Dave Sim's blogandmail #24 (October 5th, 2006)
On that day the hypocrites, both men and women shall say to those who believe , "Tarry for us that we may kindle our light at yours". It shall be said, "Return ye back and seek light for yourselves." But between them shall be set a wall with a gate, within which shall be the Mercy, and in front, without it, the Torment. They shall cry to them, "Were we not with you?" They shall say, "Yes! But ye led yourselves into temptation, and ye delayed, and ye doubted, and the good things ye craved deceived you, till the doom of God arrived:—and the Deceiver deceived you in regard to God."
Sura 57:13 – "Iron"
This is actually being written 27 September, the fourth day of Ramadan, which this year (my eighth time fasting) coincides with my regular four-day fast once every three weeks from Sunday to Wednesday (in addition to my regular all-day-Sunday fast). It falls short of the genuinely transformational state which, for me anyway, kicks in around the beginning of the second week. Right now I'm just aware of being hungry as a general rule and clinging mentally to the knowledge that I will be able to eat whenever I want just four weeks from now and that until then I am always going to be either vaguely or really hungry for most of the day and that the times that I'm not going to be vaguely or really hungry are limited to two: my pre-dawn meal and the meal I'm going to eat just before going to bed
[And which I've consciously chosen to limit to a salad plate of lettuce and cucumber with diced onions, croutons and ranch dressing, dinner roll and 8-ounce glass of V-8 vegetable juice and a can of diced pineapple for desert. Every night for 30 days. It seemed to me when I started doing the Ramadan fast that what I should be eating was healthy food and, to one degree or another, uninteresting food. The idea, it seemed to me, was self-deprivation as a means of identifying with the world's poor (as the zakat, alms giving, is intended to directly help them). It was only after 9-11 as Islamic practices started making the news that I found out that a lot of Muslims really gorge themselves at the end of their fasting day, which, to me, seems to violate the spirit of the idea behind fasting. Abstemiousness followed by gluttony doesn't strike me as being in tune with the idea. I've also made it a policy not to eat after the sundown prayer but to wait until after the final prayer. I don't know if in so doing I'm violating a core element of whatever Larger Enactment fasting is a manifestation of, but I guess I'll find that out on Judgement Day].
I was amused in proof-reading the total Collected Letters package that Claude Flowers sent me that I only mentioned fasting in Ramadan twice in the course of my (2004?) letters written during the sacred month. Amused because when I'm going through it, it is always pretty close to absolutely uppermost in my mind particularly here in the first week. Three days down, twenty-seven to go. I'm one-tenth of the way through. Today, as I said, is Day Four, which means after tomorrow I'll be one-sixth of the way through which is always a gratifying jump to make in the course of 48 hours—from one tenth to one-sixth. And then the next day I'm one-fifth of the way through. And then, along about the second week pfft that all just sort of goes away and the real bliss of the thing just settles over me, so that by the third week I'm exactly the other way around—regretting that it's going to be over soon and the sense of clarity and well-being will gradually just subside into appetite again. "If I have a hamburger and fries it will make me feel better." Fortunately, eight years into this, I know better now. This was really the first year that Ramadan just arrived right when it was supposed to. Previous years, it was like dragging myself to the finish line of appetite knowing that Ramadan Will Save Me. I'll lose weight that I need to lose, get healthy, lose the poisons out of my system. Over the last year I didn't let that many poisons back into my system after my fast was over.
The last few remaining Diamondback decks, this week's sponsors of the Blog & Mail sincerely apologize that, again, they haven't been offered to the Discriminating Cerebus Yahoo Consumers. The Diamondback decks' agents, appointees and delegated assignees had not been aware yesterday when they virtually implied that they would be offered today that they would be pre-empted by both an extensive quote from the Koran and a dissertation on Dave Sim's Ramadan observance. As completely secular-humanist and largely pagan decks, they are in fact, more than a little hacked off at this point, but what are they going to do?
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