Saturday, February 20, 2010

Across Dark Waters

Today was a wondrous day, and tomorrow is sure to be even more wondrous. I can say this now because my heart is truly at peace, the way a man might be who is about to go to the gallows.

It might surprise you, but I have a past, the way that many people have a past. I have largely ignored my past and let it slowly rot and decay, become burred in leaves, infested with cock roaches, and covered with a canopy of cobwebs like a silk lace to keep out all but the truly hardy of heart. I made the discovery today that someone actually found my past. I was quite surprised that anyone would, because I had truly forgotten about it.

This wasn't really a pleasant surprise. I'm trying to turn over a new leaf, and for the most part disavow many of the notions of my past. Yet I struggle: should all that I created in that distant world become but dust? I've left it around for a reason, I guess. To see if it could ever amount to anything. And now I wonder if that was so wise.

You see there are things that are important to me for the future, and many of them do not coincide very well with my past.

And worst of all, it is quite possible that this whole distraction of reconciling my past with my present is something outside the scope of what I await on the morrow.

I have wanted only one thing my entire life: the ability to express myself in a way that was meaningful and beneficial to others. I have been through many cycles in terms of how I managed all forms of expression, but there has always been a central theme: to shine forth in beauty the Glory of God's love. I do not always speak of God, in fact, I seldom speak of God, but I try to write in such a way that He is always just around each corner.

I find my motifs in things of beauty: the arts, ballet, mountains, rivers, trees, the vastness of the heavens, magic, love, romance, mystery, suspense, and most particularly young women. I think I must be unapologetic in the later of these things, because it would be hypocritical to do otherwise. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the state of my marital happiness. It has nothing whatsoever to do with sexuality. And my notion is not in the least bit preoccupied with physical beauty. If you were to read through my literary works you would find that most of the young women in them have a beauty that surpasses any physical beauty - it may be a beauty of soul, a beauty of spirit, a beauty of determination. But it is still beauty.

Benjamin Frankly apparently once said that "beer is proof that there is a God and that He loves us." Well, I'd like to trump (and yes, I think this is trumping because if there is one thing the world loves more than beer it is women) Mr. Franklin by stating that "beautiful women are proof that there is a God and that He loves us."

But why young women? After many years working with the oppressed, the downtrodden, the outsider, the mentally ill, I came to recognize certain things: that the victims are usually women, that no matter how abused, battered, neglected they are, they still have an inner beauty deep inside. I think it is the beauty of the inner child - still unspoiled and undisturbed by the abuse that later has devoured them.

And so, you will find in my literary works, that most of my characters are young women struggling for something: perhaps they are struggling to end years of abuse, perhaps they are struggling for freedom, for truth, for love, for understanding. Perhaps their struggle is against magical creatures that seek to destroy the world. Perhaps their struggle is against the demons inside.

Whatever the case, I find that by creating characters that are young women, and helping them triumph over obstacles and adversity, I am able to tacitly proclaim divine truths about the nature of the universe and the God who created a universe of perfect and pristine beauty, a virginal universe if you will, and now seeks to restore it to its sublime state of wholeness and light.

I think it is fitting to note that the world is constantly destroying and perverting feminine beauty toward twisted ends by a unnatural focus on sexuality. As Christians, particularly Orthodox Christians, we celebrate the Holy Virgin, and even her Ever-Virginity, as an ideal of Godliness, and I would add, beauty. The whores, strippers, and sexy rock-star-goddesses that we celebrate in our secular media are no match for the holiness of a virgin who has given herself up totally to God when it comes to speaking of beauty, and they do not stand up to the holiness of a godly mother either. If you think about it, in a sense society itself conspires to create the image of The Female that is perverse when compared to the godly counterparts of a young virgin or a devoted mother.

I think it should come as no surprise to anyone then, that the place to fight society's constant destruction of femininity in the movies, books and on TV is with feminine characters that rise up above society's demoralization and accomplish great things. And, I am happy to say, that no matter the past and how it informs the future, I as a literary artist am committed (and have always been committed) to that very thing.

~ Basil