Wow. You are going to love this. Jay and Sarah bring on a very special guest, and we talk about losing your religion, having a best selling book turned into a hit Hollywood movie, unwittingly picking a fight with The Internet, moving to a remote island cabin in the woods in order to turn off distraction and focus on his work and the fans of it.
Seattle-based author Isaac Marion is an extremely interesting guy.
Do you remember the hit movie Warm Bodies?
In this episode, we continue our exploration of religion and spirituality with a very special guest, Seattle author, musician, and acquaintance of (the)John Malkovitch, after he was cast to play a pivotal character in a Hollywood movie based on the author's Warm Bodies Series.
From the beginning, Isaac Marion came from a deeply religious upbringing - his father a Christian pastor, Isaac speaks frankly and openly about how he came to question his fundamentalist Christian upbringing. Isaac generously gives listeners an unvarnished view into his experience, right up to and beyond the pivotal moment in his adult life that saw him step away from his faith entirely.
We also discuss Isaac's run-in (or better, head-on collision) with cancel culture, when a somewhat jokey, extremely creative writing endeavor involving a fictional conversation with President Trump catches the attention of the blindly-screaming, rage-eating, shambling denizens of angriest places on the Internet, unifying them with an urgent, ugly, singular purpose: Cancel. Issac. Marion.
As it turns out, living a life of charming authenticity is honestly just the way Isaac chooses to live. From his Patreon to his YouTube, his social media presence to his newsletters, and back to his Patreon and Discord server, (we gladly became a supporter at Isaac Marion's Patreon -- we can confirm, it's worth every penny of the five dollars a month we're pitching in to support an artist practicing his craft.) Isaac's is really just that guy.
Here's Isaac on the Web:Isaac Marion Community Links: Isaac Marion is an American writer. He is best known as the best-selling author of the "zombie romance" novel Warm Bodies and its series. Isaac Marion Official site for Isaac Marion, author of the Warm Bodies series—now concluded with THE LIVING. Isaac Marion on Social Media:
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/isaacmarionauthor/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/isaacinspace
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/isaacmarion/
His work was also published alongside other essays in the anthology "Empty the Pews" where authors Chrissy Stroop and Lauren O'Neal gathered 21 pieces from people once deeply engaged with religion, now recounting their individual experience leaving Christianity altogether: https://emptythepews.epiphanypublishing.us/Of Note:
There are various takes on his books, including seeing aspects of religious fundamentalism where none was meant.
Bonus Content: What is R's real name?
While Jay and Sarah tried to crack the code on R's real name, Isaac didn't budge. Outside of ensuring listeners that it wasn't Romeo. Word is, that in a private Patreon chat his fans claim to know R's name, but he insists he won't confirm it even if they are right -- no matter how easy it should be to piece it all together. Hrmm...
There was SO much going on this episode that we're deciding to do the unprecedented! We're giving you a sampling of the questions we put together in prep for the podcast. Some of them made it, some of them changed a little, and some of them didn't.
That's showbiz, friends!SUPER BONUS MATERIAL!
Hosts: Sarah, Jay
Topic: Cancel culture, Fundamentalism, and Meaning.Background Story:
Isaac is an author who has notably written the Warm Bodies series which is best known as full-length movie that came out in 2013. Recently, Isaac has self-published the fourth entry into the Warm Bodies series and co-wrote a piece for the book “Empty the Pews” titled “A better Dream”. In 2017, Isaac found himself under fire for a series of tweets made where he created a fictional dialogue where Trump chastised Isaac for being an author.
Warm Bodies is cast as a re-telling of Romeo & Juliet, if Romeo was a zombie named R. It's important to note the details here surrounding Romeo being undead and Juliet being living. There's a cool juxtaposition here of Romeo, a formerly emotionless dead being, and General Grigio, a living being who experiences emotions but is unable to communicate them.
“A better Dream” regards the Christian eschatological framework and the nihilistic “dream” that Christians have of the world ending and a new, better, world beginning. It's important to explore the link between Warm Bodies & A Better Dream here.
Themes to Highlight:
Christian fundamentalism v. Progressive fundamentalism
The impact of dogmatism on groups
Dogmatism theme in Warm Bodies
Dogmatism in communities
What was your life like growing up?
Christianity was a large part of your life, you mentioned Dave Bazan as part of the group (whom I-- Jay-- saw in concert just recently). If you could give a brief synopsis, how did that frame your worldview and life?
What was the culture shock like moving to Seattle and “making the world your home” like you mention in your Empty the Pews book?
What led to the story of Warm Bodies? What gave you the idea of juxtaposing the newly-feeling dead and the emotionless existence of the living?
General Grigio doesn't drink, is that a reference to fundamentalist culture? Were you thinking of Fundamentalist nonexpressivism when you crafted that character?
There are many in the Christian tradition who think that Warm Bodies is actually encouraging people to turn to Christianity… what would you say to that?
E.g., R and Julie falling into a pool of water is a “baptism”. The turning from the dead to the living because of “love”, etc.
Do you feel like this idea of ‘nonexpressivism' is something that we see in our everyday lives?
Talk to us a little bit about the “Great Cancelling” of 2017 as we call it where you created a fake dialog between you and Trump, and your tweets ended up going viral as a result. What was it like being on the side of that? Why do you think you got such backlash?
What led to you making the fake tweets?
What did you learn through the process?
When you think about the type of pushback that you got from the progressive community and you think about the type of experiences that you got from your religious upbringing, are there similarities?
Progressive exclusion culture for not meeting the “rules” of the community, etc.
How's this shaped your worldview overall? Where are you finding meaning in the world now?
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Artist: GoMordecai Title: All We Got
Adaptation: Reduced length to fit intro, adjusted audio levels
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Artist: Omonoko Title: Empty Streets
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