A big thank you

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by, peeked, viewed, liked, followed, and commented. Recently, I have been forced to re-budget my time and I won’t be blogging too much anymore. For that reason I’m just going to be blogging on my Goodreads page, and only sporadically for now.

While that blog isn’t overly flashy, it does serve its purpose quite well. The good news is that I have made sure to set aside time to write a little more. A Night in Hartford should be completed over the next or two.

Thanks again and I hope to see you over at Goodreads.


Something Wicked This Way Comes

Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes is a true classic…the plot grips you right away, and the two young boys, Jim and Will, are some of the coolest characters out there…well, maybe.

I like the story, really, and I do like the characters, but I cannot stand the way the book is writtem. Look:

Just after midnight.
Shuffling footsteps.
Along the empty street came the lightning-rod salesman, his leather valise swung almost empty in his baseball-mit hand, his face at ease. He turned a corner and stopped.
Paper-soft white moths tapped at an emtpy store window, looking in.

What the hell does that mean?

Shouldn’t there be a comma after Paper-soft? Why is there a comma before looking in? What does that sentence even have to do with the salesman? The whole book is filled to the brim with this crap, not to mention that practically everything regarding the writing style is what today’s reviewers, editors, and publishers consider incorrect, and let me tell you, the story is not so amazing as to eclipse this fact.

It really bothers me to no end that people eat this up and consider it an American classic. From the perspective of a writer, everything about this book-technically speaking-is wrong. Furthermore, from the point of view of a reader, it’s just bulky and filled with nonsense, which doesn’t even drive the story forward, but again, the story is actually pretty neat.

Read it, don’t read it, I don’t care. I just wanted to vent because it’s considered a classic and not just a crowd favorite. Gatsby’s a classic…not this thing.

Thanks for listening, and sorry you wasted the last 5 minutes of your time.

Tales of Power

Tales of Power is yet another of the books written by Carlos Castaneda, and the first to totally dissect the teachings of Juan Matus. It starts off simply enough with Castaneda’s return to Central Mexico. He questions Juan as to why the use of psychotropics was such a heavily used component in his teachings after it was discovered that the actual teachings were not at all in the use of psychotropics.

“Because you’re dumb,” Juan counters.

I’ve stated before that this is the case, and though it is imperative-or maybe not- that the books are read in some kind of cohesive order, the true teachings are revealed in this exciting novel.

From the book:

He said that in line with the rationale he had rallied my interest around the idea of “seeing”, which properly understood, was the act of dealing directly with the “nagual,” an act that was the unavoidable result of but an unattainable task as a task per se.

“What was the point of tricking me that way,” I asked.

“Sorcerers are convinced that all of us are a bunch of nincompoops,” he said. “We can never relinquish our control voluntarily, thus we have to be tricked.”

…he had tricked me into considering the real issues of his teachings as inconsequential affairs. Erasing personal history and “dreaming” were never as important to me as “seeing”.

You see, the entirety of all those acts, which everyone dismissed from the first or even first three novels, were tricks employed by a most rational individual; Juan Matus. It was because “power” had provided him an apprentice that he did whatever farcical thing necessary to elicit the proper response from his apprentice. Castaneda was a dunce, which he openly admits, and as such, Juan had to use whatever Pan-Indianism was at his disposal.

Again from the book:

It had indeed taken me years to realize the importance of those suggestions made by Don Juan.

…it was only in the later years of my apprenticeship that I realized the meaningful transformations and findings of sorcerers were always done in states of sober consciousness.

It’s too bad that by this time Castaneda had practically vanished from the world. The only real avenue of him left was his later novels, and his Magical Passes; something I’ll eventually touch on.

I have been asked why I cling so desperately to these teachings. I don’t…that’s my answer; I simply really enjoy the novels, and have to-like a warrior-believe because I have to. There is no point in living in a world explicable by man’s designs. How awful a state of affairs to think that entire complexity of the universe, of perception, can be explained to man’s standards. I choose to believe that there is more to us than our reason, and yet I obviously function quite well in the world of mundane affairs.

Unlike most of those, who read and dismiss, I set out to actually employ some of the “techniques” or “suggestions” brought to light in these novels. Frankly, I don’t care who believes what, I know that I can control my dreaming to perfection. I know I have been able to shut off my internal dialogue for a period of time and experienced things indescribable. I know that I have learned to “know” things, which by reason’s design I should not be able to know…my only wish is that everyone around me had the indifference to try and experience the world beyond the description created by the ever fallible man, and instead suspend judgment for only a moment…

We have all had a friend on our mind in such a forceful manner that when he/she calls we simply knew it was only a matter of time. Parents often “know” their children are in distress even though they live miles away. We often “know” we should not take a certain route to work, and yet we dismiss these things…these things we call a “gut feeling”. We have our own term for it, and yet we still dismiss it. Castaneda tells us why we do that.

Many of us trust in a higher power. Many of us meditate or pray. We trust in Astrology, or animal totems, or the teachings of God, and there is nothing wrong with that. We, all of us, instinctively know that there is some unseen reality out there just waiting to be experienced.

Some of us have even experienced lucid dreaming or astral projection, out of body experiences, and still-STILL-we dismiss these acts because they are foreign to us, but what if this stuff was taught to us on a regular basis from a young age? What a world we might live in!

So far as I can tell, everything that can be experienced can be-at least loosely-explained in reference to the teachings of Juan; ghosts, aliens, strange dreams, premonitions, many of them in the realm of what Juan calls the “knowable”, which is what man acts with directly, and other things belong to the “unknown”, something still in the reach of man, but unfamiliar, and then there is the “unknowable”, and it is a dangerous affair, but that is a discussion for a review of a later book.

I think Tales of Power is pretty good. It is not my favorite in the teachings, and probably not as entertaining as Journey to Ixtlan nor as spellbinding as The Power of Silence, but a solid novel deserving of 5 stars. Seriously, do yourself a favor and involve yourself with these novels, if only as a means of entertainment.

Thank you.




Journey to Ixtlan

Many readers of Carlos Castaneda stop reading after A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. Some read on to A Separate Reality. As I’ve stated before, Castaneda admits later on that his compulsive obsession on non ordinary reality as produced by hallucinogenic plants was the wrong area to fixate, and in Journey to Ixtlan, he recapitulates on many of the notes previously discarded.

It is in this wonderful story that Carlos introduces many concepts, or rather elucidates on many concepts, which Don Juan had introduced since their initial encounter; not-doing, stopping the world, living as a warrior, and dreaming.

What baffles me the most is that skeptics-and I was one-fixate on the impossibility of the story without so much as trying any of the prescribed techniques.

I remember being a small child. When I went to my grandparents’ house, I used to spend countless hours just lying on the couch staring at the popcorn ceiling. After a while, the ceiling appeared to invert and the little pieces of stucco, or whatever, seemed to be holes rather than protuberances. When I did that, all my regular thoughts slowly subsided until I had none whatsoever…that was my not-doing, and I think we forget those kinds of incidents. Furthermore, we obsess over the information that we only use some 10% of our brains and ask ourselves what can we accomplish if we focus the totality of ourselves on only one thought? Well…that is what stopping the world entails; shutting off our constant description of the world as reiterated by all those around us for just long enough to focus on nothing at all…or to focus ourselves on just one thing.

Yes, I think the teachings are real. No, I don’t think they apply to all of us in particular. We are all so very different and unique, that nothing is truly the same for any us. If you have not read any of these books, you may want to consider doing so. If you have read them and think they are phony, you may want to consider quieting your mind tonight when you lay down in bed, and try to find your hands in your dreams. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you can accomplish.

Here’s another on of those little exchanges that pleases me to no end:

“What’s the use of having beautifully polished crystals if you never find the spirit giver of power?” he said. “On the other hand, if you don’t have the crystals but do find the spirit you may put anything in his way to be touched. You could put your dicks in the way if you can’t find anything else.”

The whole story is replete with power, emotion, revelations, and touched lightly with such grace and humor that it is just so pleasant to read over and over again. I also like Juan’s counterpart, Genaro. His antics and personality are so like myself that I cannot help but love the character. In later books, Juan describes that there are only so many kinds of men, and that Genaro is a man of action. This doesn’t mean much to those who have not read any of the books, and it doesn’t mean much to those who only give the stories a cursory read, but I promise you, if you find your path with heart, you will see plainly that it doesn’t matter how much of the story is real; the people’s names, the area in question (both of which Carlos admits were made up in an effort to follow Juan’s instructions), the point is that many of us are plain dormant. You can keep doing everything you do. Maybe you’re happy, maybe you’re not, but why not try something new and see if the universe can’t show you something unknown?

Thanks for reading.