Thisness in the King James Bible

‘So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.’

~ 1 Corinthians 15:54

‘Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.’

~ Song of Solomon 8:7

‘The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.’

~ Psalm 45:13

‘Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.’

~ Isaiah 33:17

‘And a man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.’

~ Isaiah 32:2

This: Used to identify a specific person or thing close at hand or being indicated or experienced.

1. Always prefer the concrete word to the abstract.

2. Almost prefer the direct word to the circumlocution.

3. Generally, use transitive verbs, that strike their object; and use them in the active voice, eschewing the stationary passive.

Thisness in Sonnet XXXI 31

Thy bosom is endearéd with all hearts
Which I by lacking have supposéd dead:
And there reigns Love, and all Love’s loving parts,
And all those friends which I thought buriéd.
How many a holy and obsequious tear
Hath dear religious love stolen from mine eye
As interest of the dead!—which now appear
But things removed, that hidden in thee lie.
Thou art the grave where buried love doth live,
Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone,
Who all their parts of me to thee did give;
—That due of many now is mine alone:
Their images I loved I view in thee,
And thou, all they, hast all the all of me.

This: Used to identify a specific person or thing close at hand or being indicated or experienced.

On writing the protagonist

The protagonist will want something tangible, like money, a romantic interest, to destroy a facet of society that affected them earlier in life, and so on.

This want will be tied to a personal problem that either haunts, drives or motivates them. Get a sense of what your protagonist’s problem is and how it triggers them into action. 

This problem will usually be aggravated by an inciting incident that forces the protagonist to move from story’s start to a path of action, what Joseph Campbell called the adventure.

Who will the protagonist need to talk with throughout their story? What relationship will be focal to their attention, and thus drive most of the story’s drama? Who will antagonise the protagonist?

The antagonist’s obvious or not-so-obvious actions will oppose the protagonist’s efforts to reach their goal. The adventure will move toward disorder, hitting a peak in the middle of the story, which will make life much worse for the protagonist and lead them to not end up anywhere near where they started.

Continue reading “On writing the protagonist”

Aztec sacrifice

Many people didn’t talk. Could you imagine an Aztec who didn’t like to talk? It was unnatural. I didn’t like it, the deathly silence. But what was worse was how the raging storm turned those black pits into water wells. We thought they were bottomless, but they weren’t. And many of us got to see our friends and loved ones again, even though they were long-dead and broken from falling to the bottom of those pits, all for the honour of the temple.

Writing characters

All characters in fiction should be asked the same questions:

1. Who am I?

2. Where am I?

3. When is it?

4. Where have I just come from?

5. What do I want?

6. Why do I want it?

7. Why do I want it now?

8. What will happen if I don’t get it now?

9. How will I get what I want by doing what?

10. What must I overcome?

Light across the horizon

Our current state of affairs is revealing a penetrating needle dipped in melancholia rising from the depths of change. So off-settling is this steely splinter that it’s shifting the very foundations of society by enchanting our minds into having itself be seen as a towering spire equal to Babel. Like its biblical counterpart, man made in the collective unconscious, but, unlike it, unable to split our collective voice.

This crisis is teaching us, even on lockdown, that we speak the same words, sing the same songs and dance to the same anthems, which take the piss out of our solitary sentence. Who ever thought Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone would become so meaningful?

The new world beyond this time is waiting for us in silence on twilight’s Apollonian shore, where it’s coming to Spring, the birds are starting to sing and the last of the bats are flying home for hanging sleep. It’s cooler there, clean and fresh, the sun has purified the airways and there’s a lingering smell of freshly cut oak that’s ready to be shaped into bowls, tables and such for market sale, giving people a chance for a new way to live indoors.

Nature becomes cherished among all our senses in this new world and a zen-like spirit will begin to blossom from the ruins of this invisible war. It’s not on the horizon yet but it will be once the sun goes down and the night sets in and the bats flap by and the light finally gives view to our haven by a divine sea.

Psycho assault and battery

The past few times I found myself away from here had been either spent collecting essentials or rations because of a largely irrational response to an ad hoc order that we now find ourselves in. This order has been put in place to protect the proletariat, the majority of us, from an invisible invader, so scary, it has us cowering indoors – learning to cook again, catching up on stories – during what must be an unprecedented phase of this millennium.

Never have more people known not what to do since, I’d surmise, the Spanish Flu of the early 1900s and never has more people known what to do since ingesting a decade of zombie survival viewing, like the Walking Dead, Black Summer and other viral outbreak flicks.

There is an inherent meaninglessness to it all, found in the unspoken words and corner shadows that are emanating the fears of our assaulted minds. And they are assaulted, this can be sure, all you need to do is look at the news to see the social order, the rules, the guidelines, the cultural programming of your place in humanity put into question, subverted or bent like rubber in ways more akin to what authors do to create horror plots or narrative thrillers.

Look at the similarities between movies like Contagion, or any zombie flick, and the world news playing 24/7 right now and you will see a psychological assault and battery in progress. The police are not coming to save us nor are we on our own. This is something new to us because it is something undocumented historically or fictionally.

So, here we are, looking out the window at a brand new world.

Amidst the spreading corona

Out here by the edge of the lake, where the bats flap on by and the foxes sneak through the night, ducks sleep at the bank while dogs step out into their backyards to take one last leak before going to bed on this cold summer evening. Televisions play warnings of the latest COVID-19 news or Netflix’s latest sci-fi yarn, and the women talk amongst themselves while the men squander their time away in whiskey and conspiracy. Up the stairs of these homes, children play with plastic toys, some made in China, which xenophobic paranoid mothers snatch from their little hands, spouting that you never know where it could strike from next. In closets, stacks of toilet rolls stand packed between old shoes and forgotten tuxes, a snippet of the hysteria sweeping the nation. And in the bathrooms, teenagers chat away on their phones with one another, whispering secret nothings into receivers, banned from physically seeing each other on a Saturday night. Precautionary measures for contagion that the other animals don’t need to bother with.