Thursday, November 18, 2010

Breaking the Fourth Wall...Sort Of

Hi. It's me, Meg, the author whose photograph is posted to the right (your right, while you're staring at the computer) of this little blurb of chaotic text. I'm taking a moment to break the fourth wall (sort of) and let all my readers (all 22 of you glorious people) know that The Unbelievable Adventures of Claire Elizabeth Rogers is now a Facebook page.

It's hit the big time (seven people like it as of this morning - amazing!).

So, if you're a reader with a Facebook page and you feel like clicking on the Pearly Gates Corporation logo to the right (still your right), you'll be transported to a magical land of still-under-construction-please-bear-with-me Facebook awesomeness. And if you're a fan of the blog, you can become a fan of the Facebook page.

Hell, you can become a fan of the Facebook page even if you're not a fan of the blog...though it begs the question of how you found either in the first place...hmmm.

Anyway, this is a big thank you to all you wonderfully nice people who continue to read Claire and Company's many adventures (some good, some terrible, some hilarious). And I can say, without a doubt, that the third draft of the novel (The [Absolutely, Positively] True Adventures of a Religious Prophet) will be finished by the New Year - if it isn't, I give you all full permission to throw rotten fruit at me.

That's right. Rotten fruit.

Now click on something and have a happy Thursday.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The IDIOT'S Guide to Getting Bounced out of Eden

In the beginning, God created the universe and the Earth and the animals and, eventually, man. So says the Bible.(1)

In actual fact, She really only created the Earth – by accident, no less - before jaunting off for a supposedly much deserved spa vacation and leaving the angels in charge of finishing it off.

Later, after Adam and Eve, who wasn’t even the first Mrs. Adam(2), had been dropped off for playtime in the Garden of Eden, God stopped by and explained the rules: do what you want, eat what you want, and enjoy yourselves. All She asked of them was that they stay away from that one lone shady tree up on the hill – the only tree in all of Eden with big, shiny red apples hanging just low enough to be picked easily by hand. She figured those rules were easy enough to remember so She left the kids to their own devices and headed home to Her Penthouse in the sky.

Had God fast forwarded a few thousand years, and read a couple of Brothers Grimm stories, She would have realized just how seriously She had underestimated the appeal of a shiny red apple. Not to mention the fact that She put the tree on display, making it incredibly easy for curious hands to do things they shouldn't. And then there was Leo, the Serpent who lived in the higher branches of the tree - the Serpent God so irresponsibly forgot to mention. And Leo loved his apples, wanted to share them with whoever he could, so when Adam and Eve came close to the tree one afternoon while exploring the Garden, he convinced the pair of them that the shiny red apples were just apples and that the booming voice in the sky didn’t know what It was talking about.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Adam convinced Eve to pick an apple, but then, at the last minute, decided he’d rather have a peach instead. Unfortunately, it was too late; Eve had an apple from the Tree of Knowledge in her hand and, not wanting to waste a perfectly good piece of fruit just because the only man in the whole freaking universe couldn't make up his damn mind, took a bite and handed it over to Adam.

A few bites of apple later and they suddenly realized they were naked (knowledge being carnal at times) and decided they should probably cover up (what, with decency being an issue and all). With the kind of impeccable timing that only a Heavenly creature can have, God chose that precise moment to stop by for a visit and when She saw the fig leaves She lost Her heavenly cool and kicked them out of Perpetual Bliss and into the real world, where they landed on their bare asses with uncomfortable awareness.

Seriously, it’s all in the Bible - Ellie's version of it, at least.(3)

When good old Johan Gutenberg got his hands on it in the mid-14th century, he made a few edits that She never actually approved, edits that always struck Her as terrible bits of writing. Like blaming the whole thing on Eve - not cool, Johan. Not cool at all.(4)

Then there was the fact that he cut out Her favorite bit of the whole story, those last two lines right at the end of Genesis.

As they were leaving the Garden, Eve turned to Adam, smiled sweetly, and whispered, “Next time, pick your own Goddamn apples.”

(1) Well, at least it does in some old guy's Bible. God's own diary tells a much different story. See here.

(2) That would be Lilith. The problem with being God and creating a woman in Your own image is that said woman is most likely stubborn, independent, and headstrong. So was Lilith and after a short while of being told what to do by Adam, she told her 'husband' to kiss off and walked herself straight out of the garden and into the arms of sweet independence. God attempted to bring her back, more out of laziness than true want, but Lilith had seen what lay beyond the Garden and she liked it. So, resigned to actually having to do work, God created Eve from one of Adam's ribs and was a little less liberal with the stubborness. Realizing, however, just what a little twat Adam had become, God breathed a whole heap of independence into Her newest creation and sat back to watch the hilarity unfold below Her.

(3) She'd tucked it away in what would eventually become a pasture in France, with the idea it would be safe from prying eyes (safer downstairs than upstairs), only to have it dug up by a French farmer in the early 8th century, who of course ran off and translated it incorrectly because he spoke three words of Aramaic and just made up most of the rest of it. A few centuries later, it landed in Gutenberg's lap.

(4) When Gutenberg eventually died, and arrived at the Pearly Gates Corporation's front door, God made sure She was there to meet him so She could have a 'polite' conversation with him regarding the difference between artistic license and bullshit.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Beginner's Guide to Hell, Hades & Purgatory, Ltd.

Good afternoon and welcome to the lower levels of The Pearly Gates Corporation. My name is Hecate, Miss Tress for those of you new to damnation.* I'd like to take a moment to review the intake process with you before I begin the tour.

When we begin the tour, please mind your step and keep your hands - whatever may be left of them - in your pockets. If you are without pockets, then you've obviously misjudged the needs of your afterlife attire and should have paid more attention to your fashion sense while alive. If you're without hands, just wave a stump and we'll see what we can do for you.

Now, to your right is the hallway leading to Hades and his subsidy company, the Aelysian Fields Agricultural Volunteer Group, or AFAVG for short. Please note that the AFAVG is behind the Great Green Door, not the red door. Do not open the red door unless you fancy starting out the afterlife as a pile of dog poo in the morning, as Cerberus has absolutely no sense of humor and believes everything standing in front of its three heads is either a bouncy toy or a midnight snack.

To the left are the primary offices of Hell and Purgatory. These include the Minion and Demon Lounges, both Lucifer and Mephisto's offices, all training classrooms, and the lower level kitchens. Some of you may have been given forms to fill out regarding head size and overall posture. Please report to the Quartermaster to be outfitted with horns and tails - this is to your right, the first door on the left.

Those of you who will not be joining the demon ranks, please note the color coding on your index cards. This will tell you which door to knock on. For instance, if you're holding a blue card, please move to your right. You'll be joining the offices of Purgatory. These offices are easily recognizable by the number of faces bearing bored expressions and the fact that the doors are blue. If you're unsure of whether or not an office is associated with Purgatory, you're not trying hard enough.

Now, if you're holding a yellow or purple card and have the nagging feeling you forgot to repent your sins whilst you were still alive, you'll be joining the offices of Hell. These are the doors that are neither blue nor green nor red nor paisley. And before you ask, no one has a paisley card but yes, there are paisley doors.** Yellow and purple card holders should knock on the yellow and purple doors corresponding to the number indicated in the upper right hand corner. If you knock on a door that does not match the number on your card, you will be politely referred to the taxidermist at the end of the hallway and your head will be fitted for a coat rack. Or some other handy piece of home decor, depending on the mood of the taxidermist.

Now, I believe you've all got index cards and have some idea of where you're heading. If you're still unsure of why you're down here instead of upstairs, you should take a minute to consider your most recent actions and ask yourself if you could have done anything to prevent your current predicament. Not that asking yourself this question will help - you'll still be standing in the Underworld - but it might help you to better understand just how big a shit you were when you were alive.

Now, should any of you have any questions - any questions at all - please hesitate to contact me and remember it's Hell. It's hot, it's uncomfortable, and there's the greatest possibility you'll be bunking with a horned demon whose idea of a good time is ripping you limb from limb. And for anyone preparing to question anything I've just said, please read the fine print on those index cards.

There is, indeed, a special room in Hell for complainers, corporate executives with spending accounts, and people who talk loudly on their cellular phones while standing in line at the grocery store.

* When God assigned positions in the Underworld, She didn't realize just how seriously Hecate would take her job. Nor did she realize just how much of an acquired taste the goddess' humor was. Ellie supposes that's what ambivalence gets you.

** They're bathrooms. Paisley doors, paisley walls, and paisley fixtures. Nothing screws with your head more than attempting to pee while in a room completely decorated in a swirling multi-colored pattern.