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A movie I’d like to make someday

3dviewer

If you Google around, you can see their are quite a few "personal 3D viewers" available.  They look a bit like a virtual reality set, except they’re for watching movies or playing video games; that is, moving your head around doesn’t do anything.  Personally, I’d love to try watching a 3D film with one of these.  (Not sure I’d use one in public though; I’d rather be aware of my surroundings in public.)  They’re expensive, close to a $1,000, which is a bit out of my price range.

Anyway, wouldn’t it be cool to produce a 3D first-person perspective film to be viewed in one of these 3D viewers?

I know I’m probably not the first to have the idea, but I don’t know of any films produced that are 3D, completely first-person, and designed to be watched with a personal 3D viewer.

I’d also use binaural recording for the sound to really immerse the viewer.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?  Imagine a horror movie produced that way.  Or a newscast.

So… something I’d like to do someday.

Projects for April 2014

Last month, I did successfully submit some material to Nickelodeon’s animated shorts program. I didn’t have the time (or the skill, for that matter) to draw complete storyboards, but I did submit a written script along with some additional pitch material (e.g., character drawings, etc.). I don’t know how long they’ll take to respond, but since they probably received hundreds if not a thousand submissions, I guess I can’t really hold my breath. I’ll do something with the characters at some point, regardless, whether it’s making a short animated film on my own, or a comic book. But no time soon.

So here’s what I’m working on this month:

Querying agents

I finished my second draft of my middle grade fantasy novel, and have started the process of querying agents. Although I know the process can take a notoriously long time (several months to perhaps even an entire year, if not longer), I really believe strongly in my novel, so I don’t plan on giving up as easily as I did when I was querying agents for my previous novel. Actually, I don’t plan on giving up at all. If I come to exhaust my list of all possible agents, I will seriously consider self-publishing it. I don’t really want to do that; a middle grade fantasy will probably be insanely difficult to market on an e-reader. Middle grade readers usually don’t buy their own books, after all. But I refuse to trunk this novel; I’ll get it out there somehow. “And the world will know that this ain’t no game,” as someone once said.

Anyway, before I consider self-publishing, I’ll try as hard as I can to get an agent, which I’m sure will force me to find a new meaning of patience. I may be querying for a good while.

Short fiction

Since querying really doesn’t take much effort on my part, besides waiting and waiting for responses without going insane, I’ll be focusing my efforts on short fiction. I still have those two co-authored pieces I’m working on, which we’ll probably finish this month, and I also have a number of other stories I’ll write on my own. I probably won’t start another novel-length project for a while, though I’ll probably plot out some possibilities. But I’m excited to turn most of my writing attention to short works.

Maybe a screenplay?

I was thinking of writing a screenplay as well. (Not nearly as much work as a novel, in my limited experience.) Ideally, I’d like to write myself a little library of small-budget projects so that whenever I get into film-making (one of those some-day things), I’ll have some possible small-budget projects ready to go.

I saw that the Virginia Film Office has a screenwriting competition, with a deadline of May 23rd, so I may enter that. They don’t charge a entrance fee, which is awesome; I refuse to submit to screenwriting competitions that charge entrance fees, as most do. (I think many competitions take advantage of new screenwriters’ starry-eyed ambitions; if you lose, there’s no pay off, and you’re out $20 to $50. The opportunity just isn’t worth it.)

OK, I think that’s it for this month. The only thing that may impede my progress is my recent addiction to the 2048 game, for which my current high score is 71216* (which includes achieving the 4096 block).

———-
* Make that 76708. Ha ha.

Introverts and extroverts

There’s an interesting post on the Matt Walsh blog. I’m not directly responding to it here, so you don’t have to read it to understand my post below (although Matt Walsh’s blog is always a good read).

The article got me thinking about the idea of introverts vs. extroverts. On the surface, I’m sure I’d be labeled an introvert. I do tend to be more quiet than others. But it of course depends on the situation, the topic of conversation, etc. Really I don’t think of myself as an introvert, nor do I accept the notion that there is such a thing in the first place. I think it’s too simplistic, and I’m not sure it helps anyone to think of themselves as one way or another.

When it comes to being social, I think there are two main areas where people differ (not counting factors like social anxiety or pressure of speech):

1. What they like to talk about.

Some people enjoy talking about more trivial things, like the weather, or traffic. Barrier to entry is very low, so it’s easy to bring up with strangers, or if you just don’t have time to say much in general. After all, sometimes it’s not the topic that’s important, it’s just the human connection that comes through it. Talking isn’t always about an exchange of huge profound ideas, it’s simply a psychological way for people to find some comfort in sharing this world with others. We like being social, and we like being liked.

A lot of people like talking about themselves, and sometimes their conversations are little more than a sharing of personal experiences as it relates to some topic. For example, “I had to stand in line forever at the grocery store.” “Really? I go to grocery store X and there’s never a line.” “Oh, I go to grocery store Y. It’s usually not that bad.” “I could never go there.” I do this too sometimes. When somebody tells me something that I really have no response for, I can either probe for more information (if I’m genuinely interested in the topic, this will happen naturally, otherwise it’s done just to be polite), or I might as well relate it to myself somehow. It’s better than, “I had to stand in line forever at the grocery store.” “So what? Who cares?”

I don’t think the desire to talk about oneself necessarily comes from a selfish all-about-me place. People just crave human connection and that’s the first sort of thing that pops into their heads. (And some people go over the past a lot more in their heads than others.)

I think the “you’re so quiet” and “we have to break you out of your shell!” sort of comments (which I too have received my share of) come from a natural desire for others to mentally place you somewhere, to know what you’re “about”, to figure out how to relate to you. Their intentions are not necessarily impure; they’re not trying to mock you, they’re not intimidated by you, and they don’t want you to say boring things just because you think they do. They’re just not sure how to relate to you.

If someone tells you you’re quiet, try actually sharing with them what you’re actually thinking about (assuming it’s not rude, and if it is rude, stop thinking rude things!).

Then you can have a conversation like this:

“You’re so quiet!”

“Am I? Well, I was just thinking about how one could create a video game that takes place in a tesseract palace.”

“Oh. Well, goodbye.”

Or:

“You’re so quiet!”

“Yeah, I’ve been busy thinking about how to edit the exposition of an ancient prophecy in my fantasy novel in a way that will seem mysterious, yet won’t come across as overly evasive. Any ideas?”

“Say what?!”

Or:

“You’re so quiet!”

“DRAGONS AND WIZARDS!”

“Ugh.”

Invite them into your weirdness. Eventually you’ll find someone else who also likes thinking about those things and you will have epic conversations.

If someone else’s derision about something you love bothers you, then you don’t love it enough.

2. Whether or not they enjoy a civil arguments.

(I preface arguing with the word “civil” because here I am talking about civil discussions, not shouting matches or fist-fights or arguments with climaxes that would wind up on the evening news.)

Some people put up their social defenses the moment a disagreement comes up. They may be simply disinterested in a viewpoint they can’t relate to, or it costs them emotional energy to argue their point, so it’s not always worth it for them.

Others enjoy arguing, not for the sake of itself, but they enjoy trying to figure out why people see the world differently, and they try to hone in on where exactly the disagreement springs from. A disagreement can be like a puzzle to be solved. Why did someone else come to this different conclusion? Sometimes it just comes down to personal taste, like differing opinions about a movie or piece of music. Sometimes it comes down to a decision of faith (will it snow tomorrow or not?). Sometimes it comes down to a logical error someone is making. Sometimes it comes down to differing experiences. Etc.

Arguing can be a wonderful way to learn; even if you’re ultimate conclusion doesn’t waver, you can come to better understand its foundation. Other times, you will actually change your mind about something. But you’ll find that the more you’re willing to change your mind about something, the less you’ll have to. You don’t tend to flip-flop back and forth; you grow roots. And you’re more careful not to draw conclusions about things you know you have no foundation for.

Imagine if you could see into the head of a child who’s just learning about how the world works. Would you think him stupid just because he had a lot of miscomprehensions? I don’t think so, because you’d see where all those miscomprehensions were coming from; you’d see why he thought what he thought.

In other words, you’re ideas and beliefs are never wrong in and of themselves. It’s only that they can be incomplete. What’s wrong is the decision to refuse to accept some new idea because you’re afraid of feeling inferior for having had to learn it and correct your miscomprehension.

A disagreement can also be construed as an insult, as if someone else is just disagreeing with you to cause you strife. Sometimes I’m talking with someone and I’ll say, “I disagree with that, because…” and the other person gets deeply offended as if I’m just pulling the disagreement out of thin air as an insult. If you think someone else’s motivations are impure, you’ll find evidence for it in whatever they say.

On hoping for changes in church teachings

Perhaps I will begin a blog dedicated entirely to religion and religion-related material. I obviously have an interest in it.

From this blog post (from a sci-fi writer whose work I admire):

[In regards to the LDS Church:]

I can remember being very happy when, in 1978, President Kimball received revelation from God that that time had come to extend the priesthood to all worthy males regardless of race.

This is the main thing I reject; the notion that God would change His mind about something. “This is what’s appropriate. OK, now this is appropriate instead. OK, now this is allowed.” If God is Truth, and if Truth by it’s very nature is eternal (objective beyond even time and space), then the appropriateness of certain behavior, the morality of behavior (or at least the intentions behind those behaviors), cannot change. Our human understanding of it can grow or diminish (we can be wrong about it), but Truth itself doesn’t change. And we do our best to understand Truth as it truly is; we strive to know Truth; we strive to know God.

In the modern world, where laws of a nation can be changed with votes, people sometimes confuse the teachings of a church (like, say, the Catholic Church) for arbitrary decisions made by leaders based on their personal likes and dislikes. In this way, church teachings are sometimes misunderstood to be like voted-upon laws that can be changed over time.

But if that were the case, the teachings wouldn’t be objective, and couldn’t be understood to be manifestations of Truth. Instead, they’d be arbitrary opinions. Not a problem if we all agree on them, but when we don’t, oh no, what do we do?

If leaders of the Catholic Church decided to strip away certain teachings from the Catechism claiming they now “understood things differently” or had some divine revelations, Catholics everywhere would not say, “Oh, OK, if you say so!” Perhaps some would, but only those who understood such teachings to be arbitrary in the first place. Others would be scratching their head, fearing demonic forces at work, and would abandon the clearly compromised leaders.

It is like if a math professor one day came into class and announced that he had realized that 2 plus 2 actually equals 5. If you actually understood his prior teaching that 2 plus 2 equals 4, wouldn’t you naturally fear that your professor had gone mad? You would not accept the new teaching as a revelation that Math itself had somehow changed in the night. You know it’s wrong because you understand why 2 plus 2 equals 4.

(You could get into the paradox of omnipotence. “If God can do anything, why can’t He change His mind?” You might as well ask: “If God can do anything, can He not be Himself?” or “If God can do anything, can He be illogical?” The answer is: No. The question assumes a misunderstanding of omnipotence in the context of describing God.)

The implication of this sort of mind-changing truth-revelation is that you get church members who actively hope for a change in teaching. And why shouldn’t they? It’s like having a parent who changes his mind about whether or not you can eat ice-cream for dinner. How could it not be valid to hope for something you understand to be at least possible?

But is that at all spiritually healthy for a family of believers?

And if you submit yourself to an authority figure, why the heck would you hope for him to change his mind about something? Isn’t that basically the same thing as, you know, not actually submitting to that authority?

I don’t at all understand how these “revelations” work in the Mormon Church, but any authority that can be understood to change its mind is not objective, and therefore not Truth, and therefore not God.

Projects for March 2014

This month, I’m pretty much continuing all my projects from last month.

Middle grade fantasy novel

I completed my first draft of the novel in February; I’m now working on a second draft and hope to begin querying potential agents sometime this month.

Short stories

I’m still co-authoring a couple short stories, and still hope to write some more on my own after I finish a second draft of the novel.

Nickelodeon’s animated shorts program

I’m still working on my entry for this, but I only have two more weeks; entries are due on March 14th. I already have a script I can submit, but I was hoping to submit storyboards as well. However, my drawing skills are pretty awful, especially after more than a year with no practice, so I’m not really pleased with my sketches so far. I may end up just submitting the written treatment rather than storyboards, but I’ll keep trying for the storyboards until time runs out. Actually, perhaps when the weekend is over, I’ll consider temporarily dropping the other projects and focusing only on this until March 14th, because I would hate to waste this opportunity; who knows how long they’ll keep doing a program like this?

“Let It Go” is a song of evil

elsa

By which I mean, the popular song from Disney’s Frozen is not an anthem for an attitude that would be at all healthy to have in the real world.  Embracing indifference is not exactly something to celebrate.

After all, let’s not forget what the song is about: a sad, scared, angry queen embracing indifference toward the world.  The philosophy she is deciding on is evil.

Let’s look at some lyrics that reflect the evil Elsa’s embracing:

  • Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know – Hints out how she was dealing with her problem wrongly from the beginning.
  • Let it go, let it go, Turn away and slam the door – She’d rather evade her problems than face them.
  • Let the storm rage on – She has no consideration for who that storm may be hurting.
  • The fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all – She’s replacing them with all new fears, particularly the fear of facing others with her uncontrollable powers, or letting others, like her sister, try to help her at all.
  • No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free – Oh dear!  The most obviously evil lyrics here.  No right or wrong?!  Yikes.
  • You’ll never see me cry – She’s embracing indifference.  Not good.
  • I’m never going back, the past is in the past – It’s one thing to forgive yourself and move on, it’s another thing to stop caring completely, which is clearly what she’s doing.
  • The cold never bothered me anyway – Again, she’s embracing indifference.  And she’s lying.  Her powers have always bothered her and they’re still bothering her.

So, it’s a song about embracing indifference toward the world and her self-image.  Though cathartic, it’s clearly not the right solution to her problem.

And the storytellers know this, of course.  The song isn’t her climactic solution to her problems after which she lives happily ever after.  The song portrays her creation of even bigger problems, both in her own heart and the outside world that she’s cutting herself off from and plunging into eternal winter.  Her living alone in an ice castle out in the mountain boonies is never portrayed as a good thing.  In “letting go” of her concern for control of her powers and her self-image (an effort which initially came from a genuinely good place, even if she was dealing with it wrong from the very beginning, after being traumatized by injuring her little sister), she still holds on to the fear that keeps her away from her kingdom.  If she was truly “letting go” of what she needed to let go of (her self-image fear, her over-self-consciousness), she wouldn’t feel any need to stay away from her kingdom and those she loves, particularly her sister.

Story-wise, the song serves the same purpose as Sweeney Todd’s “Epiphany” (though Todd’s pledge is much more sinister – to murder innocent victims until he can get revenge) and as Elphaba’s “Defying Gravity.”  In Sweeney Todd and Wicked, such goal-changing decisions eventually lead to tragedy in one form or another.  Fortunately in Frozen, Elsa realizes her mistake and changes by the story’s end, thanks to her sister.  Still, her song is about a character who’s been struggling with something and is deciding to embrace a clearly wrong answer.

But of course that’s also what gives the song it’s power, in the dramatic sense; we can relate to Elsa’s emotions completely, even if we know she’s choosing the wrong thing.

But that’s also why it’s a bit funny to see videos of young children belting out the song proudly.  They’re singing about becoming evil.  Yes, I know it may be over some of their heads, but I still find it funny.  The music is great, but its beauty and power are misleading, as is Elsa being all smiley and happy about it; the philosophy she’s embracing is ugly and tragic.  After all, I don’t think we want children to actually let go of things like worrying about right and wrong.

The right answer to Elsa’s problem: love (as Elsa learns by the film’s end).  The wrong answer: cold indifference (as Elsa embraces with “Let It Go”).

So when you sing “Let It Go” while taking your evil shower (Sims joke), let’s hope you’re not singing the lyrics with actual conviction.  Because that would be, you know, evil.

We must become saints

Author John C. Wright has written a long essay called Restless Heart of Darkness. He writes in the first part:

At the risk of giving away the surprise ending (which, honestly, I suppose is not a surprise to anyone but me) I realized why it is that the current mainstream modern thought, despite its illogical and pointless nature, is so persistent, nay, so desperate.

I realized why they never admit they are wrong no matter how obvious the error, nor can they compromise, nor hold a rational discussion, nor a polite one, nor can they restrain themselves. They can neither win nor surrender.

I realized why their hearts were so restless. It is obvious once one sees it.

The essay has four parts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four. It is a long read, but should be of interest to anyone who, like me, finds himself constantly growing confused and angry with the direction of the modern world. (And it’s not just a matter of blaming a younger generation; I’m twenty-eight, still a bit too young to do that. But it won’t be long!)

I quote the essay’s conclusion here (with a few typos fixed), which I found to be the best part. (Yes, I’m blatantly giving away the surprise ending.) It was something I needed to read at the exact moment I did, as if it were answering my thoughts:

Despair is the key. It explains nearly everything that is so puzzling about the madness of modern life, the pack of self-contradictory dogmas that make up the default assumptions of the Dark Ages in which we live.

They have nothing else. No wonder they are bitter. No wonder they are irrational. No wonder they lie like dogs. No wonder they boast. No wonder they are full of envy and malice. No wonder they kill babies in the womb and fete socialist dictators and mass murderers. No wonder they love death. No wonder they admire, protect and love Islamic terrorists. No wonder they admire, protect, and love sexual perversion.

It is because they have nothing else. They live in a world of darkness, without hope, with nothing but their seven great friends to sustain them: pride, which they call self esteem; envy, which they call social justice; wrath, which they call activism and protest; sloth, which they call enlightenment; gluttony, which they call health food and legalization of recreational drugs; greed, which they call fairness in taxation; lust, which they call sexual liberation.

The modern age is suffering from spiritual and philosophical starvation in the midst of what should be the greatest feast of mind and spirit imaginable. Someone has told them offal was food and food was poison, and so they gnaw on foul things which cannot satisfy them, which make their hungers grow. They are dying of thirst, and someone offers them seawater to drink.

Let us now and forever eschew anger and indignation at these creatures. They are like blind kittens who cling and claw and scratch the hands that come to feed and comfort. No man should be angered at a blind scratch.

Neither should we do them the honor of assuming theirs is a philosophy, political or otherwise, or a coherent worldview, or anything that can be discussed or debated. It is a dream, a delirium, a vision, a nightmare.

Surely was can answer, or at least fend off, any questions they might have concerning our vision, which is brighter and better and sane and whole and true, because more often than not, it is a frivolous reason, a matter of mere emotion, which prevents them from seeing this light. Their eyes are closed, their reason is dark. Reason is of limited use to them, who have no faith in reason.

Beauty is the key to lure them into opening their eyes. I mean not merely the physical beauty in song and architecture and story telling where Christendom has no lack and has no peers; I mean also the beauty of virtue, of charity, of sympathy, of humanity, of heroism, of martyrdom.

Did not the sheer mind-boggling beauty of Mother Teresa of Calcutta attract more skeptics to our banners than did the sneering sarcastic ugliness of Christopher Hitchens attract to his?

They are lost in the dark. That is the truth that stabbed my soul like lightning. They wander in their jerky motions from one idle fashion and meaningless fancy to the next not because they are bored, but because they are desperate, because they are starving.

To cure them we must love them. That is what I saw.

To cure them, we must be a light to them.

We must actually live up to the difficult, nay, the impossible task of becoming saints, as humble and glorious as stars in the host of heaven.

We must first cure ourselves.

February projects

Here’s a short random update on what I hope to be working on this month:

Middle grade fantasy novel

I’m almost finished the first draft of my second attempt at a middle grade fantasy novel. I only have a few more chapters left to write. This month, I hope to finish this draft, edit it, write and perfect a good query letter to represent the novel, and once again begin an agent search.

Short stories

I am working on co-writing two short stories. I will probably also write some short stories on my own after I begin my agent search.

Nickelodeon’s animated shorts program

According to this post from Cartoon Brew:

[Nickelodeon] will choose a minimum of 10 pitches to develop into shorts that will appear on air, on Nick.com, and the Nick app. The shorts also have the potential to be developed into full series…

I put together pitch material for an animated series proposal back in 2012. This looks like a great opportunity to put the material to good use. I somehow missed this program last year, probably because I was busy finishing my first fantasy novel (which never went anywhere, thus becoming my first “trunk novel”). So I hope to write and storyboard a potential animated short featuring my characters.

Confession of a metaphysical experience

Here’s a weird post for you. Not sure if this will mean anything to anybody, but I can assure you that it’s true. And I really don’t care if you believe it or not.

On the night of September 3rd, 2012, I had a profound experience.

I won’t bother explaining how I got there, because that’s even weirder and I don’t really understand it myself.

But I passed through a portal of some sort. (This was a very ineffable experience, so it’s pretty much impossible to find words to describe it, so a lot of these words should be understood as approximations more than anything else.) Through this portal, I saw and experienced my true self. I want to say the true self is love. But love as it is experienced in this world is like a drop of water; there it is more immense than an ocean. Still, love is the closest word. It is infinite and completely fulfilling. Somehow, existence is “pure” there. That’s the best word I can think of; it’s pure. The core of your being, of your true self, is pure.

I was able to see my connection with the universe. This is a profound thing to see. It was nothing visual; it was an innate understanding, obvious yet profound. I saw that I was an essential part of the universe, part of God Himself, as are all people. You hear the idea that “we are one” or “we are all part of each other” in many philosophies. But it’s hard to see and understand in this world because we have separate bodies and minds. There, your connection to all things is obvious, profound, and beautiful.

If you have ever been with a great group of friends or family, and you feel like you have a place among them, like you belong, and you don’t feel superior or inferior to anyone in the group; it is like that only multiplied by infinity. The feeling of being “at home”, the feeling of “belonging” is infinite. It is because you can feel and understand your connection with the universe and understand that you are an essential part; not better or worse than any other part; you are not comparing yourself to anything; but you are essential.

I remember thinking to myself, “Of course I feel at home here, I know who I am here.” But even those words hardly communicate the profoundness of it.

And this love that makes up the core of your being, your life essence, somehow flows, or vibrates; it is alive itself. You can feel it flowing through the core of your being and through all the universe. It is what connects you to all things. It is living itself and is giving you your existence; you cannot exist without it. I know, it sounds bizarre; it is pretty impossible to describe.

Negative emotions of any sort are impossible there. You cannot be embarrassed about anything. You cannot feel insecure. How your body looked, what worldly success you achieved, it’s all completely insignificant. You cannot be ashamed of anything. You cannot regret anything. You do not long for anything. You cannot be afraid. You are completely fulfilled.

One of the most surprising and profound things I realized is that you cannot be bored there. Every moment of existing is so vibrantly alive and somehow new. It is like every moment is as fresh as being newly born.

I can’t even fathom it in this world. In this world, we have to be doing something or we’ll get bored. We constantly have to find things to stimulate our brains. We have to keep moving. Even when we’re happy, it’s a fleeting happiness and we eventually grow tired and have to move on to the next thing.

There, existing in and of itself is a completely different experience. There is no boredom. You don’t have to be doing anything, and yet you cannot be bored. It doesn’t make any sense in this world. I remember experiencing it and yet I can’t rationally comprehend it. But there it is. You cannot be bored.

There are no negative emotions. So even if you had the worst life imaginable, even if you lived in prison camps your entire life and watched while your entire family was tortured to death, nothing can take even a grain of sand away from that experience; the fulfillment is infinite and pure. No negative emotions. Not that you forget bad things or forget what negative emotions are; it is simply impossible to experience them.

In a way, it felt like I was only there for a few seconds, and yet the experience seemed so large that it felt like longer. As I said, every moment felt like new, so there’s no way to describe time. (The experience may have been more profound if I had actually thought about time while I was there, but I did not.)

Anyway, in the end, I somehow “fell away” from the experience and was back in the world, or back in my body, or back to being aware that I was in a body, or whatever. I’m pretty sure I didn’t die, I don’t think I have anything to die of, but I certainly know the experience was metaphysical. It’s impossible for the brain to experience that. When you experience something like that, you just know that it’s not something the brain can do; the brain simply cannot experience that sort of infiniteness. If it could, we would all just die, because we’d be infinitely fulfilled; we’d just lie down with no reason to move and we’d all just die. Of course, one of my first thoughts after the experience was thinking, “Maybe that was just a dream.” But that immediately didn’t make any sense. It was too pure to be a dream; it was even more profoundly real than this life. I know that doesn’t make any sense from the perspective of this life, but you just know it innately when you experience it.

I don’t know why I had the experience or what it was all about. It wasn’t Heaven, though perhaps it was a glimpse of how the self is experienced in Heaven. I didn’t talk to God or angels or anything, I didn’t see the future or the past, I didn’t even really see anything visually beautiful; it was all sort of inner-self-sense stuff. In some ways, it’s frustrating, because not only do I long to experience it again, I also wish I had answers about it!

I’m not sure why I’m sharing this now, since it happened over a year ago. And I’ve always believed in God, so it’s not like the experience converted any of my religious beliefs or anything, though it certainly deepened them. I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d ever share this at all because it’s probably hard to relate to and probably makes me sound a bit crazy. But, for some reason, I want to. I mean, it was an awesome experience.

I think the most profound things I received from the experience was, firstly, the realization that we are all intimately and profoundly connected to God, and to each other through God; God Himself flows through the very core of our being and gives us life; our life source is God; our creation happens at every moment. And secondly, the revelation of what it’s like to experience no negative emotions, including even the trivial negative emotion of boredom; that all pain in this life is temporary and that we are all profoundly essential to the universe, regardless of the ways in which we think about ourselves or compare ourselves to each other in this life.

Hope this is interesting to someone out there and doesn’t make me sound too crazy. (Or, if you already think I’m crazy, now you have another clue as to why.)

My 2013 favorites

I’ve been posting my favorite movies and books of the year since 2010.  This year, I’m a little late in posting, but there were still some movies from 2013 that I wanted to see.  So here are my 2013 favorites.  For books, the nominees are books I finished reading for the first time in 2013, regardless of their publication date.  Movies and film scores must have been first released in the USA in 2013.  I’m not doing a TV show this year because I didn’t really watch much, and wasn’t very impressed with what I did watch.  So, only five awards this year.

Year’s best live action film:

gravity

Year’s best animated film:

frozen2

Year’s best film score:

Year’s best nonfiction book:

zen

Year’s best fiction book:

neverending