Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Maddened and saddened by Mundanity

Read the Mundane Manifesto this morning (saw the link on Silent Bounce, Holly got it from Paperback Writer, word travels fast these days). I find myself both maddened and saddened by this document. It appears to be perfectly serious; I think I would recognize irony or satire if any were present.

Why am I mad? This is the Voice of Stagnation. This is the voice that cried "Man was not meant to fly". This is the voice that cried "Here be Monsters" and forbade sailors to venture beyond sight of shore. This is the voice that, at the end of the 19th Century declared that "All that there is to know is known".

Stagnation is death for our species. Impossible dreams are one of very few things that distinguish us from the other animal species on this planet. Where would humankind be if no one had dared to dream of killing a lion, instead of being their prey? How much poorer would we be if no one had dared to dream of raising a pyramid unlike any before or since to honor their Pharaoh? How sad it would be if no one had dared to dream of using hand tools and human hands to build a great cathedral in the city of Chartres to the glory of Almighty God?

Did we not dare the impossible, we would still live in trees as snack food for larger and more powerful animals. Stagnation is not an option; it is not in our natures. Humans have always and will always look up and wonder, see a problem and solve it, imagine the impossible and make it so. It's who we are.

The Voice of Stagnation seeks to smother our spirits. It seeks to strangle our dreams.

Why am I sad? My heart is heavy today. Despair has claimed more victims. Fear has triumphed yet again, and humans cower in the mud, not daring to raise their eyes or open their ears. They fear to see anything new or to think anything remotely dangerous. They seek comfort in the known and dare not step away from the fire. They fear the unknown, the uncomfortable, and something in them dies.

I know this fear. I have lived with it every day of my life. It almost killed me. I know how hard it is to raise your eyes from the ground and how easy to lie down and just give up. So why am I still alive today? Why didn't I go ahead and kill myself and just be done with all the pain and struggle?

Through the love of my wife, my family, and my friends, and with the aid of a very good psychiatrist, I discovered that I could have courage. Even me, the poster child for fear, the epitome of weakness and despair. I could have courage. All I had to do was want it.

Courage is really not hard. Not the normal, everyday courage to live a meaningful life, that is. I found courage in simple things. Every morning, I would lie in bed and make myself a promise. Every morning, I promised myself: "I will not die this day". I will not lie, that promise did not give me the strength to face the world every day. Many days I was unable to do anything but lie back in the recliner with my dog in my lap (God Bless him!), and stare tearfully at the TV. But I kept my promise, I did not die. Courage.

Courage means putting one foot in front of the other. It means living one day after another. It means looking up from the ground and seeing the world. Courage means making up your mind that you will not die this day. After that, things get a lot easier.

So I pray for the Mundanes. I pray that they can find the courage to lift their eyes from the mud, to see the green of the trees, the blue of the sky, to feel the warm touch of a summer breeze, to hear the sound of an infant's toothless giggle. What impossibilities these are! What glorious beauty! Whose dream was this?

I ask those of the Mundanes who dare, and any others who may wish to, to have the courage to dream, to stand with me today and take up arms against Stagnation and Despair, and to say:

No! I will not let you smother my spirit!
No! I will not let you shatter my dreams!
No! I will not die this day!

That concludes today's incoherent rant.

Onward to more mundane affairs :)

1872 words on Washed in the Blood today. 4072 for the week! Not too shabby. Had 2 new characters pop up today. One was expected (Bob Sperling, an Investigator for the Sheriff's Department), but one was not. She is Polly's best friend (as yet unnamed, maybe Beth). She came in because of a turn the story took this morning that raises the tension and creates more opportunities for the near future. I have to go back and develop her some in earlier scenes, so she doesn't just appear out of thin air.

I may have to put WITB aside for now and work on other projects until Monday. Bob discovered Maggie's body today. It was really bad. Really, really bad. I've never mutilated anyone like that before, and I am disturbed that I could do it at all, especially to a character that I love as much as Maggie.

It can be hard to remember that these are not "real" people, sometimes, especially when the words are flowing and Derek and the Dominos is on the CD player ("Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?" Eric Clapton and Duane Allman in the same studio, awesome!) and the world just goes away. Those are the moments I live for; they are times that make all the work and frustration worth while. Those are the payoffs for having the courage to dream. Uh-oh, don't get me started again. :)

Finished Writing the Breakout Novel this afternoon. I have scheduled a more careful re-reading (with a highlighter) for January. In the meantime, it's on to the Workbook. Cover me, I'm going in!


At 6:09 PM, Blogger Debra Young said...

So right, Carter! I read that Mundane Manifesto too--they seem to be missing the point big-time. Good grief! What is this picking apart of the materials of the imagination that make SF what it is? Since when is SF supposed to be practical and pragmatic? It is the idea; it is the wonder; it is indeed imagining the impossible and it really doesn't matter whether or not it's ever going to be true! Submarines were never going to be true! Moon landings were never going to be true! Airplanes, by gosh, were never going to be true--what was Da Vinci thinking when he did that little sketch in his notebook? If these people want to only write what is practical, they can knock themselves out, but they're not going to pour mud over my imagination. D:


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