How one of the most confrontational music genres provides a salve for the scars of mental illness.

Can you help me occupy my brain?

-Black Sabbath, “Paranoid”.

[This article discusses suicide and drug use, and contains images of self-harm scars.]

Sanitarium. Altars of Madness. Defeated Sanity. Heavy metal, a musical genre fascinated with the grotesque and sensational, has long integrated mental illness into its lyrical palette. Given metal’s infamous penchant for antagonizing the listener, this recurring theme may seem like a mere pass at shock horror. However, this very antagonism makes metal uniquely suited to portraying the lush and horrifying nightmarescapes of psychosis. …

There was no other living woman in the world who had done anything as intimate to Barhu as chopping off two of her fingers.

-Seth Dickinson, “The Tyrant Baru Cormorant”

An exposed neck. A cocky grin, a severe glare. The tip of a blade against a throat. Controlled breaths, straying eyes, the fragility of power, the tacit exchange of control, threats delivered in a coquettish purr. Anchored in such images is the romance-drama trope of “Enemies to Lovers”, pernicious tales of romance whose deuteragonists stand at opposing ends of a conflict. A cursory search takes one to the Fanlore wiki

“You Can’t Save Everyone”

Nietzsche’s atavism and the need for respecting our psychosis.

Has anyone at the end of the nineteenth century any distinct notion of what poets of a stronger age understood by the word “inspiration”?

-Friedrich Nietzsche, “Ecce Homo”.

In the inhuman span of ten days, Nietzsche committed to paper the first part of “Thus Spake Zarathustra”, his most lyrical and grandiose work. The final product numbered 250 pages, all written in less than a year, during fits of inspiration “like lightning; it comes with necessity, unhesitatingly”. Nietzsche imagined Zarathustra — the historical Iranian spiritual teacher whose revelations predate, and might have later inspired, many contemporary world religions — as the…

An interview-dialogue about three borders: Mexico to America, your country’s God and your own, your first gender, and your last.

No born Catholic remembers their baptism, and first communion is something of a gamble. Depending on tradition, confirmation may come before or after first communion. Champions of “after” propose that those undertaking the sacrament must have the age to be aware of just what it is they’re confirming. This is, of course, bullshit: I was thirteen. I rallied against the suffocating rota of Catholic school weekdays, Saturday catechism and Sunday service. That era was, if not the dawn of new atheism, then its glorious midday. Of course I read The God Delusion. My school’s ordained headmistress was torn between an…

Julia Norza

…is at large in Mexicali, Mexico.

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