I apologize for neglecting to find a new background for these webcam shots — I've used this same couch for many others — plus I'm embarrassed to have been caught wearing T-shirts so often.
This entry commemorates my completion of the "Description" and "Author Bio" portions of the online info for my new book, which I've purposely misnamed Collected Religious Writings. [UPDATE: here are the links to Amazon and non-Amazon.]
In the above photo, I posed next to a postcard image of Lancaster Dodd, as played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in Paul Thomas Anderson's 2012 movie The Master, because I idolize the trinity of Anderson as director, Hoffman as actor, and Dodd as subject.
At last I am officially a charlatan!Having completed a giant book of religious writings, even if they're knowingly tongue-in-cheek, counts as accomplishing one of my highest goals in life — I've finally infiltrated the realm of such characters as L. Ron Hubbard, Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Sigmund Freud, Emanuel Swedenborg, Pseudo-Dionysius, Valentinus, Moses de León, Saul of Tarsus a.k.a. St. Paul the Apostle, Ezekiel, etc....
(Although I admire him for daring to take a stand against the church of his time, I purposely do not list Jesus of Nazareth above, because he wrote absolutely nothing — whatever we think we know about him comes from documents penned by suspicious partisans.)
I only fear that by using the word "religious" in my book's title, I might have unintentionally squandered my shot at attracting the much-coveted attention of those who are, like me, IRRELIGIOUS.... However, on the off chance that that's not the case, I'll paste the text that I wanted to share:
Bryan Ray was born in 1977 and raised as a Protestant Christian. In 1991, he left the church to work at a fast food franchise. In 2004, he relapsed and became a member of a local Baptist church, which he escaped after two long years. At the age of thirty, having wholly renounced every form of his ancestral religion, he began to compose his own brand of (anti-) religious scriptures, which were collected into a single volume in 2014:
The Collected Religious Writings of Bryan Ray is a series of:
- mock-sacred enigmas;
- mad sermons;
- abstractions of personal gnosis;
- ridiculous parables;
- critical self-interpretations (meant to parody the way that the so-called New Testament writings try to interpret the “true meaning” of the so-called Old Testament writings);
- and nonsensically bizarre episodes of holy farce.
The book is intended humorously to serve as the bible for my newfangled (and nonexistent) sect. But it also can be seen as the record of a mental fight: a journey in which the mind attempts to overcome its own inherited religion by way of artistry. William Blake, in his book called The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, explains that religions begin when people choose forms of worship from poetic tales. The Collected Religious Writings of Bryan Ray aims to reverse that bad habit by consciously and playfully participating in the zaniness of religion-making, with the hope of ultimately turning it all back into art. While reading this volume, one is reminded that all “holy” books are products of the human imagination, and that they should be viewed as poetic tales rather than as sacred truths.
Again, here are links to Amazon and non-Amazon. Also, here's a link to my previous entry that contains some pics of us together.