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Re: [mythsoc] A little dark, a little light

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  • Diane Joy Baker
    ... From: To: Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2000 6:13 PM Subject: [mythsoc] What we re all about, I guess ... ? ...
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 30, 2000
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <ERATRIANO@...>
      To: <Mythsoc@egroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2000 6:13 PM
      Subject: [mythsoc] What we're all about, I guess ... ?


      >
      > Hi, I have a few sort of questions all muddled together. The premise
      driving
      > them, I suppose, is that, for some of us, the mythie/writing life has at
      > least loosely Christian underpinnings. Whether one is strictly Christian
      or
      > generically looking towards the Light, are there certain fundamental
      > guidelines we should look to be following? Or something like that...

      Guidelines? Let's see. Good plot, characterization, style and the like. I
      think if you're working for "The Maker of All Worlds" and wanting to
      imitate, doing the best you can is an act of worship. "Whatever you do, do
      all to the glory of God." (Even if you may not believe in the traditions.)

      Asking questions that make all of us think---whether we agree or not. My
      vision of joy and delight is not yours, but the fun comes from sharing
      visions, and seeing something new in each.
      >
      > One question is related to Sheri S. Tepper and authors, the other is more
      > related to writing. I will set them both out below, as beset (typo, but
      oh
      > how appropriate), I mean as best as I can:
      >
      > 1. We've discussed Tepper a little bit, and offlist one kind soul has
      told
      > me a little more about her personality. I'm wondering a little whether I
      > want to encourage an interest, in myself or others, in literature and
      thought
      > that says that ultimately, we are on a downward spiral. (Not that I don't
      > like her books; they are haunting.) I am not sure whether that furthers
      > depressive thought or jars one to break the bad habits now. I hope this
      > question make sense. Probably I should read more "dark" fantasy to fuel
      this
      > query, because maybe it could help.

      That's possible. I can take some "dark" fantasy, but need to leaven it with
      something lighter to lift my mood. As much as I like Gene Wolfe, I don't
      think I could read him continually. We need a change, simply because that's
      part of being human. Balance is the key. I am curious about Tepper's
      personality. She strikes me as being rather doctrinaire, but passionate,
      something of an Ayn Rand (or rant?) of the left. Very much a "male-bashing"
      feminist. (That may be my perception, not truth.)

      Of course, dark fantasy can be seen in a hopeful light. Horror and comedy
      work on the same principle. You have a decidedly outrageous
      situation---monsters roaming the area, horrible events going on---or Lucille
      Ball concocting one of her outrageous schemes---and it elicits the emotions
      of fear or laughter (often based on pain). But there's always a "voice of
      reason," and in the end---normalcy is restored. At least for a while. Even
      at the end of Elizabeth Hand's *Glimmering,* one of the most "hopeless" of
      dark fantasies I've read of late, there is a child born, and some measure of
      hope and normality in the end. The question is "how much hope do we
      envision." Dean Koontz shows a lot; Tepper may not show much unless it's in
      her own political context (and we all have one of those).

      > 2. Taking this argument over to the writing life. Some of us feel that
      life
      > IS ultimately futile, that maybe there ISN'T a God or any of the good
      stuff
      > we write about and hope to be true. Is it then hypocritical to write as
      if
      > it were? Or is it the working of the Will over the Emotions, so to speak?

      No, I don't think it's hypocritical. For two reasons.

      1. There is something to be said for acting as if God were there, and in
      time (God's time, not ours) that faith will be rewarded. (This turns up all
      the time in CSL.) I admit I don't share the "all is futile and hopeless"
      view, and perhaps it's hard for me to comment, because I am so convinced the
      other way, though I don't always feel "on top" all the time. No one does.
      However, you have Biblical precedent. Ecclesiastes is squarely in the
      "vanity of vanities, all is vanity" camp. "Nevertheless, I will praise
      God," as the Psalmist says, though that's hard to do when I can't get
      somewhere I want to go, I'm late, and I've just missed the bus!

      2. It's useful to write something from the other viewpoint, to get an
      understanding of that emotional or philosophical matrix. It would be the
      same for any viewpoint. Not all characters are going to be happy campers,
      and a good author can get really good character depth from exploring another
      viewpoint. Of course, viewpoints can change!

      Emotions can sometimes be smokescreens for our desires. There's this:
      "Lord, I want to believe; help my unbelief." It ultimately comes down to
      what you want. Do you want hopelesness? Or hope? A rather interesting
      exercise: Ask yourself what you get out of / how you benefit from feeling
      dark and hopeless or believing there isn't a God. Do this very quickly, ten
      times, and write down the first thing that comes to your mind. Don't censor
      yourself.

      As long as I feel dark and hopeless I ______________________________.
      As long as there isn't a God, I ______________________________.

      Then, do the opposite (but wait a few days in between).

      As long as I feel light and hopeful, I ________________________.
      As long as there is a God, I ____________________________.

      You may be surprised at what you find out! ---djb.
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