Zen Talk: Focusing on the Amazing Journey

“When you get there, there isn’t any there there.”
Gertrude Stein

This quote seems akin to the whole, the journey is better than the destination idea. We struggle so hard to get where we’re going that we neglect the amazing process that it took to get there. Once you’re there, it just is, and the fleeting nature of that there, just as happiness, can’t be sustained through a maintenance of the status-quo. Thus, just as illusive as Stein makes it seem, there is ultimately no there at all.

Is this a shame? It seems like people work awfully hard to get where they’re going only to be sorely disappointed by the arrival, but I suppose this keeps us constantly striving for more. In some people, this turns into insatiable greed, but in others, it results in a never-ending drive for self-improvement and accomplishment. I hope that over the course of my life I always fall into the latter group…

I suppose this very notion (of no there there) is why movies that are about getting some place never focus on that place but only on the journey. Think, Lord of the Rings. The entire trilogy is about a journey, and not about the final there. In fact, once the mission has been accomplished and they’re there (they being everyone) the movie degrades into a totally boring 30 minutes of epilogues that are worthless to watch. Poor Tolkein – don’t know that he had that in mind.

What are your thoughts on this quote and matter?

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Kenny Saves Heaven from Satan During a Right to Life Debate in South Park Episode 904, “Best Friends Forever”

With the release of the new PSP and the accompanying game, Heaven vs. Hell, Kenny is found to be the greatest player on earth. Thus, God strikes him with a truck so that he can come to Heaven and defend it against the minions of Hell. That’s right: God designed the game to find Heaven’s very own Keanu Reeves (think, Constantine).

But in the past Satan has actually been a rather pleasant – if misunderstood – fellow, so why is he now attacking Heaven? Well, his minion/adviser/boyfriend, Kevin, has persuaded him to do so, and so in Lord of the Rings fashion (this episode hits just about everything) orcs are created to do battle against Heaven.

Unfortunately for Heaven’s retention of Kenny and his excellent ability to defend it against Hell, doctors on earth have hooked Kenny up to life support, thereby trapping his soul in his vegetative body. Think Terry Schiavo. I told you: this episode hits everything. Since Kenny left his PSP to Cartman in his will, Cartman wants him to remain dead, but sensing Cartman’s evil machinations, Kyle and Stan try to keep Kenny alive. As it turns into a national debate with Republican involvement on the pro-life, and in this case, Satanic side.

In the end more of Kenny’s will is discovered; he requested that he never be shown on tv in a vegetative state. Realizing that they were wrong but for the right reasons, Kyle and Stan allow Kenny to die. He goes to Heaven and defends it successfully in a battle that is amazing but which we are never allowed to see.

This great episode tackles so many elements of pop culture while making a mockery of America’s handling of the Terry Schiavo situation. A true testimony to Matt and Trey’s skills.

What did you think? What was your favorite part?

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South Park Episode 613 is “The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers”

Porno anyone? Yes, that’s right – this episode is about children getting a hold of a porno.

The episode makes fun of – and combines the names of – all three Lord of the Rings movies, and traces the adventures of the children as they try to return a video given to them by their parents (and which they don’t know is a porn) to the video store.

It’s an amusing episode, especially as we see the parents attempt to explain the sexual situations they think their children have seen on the tape that they never actually watched.

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Topical Tuesday: My Literary Agent Dreams – History and Sci-Fi for Past and Future

I find the past endlessly fascinating and the future filled with wonderful posibilities. That said, I live every moment in the present – it’s the only place to live – but if I could be any kind of literary agent, I would be one who specialized in history (nonfiction though historical fiction is cool too) and science fiction.

Both of my degrees are in history and comparative religion and they are the subjects that truly capture my heart. Therefore, even if I were to handle fiction, I would have to include historical works as well. Oftentimes, academic and scholarly work is handled by university presses, and professors and academics who write such material do not seek out agents, but only their contacts at the appropriate presses who are already familiar with their scholarly accomplishments. So I suppose it would be a little hard for me to become an agent of such things.

However, I do love quality historical fiction (though it’s quite hard to come by, I think – or at least very difficult to do well), and in fact, most of the television shows that I watch and enjoy are historical fiction. Mad Men, for instance, or the Tudors. I love the elements that a show or book can give you about characters and life that my knowledge of historical facts just doesn’t fill in.

Also, sci-fi. I love good sci-fi and would be honored to represent it. Dune, The Foundation Series, LOTR, etc. The reason I think it would be cool being an agent for such things is because I feel like I can read good sci-fi and know whether or not I would want it on shelves. Other genres I couldn’t do that with. For instance, women’s romance literature. Hell if I know what’s good and what’s crap. Sci-fi, however, seems to be something that I could pick up and know about its quality, a very important attribute of a literary agent. Plus, you’d get to read all sorts of crazy crap that gets in people’s heads and once in a while be truly inspired – though perhaps that’s true for all genres.

I could also do smut. I would like to be a literary agent for total, degrading smut. Though that probably wouldn’t be a healthy habit to develop – reading smutty lit all day.

What about you? If you could be a literary agent for any genre, what would it be?

For yesterday’s Fun with the Bible post, click HERE or for last week’s Topical Tuesday – what book I would have written if I could have – click HERE.

And don’t forget to check out Chandler’s Fumbling with Fiction for her thoughts on the literary agent type of her dreams.