Friday, June 26, 2015
Reflections, Work, Rock and Change
Big day over here in the States. Awoke to sudden marriage equality; currently there's a sense of simmering elation, a strange sudden understanding that alteration (CHANGE) is in play, will eternally be in play. We've constructed innumerable shackles for our minds, spirits and bodies over the millennia, primarily via the construction of societal norms...but reality is as mutable as we allow it to be. Right now there are thousands of fuming xtian fundamentalists writhing on the hook of that which they detest. I don't doubt that there will be innumerable further hurdles (there are always hurdles; without them change can't effect its eternal flux) but tonight is a brief moment of triumph. Of course one can argue about the institution of marriage as a whole; of course we can question this deep-seated assumption that our contemporary definitions of family and society are graven in stone when these conventions are also (gasp!) subject to change. The ideal family of ancient Greece is a dramatically different thing than the ideal family of Babylon or Rome or Imperial China; one can only assume (hope) that a thousand years down the road we will have arrived at an entirely new means of interacting with our human brethren as whole, to make no mention of mating conventions. But at this moment in the United States anyone can get married that wants to. The big picture yields to the little in some cases, especially when there's an occasion for frantic celebration.
Haven't posted on here for a while. And what mischief have I been up to in the last month? Working, traveling. I took a trip up to Michigan for a bit, connecting with family and friends. Enjoyed the stay, but it's always a pleasure to return to my peculiar little box in the dry lands. The first draft of The Curse of Roc-Thalian is nearing completion; I admit I'm a little behind schedule, but then I've always flourished in environments of looming deadlines. I set out to write this book without a definite idea of where the characters would go, trusting them to lead me in the right direction, and I haven't been disappointed. Now there's just a few hundred gallons of elbow grease required. Lots of work (long hours, contemplation, revision, despair and renewal of purpose) go into writing a book, at least any book worth reading. I'm hoping that all my blood and tears and other bodily fluids are evinced in the final text.
I'm currently in the midst of reading The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. My first Butler, and amazing; the capitalization of CHANGE above is owing to her influence. I'm enamored of her concept of a new faith/religion (Earthseed) arising to displace the outmoded spiritual systems of old. Butler's concept of revering change as the one constant, as the true face of God, is definitely the direction (or at least one of the directions) I feel we need to embrace. We need to learn from our past, not just record it and then fetishize it endlessly (WWII 'documentaries', I'm looking at you). We loathe change congenitally; we flourish on familiarity, to the extent that the smell of baking bread can waft us back to the forgotten demesne of childhood. But childhood does end, both for individuals and for races. The human species is poised on the brink of our own destruction/revelation, and CHANGE is the key. We must alter, shed the past while simultaneously revering it; we owe it to god/the gods to concoct new faces for the divine, instead of wallowing in age-old systems awash in entropy. That said, I encourage any and all fans of sci-fi, fantasy, or actual thought the read Butler immediately. Her vision of the near future is both chilling and beguiling.
So who am I? What am I? Am I a fantasist, a metaphysician, a crank, a magician, an alchemist, a writer, a fool? I'd argue all of these things. I certainly own the label 'Fool,' and savor the sensation of peering into the sun while my foot dangles precariously over the cliff. I decry labels, especially the labels of genre; we've become too cluttered, too post-modern, to convinced of our mastery of trope and narrative, while losing our ability to tell meaningful stories. I am definitely a writer, and will take that self-definition to the grave. But my interests are far-ranging. To me the hideous and grotesque are bedfellows with Beauty, that utter principal that needs no justification beyond itself. I do not seek perfection, but esteem the act of creation as the utmost human pursuit and purpose. I love my fellow-beings, even as they drive me to distraction; humanity is my palate, my materia, my definition and my drive. I can be no clearer than this. What I do decry is humanity's endless preference for locking itself in cul-de-sacs. CHANGE comes, whether or not we are prepared; indeed, change is our birthright. There is a general preference for stagnation amongst humans (thus our eternal craving for an unending Utopia) but natural processes (us included) just don't work that way. Change is coming, you better run. Or mutate.
My other primary influence is rock music. I haven't talked about it much on here, but my books are littered with little references. The House of the Setting Sun at the beginning of Tamrel is a homage to Swedish metal band Lake of Tears. Niblon the Black, the constellation Nuir sees on her ceiling in the house of Madame Heretia, is a call-out to T. Rex. There are other references, though none so direct as Douglas Adams quoting a bunch of Beatles songs in the beginning of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. I intend to write an entire post on this in the near future, but suffice to say music has been my guiding principal every bit as much as the written word. If you are making real music it's impossible to lie. As far as I can tell Art is the one thing that cannot lie, and so to me it is the highest purpose. Of course art can be twisted into propaganda, but then it ceases to be art; true ART is true purpose, a difficult pill for a materialist world to swallow (despite the fact that it's far from bitter). More on this later as well.
Well, I guess that wraps things up for the moment. Listening to 'Swimming Song' by Loudon Wainwright III. "Hold your breath, kick your feet and move your arms around." Blessings to all on this day of triumph.