The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Back to writing...

I want to thank everyone who responded to the recent discussions about race. It is appropriate here in the Lifewriting blog because societies are the macrocosm of inter-personal relationship, which are the macrocosm of the intrapersonal--the way our inner world, our "internal community", our "parts party" of psychological aspects operates within us.  who can think of a story idea using this thought?
Recently here in southern California, a despondant man parked a truck across a railroad track.  At the last moment he freaked and bailed, but the resultant collision killed many people.  What would it feel like to be this man?  Who can think of a story based on this idea?
Suicide might seem to violate the "moving away from pain" theory, or the "all creatures seek to preserve life" theory, but it does not.  Remember the Chakras.  Physical survival is the base, but as we resolve basic needs, we automatically evolve to the next level of concerns.  Young men regularly risk life and limb to improve their position on the power heirarchy--or to impress women.   Read up on the Civil War...or any other war (pre-Vietnam) to see how women encourage their men to go off and fight.  People endure pain to gain fitness (3rd chakra).  They risk their lives for their families and loved ones (4th chakra).  People will die for self-expression (5th Chakra), intellectual freedom (6th), and of course spiritual freedom (7th).  There are seven story ideas, right there.  Try breaking one of these down into a Swain pattern.
From my perspective, the question of life and death is a highly personal, individual matter, perhaps the most important a human being can face.  In my mind, religious and social institutions have nothing to say about it, except to the extent that it serves them to manipulate and control our lives.  I believe that much hand-wringing about suicide comes from this place: not compassion (although many such people are compassionate) , but from a need to control your actions in this world, and, presumably, the next.  This is why I'd rather live in a country run by the Mafia than the Church--any Church.  The Mafia can only claim to control your life in This world.  The Church will try to control you for all eternity, and will torture you to death for your own good.  Tony Soprano would  never have the gall to suggest he was fitting you with concrete shoes for YOUR good.  That takes the existential cake.
In the above paragraphs there would have to be fodder for hundreds of stories.  Try jumping over to the 5MM forum, and posting some of your ideas.  Remember--those of you working to be published writers in one year need to be discussing your process, sharing your thoughts with each other.  Right now, the traffic is slow on the forum, probably because I'm asking  you to think and speak about personal things.  Let me know what I can do to facilitate, and I'll be happy.


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