Sep 082016
 

ww55Hi folks.  Yes, I’m a day late with this one.  Sorry.  Between having family members visit, and the holiday weekend, I simply got a bit mixed up on the days.  By the time I realized it was Wednesday, it was too late to post anything.  I missed some other things, as well, so don’t feel like I’m picking on you.   :-))

For instance, I was asked to answer some interview questions for friend and fellow author, T.L. Haddix.  She’s a prolific writer, and all around great lady, and if you like stories of romance and magic, you should check her out.

Anyway, when I realized I had forgotten to answer her interview questions, I pulled out her list and started working on it.  Now, to those of you who know me, it probably comes as no surprise that I almost immediately went off on a tangent as I began filling out her questions.  But when I started to delete the tangential stuff, I realized that there were some things in there that I really thought needed to be said.

And since I forgot to blog yesterday, why not put it in a post, and just let it out a day late?  So here we go.

One of the interview questions was in regard to character development.  To paraphrase, she asked “are your characters an extension of you, the author? If yes, in what way?”

I began with stating that, while characters may embody some of my characteristics, they were usually exaggerated versions of the characteristic in question.  Then I went off on a tangent about how our life experiences form who we are, and how we have to make our characters more interesting than the average Joe, because people read in order to escape the average, everyday life.  What follows is where it went from there.

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Me?  When I first thought about it, I didn’t think there was anything interesting about me at all.  I mean, I’m a middle-aged, happily married, overweight man who’s really not suffered a lot in his life.  Compared to the hands that others have had dealt to them, what about me is remarkable enough to hold a reader’s attention?

So as a writer, what could I really have to say that would allow the reader to relate to someone like me?  At first blush, my life looks to be pretty ordinary.  But as I began to write, I realized that the things that have interested me throughout my life, have also helped shape me as an individual. And that word is key… individual.

What is it about me that makes me different from most other people?  We all have things that shaped us, molded us into the individuals that we are today.  I’ve studied a variety of martial arts since I was thirteen years old.  I’m of mixed race, grew up as a white kid in a black part of Houston, and was taught at home about my Cherokee and Choctaw family history. As a result, I’ve seen racism from a LOT of different angles.

I’m grew up in a devoutly religious family, but rebelled at a young age.  While still a teen, I decided that I was an atheist, but later realized that I had no more proof that there was no deity, than religion had that there was.  This taught me the true meaning and nature of faith, as well as the futility of arguing with people who have their minds made up, whether they be theist or atheist.

That realization, in turn, taught me the true meaning of respect for other people and their beliefs.  Whether you agree with someone else or not doesn’t mean you’re right.  To go through life thinking that you have all the right answers is the very epitome of vanity.

I’ve seen births.  I’ve seen deaths.  I’ve seen people injured, both physically and emotionally.  I’ve seen

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Now, unless you want to read a pretty depressing view of the state of humanity, I suggest you stop here. I started to riff on the above, and things take a bit of a downward spiral from here.
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So above is where I realized I had jumped the shark, so to speak.  But it made me think about how many people I see online spouting about how this group of people are racists, or that group is homophobic, or you shouldn’t do this because you’ll hurt someone’s feelings, or if you vote for this person you’re crazy, or a vote for that person and you’re contributing to the downfall of society.  And it’s all based on little more than news spin from one side or the other, that’s intended to do nothing more than keep us all at one another’s throats.

Now, at this point, I could easily go off on a tirade about politics, but I find that too distasteful.  Besides, it’s not up to me to make you see things my way. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly the opposite of what I’m promoting, here.

The point I really wanted to make is back on the nature of faith.  Faith isn’t simply a religious concept.  Faith is simply the acceptance of something that cannot be proven.  These days, it has been corrupted to mean something that that cannot be proven, but that has enough belief behind it that a large percentage of people believe it to be fact.  And I find it ironic that people who deride “faith”, don’t seem to realize that they’re using faith to argue against it.  In essence, their argument is “the news source I have faith in, bolsters my argument against the news source that you have faith in.”  And it’s all simply so people can feel superior to one another.  We’ve lost the ability to think for ourselves.

And it tires me.  Worse still, it’s damaged my faith in my fellow human beings.  It’s petty much completely destroyed my faith in our society.  Politics, society, economy… everything is so intertwined now, that I don’t see how we can unravel the knots and extricate ourselves from the tangled mess that is human society.  As long as we focus on the stupid, little, divisive sound bites about whether or not it’s right for some rich celebrity to remain seated during the national anthem, we’ll never come together long enough to resolve the real issues in the world.  Hell, most people don’t even know that anything more important than politics and celebrity gossip exists in the world.  And until we sit up as a whole and take notice of what’s going on around us, we’re going to continue circling the drain.

Yeah. Downer of a post.  But hopefully, it will make some of you think… really think, and not simply take what you’re told as the truth.

:cry:

  4 Responses to “WW55 – Faith, Critical Thinking, And Circling The Drain”

  1. Not a downer, just a realistic, pragmatic view. These days, that and a bit of honesty will get you looked at with distrust, which I guess is kind of a downer. But regardless, a very good post. I don’t know if it has always been this way and we let people in the media pull the strings on what we think is important, or if this is a true breaking down of society. I hope it’s not the latter. Anyhow, good post. Now I’m really eager to read those answers! ;)

  2. As always, everything important in life I learned from Firefly:

    Book: What are we up to, sweetheart?
    River Tam: Fixing your Bible.
    Book: I, um…
    [alarmed]
    Book: What?
    River Tam: Bible’s broken. Contradictions, false logistics – doesn’t make sense.
    [she’s marked up the bible, crossed out passages and torn out pages]
    Book: No, no. You-you-you can’t…
    River Tam: So we’ll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God’s creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah’s ark is a problem.
    Book: Really?
    River Tam: We’ll have to call it early quantum state phenomenon. Only way to fit 5000 species of mammal on the same boat.
    [rips out page]
    Book: River, you don’t fix the Bible.
    River: It’s broken. It doesn’t make sense.
    Book: It’s not about making sense. It’s about believing in something, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It’s about faith. You don’t fix faith, River. It fixes you.

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