(I am very gentle with all my books - dont write in them, dont bend the backs unnecessarily, never dog-ear pages, often enclose the dust covers in mylar book wrappers - so no one could accuse me of mistreating.) Ellison refused to be interviewed. Tom Snyder writes in the foreward to this book that Ellison delights in cutting through all the smarm, that he fights the battles most of havent even thought of, much less cared about. Snyder adds that he was reminded of Ellison while watching a movie about Frances Farmer, the actress who challenged received wisdom and had part of her brain removed for. Lets hope Ellison has reached sufficient venerability to avoid that fate! Unfortunately, ellison uses a chunk of his 1985 introduction, Ominous Remarks for Late in the evening, to respond to a recent personal attack by a writer in a certain magazine, neither of which deserves elevation by being renamed here. Ellisons response overdignifies an unmistakable pinhead by deigning to notice his existence - in print, now and forever - and is the kind of over-the-top reaction that suggests too thin a skin on the part of the author.
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8, 1980 future life 24, february 1981 installment 6 : nov. 13, 1980 future life 25, march 1981 installment 7 : January 1, 1981 future life 26, may 1981). Installment 8 : February 27, 1981 future life 27, june 1981 installment 9 : April 25, 1981 future life 23, august 1981) Installment 10 : June 5, 1981 ( Future life 29, september 1981) Installment 11 : June 18, 1981 ( Future life 30, november. Weekly ) Installment 13 : July 2, 1981 ( Future life 31, december 1981) (republished in manners expanded form January 22-28, 1982. Weekly ) Installment 14 : January 25, 1982 Installment 15 : February 1, 1982 Interm Memi : letters (October 1982 Comics journal ) Installment 16 : February 5, 1982 Installment 17 : February 16, 1982 Installment 18 : February 21, 1982 Installment 19 : March. But all that time, he was selling nonfiction to various publications, from Cinema and Los Angeles magazine to Knight, cad, and oui. It was only after the inclusion of four essays in Stalking the nightmare (1982) that Ellisons national audience began to realize he was a serious, ongoing (not to mention readable) essayist. The nonfiction in Stalking received so much acclaim that Borgo Press hurried to put out a small, memorable selection of Ellisons essays in 1984 (Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed ) and the following year the donning Company published the collected An Edge. Weekly, and the comics journal in the early 1980s. After Sleepless Nights came out, i called Ellison at home in an attempt to interview him, and he mentioned that Donning would be publishing the Edge columns in the not-too-distant future. So i was right on it, and eventually business purchased 127 of the 1,200-copy signed, limited edition, in its miserable, cheap, unmarked, and disintegrating box.
It is about making it to thirty, or maybe fifty, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head. It is about simple awareness-awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: "This is water, this is water.". Harlan Ellison: Essay collections, reviewed b y, david Loftus, reviewed Edition: Donning, 1985. Art Displayed: cover portrait by jane macKenzie. Dedication: to the memory of Charles beaumont (-21 February 1967 prince From a far Land, the langerhans review. Reviews Description and Spoiler Warning, contents and Copyright Dates, overall Commentary. Foreword by tom Snyder, introduction: Ominous Remarks for Late In outsiders The evening. Installment 1: March 25, 1980 future life 20, august 1980 installment 2: may 5, 1980 future life 21, september 1980 installment 3: June 9, 1980 future life 22, november 1980 installment 4 : July 20, 1980 future life 23, december 1980). Installment 5 : Sept.
The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the "rat race"-the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing. I know that this stuff probably doesn't sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational. What it is, so far as I can see, is the truth with a whole lot of rhetorical bullshit pared away. Obviously, you can think of it whatever you wish. But please don't dismiss it as some finger-wagging. None of this is about morality, or religion, or dogma, or big fancy questions of life after death. The capital-t truth is about life before death.
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Worship your intellect, being seen as smart-you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. Look, the insidious thing about the these forms of worship is not that they're evil or year sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing. And the world will not discourage you from operating on your default-settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom.
The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom.
In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship-be. Or Allah, be it Yahweh or the wiccan mother-goddess or the four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles-is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.
If you worship money and things-if they are where you tap real meaning in life-then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already-it's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power-you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay.
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If you're automatically sure that you know what reality proposal is and who and what is really important-if you want to operate on your default-setting-then you, like me, will not consider possibilities that aren't pointless and annoying. But if you've really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow, consumer hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars-compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things. Not that that mystical stuff's necessarily true: The only thing that's capital-t true is that you get to decide how you're going to try to see. You get to consciously essay decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship. Because here's something else that's true.
It's the automatic, unconscious way that i experience the boring, frustrating, crowded parts of adult life when I'm operating on the automatic, unconscious belief that i am the center of the world and that my immediate needs and feelings are what should determine the world's. The thing is that there are obviously different ways to think about these kinds of situations. In this traffic, all these vehicles stuck and idling in my way: It's not impossible that some of these people in suvs have been in horrible auto accidents in the past and now find driving so traumatic that their therapist has all but ordered them. I who am in his way. Again, please don't designer think that I'm giving you moral advice, or that I'm saying you're "supposed to" think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it, because it's hard, it takes will and mental effort, and if you're like me, some. But most days, if you're aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-lady who just screamed at her little child in the checkout line-maybe she's not usually like this; maybe she's been up three straight. Of course, none of this is likely, but it's also not impossible-it just depends on what you want to consider.
of the workday, and the traffic's very bad, so getting to the store takes way longer than it should, and when you finally get there the supermarket is very crowded, because of course it's the time of day when all the other. You have to wander all over the huge, overlit store's crowded aisles to find the stuff you want, and you have to maneuver your junky cart through all these other tired, hurried people with carts, and of course there are also the glacially slow old. Anyway, you finally get to the checkout line's front, and pay for your food, and wait to get your check or card authenticated by a machine, and then get told to "have a nice day" in a voice that is the absolute voice of death. The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing comes. Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don't make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, i'm going to be pissed and miserable every time i have. And look at how repulsive most of them are and how stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman they seem here in the checkout line, or at how annoying and rude it is that people are talking loudly on cell phones in the middle. Or, of course, if I'm in a more socially conscious form of my default-setting, i can spend time in the end-of-theday traffic jam being angry and disgusted at all the huge, stupid, lane-blocking suvs and Hummers and V-12 pickup trucks burning their wasteful, selfish, forty-gallon. Look, if I choose to think this way, fine, lots of us do-except that thinking this way tends to be so easy and automatic it doesn't have to be a choice. Thinking this way is my natural default-setting.
Here's one example of the utter wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that i am the absolute center of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely talk about this sort of natural, basic self centeredness, because it's so socially repulsive, but it's pretty much the same for all of us, deep down. It is our default-setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: There is no experience you've had that you were not at the absolute center. The world as you experience it is right there in front of you, or behind you, to the left or right of you, on your tv, or your monitor, or whatever. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real-you get the idea. But please don't worry that I'm getting ready to preach to you about compassion or other-directedness the or the so-called "virtues." This is not a matter of virtue-it's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural. By way of example, let's say it's an average day, and you get up in the morning, go to your challenging job, and you work hard for nine or ten hours, and at the end of the day you're tired, and you're stressed out, and.
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There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one. If at this moment you're worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise old fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don't. I am not the wise old fish. The immediate point of the fish story is that the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude-but the fact is that, in the day-to-day trenches of adult existence, resume banal platitudes can have life-or-death importance. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. So let's get concrete. A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded.