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Old 05-31-2010   #11
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Re: My Greatest Sin

Quote Originally Posted by Evans View Post
Years ago there used to be an interesting book on herbal medicine in my old school library, years later there still is an interesting book on herbal medicine in my library.
Library books are easy prey.

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

Tibet: Carnivals?
Ligotti: Ceremonies for initiating children into the cult of the sinister.
Tibet: Gas stations?
Ligotti: Nothing to say about gas stations as such, although I've always responded to the smell of gasoline as if it were a kind of perfume.
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Old 05-31-2010   #12
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Re: My Greatest Sin

Quote Originally Posted by Evans View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Russell Nash View Post
...If we talk about the original sin, I ask, who would be happy in the Garden of Eden with a pacifier in his mouth? We are much better off now, with all our miseries than worshiping chimeras...
Interestingly, put like that, wouldn't the pre Tree of Knowledge business be rather like Ligotti's ideal world - an ever continueing reality where the ego and and the pain of consciousness are anulled?
I'm a Star Trek TOS fan. Watch this after minute 8:24 (up to minute 8:50),

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Old 05-31-2010   #13
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Re: My Greatest Sin

Quote Originally Posted by G. S. Carnivals View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Evans View Post
Years ago there used to be an interesting book on herbal medicine in my old school library, years later there still is an interesting book on herbal medicine in my library.
Library books are easy prey.
Not all the books remain in libraries, some of them are sold on eBay. And I cannot see how it is possible that some libraries would be silly enough to get rid of these gems, unless, of course, they were stolen. One day, I was on a subway train, and saw a man (of about 35 to 45), getting into it, in wintertime, at the station that has a famous big bookstore in the area, in front of everyone, he started to pull books out from his pockets, inside pants, inside his sweater, I would say, about 20 books, some of them were hardcover copies. I wondered, if he bought these books, why didn't he get a bag? He probably stole them, and he got out at another station, very famous for having a couple of second hand bookstores in the area, which answered my question of how these bookstores get pristine copies of certain books. The Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library has also several books missing, two of these books were consulted by me, and when months later I went back to ask for them, they were missing, the fact is that I saw these same books listed on eBay, that same year. I might accept (or understand) several crimes, but stealing of books is beyond my comprehension.
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Old 06-01-2010   #14
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Re: My Greatest Sin

I have taped fights and shown them to other people without express written consent of the Commissioner's Office.
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Old 06-01-2010   #15
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Re: My Greatest Sin

I've done a few things I shouldn't have done (who hasn't?). But the concept of "sin" seems too Catholic for me to relate to it.

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Old 06-01-2010   #16
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Re: My Greatest Sin

Quote Originally Posted by Odalisque View Post
I've done a few things I shouldn't have done (who hasn't?). But the concept of "sin" seems too Catholic for me to relate to it.
Ha, my father isn't even that Polish, but his father was apparently a real asshole, so my father's half-Polish mother raised him as so and accordingly, at least on this side of the Atlantic, Catholic as well.

Aside from Denis Leary and a handful of Italian intellectuals, I fail to think of a single person with more utter distaste for Catholicism than my father, which really isn't a problem for me, but I've little use for faith or organized religion in any form at all.

While not religious in any sense, 'his' main beef is with Catholicism. Raised fervently to fervently revere, only to one day fervently hate the object of reverence.
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Old 06-01-2010   #17
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Re: My Greatest Sin

My greatest sin is that I am still taking up space.
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Old 06-01-2010   #18
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Re: My Greatest Sin

My greatest sin is that I wasted so much of my youth on stupid things when I could have been really learning the craft of writing weird fiction when I was a teenager, like Ramsey Campbell did. I'm trying to catch-up now by writing book after book, but, oy, talk about a wasted youth!

"We work in the dark -- we do what we can -- we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."
--Henry James (1843-1916)
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Old 06-01-2010   #19
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Re: My Greatest Sin

While attending a private school during my 8th-grade year (when I got heavily involved in drugs my parents sent me away to this place) some classmates and I one day decided to explore a storage building on school land behind the dormitory. Mostly we found only old gardening equipment and furniture, but this one kid found a cigar box sitting on a high window sill under about a quarter-inch of dust. The box was packed full with baseball cards from the early 20th century. Most contained reproductions of colored drawings of baseball players while about 1/3 of the cards had b/w photographs of players. The cards were produced by 2 or 3 different different cigarette companys. There must have been upwards of 500 cards total (each was about 1/2 the size of a modern baseball card, and it was a large cigar box). The condition of the cards varied widely, from tattered to near perfect condition.

Well, even being dumb kids, we all had a vague idea these cards might be worth something, so we asked the kid that found the cards to break down and share them with the rest of us. Paul, as I will call him, immediately refused the request, citing that they were all rightfully his since he found them (sound logic, but what kid is logical). As luck would have it, Paul was the biggest kid in the school, everyone else was a runt by comparison; threatening force wasn't an option. There was nothing anyone could do to change the situation so we all immediately became real sullen and resentful towards Paul. Surprisingly, this had an effect. He said he would give us each a few of the cards later, after he had a chance to examine them carefully. Paul was not big and dumb, although he looked it, he was big and crafty.

Paul took the cards and locked them away in his footlocker. Weeks went by, during which various of us who had accompanied him to the storage building asked him about the cards. He would always say he hadn't gotten around to checking them out yet, that he was too busy with school, etc.

It became obvious to me Paul had no intention of sharing the cards so, one day while I was alone at the dormitory, I managed to find the key to his footlocker hidden amongst his things and used it to get to the cigar box. I had a premonition that it might be unwise to take all the cards, or even so many that Paul would know a theft had occured, hence I only took a few cards from each stack, there were around 12 stacks if memory serves - of course I only took cards in excellent condition. I had taken pains to memorize the exact layout of Paul's things before my surreptitious disturbance and I did my best to put everything back in perfect alignment. Paul never did become aware of my intrusion, but while I was sitting on my bunk gloating over the 60 or so cards I had taken (Paul was at music practice, I didn't expect him back for another hour) a 3rd-grader unexpectedly showed up and saw the cards before I could hide them; like a moron I had spread them all out on my bedspread. After I gave him a few to keep him quiet I still had around 55 cards.

Three days later one of the kids ratted on Paul to the prefect of our dormitory, who confiscated all Pauls cards and gave them to owners of the school. The 3rd-grader and I were the only ones who got away with anything.

Years later when I had just started college (still drinking and doing drugs) I decided to sell the cards, as I had never had much interest in baseball and didn't have much money on hand to support my cigarette (both the legal and illegal kind), booze, book, and comic book addictions. Drove to a neighboring big city and sold all of them to a comic book store owner for $300, without ever having picked up a catalog to see what they might be worth.

Few years down the road I had Internet access, and while running searches on all the various kinds of collectables I enjoy, to see what people on eBay were presently paying for them, it struck me to see if any of the baseball cards I had sold were up for auction. I found there were many such tabacco baseball cards like the ones I had on eBay, and that in excellent condition the price range was approx. $50 up to several thousand dollars per card, depending on rarity.

Not sure I would classify my error as a sin, but it certainly feels like one. The idea that I sold the cards for $300 without first verifying their value haunts me to this day. Sometimes I lie awake at night thinking about it and I curse myself. After a while I get tired and laugh for taking life, and myself, so seriously. Then I go to sleep.
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Old 06-02-2010   #20
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Re: My Greatest Sin

Quote Originally Posted by Russell Nash View Post
Not all the books remain in libraries, some of them are sold on eBay. And I cannot see how it is possible that some libraries would be silly enough to get rid of these gems, unless, of course, they were stolen.
At least in the U.S., public libraries withdraw and sell books from their collections all the time. Even books that you'd think would be essential to a good library -- highly regarded books by highly regarded authors, classics, masterpieces, plinths and pillars of cultural heritage. My mother used to work at a public library, so I have inside dope on this. Every year or so, they do an inventory, and books that haven't been checked out for, say, five years are deemed to be of no interest to the general public (obviously), and are therefore withdrawn to make room for the latest bestsellers, more and more computers, CDs, DVDs, etc. I don't think this was what Ben Franklin had in mind when he advocated public lending libraries in the New World. I own a big two-volume edition of Moncrieff's translation of Proust that was withdrawn from the library where my mother used to work. I was alerted to it by my mother, and I got it for free (first dibs on withdrawals for staff and their families). I was the last one to have checked out those Proust volumes, several years before they were withdrawn. I no longer live near that library, but I'd bet money that they now have no Proust on the shelves, while they're sure to have the latest celebrity bios, the collected works of Tom Clancy, etc. This is fairly typical for public libraries. University libraries tend to hold on to their books. Public libraries obviously have space problems, and a semiliterate public to please -- but, but, but . . . Now I'm in the mood to reread Ortega y Gasset's Revolt of the Masses -- and I probably won't find it in a public library!
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