who lately was all grace!
A sailor pokes a pipestem into his beak;
Another, hobbling, mocks his trammeled pace.
The Poet is like this monarch of the clouds,
Familiar with storms, of stars, and of all high things;
Exiled on earth amidst its hooting crowds,
He cannot walk, borne down by his giant wings.
(Translation by Richard Wilbur)
When I started reading this poem, I was expecting allusions to Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Instead, I was thrust in front of a mirror and forced to see myself reflected in Baudelaire’s words.
I confess—I’m a bit of a dork, I’m introverted, and I can be socially awkward. I am certainly more interested in lofty ideas than in team sports or what Kim Kardashian is doing. As a result, I have frequently felt like an outsider, like the albatross flopping on the deck. As a kid, I was subjected to taunting and humiliation. Thankfully, over the years, I have learned to be OK with who I am and not try to play a role just to fit in socially. Also, being a dork is kind of cool now. Strange how paradigms change.
Like the Poet Baudelaire, I revel in the clouds of my thoughts and imagination; I am familiar with the storms of my passions and emotions; I reach for the stars; and I long for high things such as wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual growth. This poem lets me know that I am not alone, that there are others, like me, who share my passions and interests. I know I’m not the only albatross out there.
Filed under Literature
Tagged as albatross, ancient mariner, Baudelaire, emotion, French, geek, imagination, introvert, knowledge, nerd, outcast, paradigms, passion, poems, poetry, poets, reading, rime, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, spirituality, translation, wisdom
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