Nine Circles of Writing Hell

9-circles-of-writing-hell“Today I don my Debbie Downer hat to discuss the circles of Writing Hell. Not surprising, the circle is an apt descriptor of the writing process because our thoughts go ’round and ’round…and ’round some more. The bad news: There is no escape for writers. The good news: There is no escape for writers.” — L.Z. Marie, L.Z. Marie, June 13, 2015

Read the full article here.

“On the Road with Dante” – Dante and Protestantism

“What might medieval Catholic poet Dante Alighieri teach Protestants today? A lot, actually. ” [. . .]

“While The Divine Comedy most clearly reflects the Catholic faith of the poet and his medieval world, it hints at some principles the Reformation would bring to bear on the church two centuries later. Dante purposely wrote in a low style that would have popular appeal despite its highly spiritual subject matter. While the church produced works in Latin, Dante wrote in the vernacular. His choice was revolutionary, ensuring the work could and would be read by common men as well as by women and children (who still study the work extensively in Italian schools today).

“Despite its loftiness, The Divine Comedy is firmly grounded in the gritty and the mundane. In fact, Dante didn’t use the word divine in his title. He simply titled it Commedia, which at the time meant a work with a happy ending as opposed to a tragic one. (The word ‘divine’ was added by a later editor and has stuck through the years.) In casting a fictional version of himself as the central figure, The Divine Comedy is prophetically personal, confessional, and autobiographical. In this way it emphasizes a surprisingly modern sense of self-determination, one that foreshadows the famous ‘Protestant work ethic.’ Moreover, in its accent on the salvation and purification of the individual soul, this work of the Catholic Dante anticipates the spiritual autobiographies of Puritans such as John Bunyan. The Divine Comedy is a story of someone seeking salvation. In Dante’s own words, the poem’s purpose is to lead readers from ‘a state of wretchedness to a state of happiness.’ And while depicting salvation in the afterlife, it’s clear Dante intends readers to find abundant life in the here and now.” [. . .]    –Karen Swallow Prior, The Gospel Coalition, October 21, 2015.

The Nine Circles of a Frequent Traveler’s Hell

“As St Francis and Kurt Vonnegut reminded us, we must accept the things that we cannot change, change the things we can, and have the wisdom to know the difference between the two.

“When things are ‘off’ from my regular routine, I get a bit anxious. I’d like to say I get cranky as well, but my form of cranky usually involves me harrumphing into a ball and blasting my Spotify playlists while devouring a new book on Kindle.

“That’s my particular manifestation of ‘wisdom to know the difference between the two,’ because books are good and public meltdowns are not.

“We’re all in this travel situation together, for whatever amount of time is left to unfold. How we treat each other and apply our wisdom to know the difference between controllable and uncontrollable change is what makes traveling with others a delight and also a burden.

“As I spent my thousandth train ride on the Amtrak Acela from Boston to New York City this past week with a seat back in my lap, I considered the various predicaments that traveling with other humans can create.

“Which, of course, brought me to Dante’s Inferno, and the nine circles of hell that a person can be sent to for their various sins in the living world.

“Obviously, your previous slights and misjudgments do not necessarily earn you the circle of traveling hell you may find yourself in. But if you travel frequently enough, you will at some point accidentally find yourself in each one.” [. . .]    –Elisa Doucette, Forbes, October 12, 2015.

Read Doucette’s full list of traveler’s hell here.

The Circles of Hell on a Trip to Mount Bromo (Indonesia)

Mount-Bromo-Indonesia-Ninth-Circle-Dantes-Inferno“Mount Bromo is located at about 4 hours drive from Surabaya, the capital of East Java, in Indonesia and it is part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. It is considered one of the top bucket list destinations in Indonesia, one of the places to visit in Indonesia. I suppose it deserves to be one of them.

“You see, I am an atheist and hardly a believer that heaven and hell exist. Yet, if I have to describe my experience in Mount Bromo, the first thing that comes to my mind are the Nine Circles of Hell of Dante’s Inferno. Much like Dante’s journey through hell, accompanied by his guide Virgil, I felt that I was also going through the nine circles, although in my case there was no real guide in sight but just other members of the tour group.” — Claudia Tavani, “Ring of Fire or Circle of Hell? Crossing Dante’s Inferno on Mount Bromo,” My Adventures Across the World, November 10, 2015

Read more about Tavani’s adventure on Mount Bromo here.

9 Circles of Parent Hell

“Some days parenting feels like nothing more than a series of bare-knuckle bouts in the gladiator pit of life. Some days it feels as if all you do is pick up the crumpled, inside-out socks of Satan’s spawn. Somehow we manage. We wade through the muck putting out fires. We fan the embers that need flaming, we keep the home fires burning long enough to cook dinner, and we do our best to avoid the nine circles of parenting hell.

“Not familiar with the 9 Circles of Parenting Hell? Let me fill you in.” — Wine and Cheese Doodles, March 7, 2015

Read the full article here.

“Inferno Strikes Dante’s Bar in U-District”

“Dante’s erupted into a small inferno Tuesday morning after overheated electrical wiring caused a blaze at the popular University District bar.

Firefighters were called about 9 a.m. to the bar in the 5300 block of Roosevelt Way Northeast, dispatch records show. Initial reports described light smoke emanating from the building, but responding firefighters entered the bar to find heavy smoke.

Because Dante’s is made up of three separate buildings that became connected over time, crews experienced difficulty finding the fire and dug through the bar’s walls and ceiling to track it down, Seattle Fire spokesman Kyle Moore said. The blaze has since been brought under control.” [. . .]    –Lynsi Burton, SeattlePI, August 18, 2015.

Unfortunately, in the years since this fire, Dante’s has been permanently closed, with the land bought for apartment development.

Seven Circles of Brunch Hell

“I love brunch. We love brunch. Combining breakfast and lunch into a cheesy, greasy, boozy weekend debauch is a brilliant idea, both in theory and in practice. This is an undeniable truth, and anyone who says otherwise is a largish fool. Lowercase-b brunch is heaven. But that’s not the only brunch there is.

“Capital-B Brunch, on the other hand, is dreadful. It’s ‘A Thing’: an ordeal, a project, a nouveau-riche McMansion built on the sandy foundations of deep insecurity and credit debt. It is ‘Brunchhhhhhhmyfuckinggodwhy.’ Capital-B Brunch is hell, and like hell, it has many circles. Here they are, arranged in rough chronological order based on when in your horrible, wretched life you will experience them.” — Dave Infante, Thrillist, August 12, 2015

Read the full article here.

Octobriana and The Tenth Circle of Hell

Octobriana is a public domain Russian super-heroine, who first appeared in a comic strip in 1971. In the new Octobriana book, titled Octobriana: The Exotic Time Domina, there is a comic spoof of Dante’s Inferno titled “The Tenth Circle of Hell.”

In his review for Kult Creations, John A. Short writes:

“Firstly we have reprints of Reima’s two rare, out-of-print Octo strips from the early nineties… ‘Mission in the North’ (with artist Petri Tolppanen) and ‘The Tenth Circle of Hell’ (with artist Timo Niemi.) It is ‘The Tenth Circle of Hell’ that is the backbone of this book, since it runs to 37 pages and is by far the longest strip in the collection. The story sees the Spirit of the October Revolution flying her time travelling Wonder Machine to Hell to take on everyone from Cerberus, Pluto (the God not the dog), Medusa, the Devil and her own evil sister (Decabriana!) This spoof of Dante’s Divine Comedy has some great humour and cracking action all in artist Niemi’s macabre woodcut-style.” [. . .]   –John A. Short, Kult Creations, October 9, 2015.

In addition to “Mission in the North” and “The Tenth Circle of Hell”, the new Octobriana book includes the comic strips “Origins”, “Wasted Time”, and “From Cuba with Love.”

This book was written and illustrated by Reima Mäkinen, Petri Tolppanen, Timo Niemi, Vesa Vitikainen and Sauli Jokinen.

You can pick up a copy of Octobriana: The Exotica Time Domina online at Turun Sarjakuvakauppa for 12,00 €.

The Tenth Circle: College Applications

“Not even one quarter through my life, I lost my way in a dark bedroom. The only illumination was the pale glow of the Common App website. This is a godless place. I switched from the Common App to Netflix and sulked.

“Distressed and lonely, I cried out, ‘SCREW COLLEGE! SOMEBODY HELP ME!’ and at that moment, a shade appeared in the doorway.

“’O hey dood,’ said the great poet Marsalis AdrianoHe still wore his backpack and his face sported a smarmy grin that was still somewhat inviting. Perhaps it was just the light from my monitor playing off his mochaccino skin, but I felt I could trust him.

“’Hey wanna go to hell dood? It’s right down there,’ he pointed towards the door, ‘might be cool to put on your college app.’

“As I had nothing better to do, I decided to oblige the great mystic in my bedroom, after all, Netflix only distracted me for so long.

“He led me out the door to a platform where, just beyond the edge, was a great black chasm. The jagged edges of the chasm were decorated with graduation caps with the tassels torn off and old forgotten football helmets of formerly glorious players. Marsalis looked to me and shrugged a quick shrug, pursed his lips, and raised his eyebrows skyward. He motioned me to the edge of the platform, where a seemingly endless flight of stairs led into the pit.” [. . .]    -Cole Murphy’s writing, posted by Elliot Quartz, The Current, January 21, 2015.

Continue reading Cole’s perilous journey applying to colleges at The Current, Malibu High School’s Student Newspaper.

You can read more posts by Elliot Quartz here.

The Tenth Circle: Unique Selling Propositions

“Developing a unique selling proposition (USP) can be one of the most difficult brand messaging challenges you’ll ever tackle. In fact, it can be downright hellish.

That’s because your USP needs to accomplish an enormous task with incredible economy: it has to clearly articulate why buyers should choose your product or service over every other option they have—and it has to do so in the fewest words possible. Writing a USP is so difficult, in fact, that American companies are largely ambivalent about their USPs. They rate their confidence in the strength of their own USPs just 6.2 out of 10, on average, according to research from B2B International.

This raises an interesting question: If companies are generally lukewarm about their USPs, should you even go to the trouble of creating one for your company?[. . .]    –Michael Civiello, LinkedIn, December 1, 2015.

To read more about USPs and Hell, check out Civiello’s full article on LinkedIn.