Monday, July 29, 2019

A Good Story is Never Just a Story

Followers of this blog know I belong to a writer's forum.  One quote from Steven King we stress is about a writer having to read.  This would seem self evident, but two newer members took offense, and tried to insist that a writer need not read.   As blotchy a reader as I might be (sort of frenzy and then little and back to frenzy again), I know it's an essential component of the writer's life.  Here is why: 
As a child, I devoured fairy tails and fables, anything with fantasy had me neck deep in it, reading them over and over again. Some of those stories over the years became alternative versions of themselves, Disnefied by movies. The little mermaid got the guy and sacrificed virtually nothing in the end, and none of the stories ended with anything actually bad happening except to the villians as established early on in the tale.
The fairy tales became simpler versions of the stories they were, and while they dazzled with humor and music and color, they weren't what they once were, because they no longer told any story, but the plot which inspired them. Cinderella dances with her man and wins him in the end. The Beauty charms the Beast and they marry. Everyone gets a rich spouse and endless blessings in the end, with nary a worry or a care or a loss.
Fairy tales, real ones, they aren't like that at all if you go back to the source. People cut off their toes, they endure death, they lose and they lose and they lose and only after they've endured --seven years without speaking, or journeyed to complete hard quests that lost them loyal companions or treasures they thought they valued, do they come to their conclusions.
The stories tell stories beyond the plot, like Goldielocks and the Three Bears fulfill the wish of every older sibling when the new baby comes home. Everything was perfect until she showed up and ate my food, broke my things and took over my bed. We get rid of her, everything goes back to perfect.
Beauty and the Beast is a story of redeption and forgiveness and growth, but in its modern and most known version, that gift of mercy in the form of a transformative spell which allows for maturity and love to do it's job, is only allotted to the original prince. If you're a commoner and a jerk like Gaston, (as fun as he is as a villian), there's no hope for redemption, no magic that helps broaden the narrow vision of the townspeople the way it did those of the servants at the castle. Redemption for some doesn't resonate for me. I want the cycle to continue, if it's a tale as true as song and old as time.
Stephen King wrote about how he used his own trials as grist for the mill, and thus Misery is a story about his additction to cocaine. Steven Moffat did the same with his episodes of Dr. Who --where the invasion of the cubes that everyone took everywhere and took for granted, but which amassed information about everyone, was an attempt to look critically at our use of cell phones in this society. The weeping angels, were reminders of what pornography does to the brain --it destroys relationships, it stays in the mind and becomes a source of facination, and it becomes something which is hard to escape. All good stories, are much more and about much more than what happened.
What we read and what we live, is by necessity, part of what we pour out onto the page. The more we have to draw upon, the better we can create whole worlds, move hearts, evoke pain, heart ache, joy and great beauty. It is why reading is a mandatory 25 minute part of my writing regimen. It to me, is like stretching, before and after exercise. It cuts back on the possiblity of arrogance, because I can see before me someone else's craft and elegance and intellect and know it's superior, and it fuels my capacity to do more.
We live in a post-literary age, when people skim and skate along the surface of what's available.  For this generation's story tellers, it's all the more vital.  We're going to need to know all the stories that came before us, so we can introduce them to a new generation who is as of yet, only vaguely aware of the stories out there (and usually only via Disney).  Hopefully we can spark in them, the desire to dive deeper into all the words and worlds there are to find.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Over at the Register

Two weeks off from writing slowed my writing chops to a crawl, working my way back.  That being said, one of my favorite priests was named Bishop of Wheeling in West Viginia.  There were some articles which speculated on his capacity to be a good shepherd, and that got my Texan up, so I wrote a piece:  Here's what you should know about...

Thursday, July 18, 2019

New at the Register

I've put away the computer for what amounted to two weeks (since my birthday).  I am stumbling back to it, feeling like a person who was working out every day, who went on an all you can eat cruise and destroyed all my good work in one vacation.  My brain in short, feels out of shape. 

However, back when I was writing 500 words a day, no excuses, I wrote this and it's a reminder to me, to get back to work. 

There are No Pawns in God's plan.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Over at the Register Today

It's been a while in prat because I've beeen on vacation and this is the first time I opened my computer except to pay some bills. ANyway, I'm in Bolivar. I love this place so much.  I'm with my family and that makes my heart ful as well.  As an added bonus, I got published this week. So I'm over at The Register today, discussing what one can do when you encounter someone in need of support for a pregancy. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!