2001.10.15 feed me:

it has occurred to me that my creativity is like an anemic little creature hidden away in the basement of my life. at least, that's the way it seems looking back on the past few years. it seems that it's just been feeding off of things from the past–not really growing or coming up with anything new.

i used to write scads of poems every day, i used to run around with a camera and take pictures of mundane objects or contrived still life settings. i used to read constantly. i used to make lots & lots of coffee and stay up all hours of the night talking with friends, writing, and listening to and playing music. i used to live to create new things or experience the creations of others.

now, i really miss that. now, i really want to find that part of me again.

the past few years i've been showing people old books of poetry, old short stories, old barely begun fragments of novels, old photographs, old paintings, and talking about how much i loved doing them and how much i still enjoy the creative process.

the most creativity i've expressed in this time has been here in this weblog or with the band i'm playing in. even these things, half the time, just feel like i'm going through the motions.

and, of course, the time of year doesn't help matters any. during the summer month's i'm always too hot, always just wanting to sit down and escape the heat and humidity. in the winter months i always get soulful and introspective, more often than not going beyond the point where those things are able to fuel the creative processes.

i keep thinking about it though, and i know that at some point it's going to be me, a notebook, a pack of cigarettes, and a cup of coffee. again. just like old times.

- 08:04 pm :: permalink :: 14 comments
categories ::  Lucifigous Prick - Nostalgia - Rants - Upset/Dislike - Writing

14 Responses to “feed me:”

brian. said:

hey…that's what saturdays and coffee shops with big windows are for, m'man.

# October 16, 2001,

molly said:

exactly. and you said it much better than i could have. but still, exactly.

# October 16, 2001,

matt said:

yep. it's time to get out from in front of the computer and roam the streets for a while. it's time to find some nice dive diner that serves overly cholesterol laden food and really stiff black coffee…

# October 16, 2001,

jonathan said:

So, you are a fellow Louisvillian! I heard about your site from Jack on his site. It was interesting to read your ramblings and hear about places in town that I know.

What was not so interesting was your opinons on world history and comparative religions, subjects you seem to have glossed over in school or avoided entirely.

The Islamic religion has always been warlike and intolerant. I will not defend the cruelty perpetrated upon the peoples of the Mediteranean by people who called themselves Christian, but I will say that the crusaders responded to a very real conquest attitude on the part of the Muslims.

From the 6th century (when Islam was founded) on, the peoples in the Muslim world have been pushing around Budhist, Hindus, Christians and others wherever they can. As far as their religion is concerned, it does not teach tolerance. It teaches that there is only one true faith, like Christianity, but also that those who don't believe the way they do (infidels) have no rights and that all manner of coersion, even torture and execution (depending on who's doing the interpretation at the time) may be applied if they don't convert.

This fact is borne our daily in Muslim countries and states all over the world, including one of the worst religious rights offenders, our "good friends" the Saudis. You know about Sudan, Ambon, Nigeria, the Phillipines. What you don't hear about in the news much is that in every country in the world that has a Muslim majority or a sizable minority, human rights takes a bus-ride out of town. Women and minorities of all sorts lose any respect or consideration when the theocratic Mullahs start to throw their weight around.

Christians have had their cruel moments, but they are a LOT more tolerant of other religions today, believing that only persuasion (albeit a little pushy at times) is permissable in attempting to convert. Christians have been in the forefront of the anti-slavery and human rights movements for a couple centuries now and countries with Judeo-Christian foundations or histories give far more money and time to help other people than any other religous tradition in the world. By far.

Why weren't the Islamic countries supporting Afghanistan with food and medicine, when several Western relief agencies were in there, risking their lives to hold back the onslaught of famine? Why are Islamic countries still the most pro-slavery countries in the world? Why are Hindus not allowed to help their fellow man who may be of a lower caste?

You need to spend a little more time reading up on world events, history, and religions. Then your creative endeavors would be more persuasive, rather than just angry.

I'll pray that you find your creative soul again soon. I understand your frustration. I know that I get stagnant when I turn inward. I only get creative when I am outwardly focused. Maybe you could start by expanding your horizons. Maybe then your creativity will find fresh expression.

Couldn't hurt.

Take care, friend.


# October 27, 2001,

Javan said:

Hey man — i know what you mean. Thats the way i was last year- poems left and right. I made a whole book of poems last year. But this year, one. I know what you mean, bro.

# October 29, 2001,

matt said:

jonathan, thanks for your response, and i'm glad you've enjoyed (for the most part) my ramblings. i'm sorry that you've gotten such a low opinion of me with regards to my "opinions on world history and comparative religion."

really though i think you've taken something from my posts that i didn't intend. firstly i'll freely admit that i don't know much about the Islamic faith (other than the watered down parts of it that Christianity is based on, which are just variations on a theme themselves extending back through time to the first moment man recognized the mystery of nature and considered his place in it.), but, i have read quite a bit of Eastern philosophy, so i'm not a complete lummox as far as comparative religions are concerned.

but comparative religion wasn't and isn't my point. world history wasn't and isn't my point. i could give three shits what my distant ancestors did or didn't do during the crusades, what their motivations were, who was right, and who was wrong.

really, my main point, and my only point is that violence in any form is abhorent. intolerance in any form is unacceptable. christianity is not exempt from this, christianity is not untouched by it. believers in many different religions have perpetrated many comtemptible acts against many different people. but i'm not concerned about that.

in fact, really religion has, or should have nothing to do with this. yes, perhaps the terrorists consider theirs to be a holy war, but if we give in to their games of god vs. god, it'll only get much worse.

but there i am talking about religion again. when i talked about how we should take a look at why these things might have happened, what we might have done to earn the hatred of people who live halfway around the globe, i wasn't talking about religion. religion is a crutch, religion is a cop-out. we give and we care because we have. we are able. we are in a position where we can do that. and i'm all for it. send in enough food to feed the entire population of africa and the middle-east four times over. we've got it to spare. then, once their bellies are full, send in teachers and workers to help them learn and build and work the ground to sustain themselves.

but don't send in troops, guns, planes, and tanks to "protect" a small percentage of those people. we give to this guy, his neighbor gets pissed. we give to his neighbor, the guy three houses down the block gets pissed. we may go in with the best intentions… get the bad people out of power… stop "ethnic cleansing"–whatever it is, it's at the expense of someone else. if we remove one politician, another will take his place, and the new guy may very well be worse than the last. if we give weapons to one resistance group, they may very well take power, or lose the fight altogether leaving those weapons for the guys we're trying to get rid of. in either case, we've lost.

my point is that we've provoked them. i don't give a shit if they practice a warlike intolerant religion. we've sent troops into their homes, probably killed women and children, destroyed some buildings that were already barely standing. in their homes. they have every right to be pissed.

this does not, an any way, justify terrorism or their taking anyone's life.

you could be right, perhaps i should spend more time reading up on world events and history, but i really have no interest in it. my only concern is for today. how one man treats another in the here and now, not how my grandfather treated your grandfather. not how some ancient egyptian prince (or whatever they were called) treated his subjects and slaves.

we need to take care to treat everyone as fellow humans. without regard to religion, skin color, or whether or not they wear a turban. basically, we need to get away from these outmoded ways of thinking and grow up.

thanks for your comment.

# October 29, 2001,

jonathan said:


I agree with you mostly. Really. It's just that we cannot only be concerned with today and where we are going and not be properly grounded in where we've been. You can bet the Islamists know their history, the parts they want to know about anyway.

One correction (comparative religions, again, sorry): Islam was founded 600 years after Christianity, which is very much rooted in Judaism, which most people acknowledge as starting with Moses about 1500 years before that. Whole portions of the writings of the Jewish kings and prophets predict the coming of Christ and much of the detail of his life centuries before his arrival. The Q'ran itself acknowledges Jesus as "one of many prophets," indicating he lived before. To say that Christianity is based on "watered down parts" of Islam is pretty indefensible.

There are many, many differences between Islam and Christianity. The similarities are mostly because it is humans attempting to understand the eternal. The differences show up when you look at what the eternal means to the two attempts. Some are minor. Some are life and death.

You said that you were not interested in the subject so I will not bore you with details. Some day, though, if you want to know more about the subject that you so casually dismiss, I'd love to discuss it over lunch. My treat.

Hope to run into you some time.


# October 30, 2001,

Nate said:

I apologize for the length of this, but as Matt can tell you, I'm anything but short of things to say.

If you get into it over which started which, you've got the Zoroastrians who say it's all Ahura Mazda, then the Jews who adopt many of the core characteristics of Zoroastrianism (good/evil, heaven/hell, etc.), then the Christians and Muslim springing up out of Judaism. The recognized Jewish texts do not predict the coming of Christ. They predict the coming of a Messiah, hence their denial that the Messiah has yet come. The Christians decided that Christ was the Messiah, while some Jewish sects considered him other things–from blasphemer to prophet–none considered him the Messiah. Then you've got the Muslims popping up with Christ as a prophet as well, but Mohammed as the Messiah.

Realistically it doesn't matter where you start. The intolerant nature of Islam is something you're talking about without a deeper understanding of the texts or history. The intolerant nature of the early Christian church was indeed well founded in interpretations of the same (almost: greek vs. straight translations) text I'm assuming you've read. The crusades were well defended as both within the scope of Christ's teachings and the jurisdiction of the church. Several unsavory and large organizations still consider themselves to be the true bearers of the teachings of the Christian Church: the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nation, the Council of Conservative Citizens (for a fairly comprehensive list of hate groups that use Christian religion as their primary reasoning: http://www.splcenter.org/intelligenceproject/ip-index.html). Some hate groups are based on Islam, some on Christianity, still others on more esoteric and apocryphal texts.

The point is, there's no clear cut right or wrong on this issue. Both religions have their violent histories and the justification of those histories through religion–I agree that we cannot ignore these issues. Both religions have their modern violent extremists. To say that Christians are beyond the violence is to ignore a great mound of evidence. To say that Islam is an inherently violent religion is to ignore the teachings of Mohammed or at least a good comparison between them and even something as benign as the Gospels. Islam is not some kind of minority in the world, nor did they do less for their fellow men than did Christians. Aid in all forms has flowed freely for years between Muslim countries. Zakat (charity) is on e of the five pilars of Islam (you might be interested that alms are specifically to be directed to the freeing of slaves and debtors according to the Quran). The person we'd all like to criticize most dontated great amounts of his personal wealth for the welfare of the Afghani people. It is a moot point to argue which is the better, which the more giving, which the more centrally tolerant.

The root of the current issue has very little to do with religion directly. Religion simply winds up as a convenient way to distinguish the good guys from the bad. A tag to allow ourselves to believe that it is something that is inherently different in those people who committed this atrocity; something that makes it unlikely that we could do such a thing (Oklahoma City, Dresden, Honduras, Cuba, Phillipines, Panama, Grenada, New York, McCarthy… etc.) especially in the name of religion. The fact of the matter is that it's been US foreign policy and actions that have routed us to our current position (not in a vacuum, mind you; inappropriate reactions are just as much at blame as inappropriate actions). The reparations to Jews following WWII (ousting a nation-state from their land and holy sites to give it to a nation of people living nowhere near Germany), the actions in the Gulf by both military and civilian US citizens, and the economic policy of the US to name a few of the antecedents. Religion is one of the many differences between people, but when one begins drawing lines in the sand and using them as justification for killings, one is a breath away from the company of many figures history would like to forget. After all, Hitler thought he was a good Christian.


# October 30, 2001,

matt said:


hey, you don't have practice at this at all do you? you constantly amaze me at the breadth of your knowledge and your ability to articulate it.


well, that's what i get for not double-checking my facts and shooting from the hip. perhaps i was wrong about Islam coming first, but my point was primarily that most (if not all) religions are based on those that came before.

and just so you understand, i'm not disinterested in or dismissive of religion or religious studies in general, i'm just not interested in hearing about religion as an excuse or explanation for terrorism.

# October 31, 2001,

Nate said:

Credit where credit's due. I knew approximately two things about Islam before becoming reacquainted with a particular highly educated girl.

# November 1, 2001,

brian. said:

maybe we should get nate a weblog?

# November 4, 2001,

matt said:

i personally think nate would rock a weblog. it's just a question of his having the time and/or inclination to put his thoughts out there for the entire world to see… he's always been a bit sketchy about putting personal info on the web, and i'm actually surprised he hasn't asked me to ease up on my mentioning of him in the last couple weeks.

but yeah, if he did it, he'd do it well.

# November 5, 2001,

Nate said:

Having reviewed enough of the posts to see that you two are the only ones reading it with any regularity, I think my anonymity is safe for the moment. As for mentioning me, I still kind of get the giddy "I'm famous!" feeling, without all the self-absorbed rambling. 😉

# November 6, 2001,

a54! said:

I'm actually a pretty regular reader of these posts, it's just that I'm generally too lazy (and poorly-connected) to give my $.02 over anything other than AIM. =)

# November 27, 2001,