The Witch’s Bookshelf: I Am Ozzy (Book Review)

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So I’m pretty much a sucker for musician Bios. Especially those about musicians that are seen as coming from a dark genre of music, you know, the kind your parents cringe when they see the album, stopping to cross themselves, or shut their eyes tight in a silent prayer (In a high pitched quavering voice)“may God save little Jimmies soul, the devil is going to pop out of that Alice Cooper album at any second and eat him alive.” Or something like that. For this reason ‘I Am Ozzy’ was at the top of my reading list the second I saw it.

Ozzy spends a lot of time talking about his infamous exploits while touring, and hey, who doesn’t like a good bite-the-head-off-a-bird story? But in ‘I Am Ozzy’ we get to dig out the delicate and formative roots of a man that has become known the world over for his slurred words as much as his music. He details his struggles from childhood, as well as the ongoing ones (namely alcoholism that turned him all Jack Torrance a few times). You also get a real sense for not only what kind of band Black Sabbath was supposed to be (it wasn’t originally named Black Sabbath), and what kind of band it became.

As you might suspect, this book is a must have for any and all Black Sabbath/Ozzy fans, a serious and enriching read.

If you’re not a fan, or just sort of like their music, you still might enjoy this book, but only if you can stomach the occasional blood and gore (slaughter house scenes, alcohol fueled rampages). When you’re done you might even find you have a soft spot for this hard to understand rock legend. All flaws aside, he makes himself a very likeable person.

Suffice to say, I’m no hardcore fan, but I’m more than a little glad I read this book! I’d give it a hearty five stars, but I don’t use a star rating system ; )

Let me know below if you’ve read this, or want to read it.

What’s your favorite Musician Bio? What’s one you’re dying to read?

Spine (Poem)

I knelt in the scattered rocks

The city far away, a distant mirage

And there it was, bleached and small

Nestled in solitude

Twisting solitary, quite lonely

Forgotten by the powerful consumer,

The root

Broken and all loss

Like twisted steps descending their way home

Desiring to plunge into flesh, into blood

To nurture sensation and touch

To Give life to wracked nerves, and nervous firings.

A fine thing

Masterful art in silence

Beckoning under skin in its day,

Now beckoning bone white, under death’s hallowed space.

I remembered then, how fine life was, how delicate

That even when it ceased, it consumed my senses.

The Witch’s Bookshelf: Urban Voodoo (Book Review)

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Urban Voodoo, A beginner’s Guide to Afro-Caribbean Magic By: S. Jason Black and Christopher S. Hyatt, Ph.D.:

I have long felt that Voodoo (as well as hoodoo and all of the other various offshoots), has been by far the biggest gap in my cultural, religious, magical knowledge. So I was excited when I was able to snag this book.

However, I ended up quite disappointed. Now it is firmly established that this a beginners sort of book, so I was prepared for that. What I was not prepared for was the brute condescension with which they argue against most other religions. In fact, it felt as though they should have titled this book ‘why Voodoo is better than every other religion under the sun’. To really drive my point home, there are fifteen chapters in this book, but no real concrete knowledge until chapter ten (which is a chapter devoted to divination, most of it commonplace).

So in the end, while I felt like I learned something new, I really was left feeling that they could have put more work into the back part of the book, and condensed the front, even just a little. That being said, if you are looking to fulfill morbid curiosity, or find strong refutations of Christianity, this book will serve you well. If you are looking to really learn about the framework of Voodoo practice and history, I would spend my well earned money elsewhere.

 

Any suggestions for good Voodoo/Hoodoo ect. guides?

Wolves In Suicide Vests (Poem)

The beasts

Wrapped delicately in human skin

Stalk the curving expanse

 

They are not us

But they are

 

Bellyful of fire

Rancid hate

Eyes glowing sanctamoniously

 

They are hunters

We have become prey

 

When the skin peels

Sloughs away

And they are naked

 

See what is below

It is not us

 

They are gnarled blackness

Blood flowing from secret orfices

Stuffed with secret pain and rage

 

They are not us

Are they?

 

They descend, tear like wolves

Children from mothers

Life from breath, blood from brow

 

No, they are not us

Not anymore

 

Until they are waste also

Victims of their own zeal

No longer anything

My Top 5 Writing Tips

I’m no genius when it comes to writing, but here are five things that have really improved my writing. I hope they help you as well…

 

1. Remember,writing isn’t a formula, it’s a passion: You can read every how to book in the world and get nowhere, because despite all the studying in the world, your writing won’t sing in that special way without passion. Not to say that how to books aren’t useful, they’re quite wonderful, just make sure that you take others advice and tailor it to fit you, because you are a unique writer, and your passion is what makes you unique.

2. It’s all in the details: Details make your writing feel real. I don’t mean that you need to jam each scene and sentence with details, aka spend two paragraphs on your characters surroundings. What I mean is there’s a difference, a big difference between-

Gail bounced the ball to Stacy.

And

Gail bounced the red rubber ball to Stacy.

These details bring your story to life. Better yet, if you’re talking about something special, learn all you can about it and use words that are very specific. If you are talking about a boat don’t say-

The front of the boat.

Try saying

The bow of the boat.

It adds a nice authenticity, and that authenticity is important. You’re readers probably won’t notice it, but they will notice how engaging your writing is.

3. Daydream: This is my favorite tip hehe. Basically if you want to write a world well, immerse yourself in it, let yourself wander around, take yourself to places and scenes that excite you. Don’t think about how it might not work on paper, or even if it’s a good scene, just play around, put yourself in the main characters shoes and live their life.

4. Get intimate with your characters: The better you know your characters, the better you can write them. Join them in their most intimate moments (even if they don’t appear in the story), see how they react, how they feel and think. How does your character propose to their sweetheart? What are they like in the bedroom? How did they react to a loved one’s death?

5. Write the book you really, really want to read: Think about it, fantasize, that book you haven’t come across, but so dearly want to read. Maybe you like zombies, but all the zombie books are lacking the one thing you would most like to see, zombies with machine guns. Write it!

 

Do you have any tips that have really improved your writing?

The Witch’s Bookshelf: The Perfect Heresy (Book review)

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The Perfect Heresy: The Life and Death of the Cathars by: Stephen O’Shea

People are in the opinion that history is boring, but that’s only because they’re reading all of the wrong books.

I picked this one off of a library shelf ages ago, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least, in fact it was full of deliciously rich stories, and as a warning most of them were terribly morbid, not the kind you forget easily.

O’Shea’s style is smooth as he transitions between here and now, and the sweep of the crusades against the Cathars, in what is now France. His historical accounts are detailed and fairly easy to follow, even perhaps for the reader who does not often indulge in historical tomes.

The Cathars, as it turns out, were as Christian as Christian goes, but still not Christian enough for the Catholic church. In fact they pretty much rejected the Catholic church’s way of doing business, even allowing Women to serve is some important roles (gasp). Even worse, people liked them. So as you can imagine, the church was in fits.

Let the inquisition begin!

Detail of the bloody wreckage, and brave resistance follows. Little pieces of it hearken forward to the terrible pogroms, and chilling world war two slaughter of the Jews, if you look hard enough.

I suggest this book if you would like to bone up on your influential history, or if you just enjoy a good dark, medieval story, because these surpass the classic Grimm’s tales, and are true to boot.

Just be advised, this book is not a light read, well worth your time, but not a light read.

 

Do you enjoy reading about history? If so what is your favorite book?

DU30

Bodies just show up

On curbs

In alleys

On the packed Manila streets

Sometimes like mummies

Wrapped and all curled for a long sleep

 

“Drug pusher ako.”

“Salisi ako.”

“Human ako?”

 

There is wailing

A flip flop lays disconnected

Fingers curled

As loved ones hover and scream

 

“I’m a drug dealer.”

“I’m a pickpocket.”

“I’m a human?”

 

The Manila clouds are low

Over the occasionally torn bustle

History, is soaking into the earth

In blood and tears