Monday, August 24, 2009

How far does one go to save one's own skin?

Or to further one's own purposes?

Do we need to, as Cheney said, "work on the dark side"?

A person of power, with a very sharp spear point slightly piercing the skin between his shoulder blades, is ordered to go there.
By now sweat sheeted off B’s head, running down his face and dripping off his nose. He closed his eyes, trying to recall what his uncle had once said after drinking too much. It was actually his mother’s uncle and the old sorcerer terrified little B. with his bloodshot eyes and wild expression. The old man laced his talk with warnings and dark threats. Such things were legend and not to be tried, dangerous to the one who worked them. If you went too far....
The emotional power of scenes like this engages me but I recoil at them. Intellectually I am trying to make them awful enough to tie the reader up in knots, but what am I trying to accomplish? Certainly part of it is forcing us to confront our own dark side, the evil of which we are capable and which we actually perpetrate. If we are not horrified then we have lost something: our compassion, our decency, our humanity.

My descriptions of evil are meant to be cautionary, to remind us what me must avoid, shun, oppose, refuse to do.

The dark and terrible portions of my stories are necessary because the world is not all sunshine. Not the world we know nor the world I imagine.

It is rather like facing what we as a nation have done, what has been done in our names. Glenn Greenwald wants all Americans to read the IG Torture Report that was released today. You may read excerpts at his post (click the link on his name).

My fictional world is shot through with grace. There are horrors and wickedness and suffering but one also finds compassion, honor, reconciliation, healing, and beauty. Not unlike the world we know.

At Doxy's wedding Bishop Curry told us all we are called to be witnesses. Witnesses to love in a world that needs that witness. I believe we are also witnesses of evil and must bear witness to that also. But the final word, always and ever, is Love, and is Yes.

Even after this breather, I don't think I'm ready to finish the scene I am writing. Not tonight.

Sweet dreams, my raucous raccoons!

--the BB


Wormwood's Doxy said...

Lately, I feel that the only witnessing I'm doing is to watch people who are actively choosing evil and cruelty to their fellow human beings. There is love--so much love!--inside the walls of my house...but it feels as if there is only darkness and evil and hatred outside it.

But maybe I have been working too much, and my brief forays into the blogosphere and Facebook are not, as I like to think of them, benign "breaks," but invitations to despair.

This raucous raccoon is going to take your advice and sleep. God bless you for keeping up the good fight, BB---here and elsewhere.


Paul said...

Ah, as ever the tales of love, grace, heroism, generosity do not make the headlines, so we do not hear them.

I find the presence of young people at town halls, usually more reform-minded and very much in favor of civility and honest discourse, to be a great sign of encouragement. There were a lot of 20- and 30-somethings here in ABQ on Saturday and they seemed like people I would want to be around. They give me hope for the future.