Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day and Mermories

It occurred to me only a few minutes ago that I forgot to write this post.

Today felt like a weekend. That's probably why. So far, all I've done was sit and read at Starbucks. It was the first time I've ever lost myself in a book. (I've been reading Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane.) Granted it is a holiday, I'm going to steer away from my usual informative posting involving writing coaching. I feel casual. Why not? Three day weekend, brah!

Reading fantasy has always been a heavily nostalgic, if not painful, activity for me. It's not that I don't enjoy fantasy, or that I'm put off by particular tropes. I love all that crap, as the layman would say. My problem is what fantasy communicates to me, how it speaks to my inner desires to live and to be in a world where things are simpler, less ambiguous. I love the pastoral imagery of Neil's work and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. The material stemming from these two individuals are intimate and personal. They are windows into what these writers believe in.

I believe in God, the christian oriented Kingdom, and an eventual restoration of this world and I would consider Tolkein's work to be analogous to this particular pretense. But I also feel conflicted. I really do desire for Middle Earth to be real, but will the new heavens and new earth be representative of this fiction? Have I fallen in love with a world that will never be?

C.S. Lewis has a moment in one of his books, The Great Divorce, where he describes an angel talking to a shade. The shade is an artist, or was, and is completely enamored with heaven. He wonders if he will be able to paint in paradise, to which the angel assures him that he will never paint again. That sounds like a bummer when you ponder that. C.S. Lewis is not, by any means, a tried and true theologian in the traditional sense, but really a philosopher, so we could say that this is one of those moments where one ought to take his word with a grain of salt. I, on the other hand, think he's on to something.

Living in a fantasy world, wanting it to be real, is the central desire that feeds artists, and their fantasy is ultimately shaped by their worldview. So, when I write, or an artist draws, or an architect plans a building, the creative spirit of these artists draw on some deeper well of inspiration that goes back to their outlooks, their expectations. Once you're in heaven, you won't write fiction, because the world will be perfect; it will make "sense." And I look forward to that because then what I deeply desire will no longer be something that I intangibly fantasize about. It will be real, and it will be wonderful. "Superman" will be real. "Middle Earth" will be real. The world will make sense.

So when I real Neil, maybe what I feel is frustration, instead of disappointment. I want the real deal, right now. No, Neil, don't write about that, it makes me want more! That's always a good position to be in when you're a writer.

So get back to reality and enjoy your beers for me (I still can't drink yet) tonight. It's been fun! See you all Wednesday.


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