Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cheap Heroism and Villainry

Bovodar breaks his chains to fight for his life in the castle of Valemod, the Polar Bear King.


The following comes from a blog post titled, If You're Worried About Story:

I don't believe in either cheap heroism or cheap villainry, as both are the product of mediocre writers with insufficient imagination. While I would consider Captain Europa to be a villain and the Global Justice Initiative to be evil, he most certainly does not.
Nor do I believe that my favored side must always win. After all, the ultimate heroism is self-sacrificial, and I am not even remotely hesitant to kill off even my favorite characters if the story's logic demands it. (The fact that this also helps solve the fatal perspective-character-inflation problem is merely a fortunate side-effect.) Nor do I ever indulge in the storytelling fraud that is so often present in Martin, Marvel, and DC stories; there are few literary devices for which I have more contempt than "bringing back" an obviously dead character. It's not only lame and fake drama, it is unnecessary for the sufficiently skilled writer.
 I also don't believe my favored side should win.  And yes, I'm also willing to kill off my characters for the same reasons as this author outlines.

As for what he calls "cheap heroism or cheap villainry," sometimes there simply is a bad guy and a good guy.  Beowulf vs Grendel, Arthur vs Mordred, Aragorn vs Sauron, Kirk vs Khan.  It's a common dynamic.  I will grant that complex characters make for very interesting stories.

This latter quality--complex characters--I believe, is showing itself in my recent fiction writing.  Bovodar and the Dragons is turning out to be not as simple as Bovodar's first adventure.

Check out Bovodar and the Bears, available on Kindle.  




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

More Sources of Fallen Angels and Giants

I've found some fascinating accounts of the story about the fallen angels and the giants--apart from the Book of Enoch.  This is important to me, as the origins of the Wolf King begin in our world before The Flood, and because these agents of the ancient world continue in his realm.


The Voyage of Saint Brendan

At that, one of the birds flew off the tree, and as he flew his wings had a tinkling sound like little bells.  He flew over to the boat where the saint was seated, and, perching on the prow, he spread out his wings to show how glad he was to meet Brendan.  
Then the saint, realizing that his prayer had been granted, said to the bird, "if you are a messenger from God, tell me where all these birds come from, and why they are gathered together here."
The bird answered, "We are the victims of the ancient enemy.  Through no fault of our own, we fell from heaven with Lucifer and his followers.  But God, who always dispenses justice, sent us to this place, where we suffer no pain, and where we can see a little of the divine presence.  But we must be kept apart from the angels who remained faithful to God.
"We wander the world, in the air, and earth, and sky, like the other spirits on their missions; but on festival days we take the shapes you see, and come here, and sing the praises of our Creator."


From the Testament of Solomon

And there came before my face another enslaved spirit, having obscurely the form of a man, with gleaming eyes, and bearing in his hand a blade.  And I asked: "Who art thou?"  But he answered: "I am a lascivious spirit, engendered of a giant man who died in the massacre in the time of the giants."  I said to him: "Tell me what thou art employed upon earth, and where thou hast thy dwelling."
And he said: "My dwelling is in fruitful places, but my procedure is this.  I seat myself beside the men who pass along among the tombs, and in untimely season I assume the form of the dead; and if I catch any one, I at once destroy him with my sword.  But if I cannot destroy him, I cause him to be possessed with a demon, and to devour his own lesh, and the hair to fall off his chin."  But I said to him: "Do thou then be in fear of the God of heaven and of earth, and tell me by what angel thou art frustrated."  And he answered: "He destroys me who is to become Savior, a man whose number, if any one shall write it on his forehead, he will defeat me, and in fear I shall quickly retreat.  And, indeed, if any one write this sign on him, I shall be in fear."  And I Solomon, on hearing this, and having glorified the Lord God, shut up this demon like the rest.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Hollow World, and Mortal Imp Men

I have been struggling to finish the second book that takes place in the world of the Wolf King.  I'm aiming to finish the rough draft by the end of November, but we shall see how that goes.  

In the meantime, there's a few notes I need to make, and I think it's fun to share my thoughts with other people.

The idea of the Wolf King, Lord Nobious, stems from an old idea I once had that has the potential to delve into strange Middle Eastern folklore.  While these things are not worthy of belief whatsoever, they can serve quite well in fiction.

One thing that I've kept finding on the Internet that has always fascinated me is this old Jewish legend about how the world is hollow like an onion, and that there are seven lands within the world.  Again, absolute rubbish.  But it does let the imagination run wild.

I am a Catholic man.  Perhaps, knowing all of the trivia that I know, I might playfully entertain the idea that our world very well might be the center of the universe, or that perhaps St. Anthony met a weird little man who claimed he was not human.  But I do not look at other lore in the same manner, fascinating, though, it may be.    
Chesed L'Avraham" (the grandfather of the Chida) speaks about what the Zohar discusses about there being seven hidden lands, with various beings living in each land. The Zohar speaks of the inhabitants of one of the lands called "Neshaya", where the people are shorter than our people. The Chesed L'Avraham says that the world is essentially hollow, with various layers, like the layers of an onion, and he describes the inhabitants of "Neshaya" as having large heads, small bodies, no ears or noses, only holes, and a small slit for a mouth, and large black eyes. He says that these people do take people sometimes briefly for their needs. Sounds like "grey aliens". Probably what people think are the aliens from other planets are actually the people from Neshaya under the earth. It is still possible though that there is life on other planets, but those who abduct people are probably closer to us than other planets.
The Me'am Loez on Parshes Berashis (Daf Nun or Nun Aleph) talks about Aliens. He writes that there are aliens with a human head and horse body; like a Centaurs. He also writes there are planets where there are very handsome people, but they cannot grow food. They come to this world to eat people! Speaking of Alien Abduction!

It is fun to find things like this.  Perhaps I'll use a bit of it in one of my stories.  We'll see.  If not, that's fine, too.  

Here is the passage about St. Anthony of the Desert, from The Mystery of St. Anthony:

Before long in a small rocky valley shut in on all sides he sees a manikin with hooded snout, horned forehead, and extremities like goat’s feet. When he saw this, Anthony like a good soldier seized the shield of faith and the helmet of hope: the creature nonetheless began to offer him the fruit of the palm tree to support him on his journey and as it were, pledges of peace. Anthony perceiving this stopped and asked who he was. The answer he received from him
was this:
“I am a mortal being and one of the inhabitants of the Desert whom the Gentiles deluded by various forms of error worship under the names of Fauns, Satyrs and Incubi. I am sent to represent my tribe. We pray you in our behalf to entreat the favor of your Lord and ours, who, we have learnt, came once to save the world, and ‘whose sound has gone forth into all the earth.’ ”
As he uttered such words as these, the aged traveler’s cheeks streamed with tears, the mark of his deep feeling, which he shed in the fullness of his joy. He rejoiced over the Glory of Christ and the destruction of Satan, and marveling all the while that he could understand the Satyr’s language, and striking the ground with his staff, he said,” Woe to thee, Alexandria! ” he exclaimed, “Beasts speak of Christ, and you instead of God worship monsters.”

He had not finished speaking when, as if on wings, the wild creature fled away.
Let no one scruple to believe this incident; its truth is supported by what took place when Constantine was on the throne, a matter of which the whole world was witness. For a man of that kind was brought alive to Alexandria and shown as a wonderful sight to the people. Afterwards his lifeless body, to prevent its decay through the summer heat, was preserved in salt and brought to Antioch that the Emperor might see it.

Friday, February 5, 2016

His Story Could Be Sung

I have found that music, more than any other artistic expression, gives the artist the most immediate gratification.

I have found that working on writing has mostly been cerebral, gratification from peers has been limited at this stage, and the entire process has been isolating.  It is nice to be educated for this sort of thing.  Writing a book can be a noble task, I'm sure.  However, a person has to read all of the writer's work in order to come to a conclusion about it.  

A song, on the other hand, can be heard in a matter of minutes, and a great amount of expression can be put into that song.  

The past few years of genealogical research on my part have begun to reveal something about myself that I subconsciously suspected, but never fully realized.  That is, I apparently am made to express myself through music.  I have the ability to compose.  

But at this stage of my life, I have nothing but bookish knowledge.  I did not set out to be a musician as a young man.  And my ability to play an instrument is laughable.  

However, I'm learning.  And I'm learning how to write music.  

Therefore, I have begun to ponder the feasibility of expressing the story of Nobious and his world through musical means, as well as the novels I'm writing.  I do believe I would enjoy this story-telling task much more if I attempted this.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Anthropomorphic Bear Movement: Paddington the Bear

A friend showed me something really great a couple of days ago.

Perhaps some of you may remember an old show that used to be on Nickelodeon in the 1980s called Paddington the Bear.  It was a British child's show that Nickelodeon used in the days when it still had to draw a lot of programming material from Across the Pond.




It seems that a new movie about Paddington the Bear is coming out this winter.  I must say, as I observe the movements of this bear in the previews, I am able to more clearly visualize the movements of the bears who meet and travel with Bovodar.  I suppose if my Bovodar stories ever get made into film, I'd probably go with this special effects company.






Two Years Writing Bovodar and the Dragons

My work on the first draft of Bovodar and the Dragons continues.  I suppose I'm one of those traditional cases where a man comes home from work and struggles to write what he can when he can in his off hours.  I have a growing family and a job that sometimes asks for an extra shift from me every other week.  So, the high-minded pursuit of writing is often put to the side.


In any event, Bovodar and the Dragons continues.  I would say that I am about three fifths finished with the first draft.  Already, the length of this work has exceeded the word count of the first book, but length is not my goal in this new story.  The characters have become more developed, and there are more details about the relationships between Bovodar and his bear friends.  More characters have appeared in this book than I expected, and we even get to learn more about the Wolf King and the world that Bovodar inhabits--its power structures, its geography, and some of its history.  

At this point, Bovodar has encountered two dragons.  Ironically, even though this sequel is titled Bovodar and the Dragons, he will actually encounter far more in the third book of the trilogy: Bovodar and the Wolf.  

So, this second book is taking longer than I had intended.  I am now approaching the end of year two for this book.  I do realize there are other writers out there who throw together novels within a month's time, but then again, writing is not my career...yet.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Is Tolkien Gnostic?

I have recently been made aware of a Catholic priest who contends that J.R.R. Tolkien's series about Middle Earth is gnostic and bad.

I couldn't believe it!

Catholics love Tolkien, and we typically hold on to him as our standard bearer for Catholic literature.  So to hear a priest comment about the non-Catholic spin in Tolkien's approach to Middle Earth was overwhelming for me.

There are two lectures over an hour long each:


http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/20140128-Fantasy-Tolkien-and-Mystic-Flight-part-1.html

http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/20140128-Fantasy-Tolkien-and-Mystic-Flight-part-2.html


There is also this transcript, in case it is easier to just read what this anonymous priest had to say:

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-fantasy-writing-of-tolkien-was.html

The priest sounds sort of whiny at times, and he can come off as annoying and condescending when it comes to the tone of his voice.  But there is a lot of content in his words, which I have tried to focus on.

I have also discovered that someone tried to write a condensed summary of the first lecture.  The highlights are as follows:

- WELL-INTENTIONED PEOPLE [CAN LOOK] FOR ANSWERS IN THE WRONG PLACES

- TOLKIEN HATES ALLEGORY

- TOLKIEN EMBRACES MYTH, BUT THE CHURCH DESPISES MYTH

- FRUITS OF TOLKIEN'S SERIES [ARE NOT THAT GREAT]

- TOLKIEN'S WORLD "ARDA" HAS A GNOSTIC CREATION

- TOLKIEN'S ANCIENT HISTORY OF ARDA LENDS ITSELF TO EVOLUTION AND PAGANISM

- TOLKIEN DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT DEATH IS

- TOLKIEN'S MAGIC IS HORIZONTAL, NOT VERTICAL

Could this priest be true in his warnings against the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion?  His presentation goes against a lot of my sensibilities as a Catholic reader.  But perhaps I am only reacting against the priest in this way because I love the Lord of the Rings so much?

It is hard to tell.