Breaking Up The Performances


When I first saw the Parabiago Plate, I saw performances taking place in the Mystery Cults. I can’t say, any of the cults did this particular reenactment, but I’m sure they did something similar. I envy animators for their ability to bring an inanimate object to life. A video would be easier.

In the chapter, I last rewrote, an all dwarf band takes the stage. On the plate, the dwarves bear fruits, but my chapter has them giving the gift of music. If I did a video, for the chapter I would substitute women for the eunuchs because I’m not into castrating guys. A feminist producer may see things differently; I probably should look at the small print before I sign over any rights.

The lovers should stage a ballet; she should arrive in veils. My visions about the cults differ from the plate, in the area of the cornucopia. I’m happy with the ‘horn of plenty””’ symbol, but my vision is trickier.


Making It Better

PhotoFunia Old Book theatre

The writing process comes with the too often repeated question of what’s next? I rewrote another chapter and I’m off to the next decision. Editing is much more difficult than I imagined. Rereading is tiring. Your mind fills in the blanks. What haven’t I caught?

I’ve decided that Urban Fantasy is my most probable genre match; which, surprises me. My novel barely nudges the fantasy world. Genre affects what agents you query and what category you will find yourself in Amazon’s book list, so  now I know where I probably fit. The novel is actually cross-genre and some elements make it fit better with historical fiction. Literary Fiction is a good generic match.

The Fight For John Standish


One of the amusing things, I see about Thanksgiving, is how Roman Catholics have put in a claim for John Standish. The Conquistadors were in America first, Standish just adds another soldier to their group. I can’t say what his religious background was, but he certainly did not die a Catholic.

Another funny story was about how the Spiritual leader of the Pilgrims, John Robinson, scolded Standish about his more aggressive tactics. The goal was peace. My Conquistador ancestors were soldiers; the Pilgrims were families. Much about the Pilgrims may bore, but they are worthy of respect. Can Protestant get elected in Israel? Or run the media? Who shares the pie and who takes? Only Catholics and Jews sit on the Supreme Court and Justice Sotomayor was downright offensive to these founders.

Jean Leon Gerome FerrisThis image is available from the United States Library of Congress‘s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3g04961

The Gnostic Novels


Evil is more introspective and pervasive, in gnostic thought.  Atheists need to read Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel, The Master and Margarita before they toss religious thought. Bulgakov knew he had the soul of a writer and felt threatened by a system that did not see souls. The Master writes about a bureaucrat—Pontus Pilate, who serves the system and ignores the cries of his own soul. Bureaucracy kills Christ.

Master and Margarita form a complementary pair–a notable aspect of Gnosticism; she takes the form of a pagan witch, but she also symbolizes the Gnostic ideal of good. The Master is a fictional version of Bulgakov and communism imprisoned his soul.

In Bulgakov’s Soviet Union, Satan and his demon minions serve as the good guys. The Devil didn’t take away Bulgakov’s  soul; the Soviet system stole his soul. Animals will kill without regret, cats see it as fun. Are they evil? No, but Bulgakov’s Behemoth shows why cats should not be allowed to own guns.

Moby Dick makes the most Christian man—the most evil. Like I said, Gnostic theology is more introspective. Gnostic Christians see evil everywhere, it is inescapable.because it is the mark of Cain; in which, we all wear. Pagans, Christians, Atheists, Jews, Muslims, and all the others wear the mark of Cain.

Cormac McCarthy uses Gnostic thought and Moby Dick, in his novel Blood Meridian. The anti-hero in McCarthy’s novel is a Christian man, who needed to look at himself before looking elsewhere. The Christain man plays the villain in both novels. Gnosticism accepts the flaws of Christianity.

I allude to Moby Dick, in my first chapter. Feminists are my Ahab.

Isis and Serapis


Ancient Greece preferred their gods to take exceptional human form, so Ptolemy I created Seapis by merging Apis, the bull, with Osiris, the castrated. Isis already had a human appearance and her marriage to Osiris shifted to Serapis. Isis compares to the mother and daughter combo of Demeter and Persephone. Isis and Serapis had a large cult following in Rome. The destruction of the Temple of Serapis at Alexandria signifies the destruction of Paganism.

Serapis is similar to Dis Pater and all the links, to this Egyptian, god combine to make him the centerpiece of my novel’s mythology. I prefer Ptah, the original god linked to Apis..

Film and Literary Adaptation


FlaFest, (pronounced as fluff-fest) is the name of my fictional festival devoted to Adaptation. The name of my fictional festival has changed a few times; my last draft devoted the festival to Doris Wishman and other B-movie makers, who filmed in Florida. Changes to my cult origins had me thinking about going back to my original idea; a literacy festival where people come to hawk their books. Another idea has popped into my head and it combines the two

If you have watched the film Adaptation, you know it is primarily about adapting a book, The Orchid Thief, to a screenplay. Susan Orlean adapted her article for the New Yorker to create a Non-Fiction book then Charlie Kaufman was hired to adapt the book for film. The book is half fit for a documentary, so Kaufman had a problem. Orlean may had a similar problem when  she decided to expand the story. Both writers wrote about themselves and the difficulty in adapting the previous version of the story.

We don’t know if Orlean had real romantic notions with the character; we know as, the orchid thief–John Laroche. The book makes hints, but it may have been artistic license at work to make a story. Orlean said the script scared her and I see why; I’m sure she didn’t want people to mix fiction with reality.

Back to my festival, I created an oddball festival and this is an oddball movie. I needed a costumed carnival and the horrors that the literary industry might inflict upon me inspired thoughts of literary agents in devil dress. Mixing the Sundance Film  Festival with Fantasy Fest,  in Key West, seemed interesting. Calling it the Film and Literature Adaption Festival is somewhat awkward, but the fluff fest joke makes it work for me. Some will peddle fluff and some will just fluff, but what do you expect in the entertainment industry.

Mailing A Cult Thru Time


Thomas Pynchon sent two mail systems thru time; I plan to send a cult. The children’s game of gossip accurately shows what happens—distortion. Symbols tend to survive, though. The muted post horn was the symbol of the original postal service, Trystero, stays intact. If you research history, you need independent sources to take a guess at the near truth.

For my fictional cult to remain somewhat intact over a large period of time, I needed a secret communication system and managers of the system. My last post indicates a bardic type communication system. Scribes and librarians of the Church are another means. Changing the origins of my cult has made me realize that I need to note these communication systems.

I’ve read Crying of Lot 49, but I’m still somewhat surprised when my ideas cross into Pynchon territory.

Azalaïs de Porcairagues the Troubadour


Not many women made a name for themselves, during the middle ages; Azalais de Porcairagues is little more than a footnote. For my purposes, she is interesting because she most likely fits the courtesan class. Azalais lived and wrote poems about Gui Guerrejat, so we can assume she served as his mistress at some point.

This image of her makes you wonder, her ethnicity; she’s supposed to be a French woman from medieval times. Wandering minstrels take a lot of sun and for all we know, the coloring may say more about the artist than the subject. Raimbaut of Orange, another troubadour looks almost as dark on his page and he most likely had the typical coloring of Frenchmen. Raimbaut  is the source; by which, we know Azalais.

There has always been a free spirit class of artists that never saw sex as sinful.The Church was antagonistic toward these people, but they were impossible to eradicate. Noblemen had a special like for such women. I write about a fiction fertility cult, but artistic cults come close enough.

The Abbess in the Abyss


Heloise shines bright when you examine the abyss we call the Middle Ages. You don’t find many women of particular interest between the time of Empress Theodora and Heloise because Theodora’s husband, Justinian, put the clamps on religion. Heloise reluctantly took one of few good jobs available to women—she became an abbess. Here’s a quick rundown of events:

Heloise, an intelligent child, went to live with her uncle who tutored her.

At age 18, Peter Abelard becomes her tutor and her lover; she gets pregnant and the lovers marry.

The uncle is embarrassed by the pregnancy and castrates Peter. Abelard hides away in a monastery and encourages Heloise to become a nun. Their son, Astrolabius, apparently became a ward of the church.

In their later years, they reconnect through letters and the ones from Heloise show her long-held erotic interests. Abelard mainly feels guilty and ashamed because his erotic interest disappeared with the castration.

I look for women of significance to fill out my fictional fertility cult. Heloise fits the Gnostic model. By coincidence or not, the astrolabe links Hypatia (from my last post) and Heloise..

The Crucifixion of Hypatia


We have ample evidence, religious groups can do horrible things. What happened to Hypatia is one of those things. Hypatia taught astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy to both Pagans and Christians, but I’m betting the Gnostic Christians were the ones who saw her as symbol of virtue.

Hypatia’s death, in some ways, led to the end of the Roman Empire. The Popes were becoming the idiotic center of the universe. A Christian mob killed Hypatia because she saw the sun as the center of the universe; they didn’t recognize solar systems, galaxies, and universes, as we do today.

The Roman Catholic Church could have escaped blame for regional reasons but by making Cyril the Bishop of Alexandria; a saint, the Vatican endorsed the flaying death of Hypatia. The Church can also take blame for condemning the view that the earth rotated around the sun.

Hypatia studied celestial bodies and we do not know her personal religious beliefs. Gnostic Christians favor knowledge and wisdom, so they would see Hypatia as the saint and Bishop Cyril as the evil doer. I differentiate Christian groups and this plays a role in my novel. Gnostic sects of Christianity did not conflict with Pagan groups and the Gnostics favored science.

Agora is a Spanish film; which, depicts this period in time. The name comes from the gathering place; in which, the events took place.

Technically Hypatia was not crucified; she was flayed; the Christian mob peeled off her skin with oyster shells.