Monday, July 20, 2009

Writing, Light, and Mark 13:33

Yes, I have been busy, and my work is proceeding apace - I am into the concluding part of my fantasy, The Three Relics, which you've heard about before - this is the story which begins with the part called "Black Hole in the Basement". It is of course Chestertonian, and has comparatively little of what most would call High Technology, though I have been using some very sophisticated... uh, perhaps I ought not spill any secrets just yet. I can't tell you how or when it will be published - at least not yet - but you can always check with Loome and ask if you get desperate for something good to read. Hee hee.

Anyway, at a particular exciting moment, I needed a reference to Chesterton, and found what I did not expect to find - a magnificent mystical poem of philosophy and physics and bible-scholarship, of the kind only Chesterton writes. Moreover, if you are really curious about my writing, it will give you a LOT about the underpinnings and the - let us call it - design methodology, which of course I get from many other sources too. But read it and see:
There is at the back of all our lives an abyss of light, more blinding and unfathomable than any abyss of darkness; and it is the abyss of actuality, of existence, of the fact that things truly are, and that we ourselves are incredibly and sometimes almost incredulously real. It is the fundamental fact of being, as against not being; it is unthinkable, yet we cannot unthink it, though we may sometimes be unthinking about it; unthinking and especially unthanking. For he who has realized this reality knows that it does outweigh, literally to infinity, all lesser regrets or arguments for negation, and that under all our grumblings there is a subconscious substance of gratitude. That light of the positive is the business of the poets, because they see all things in the light of it more than do other men. Chaucer was a child of light and not merely of twilight, the mere red twilight of one passing dawn of revolution, or the grey twilight of one dying day of social decline. He was the immediate heir of something like what Catholics call the Primitive Revelation; that glimpse that was given of the world when God saw that it was good; and so long as the artist gives us glimpses of that, it matters nothing that they are fragmentary or even trivial; whether it be in the mere fact that a medieval Court poet could appreciate a daisy, or that he could write, in a sort of flash of blinding moonshine, of the lover who 'slept no more than does the nightingale'. These things belong to the same world of wonder as the primary wonder at the very existence of the world; higher than any common pros and cons, or likes and dislikes, however legitimate. Creation was the greatest of all Revolutions. It was for that, as the ancient poet said, that the morning stars sang together; and the most modern poets, like the medieval poets, may descend very far from that height of realization and stray and stumble and seem distraught; but we shall know them for the Sons of God, when they are still shouting for joy. This is something much more mystical and absolute than any modern thing that is called optimism; for it is only rarely that we realize, like a vision of the heavens filled with a chorus of giants, the primeval duty of Praise.
[GKC Chaucer CW18:172-3]

Then I must tell you one other bit - which just about knocked off my socks when I read it.

As I said, I have a certain design methodology in mind, something rather like a cross between Tolkien and the Book of Proverbs, which will get a lot of people scratching their heads. (I actually had to write a kind of "explanation to the reader" so the trick would not get lost, or give rise to all kinds of complications, etc. ) You see, I was really sure that few people had ever come up with just the very curious design I had come up with.

And then I had to go and consult the Gospels for a certain quote related to something else - and I found I was wrong. God had already used it.

Here's the quote. You won't catch how it relates to the story, even once you've finished it up to the duel - (oh, there's to be a duel? yes, yes...) but you might once you've finished it all the way through. Note that the translation is from the Douay-Rheims...
Take ye heed, watch and pray. For ye know not when the time is.
-- Mark 13:33
Stunning. But then God thought me up, I'd expect Him to use the same scheme somewhere else, He does it with so many other curiosities in the kosmos. (Note the "watch and pray" occurs elsewhere, in particular Mk14:38, in the garden of Gethsemani; in that case the translation is perhaps more accurate. But the fact that the DR version gives it in this place is what makes it so stunning.)

PS. Yes, as you may surmise, I break one of the Great Laws of Fantasy - the shocking thing is (as I said) I see that God already had already hinted at that in the above-quoted verse. This is so cool, talk about cunning predictions.

I'd like to tell you more, but I have to get back to work.


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