Monday, June 8, 2009

My sister gave me Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water. I can't say I dived right into the book, favoring escapism rather than philosophy lately. But I did fall in one day and I've not been able to claw my way out. It's now joined the precious troop of books who bare the marks of my devotion. That is, it's full of pencil scribblings.

Yes, dear friends, I write in books. I underline, write brief comments, list favorite page numbers with notes in the back. I should be an index writer. (Indiceographer?)

But back to Walking on Water- It's about writing (as well as other art forms) and about Christianity. She seems to see all art as Christian art. I get where she's coming from. God is the author of all things, therefore He is reflected in all things. I am reminded of From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians Should Read the Pagan Classics by Louis Markos. He writes that "pre-Christians and non-Christian pagans are capable of perceiving, at least in embryonic form, some of the truths revealed in Christ."

Or is it merely a matter of the eye of the beholder? When I was a Lit. major I could pull symbolism off the ingredient list on the back of a cereal box. Now that I'm writing a novel, I see parallels to my story all around me. (I've also spotted more than one of my characters on the street. It's true. I'm not crazy.)

5 comments:

randy said...

Hi Amanda

I've been curious why you are so inclined towards escapism, or more accurately, the fantasy form of it. That's what surprised me the most when I first read your other blog. Being guilty of being an escapist myself I can understand certain forms of escapism but unrealistic fantasy is a whole other level. I don't mean to sound critical (I'm not at all), I just want to understand what it gives you that realism doesn't.

You had mentioned that Peter likes his sci-fi realistic and that it doesn't work for him if it's outside of the realm of possibility. I feel the same way about escapism (including God :-). For it to give a sense of satisfaction (probably meaning relief and comfort) I need to think that it could happen.

I guess what I'm trying to say is what does your choice of escapism have to say about you? Have you really analyzed that? I have my theories but it's not something I feel at liberty to posit in a possibly public forum.

I hope what I've written makes the least bit of sense.

Is it in the eye of the beholder? Well, you know what I think, the eye of the beholder is it's own self-contained universe. It's everything and the only thing that IS real, fantasy or not.

A Fortnight of Mustard said...

Oh, golly, where's Tolkien when I need him? He wrote an essay, which I have somewhere around here, on fairy stories. Yes, I've thought about why I enjoy fantasy and I alwasy simply come up with- because it's fun. But greater brains than mine have analyzed the phanominom. Tolkien, as I said, and Joseph Campbell (with his study of archetypes) are the two that spring to mind.

randy said...

I found a good article on the subject. I like how he, properly, in my opinion, relates fantasy and religion.

He's right about fantasy being an answer to the knowledge of the harsh realities of nature. I've long noted that as much as I love learning the truth (through science books and TV shows) there is only so much I can take at one time because truth inevitably leaves me a little sadder.

I've countered this with realistic fantasy. For example, I've naively attributed good qualities to people who didn't deserve them and in the process sometimes paid for my turning a blind eye to truth. The problem with realistic fantasy is that it can be proven false and many times painfully so.

Perhaps that's the answer right there. People choose unrealistic fantasy do so because it's irrefutable. Their fantasies are untouchable and that gives a greater sense of escape.

On the same subject is my decision not to eat animal flesh. On a rational level I know it's kind of foolish, especially when you consider that beef cows are produced in the process of making the milk products I consume and the huge numbers of living things destroyed by farming, but these delusions bring me a sense of comfort. Oh well, whatever gets you through the day, right :-)

randy said...

Oops! Forget the url.

http://www.sffworld.com/authors/b/baker/articles/whyfantasyandwhynow/html

A Fortnight of Mustard said...

That link wouldn't work for me. I googled around and I think this is the article:
http://www.sffworld.com/authors/b/bakker_scott/articles/whyfantasyandwhynow.html

I've got a bunch of things to say, so I'm taking it to a new blog post.

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