Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Death of a Character Gives Life New Meaning

Jim said...

I finally got around to reading your book, remember me, something I've been meaning to do for awhile. One question, why did you kill of your main character?

This is a great question, Jim, thanks for asking it. The Mary Margaret character in Remember Me died for reasons intrinsic to both the story of Remember Me and to the larger story of my trilogy of novels. Each of my three novels examines love and loss from different viewpoints, and all three together examine love, life and death, as they fundamentally effect our experience.

Because Remember Me was written as a plea for reform in US family courts, it was important for the main character to die because each year, thousands of people take their own lives or have their lives taken as a result of the ineptitude of the US family court system. To research my book, I spent countless hours in family court, listening to these stories and interviewing litigants. There is an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness in domestic violence cases because weak laws, inexperienced State's Attorneys, and burned out judges allow cases to go unresolved or perpetrators to go free, empowered to continue the violence. The death of this character and destruction of this family was a common story in US family court.

Looking at the larger canvas of the trilogy, on the journey of the spirit, the death of the ego is the first step to be taken toward enlightenment. Some say, for instance, that the Tibetan Book of the Dead is actually a manual for ego death. The Mary Margaret character in Remember Me never catches on to this process as she cannot let go of her egotistical concerns, and suffers her losses, defining herself with loss and pain. Because this is a dead end for a journey of the spirit, her death frees her spirit to begin again.

In the second novel, Chasing Twilight, the character is resurrected, and begins to understand the importance of ego death and resurrection of being – or consciousness raising. So, her journey can continue and the concept of death takes on new meaning. With death, comes rebirth and the cycle of life is felt in the soul.

This will bring up interesting questions in the third novel, Shadow Dancing: What is death? What parts of us die while we live? How is this integral to being and becoming?

I sincerely hope you enjoy the stories and the concepts. Thanks again.

Artwork by Moira Marshall Many thanks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Writing About Essential Being

Ulysses said...
"energy that moves through the matrix of our being that we can FEEL." Interesting. What do you mean by "being?" I know this is a topic of discussion on your other blog, but I'd like to know what your idea of being is, and how it applies to your books.

The Essene’s think that being is consciousness, and consciousness is everything. Like that, I think being is that part of us that is connected to spirit, and as such, is all of us. Even those parts of us that feel separate from spirit, devoid of spirit, opposed to spirit, are those parts of us that eventually lead us back to spirit, and so, are of spirit. Like the notions of Lucifer being God’s favorite angel, or Judas the favorite apostle of Jesus, or Brahman – being is all pervasive.

That said, I do believe that there is an essential part of being that we can give to our attention. It is that part of us that is the witness to our life, the one that observes before we assign meaning or belief. I think that the more we can move through life posited in this essential part of our being, the more our lives will become what we can conceive is our highest potential. When I say highest potential I mean the best life that we can dream - and better, because spirit is leading the witness always.

I construct my poems from the position of the witness, although I will say, that in order to reach the reader I find that I must include not only observation but interpretation to bring feeling to the experience. I suppose this may be poetic license.

My play, Without a Word, is an examination of being from all aspects of character. It was written to be an exercise in consciousness raising while giving the audience a more holographic than linear experience.

My three novels, when looked at in succession, are one journey to this realm of essential being. On the way, like all humans, the characters make mistakes and self discoveries that create the stories. And they learn, in the end, that we write our own stories. We are the writers, and the readers and the stories and the Logos.

Thanks so much for posing this great question.