2/19/2013

FAQ YOU

I've been getting a lot of questions lately in various forms of communication. Emails. Snail mails. Facebook messages. Twitter mentions. Instagram comments. Notes in bottles. Air-dropped leaflets. Encoded cat meows. And many--most--of them are asking the same exact questions. I love talking to readers, but I'm a person who craves novelty and newness, and repeating myself--verbally or artistically--is a painful bending of my nature. Every time I hear myself saying the same words I've said before to answer the same question I've answered before, a few thousand neurons die and return as hideous slimy zombie neurons that shamble around in my brain making me irritable and misanthropic.

So, in order to streamline this process for everyone and prevent me from becoming a frowny old crank in my early thirties, I've decided what you need is a good, vigorous FAQ. So, out of the many questions my existence seems to generate, here are the most common, with accompanying answers fine tuned for MAXIMUM HELPFULNESS.

Q: When does the WARM BODIES prequel come out?

A: You mean The New Hunger? It came out months ago, fool! But there's a catch: it's only in ebook form, and only available from Zolabooks.com  That's right, it's NOT ON AMAZON. Or iTunes, or anywhere else. Just Zolabooks.com for reasons having to do with anarchy and raging against the machine and supporting intriguing new platforms with great potential for innovation, and so on. This exclusive arrangement will change at some point, because I myself am a paper purist and eventually there will be a physical edition which will probably spread into digital editions on other platforms, but for now: Zolabooks.com

YES, you can still read it on your Kindle, iPad, even your desktop if you don't own a tablet. You just have to download the epub from Zolabooks.com

Q: When will THE NEW HUNGER come out in paperback?

It's of utmost importance to me that physical copies exist, because I know many of you don't read ebooks, and I actually don't either. I want the book on my shelf, sandwiched between Warm Bodies and Untitled Isaac Marion Zombie Novel. ("Book 3" for short.) But the fate of The New Hunger is intertwined with the fate of Book 3, so I won't know exactly when a paperback of TNH will be published until I know exactly how and when Book 3 will be published. I can promise TNH will be published before Book 3, because it will be essential to understanding Book 3, but that's about all I can promise. So if you're in any hurry, I'd suggest learning to love ebooks and heading on over to Zola

HOWEVER: If you're lucky enough to live somewhere in the British Isles, you can get your hands on a paperback from Vintage UK on October 29th, 2013. I know, it makes no sense, I can't...I can't even try to explain it, so just accept this reality, fill your saloon with petrol, check the air in the tyres, drive to the supermarket and buy the book, throw it in the boot, go home to your flat, get a bag of crisps, and read it in the loo while taking a shite.

Q: When will the WARM BODIES sequel come out?

A: It's really hard to project a completion date for a book like this. If I were writing one of those books with the phrase "A [Character's Name] Novel" on the cover, some kind of episodic franchise thriller with a clearly predetermined path, or even a traditional sequel designed to simply repeat the patterns of the original while expanding them slightly, maybe I could meet a specific deadline. But this is a weird book, expanding on the foundation of Warm Bodies in a lot of brain-straining ways and presenting me with a lot of intellectual, philosophical, and ethical challenges that I've never encountered before. It's a sequel to Warm Bodies in the way that Lord of the Rings was a sequel to The Hobbit, and with that kind of expanding scope, there are a lot of potential pitfalls, so it's hard to fathom a timeline.

But, with that said, my possibly naive hope is to finish it mid to late 2014.

On to the boring stuff...


Q: Why is your blog called Burning Building?

A: This blog has been around for centuries* and has gone through many repurposings. I originally created it to promote an art show I was doing which was called Burning Building, and the name just stuck. The closest I have to an explanation is this odd little outburst from the art show page.



Q: How did you come up with the idea for Warm Bodies / what was your inspiration?

A: When information and experiences love each other very much, they touch each other in a special way and then your brain gets pregnant and an idea pops out. And that's where ideas come from. To put it another way, the idea began as a simple thought: what would happen if I jumped inside the POV of a zombie and just started writing? What would a zombie think about when it's just wandering around, waiting? What would life look like through the eyes of a dead person? So I wrote the 7-page short story, "I Am a Zombie Filled With Love." Later, I realized this concept was richer than I initially thought so I decided to expanded it into a novel, and in doing so, I began to notice many surprising parallels to my own life at that time. I was a depressed and apathetic cynic looking for purpose and identity after spending my whole life immersed in a conservative religious culture that discouraged having any purpose or identity outside of itself. The desire to understand what it means to be a human being rather than a mindless pawn of God, and to meaningfully engage with a world I'd spent my life dismissing became the story of a zombie trying to rediscover life. So, oddly enough, the book is autobiographical.


Q: How much involvement did you have with the movie?

A: I was consulted throughout the process. While writing the script, the director Jonathan Levine would call me whenever he had a question about the story or wanted advice on translating a particular element to the screen. I read two drafts of the script and gave editorial feedback. It wasn't exactly a collaboration, but Summit and Jonathan seemed genuinely interested in what I thought, and many of my suggestions seem to have impacted the film. In the end, it's their movie; it's my story filtered through their vision (and the various demands of the cinematic medium, the film industry, marketing plans, budget, etc) but I feel they were respectful toward me and the story, when they really didn't have to be, since the book wasn't at all well-known at that time.


Q: What do you think of the movie?

A: I like the movie a lot. It's not perfect, of course, and as with all adaptations, there are omissions and departures from the book, but that's the nature of transplanting a story from its native medium to a drastically different one. The tone is lighter and more comedic--R's voiceover in particular is different, more "awkward teenager" than "zombie philosopher"--but it's not at all the crass spoof it could have been. I think it has genuine heart and personality and even retains a few of the themes and ideas I was going for in the book. I look at adaptations like cover songs. It's one artist taking another's material and reinterpreting it in a different style for a different audience. The original is not altered by the cover version. My book remains its own entity with its own separate personality and continuity, and I'm incredibly happy that the movie has resonated with people enough to draw them into the book's world.


Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

A: Not much, I'm afraid. My road to publication was very atypical and not reproducible, so I don't have any "secrets" to share. I can only advise in broad platitudes and generalities. Prioritize your writing. You can't have everything at once. If you really want to be a writer, be willing to sacrifice some other things in your life--including your financial comfort, social life, and even other creative interests. (I quit painting and sidelined music in order to give writing the necessary focus, and never even considered pursuing a "legitimate career.") Writing a novel should be an all-consuming passion, not an idle hobby you do in your spare time. It seems like every other person I talk to "is writing a novel" but I have literally not met one single person outside of industry events who "has written a novel." I think most people think of writing as a romantic dalliance that is fun to think about and impressive to talk about, but not a tangible reality that can actually be accomplished. Stop talking about it and do it. Don't waste that coal of desire on idle chatter, passing it around the room for everyone to admire. It will go out. Keep it hidden inside where it can burn and drive you and don't stop blowing on it until you've finished something. You'll have plenty of time to talk about "being a writer" when you actually are one.




Q: Who are your influences?

A: I jump around a lot and rarely read more than one or two books by the same author. There are just too many new voices out there to discover. So I prefer to cite individual books rather than whole authors. A few that were significant in the development of my writing are: "The Road," "Slaughterhouse Five," "Something Happened," "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius," "Everything Matters," "The Children's Hospital," "On the Road," "The Catcher in the Rye," "Life After God," "Never Let Me Go," "The Dark Tower (series)" "The Time Traveler's Wife," "Crime and Punishment," "House of Leaves," and all the movies written by Charlie Kaufman.

But having just listed my influences, I have to say I hate listing my influences. I feel like I can never come up with a list that accurately encapsulates who I am or what I try to do with my writing. I think people spend too much time analyzing influences instead of just analyzing the work itself. I don't care who my favorite authors were inspired by or who this band "stole" this chord progression from or what classic movies this movie paid homage to/ripped off. I have a different view of what art is--not a power struggle between old masters and impudent upstarts but a coequal collaborative effort extending through history--so I'm not much concerned with the copyright court of ideas.



Q: When will you come to my city for a signing?

A: When a book store or event or publisher from your city reaches out to me and extends an official invitation. I don't know how to set up appearances for myself and don't want to go force myself upon your population unless they really want me there. If there's enough demand, someone will invite me. (And hopefully pay for my hotel.)


Q: Why do you talk about your cat so much?

A: Because I am a loyal citizen of the Internet. And because he's adorable okay? Shut up. Go away.



Q: How would you describe your relationship with pizza?

A: Intimate.


Q: Are you saying you've had sex with pizza?

A: I have allowed pizza to enter my body. It was a special moment shared between a man and a pizza, and it was beautiful.


Q: Are we still doing this FAQ or are you drifting off into madness now?

A: That. Probably that. Asdfghjk.













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49 comments:

  1. Let me be your pizza, so I can enter...no wait...that's not right.

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  2. He is adorable. Your cat that is. Yeah, the cat. I love cats. Mreow.

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  3. I love you so much. Just sayin'.

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  4. well my brains happy now. I may wonder off into the internet wildness fulfill with joy and jokes.

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  5. Since you're not right here signing books, can I just get one? I'll even give you money and everything. Or pizza... whatever you'd like or think is a good bribe.

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  6. I think you just described Nick Miller from New Girl: "You know...I'm writing a zombie novel."

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  7. Thanks for taking time to answer all of our burning questions at once, especially the pizza controversy that we've all been wondering about. 'The New Hunger' was every bit as awesome as I hoped - looking forward to 'Warm Bodies' sequel, even if we have to wait a bit...you can't rush genius.

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  8. Funny answers. ;) And the cats are adorable! I want have one, but I can't.
    Good luck for writing!

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  9. Oh GOD yes, thanks for the hot FAQ! ;]

    Random question, but.. you weren't raised as a Jehovah's Witness, were you? I ask because of the mention of your upbringing. I was raised as one myself and completely relate to what you said in your answer to the first question. Just curious. :]

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    1. No, just regular old fundamentalist Christian.

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  10. I was very impressed by your book and delighted to see you are an odd bodkin like myself. Living at 5,280 (that's feet above sea-level) makes one subscribe to a different POV. Maybe I can get you a signing with our modest but respectable bookseller The Tattered Cover (David Bowie comes specifically to Denver so he can patronize it). Besides I am greatly intrigued by your partner in crime Baleen. Maybe she would like to play with my 72 Vespa in traffic or take pictures of Purple Mountains Majesty.

    http://www.tatteredcover.com/

    P.S. I too have been squireling away a book called "Spermicide or the art of war" it is an almost memoir.

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  11. Thank you for taking time to answer your crazy fans. :o) We love you.

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  12. Allow me to be deep for a moment (shocker, I know). To remind you, I am the slightly crazy girl who asked about Radiohead albums. After reading about your experience in writing Warm Bodies and how it became semi-autobiographical and stemmed from breaking away from your upbringing, it hit me: it's paralleling my life right now. That's why the story resonates so deeply. (That and it's so beautifully written I could cry. In fact, I did cry. A lot. But I digress.) I'm not necessarily breaking away from my upbringing, but coming to an understanding that there's more out there and more to life than I've previously realized, and I want to experience it. R is trapped by what he is and wants to change. I am trapped by what and who I am, and the disabilities that hinder me. I think R's story touches us all in that sense. We all have things holding us back. I understand R's inability to communicate. He thinks these wonderful, beautiful things, but when he opens his mouth only the barest particle of it escapes. I feel the same. There are things in my mind I wish I could say. The closest I come to sharing these things is by writing, which is why I love writing and reading so much. Writing is sharing part of your soul. Reading is peering into someone else's soul. Music is very much the same. Without these, there is no life. Not for me, anyway. I'm trying to say something significant and I feel like I'm stumbling over my own tongue, much like R. I hope what I've said here makes sense to someone. And I hope it touches someone. And with that, I will acknowledge that I'm crying again. (Dammit, Isaac. You always do that to me.)

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    1. well me too... I mean that warm bodies is not just about a love story of a zombie and a human but, it is all about the message of the story that everyone can relate. It tells there what is life? what does life mean to us?

      And sorry for my english haha(not too good in english but atleast I try myself just to share my thoughts)

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    2. Thank you Eireen. I think you did a great job sharing your thoughts. :o)

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  13. ^um.... whoaaaa. nothing too personal from me, just wanted to say that you're hilarious...aaaaand kinda dreamy! :::sigh:::
    -h

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    1. ^ Well shucks. Glad bearing my soul on a public wall like an idiot made somebody smile. ;o)

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  14. I learned a lot of new about you and pizza :)Thank you!

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  15. So....while we're waiting for the Warm Bodies sequel....why don't you try to get The Inside re-published. It is quite incredible, and I'm tired of losing my copy to friends until I hunt them down like Liam Neeson hunts his children(probably more on the Taken side of the force than Batman) and get the book back.

    Of course, the simple answer is to not lend it out, but it's just so good and I love to share it...but I also like having it on my bookshelf next to your other novels.

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    1. I said the same to Isaac on facebook. I no longer have my copy... I shared it to pieces :(

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    2. I gave it a shot a few months ago...thought maybe I could go back and salvage it, rewrite it to bring it up to code but I think it's just too far removed from who I am now as a writer and a person. 10 years is a long time and I no longer relate to it. It'll either be shelved forever or maybe released under a pseudonym someday. I definitely can't have my official followup to Warm Bodies be a book written 10 years ago. That's a big step backward in lessons learned.

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  16. Nothing wrong with a cute little love story...I hope the love between R and Julie survives and thrives in the new book, and that M does okay, and so does Nora. Please be kind to your characters!

    Love and humor will make the cultural critiques, which I assume you are making in the new book, go down better.

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  17. I took my two step-daughters to see the movie last weekend, and they both loved it. The oldest even declared it her "second favorite movie of all time," beat out for the #1 spot only by "The Gamers: Dorkness Rising." My younger step-daughter is 7 (possibly your youngest fan?) and she said the movie made her want to live in an airplane. She asked to read the book, but I told her she'd have to wait a few years for that. We're all looking forward to the sequel!

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  18. Hello. I saw the movie (Warm Bodies), but haven't gotten my hands on the book, yet. Because of this, I feel I can't have too much of a say on how big of a fan I am. You have inspired me, though. I'm one of those half-assed writers who says she's writing a novel, but never gets through it. Maybe out of fear or maybe just pure laziness. I don't know. But you've inspired me to write something that holds a powerful message. I'm pretty pleased your message was said through zombies. My current message is being said through a different type of dead person. But I'm digressing.

    I'm not sure how many of these you read, but I wrote a blog directly after watching Warm Bodies for the first time. Here's the link: http://teffticlelove.blogspot.com/2013/02/as-child-of-25.html. Just one drop in the ocean, but I thought I'd share mine. Have a nice day. -V

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  19. PUBLISH THE NEW HUNGER ON PAPER PLEASE THANK YOU.

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  20. Real name of R please? thanks

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    1. My, aren't you demanding! It will be revealed (or not revealed) in a book, not in the comment section of my blog...

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  21. hello, this is just some sort of a request, if you haven't yet thought of a name for R (real name) can it be Romulus? it's a good name, and it's close to Romeo, if it's probably alright for you, thank you.

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    1. I'm not currently taking requests for what to write in my book, but thank you for your submission.

      Sheesh...the nerve of some people!

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  22. you are awesome:)

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  23. I have a question... this may be dumb but how many books does warm bodies have? including the new hunger.

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  24. Yup R is definitely someone I'd like to see in reality, even if he ain't necessarily a zombie. A comment here really made sense. I agree that music means a lot really does. I'd say R so should be Ranjo. But he's like a friendship of loneliness kind but wants to make sense of more than HIS own life. Creating such a character and seeing a reality of such persona is not possible. Hey marion, about your FAQ, you really got a sterlin personality. How about Ramier/e for R? A mysterious lost soul finding more than himself.

    For some fans out there, a different variation of R in another non-possible reality perhaps. very different, yet finding himself.

    You might think I'm referring to the girl, but its the boy; being able to communicate but unable to cause something holds him back. Also, talk about digress breaking up (guys cant take that). Here's the novel-

    http://www.wattpad.com/story/1447611-shut-out


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  25. Hi. I am a university teacher in South Korea. I am likely going to be teaching "Warm Bodies" this summer in an English Novel Course at my university. I was wondering if you would be interested in a short (10-15 minutes) skype interview with my class sometime in August? You said you crave novelty. I think speaking to Korean EFL students might be pretty novel. :)

    I know you are probably busy, but I thought I would give this a try. Please let me know,

    Anthony
    www.anthonyteacher.com

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  26. Speaking of your religious experience, I'd like to encourage you to avoid throwing out the Baby with the bath water. (Or throwing dirty water on the Baby.)

    People have an innate need to misrepresent Christ. Find out for yourself.

    From where do you think your talents come, anyway?

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    1. Find out what for myself?

      I haven't thrown out the Baby. The Baby is still cool. But the bathwater is mostly urine.

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  27. In your blog, under FAQ, as how Warm Bodies came to light, you state "The desire to understand what it means to be a human being rather than a mindless pawn of God..." What did you mean by that? Would you care to expand on it? Thank you.

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  28. Conservative Christian doctrine teaches that humans are innately sinful, depraved creatures that are not capable of doing anything good on their own. The only way we can do anything worthwhile is if God does it "through" us, essentially inhabiting us like a hand in a puppet and doing whatever he wants done without any meaningful contribution needed from us. The doctrine teaches that everything that happens is part of God's plan and that humans play no active role in it; we are essentially a passive audience watching God play out an elaborate pantomime for his own mysterious ends. During my life in the church, I felt no personal engagement with the world because I was constantly being taught that I was a worthless piece of shit without God, and that I myself had nothing to contribute to the world. I was God's pawn to be moved where he wanted me. Some people find that comforting. I don't understand why. To me it was an incredibly depressing thought and created an incredibly bleak worldview and I never felt truly happy until I shrugged it off and started believing that my life mattered and that humanity was more than a pointless puppet show for the entertainment of some incomprehensible cosmic entity. Now I believe that humanity does matter, that we can do good and that we can make the world a better place, rather than just doing our duties while we wait for God to pull the plug and reset the universe.

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    1. May I say something? My intention is not to offend or spark a debate or argument; I just want to make a simple comment. I'd like to thank you, Mr. Marion, for sharing your point of view. I've often wondered about your views on religious subjects but always felt it was too personal a subject for me to question you about. And although I've heard/read some statements from you in the past, this statement seems to sum up your feelings and experiences very well, and I'm glad you shared it with us. I like hearing about how other people see and understand God/the universe, the purpose of life, and the nature of humanity. Even when another person's beliefs don't match my own, I still find them fascinating. It's an aspect of human nature that never fails to astound me--how we're the same and yet so very different at the same time. So thank you, Mr. Marion, for sharing a part of your own story with us and how it has shaped your life and your beliefs.

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  29. For clarification purposes, if humanity did not matter, why would God have sent His only son to die for us? Churches are filled with people, as such imperfect, who for how well meaning, have distorted God's message of love. God loves us enough to die for us. Do you believe that God loves us? What about free will? If I am not crossing the line, may I ask where you stand on God? I am guessing from your comment above, that you may not believe in His existence? Thank you again for taking the time to respond.

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    1. I've said my piece on this. I don't want to get into yet another theological debate on the internet. I will tell you that I am not an atheist, I don't disbelieve the existence of God, but I also don't claim to know what form he/she/it takes or what his/her/its nature is. I enjoy the ambiguity of my beliefs and the freedom to ponder and speculate.

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  30. My apologies. No theological debate here. I am just a mom whose daughter is interested in reading your book. I found the blog on the Internet and as I was reading it I wanted to understand better your position on some ideas you expressed. I wish you luck and I will be praying for you. Take care.

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  31. I thought you may enjoy this interview of Bono, lead singer for U2. Take care

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plJZQAaORQ4&feature=player_embedded

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  32. I once had a chance to talk to Peter David at a Star Trek Conn... yes..I am one of THOSE NERDS.

    I talked to him about writing and he told me that you just write what you like, know something about and do not expect to become rich. With that pressure off of you, you cannot lose because you have no "over-expectations".

    When it boils down to it, we write because we love to write, not because we want to be rich or famous for it... at least that is how I see it.

    If, by some chance, I make money along the way, all the better.

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  33. Hi Isaac! You are hilarious. And despite my distaste for all things zombie (for my weak stomach's sake), I actually found myself liking the movie and short story. I was most intrigued, though, by your work's discovery. It's so great to know that genuinely talented people can still be discovered in an age where everyone shamelessly promotes themselves. Wow, I kinda sound like an 85 year old.

    I wanted to say that I am sorry for what you have experienced of the church. What you've described is a most definite aberration from what true identity in Christ is all about. I have been a Christian since childhood and have, in recent years, wrestled with the very same things you mentioned earlier (and may have called God a tyrant a couple weeks ago...). With the way things are often presented it is indeed easy to feel like a pawn or a mere tool for His glory (and when in tantrum-mode I often complain of the above).

    Thankfully I have not yet been struck by lighting, God is patient with my anger and ramblings, and He does not expect us to drop our brains or ambitions at the door of salvation (if that were the case why not make robots or better yet zombies, as gross as they are).

    I hope dear, snarky, entertaining Isaac that you can effectively dissect the error and false beliefs of [several] stupid humans from the truth of how God truly does view you and the freedoms/choices/contributions we have in this world to make----even as those in need of a Savior.

    I am not a robot and He is not a tyrant but we disagree sometimes and He keeps loving me (and YOU:) Congrats on your success!!!

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  34. Oh and P.S. you've inspired me to start writing again!

    Yes, you can die peacefully now.

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  35. I just finished reading Warm Bodies right after having read The Great Gatsby. I have yet to see either movie. Is it wrong for me to have enjoyed the former over the latter given the latter is considered "one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature"?

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  36. Well, you might find this interesting. I'm a little older than you...well, a lot! Unlike you, I was a depressed and apathetic cynic looking for purpose and identity until I immersed my whole life in a conservative religious culture that encouraged me to have hope as a child of God. Sorry about the plagiarism, LOL. No I'm not writing to convert you...that's your problem... I have received permission to screen your movie to my church, adults and youth, as a perfect metaphor for Christian love. Considering your discarded upbringing, I was curious to know if any of the symbology in the movie was deliberately based on Christian beliefs. If you look it up, many religious publications and groups have endorsed the movie as Christian metaphor, and it's considerably better than a lot of the garbage marketed to us. Dropping into the water dead, emerging alive, and life proven through blood are rather obvious to those of us in our little box. Hey, maybe God is working through you without you knowing it! Wouldn't that be ironic..

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