Sunday, July 27, 2008

to be a sinking ship or a lighthouse.

'Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.'
-Haile Selassie

i wanted a lighthouse. maybe i was supposed to be the lighthouse. either way with the fact is at moments life has a way of slowly putting a pillow over your face as you try to sleep. a slow and steady suffocation, i wish it was all of a sudden so that you could instantly deal with it and leave it in yesterdays wake.

at moments this feels like such a negative world we live in, the only bright spots in it we ourselves must create for others.
i woke to the sounds of an argument or 'discussion' with a loved one, i can't seem to make them happy, or maybe they can't make themselves happy. either way i feel very responsible and helpless this many miles away.
some time ago i got news that a friend nearly killed himself because of depression, but one week ago i sat next to him. nearly in silence, talking to him about shallow instances and surface niceties. i wanted to go back in time and pull him away from himself, and the pain that surrounded him.

today as i walked through scranton warped tour someone from stage began to string the longest chain of swear words i had heard the entire tour and call for girls to take certain items of their clothing off. the person sitting behind one of the the merch tables had a cardboard sign asking for sexual favors, a fight broke out, a guy was groping his girlfriend right there in public, and then it began to rain, i felt it was so fitting.

i cannot allow myself to wallow in the mire of negativity for long, for mapping out the long and winding road of negativity means i must travel it to chart it. i allow myself to fail, for if i had never failed i could have never learned the lessons i hold dear. but as far as drowning in what i see all around me i refuse to watch from a distance simply shaking my head in pity. i am going to be the lighthouse that brings people to shore. i may lose some along the way, but all i can do is shine a light.

'Avoid destructive thinking. Improper negative thoughts sink people. A ship can sail around the world many, many times, but just let enough water get into the ship and it will sink. Just so with the human mind. Let enough negative thoughts or improper thoughts get into the human mind and the person sinks just like a ship.'
-Alfred A Montapert

sorry so random, just on my mind.

Monday, July 21, 2008

reading of orphaned for fundraiser w/augusten burroughs!

hello modesty.
i will be doing a reading from my new book 'the orphaned anything's' in NYC september 4, 2008. i will be opening up for augusten burroughs and tegan quin (of tegan and sara). this is a fundraising event for 'housing works' an organization founded to help fight the spread of aids/hiv. below are details if you are interested. THIS WILL SELL OUT!
-stephen christian

Tickets available at www.livefromhome.org/events
All participants are available for interviews to preview the event and press tickets are available for event coverage.

Thursday September 4, 2008

Doors at 7:30 p.m.

Show at 8 p.m.

Housing Works Bookstore Café

126 Crosby Street (one block east of Broadway between Houston and Prince)

Subway: W, R to Prince; B, D, F, V to Broadway/Lafayette; 6 to Bleecker

General Information: (212) 334-3324

$20 and a new or gently used book

Tegan Quin and Augusten Burroughs Co-Headline

SPIN.com Benefit for Housing Works

Sept. 4 in NYC


Celebrate SPIN.com's Book Club

Musician Tegan Quin (Tegan and Sara) and author Augusten Burroughs (Running With Scissors; A Wolf at the Table) will co-headline SPIN.com's Liner Notes, an event at Housing Works Bookstore Café on Thursday, September 4, 2008 to celebrate the cross-pollination of music and literature and raise funds for Housing Works, a New York-based non-profit organization. The event, presented by Spin magazine and the SPIN.com Book Club, will also feature a performance by musician Colin Frangicetto (Circa Survive) and readings by musicians Elizabeth Seward (Spelling & Grammar) and Stephen Christian (Anberlin), who recently published his first novel, The Orphaned Anythings. The performances will be juxtaposed to highlight the effects the written word and music have over each other, and will be particularly special as Tegan recently penned a song for the audio edition of Augusten’s latest book, A Wolf at the Table.
“Like a scene out of a movie, earlier this year Augusten Burroughs asked if Sara or I might contribute a song to the audio version of his latest masterpiece (he didn't use that word, I did),” Tegan says. “I of course was honored and terrified to embark on trying to write a song for someone other than me. I am typically a narcissist and have never written about anything or anyone but myself. Lucky for me Augusten loved it and I am so excited to share the stage with him!”

Tegan Quin is exactly one half of the songwriting duo know as Tegan and Sara, whose latest album, The Con (Vapor/Sire), has received worldwide critical acclaim, including a four-star review in Spin. Along with her twin sister Sara, she has toured the world over and appeared on such major U.S. television shows at The Tonight Show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Between tours, Tegan resides in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Augusten Burroughs is the New York Times Bestselling Author of A Wolf at the Table, Possible Side Effects, Magical Thinking, Dry, Running With Scissors, and Sellevision. He lives in New York City and Western Massachusetts with his partner, Dennis, and their two French bulldogs, Bentley and Cow. He is currently at work on his next book.

The SPIN.com Book Club (www.spin.com/bookclub) is an eclectic collection of literary-minded musicians who participate in a monthly online book where the members read and discuss books that have influenced their songwriting and musical careers. The Book Club, spearheaded by freelance writer Emily Zemler, hopes not only to highlight the influence of literature on music, but also promote literacy, foster a love of reading amongst music fans and raise money for non-profit organizations. Members include Drew Roulette (Dredg), Shawn Harris (The Matches), Michael Jurin (stellastarr*), Greta Salpeter (The Hush Sound), and honorary member author Rick Moody (The Ice Storm; Demonology). This is the inaugural Liner Notes event, a series organized by the Book Club to raise money for various non-profits and celebrate its goals.

Housing Works Bookstore Café is a non-profit organization that relies entirely on donations to stock its store and volunteers to run it. All proceeds directly benefit its parent organization, Housing Works, Inc., the nation's largest minority-controlled AIDS service provider. Housing Works provides housing, healthcare, job training, and advocacy for New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. As an activist organization, it is committed to implementing the systemic changes necessary to ensure that AIDS and public health policies are sound in concept and equitable in administration.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

can you blame the voice of youth for asking, 'what is truth?'

A little boy of three sittin' on the floor
Looks up and says, "Daddy, what is war?"
"son, that's when people fight and die"
The little boy of three says "Daddy, why?"
A young man of seventeen in Sunday school
Being taught the golden rule
And by the time another year has gone around
It may be his turn to lay his life down
Can you blame the voice of youth for asking
"What is truth?"
-johnny cash


this blog will shed no light on the answers, you will walk away just as confused as before you decided to read this… but i am learning slowly that it is all about the journey, not the destination (because in philosophy one rarely reaches a destination).


the scene is set, Jesus is being interrogated by pontius pilate before He was to be crucified, Jesus said “everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” to this pilate replied ‘what is truth?’, even 2000 years ago, in the midst of one of the most famous trials in history, the debate raged on.
‘what is truth?’ is one of the most common questions we must all battle with in our lives, right up there with ‘why am I here?,’ ‘who is God?’ etc. this is not a ‘new question’ or something derived by high school philosophy teachers to test our abilities to write an essay.


i was faced once again with this question recently after a van driver had a peculiar book in floorboard of his vehicle. the title was “hitler and the lamb; conversations between adolph hitler and Jesus.’ of course the title right away took me because as far as morality these two were playing on different teams, if not two different sports. it was a book by current day philosopher ravi zacheria, a work of fiction, but nonetheless intriguing. after discussing philosophy with my new friend/van driver to cornerstone (david), he gave me the book and within a matter of two hours this short read was read.


what amazed me is how that hitler believed that he was right and had convinced himself so, even to the final statement, right before his suicide, he went off on how he felt he was doing the world a favor by killing so many jews. how do i, and the vast majority of the world, believe he was so utterly wrong in every way shape and form! is there such thing as subjective truth as soren kierkegaard believed?(1) i cannot, or rather don’t want to believe there is, there is already too much grey in this world to believe it so. if at the very least out of this lifetime i want some things to be certain in this uncertain world. i want to believe pol pot, stalin, and men like hitler were bad. i want to believe that helping the widows and orphans are ‘good’. but here i am veering off the topic at hand.


truth to me has taking me years to find, and most of the time what i felt was truth 10 years ago has altered, amalgamated, or all together changed its appearance since then. it is something worth pursuing, worth looking for, and worth the wait. the problem is truth is not simply ingrained, and genetically passed down from generation to generation; it is much like a buried treasure, and only those who seek will find.
so here we are where this began, ‘what is truth,’ is a question only you will be able to answer.
now search.


1.When Søren Kierkegaard, as his character Johannes Climacus, wrote that "Truth is Subjectivity", he does not advocate for subjectivism in its extreme form (the theory that something is true simply because one believes it to be so), but rather that the objective approach to matters of personal truth cannot shed any light upon that which is most essential to a person's life. Objective truths are concerned with the facts of a person's being, while subjective truths are concerned with a person's way of being. Kierkegaard agrees that objective truths for the study of subjects like mathematics, science, and history are relevant and necessary, but argues that objective truths do not shed any light on a person's inner relationship to existence. At best, these truths can only provide a severely narrowed perspective that has little to do with one's actual experience of life. (wikipedia)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

attitude

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.
-charles swindoll