Sometimes I’m struck by people’s occasional inability to imagine themselves as not-themselves — in another body or with a different life. And while no one can know another’s person’s experiences, the act of thinking outside yourself….that isn’t normal?
I did that sometimes when I was a kid. Mostly derived, I believe, from physical differences between me and other people. But also, in general play. Being not-me (being a character, I suppose) was part of the fun of playing.
This idea can be extended to stories and situations of strangers. Like, I don’t know what’s going on with people but I try to trust them and give them the benefit of the doubt because I don’t know. How can I get super critical of people if I don’t even know what’s going on? Context is key, my friend.
How much I apply this principle to people I know personally and how I conceptualize the difference as me-imagining it rather than difference-not-me, are aspects I need to think on.
I feel like if people did this — fit themselves into imagined awareness different from their own and recognized that the stories of someone far exceed what someone can know in daily interaction with strangers — people would be less narrow-minded and bigoted. Cause if you look at all the crime and violent and deaths that have been mounting and thinking how would that feel, not as you, but the experience… How could you not see the humanity in people? (This question is directed at neo Nazi fascists, specifically.)
I’ve always had this impulse to slam logic arguments on neo-Nazi’s or set up questions in a way that it expresses the fallacy of their values.
Disclaimer: these are my uneducated opinions. I am not an expert. I only have strong, persistent opinions, acquired from listening to others, living life, and reading. If anyone notices any errors or misuse of words and meaning, let me know and I will correct any post or information.
Written 8/16/17 + 8/31/17
I’ve realized why my writing often lacks a “spark”. Most of the writing sources I follow or consume (and how my mind interprets them) indicate that fantasy — culture, customs, history — are just copies of this world. And copies are just reflections. More to the point, it’s hard to believe a copy-world is real on its own terms. Which makes it hard, I’d wager, for others to believe in fantasy world that doesn’t feel real, that is only a copy.
On one hand, I want to create real imagined fantasy, advice and convention tell me I have to copy. But if that’s all I have to do, why would I write at all? (If I wanted to do historical fantasy, that would be great, but I think I lean more toward imaginary fantasy. That is, fantasy that isn’t heavily historical.)
Once I started trying to “get serious” about writing a lot of the spontaneous imagination dropped out. While research is necessity for good writing, if the initial groundwork is just trying to copy the exact replica that is (or might be) the inspiration for a fantasy culture, will that seem real?
For me, a lot of rooted worldbuilding comes from percolating off nature and creating myth (the moon is a dragon’s eye, four bats created the world). Or if not nature, than fairy tales. And if not fairy tales, than just…ideas? (flurma birds that roost on the tips of crystal trees where fluff grows, whose plumage turns blue before they migrate)
The trouble is figuring out what this-world culture I’m inspired by and taking conscientious actions. Often with humans, I do know, but that’s in a copy-&-paste way, rather than deep roots. (Other than one or two fantasy human cultures.)
PULLING THE PATTERNS out from inside the drawer, she peers into the shifting, glowing reflections:
She is a scientific researcher. Hours in the outdoors studying the flora and fauna. The pursuit of science and the taste of crisp, hypothesis-proven results. The scrap and scent of animals, and the calm and technical methods of space and stars. Details. Watching. Writing. Speaking out. It is strung with conservation and evolution, preservation and revolution…
She is a scholar. She roots around in old archives, digging up words and stories and historical accounts to spin into research and wonder. These she shares with colleagues, piles of details and comparisons and finely combed sources. Giving. Teaching. Hardworking. Preserving. A life of studious, exciting exploration and academic conferences. It thrives on the thrill of ancient tales and pristine books and languages no longer spoken. She walks along colonnaded halls, plows through ancient archives, and descends into the tomb of libraries… She wallows in the creak of old leather bindings and the crinkle of old curling script and the musky scent of the past…
She is a witch. Gently caring for others, she lives in a small cottage. There are flowers, roses for certainty, growing along the cozy walls. A small garden, perhaps badly tended, flourishes with bees and butterflies and an occasional hummingbird. A yard of wild growth for rabbits and a bird feeder for sparrows and wrens and robins. The scent of peppermint tea or hot chocolate wafts through a window screen, while threads hums to life, sewn into dresses for fairies (or other small things), and paint and paper and ink enchant empty space, stories and scenes brought to life (sometimes meticulous, sometimes childish). Shells from the sea crinkle in a watercolor sketchbook, stitched with details and notes on nature. She is free, peaceful, quiet, and concocts wishes for the welfare of herself and others.
Written: 2 May 2016
Words: 311 words
Inspired: wanting to imagine (and write out) as many of the lives I’ve imagined for myself. The results are…interesting.
by L. M. Montgomery
“Avonlea little girls had already heard queer stories about Anne; Mrs. Lynde said she had an awful temper; Jerry Buote, the hired boy at Green Gables, said she talked all the time to herself or to the trees and flowers like a crazy girl” (Montgomery, 80).
I read this because someone recommended it prominently as a good book for my writing, to cultivate it better and to encourage my personal style. And I can see why. The style and description is very lush, and the characters are very strong in propelling the plot (as aspect of storytelling I’m beginning to feel I lack).
To start with the description, I’ll say it it was a really pretty book, word wise (I feel like I say that all the time). So much beautiful writing. I can’t write down every lovely description, but have some:
“Overhead was one long canopy of snowy fragrant bloom. Below the boughs the air was full of a purple twilight and far ahead a glimpse of painted sunset sky shone like a great rose window at the end of a cathedral aisle” (17).