Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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(Some links or topics may not be completely kid-appropriate.)

Thu, Mar 01 2007

Don't blame it on the vampires, please

Orange Crate art linked to a Los Angeles Times news story, which happened to involve a vampire expert. The news story sounds a tad like the descripton of a horror film, complete with (Transylvanian) wine, excess of power, sex, (research on) vampires, academic pressures, opera, death and half a dozen other metaphors. I read it through several times in order to sort some of the details. Though I never followed the original story when it happened, I couldn't help but think that most of the trouble in these peoples' lives must have come up after one or more of them denied some basic truths about themselves.

When little children tell lies, they usually lie on a very simple level. They lie to other people because they're delaying the punishment or consequences they fear will come from people they perceive to be more powerful than themeselves, once/if the facts come out. When adults lie, we layer and complicate matters by first lying to ourselves about truths and not facts. Then we lie to others about facts, not so much to avoid punishment, but more to avoid becoming that person we'd have to become if we faced real truth. The lie coming out of our mouths for the first time is the second lie, a logical manifestation of the first lie we tell ourselves. Many writers, artists, pastors, storytellers, psycotherapists, filmmakers and lawyers commonly acknowledge and use this extra layer of adult self-deception in their work.

I sometimes write fiction. But I've met some well-meaning Christian people who insist that fiction is not good for those seeking to have the best spiritual health. I can think of at least one acquaintance who might even say that the people in the above-mentioned article actually got into all that trouble because they spent too much time focusing on fictional creatures when they should have been reading their Bible. I beg to differ, at least in principle. First of all, the fictional vampires came into their own because there is some historical evidence that this sort of blood-thristy aberration was adopted, for whatever reason, by certain humans in the past. Many legends grow from actual incidents. Secondly, there are plenty of people, including pastors, who spend lots of time reading their Bible and still get themselves into much the same sort of pit (perhaps minus the Transylvanian wine) that the folks in the article did. Something else must have been going on, besides novels, for these people to risk careers, academic degrees, self-respect and ties with family and friends. (Though it might make an entertaining story in itself to write of fictional vampires dragging people off on a path toward perdition.)

When we decide to take a couple of hours with a fictional movie or book, we suspend belief in facts for a couple of hours, while our mind is actually enjoying the process of seeking themes and truths that are timeless. When we close the book or come out of the theatre, everyday life is back in perspective, in much the same way that we spend two weeks vacationing on the beach, knowing all the while that we'll go right back to the daily grind when it's over. a much greater danger would seem to me to be in choosing to spend our daily lives suspending belief in major truths and then living a lie and lying to everyone around us. Even a vampire will tell you that when you can no longer see your own image in the mirror, you're going to be spending most of your time hiding from the light.

posted at: 12:18 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Not quite a bagel

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts wants to lure health-conscious Americans with a whole wheat variety dipped in sugary glaze. Still deep-fried, I'm guessing?

posted at: 07:02 | category: /Food | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!