Nostalgia, A Mental Illness

Cabin No. 24, Macintosh Trail, Red House at Allegheny. So many memories.

Cabin No. 24, Macintosh Trail, Red House at Allegheny. So many memories.

One night, while working my late-night shift at the copy desk, I came across the Dear Abby column. A 25-year-old had submitted asking about her problems with nostalgia. When one dwells in the past, going to remembered places and seeing old friends all in an attempt to resurrect an idealized past. You can’t quite seem to enjoy the moment without bleakly knowing past times were better, until it’s been a year and you’re looking on all those moments when you were feeling nostalgic and feeling nostalgic about them, too, even though you probably weren’t as delightful as you think they were.

I am especially prone to languishing in the past, weak that I must nurse upon the sweet nipple of nostalgia’s teat long after I should have been weened. I play The Legend of Zelda, I visit my old college campus, I visit my parents’ house — but there has been no time this year I have realized nostalgia more strongly than during the family trip to Allegheny State Park.

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The Celabrin

Art by Alisia Glasier

Art by Alisia Glasier

I shall march through the harem of finite flesh,
With eyes affixed on the eternal spark.
I shall tear free from the chains of desire,
To guide the lost from the carnal dark.
I shall catch the poison arrows of lust,
And break them upon my frozen heart.
I am the one, blessed by the angels bright.
I am Celabrin, chosen for deeds of the Light.
— The Purity Oath, from The Annals Of Celabrin

Ozmer Kalabaster hardly wielded the magical finesse to remove a splinter, and yet here he found himself – the young prince of Amoria lay dying on this stone slab, while the entire empire gazed upon him with bated breath for his miraculous healing.

He was a man with chalk-white skin draped in glimmering blue saffron, a graduate of the Celabrin Academy. His head was shaven, and between his brows was branded the mark of celibacy — a circle with a point at its center, symbolizing the symmetry of mind untainted by carnal cravings required to tap into the magical void. His virginity followed him wherever he went, and her name was Mae. If he ever lost her, magic would forsake him forever.

He recalibrated his retinas to the magical spectrum. A dark cloud of Eroma seethed upon the boy’s body, a smoke of passion’s fire kindled from his groin and suffocating his brain. It was sexual residue of godlike proportions — humans were unharmed and constantly craved the bare amounts they exchanged in coitus, but in all his studies, he had never seen this magnitude of Eroma. Not since he had declared the Purity Oath. It could only have begotten from a creature not human, a creature utterly sexual.

Love sickness, Ozmer thought gravely. Such a terrible way to die.

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Nuking The Relativists

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“I ask for no forgiveness, for I have not sinned.”

Lost is the best show ever made. Period.

Mr. Ecko, a former drug dealer turned priest, stumbles through the jungles of the mysterious island and encounters his dead brother, who was also a priest. The time has come for Mr. Ecko’s redemption; his priest/brother beckons Mr. Ecko to confess his sins. But Mr. Ecko replies:

“I ask for no forgiveness, for I have not sinned. I only did what I needed to do to survive … I killed a man to saved my brother’s life. I am not sorry for this. I am proud of this. I did not ask for the life I was given, but it was given nonetheless. With it, I did my best.”

Even though I love this show so much, and this scene is so powerful and moving, it’s also a little unsettling. It is as if many people said these exact words to my face at one point or another, except it was complete and utter bovine excrement. I realized that Mr. Ecko’s redemption demonstrates the pivotal difference between the believer and nonbeliever, those who are honest about their flaws and those who aren’t.

In the final book of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series, The Last Battle, Aslan gathers all the animals of Narnia into a single file line before him. As the animals proceed past him, each one stares into Aslan’s face — either they look upon him with fear and hatred and then go off into his shadow, or they look upon him with love and enter the door of paradise.

An obvious metaphor for God’s judgment. Those who loved Him in this life will walk into paradise, but those who stand defiant before God and refuse to repent, such as our friend Mr. Ecko, will march into an unexplained and probably terrible eternity, heads held high in humanistic self-righteousness all the way. That’s why Hell, if it exists, is built by its dwellers and locked from the inside.

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