The Gods…

Mar 28

The Gods are real-and they’re not like on TV. The Gods are real because you can’t make this shit up. Not to say they aren’t made by human beings-my shadow is made by me, my reflection is made by me. They’re a consequence of the fact that I exist, but did I truly make my shadow or my reflection? I’ve heard atheists paraphrase Philip K. Dick’s Valis and say: “reality is whatever is still there when you don’t believe in it anymore.” But the Gods are there whether you believe in them or not, whether you’re thinking about them or not. Even a monotheist believes in the Gods. People love and try to kill them-just as they love and kill each other-it’s the way of the world.

As a story teller you come to learn that what you tell becomes real. It’s an evocation that calls into existence the elements of its story. Life and death and rebirth. Good and evil-they don’t exist in our world, just ask anyone. But they’re as real as your eyeballs or loins, it’s because someone told a story about it and we’ve all been telling stories about it ever since. A writer does this even more so, as he codifies the tale for a generation and further iterations must wait their turn. All true writers acknowledge the Gods-they’re what make the stories real in their truest sense. A writer with no Gods is a homunculus, a stillborn thing that could have been but never fully formed.

I wanted to be a fully realized writer-I wanted sex and death and dreams and mythology. The poetry of fucking (excuse me if that’s trite). It seemed self-evident to me that there were archetypes, things that were greater than myself. All I had to do was look outside and not ask for explanations. It is all out there somewhere, you just gotta look.

Sometimes I think about it and sometimes I don’t. When it’s the turn of the seasons, it’s hard not to. Flowers and birds and storms and stinging insects returning to the earth. When I was a young man, I was open to it with no real preconceived notions. People would tell you I was crazy, and they were right. And some of them got it (a lot didn’t). It was an intentional madness-not contrived or self inflicted, it was something I submitted to. I let it all go, let it al happen, let it out in all it terrible and bloody, broken lunacy. This is what I am damn it, looking at it for myself. The mud washes away, and when the dross is gone there is no stone more precious.

Once, in a bar, Dionysus told me there was no meaning to life-that life contained its own meaning inside of itself. It was foolish to try and define it because there were things that always lay outside definitions, that crashed into them in the process of their becoming. He had horns on his head if you looked to see them and a greater knowledge of wine than I’ll ever have. He was serious about being the lord of temporary dementia, of darkness in the corners that expands outward when nightfalls. Things are meant to be broken apart and out back together again-different than before, whether it’s better than it was or not is up to whoever is currently thinking about it. When there isn’t enough of that, things flatline and life becomes still, static and a more oppressive thing you can’t imagine. The longer it lasts, the greater and more maddened is the release from imprisonment. Everyone who’s lived through the past ten years in this country knows what I’m talking about.  We got drunk and chased women and things got crazy. And to this day, years later, I’m not sure what to make of what happened that night-except that I respect and am scared of the mother-fucker, even if I don’t always believe he exists outside of me…


  1. jason emond /

    Gods bless you Pete, for putting into words what so few can.

  2. Peter Ristuccia /

    Thanks Jason! I really appreciate that!

  3. Peter,
    What you’re touching on is what I see in Tim O’Brien’s collection-The Things They Carried (which you know is very much on my mind right now).

    –Stories evoking something out of nothing or something.

    You had a memorable confrontation.


  4. Peter Ristuccia /

    Very interesting-I have a feeling it’s the sort of experience many people have had, though perhaps few are open in discussing.

  5. another interesting article – my mania lies in that too many thoughts filter through on their way to another dimension – some stay, linger, and are typed away – too many melancholy ones during the time of Bacchus but I said goodbye to him a bit back – now I just try to gather happy thoughts as they scatter like Jays on the wind. Shared

  6. Peter /

    Thanks for the comments, Paula! I agree there is some melancholia that accompanies Bacchus. Gathering happy thoughts, however they may flit about us, is a worthy endeavor, to my mind.

  7. Peter,
    Funny I just posted a not too dissimiliar topic last night on my blog. Having a lot to do with this need to know why, and the reason Im better off not knowing.

  8. Peter Ristuccia /

    That’s an interesting coincidence Paul. Hmmm. I needs must gaze upon thy blog, it seems…

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