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An Open Letter to Artists

Dear Artists of the World,

Remember to play it safe. It's your responsibility. You're risking people's lives, and isn't that just selfish?

Your medium should never be used to offend anybody or challenge the status quo or upset any particular apple cart. Mocking someone in our brave new world is dangerous, after all. They could hack your computer systems or call in a terrorist threat if you don't suppress yourself. You don't want that, do you?

And if someone gets hurt because you didn't do what they said, why, it'll be YOUR fault for "going there" when you could have just as easily changed a name in your story, or better yet kept your mouth shut. Besides, maybe you just need to make "better art." You know, the sort of thing 100% of people find tasteful and wonderful. Yeah, I wasn't aware such art existed in this world, but apparently there is, because this one person on the internet said all you have to do is make art their way, and everyone will be happy. I don't know where they get their info, but I'm ready to believe them, because for a few minutes with this whole situation with THE INTERVIEW I got a little uncomfortable, and I just hate that feeling.

As for the people who might enjoy your iconoclastic wares, who gives a shit? They're part of the problem too.

We certainly couldn't blame any attackers for the atrocities they chose to commit because they're a bunch of humorless cowards, just like we certainly couldn't blame a rapist for raping when they saw that nice young girl wearing that short skirt. She should have worn pants and a turtleneck, and you should just put tape over your mouth and write about majestic horses.

See? Doesn't that make everyone happy? Just conform, for fuck's sake. Be proper! We have a civilization to run here, and it's really hard to do that if we don't all act civil! 

Besides, what do you really sacrifice if you cow to the demands of the craven lunatics of the world? Oh sure, they might "win," but isn't your safety and well-being worth your pride and your freedom of expression and a healthy cultural discourse? Your whole world might be reduced to the color taupe, but you'll be taking air into your lungs and breathing it back out again, and if that it isn't the definition of living, I don't know what is. Why stand up for those things when you could be going about your day to day lives, buying things you don't need, never feeling your pulse spike above seventy, and having parts of your brain shuttered off for good?

I don't know about you, but I think we would all get along better if we just kept our heads down and did what those people wanted. No one "needs" art anyway. Especially the "shitty" kind. And how do I know it's shitty? Well, because I said it was, and the yardstick by which I judge something's cultural value is good enough for everyone else. If you don't see it my way, you're clearly an idiot.

Of course, next time, if the crazy people threaten something I actually like, I might change my mind on all this. Because the movies, books, paintings, and other pieces of art I deem worthy of fighting for really ARE worthy.

In closing, artists, when you sit down to your canvases or computer screens today, ask yourself first: whom might this offend? And if someone slightly dangerous pops up on that list, just close your mouth, shut your eyes, and let that person win. Maybe that will empower them further and encourage them to extend their reach beyond silly comedy movies and into things like foreign policy, energy and financial stuff, or social engineering shit, but meh? Who cares? Having our lives controlled and altered by a proxy dictator because of the remote possibility they might harm us if we don't obey is something I've always wanted to try on for size. But at the very least, if you remain quiet and docile, you won't be inconveniencing the rest of us. If you're having trouble with that, try this on:

There. It's really that simple.


Scenes from The Last Supper -- Part 8: Darkness in the Light

In this eight-part series, I will be discussing the world and the characters of my upcoming book, THE LAST SUPPER, due out on 12/13/14. Original artwork by Justin Wasson. Pre-orderpaperbacks and Kindle now! Also don't forget to join the GoodReads Giveaway going on now through 12/21/14!

What we've come to
We've made it to the end of the series, and less than a day until the premier of the book. The inside of my head feels a lot like the crazy guy you see in the picture above, and apart from the Heretics picture, it's actually my favorite illustration of the lot.

While I won't describe the scene in detail, I can discuss certain elements of it. Like, for instance, what is that light? THE LAST SUPPER throws a lot of vocabulary at people, enough that by the time the planned trilogy is completed, we might need a small compendium to keep track of it all. But one of those things involves the bright lights.

When I started adding the more fantastical/mystical elements to this story, I was particularly interested in seeking out prevailing thoughts and theories on the idea of essential life forces. You know, without going full Lucas. My research brought me to √Član vital, which French philsopher Henri Bergson described in 1907 as the "vital impetus." According to Wikipedia: "It is a hypothetical explanation for evolution and development of organisms, which Bergson linked closely with consciousness - with the intuitive perception of experience and the flow of inner time."

Naturally, this seemed like a great fit for what I was going for. No, it isn't scientific by a long shot, but that's also why I caution at calling this story strictly science fiction. It's a mixed bag, and the element of the vital impetus has a lot to do with that.

A second element I want to discuss is a place in the book called a Sin Bin.

So imagine you live in a world where you have to test yearly to prove your usefulness to society, but let's say you had a bad year, that you're pretty well off and you realize you're not going to pass Justification. Imagine you had the opportunity to not take the test, but trade in all your chits toward a trip to a Sin Bin, a place where you can live out one final year of your life in complete debauchery? Drinking, drugs, sex, pure gluttony -- the whole nine. And that these places were owned and run by the Divine Rite, so of course they have a vested interest in keeping places like this going.

I guess you could say it's my version of a seedy underbelly in this world. Because even an iron-fisted theocratic citizen-murdering-under-the-guise-of-piety regime should have a seedy underbelly, and in the Supperverse, the Sin Bins are it.

And besides, who wouldn't want a look inside a place jam packed with people whose lives have firm expiration dates, and who have all the chemicals and flesh at their disposal to enjoy those days to the absolute fullest? Depending, of course, on you would define "enjoy" and "fullest."

Would you take a trip to a Sin Bin or would you rather die quietly? I look forward to your answers.

Thank you for joining me on this eight-part journey into the world of The Last Supper! I hope I have given you enough tidbits to whet your appetites for more. Visit the official page here and click on the link that will take you to your preferred store! Or watch the trailer, join the GoodReads giveaway, or read up on all the other Scenes you might have missed!