Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Intimate Adventure

Linnea defined Intimate Adventure very well:

You'll find my view at

Linnea Sinclaire wrote MAY 21 2007:
What does it take to push beyond those boundaries? What does it take to tell your parents, your village, your society to take a hike, get lost, leave me alone and let me love? What does it take to risk it all, to throw away everything that has heretofore defined you as a person? What does it take to open your heart, fully expecting rejection?

What kind of person is that?
That is a hero on the road to Intimate Adventure, that's what kind of person that is.
It takes more courage to be emotionally honest (especially with yourself about WHO and maybe WHAT you are) than it does to be physically honest -- to admit mistakes, wrong-doing, or bad judgement, or to impose your idea of right upon others by your mighty sword.
Kimber An commented on Linnea's blog entry of Monday May 21, 2007:

I wondered what would drive a girl to do something she knows will get her killed if she's caught? My thought is that her home life must be so devoid of love and joy that when she finds it somewhere else, she grabs it for all she's worth. All human beings need love.

I wondered why would it be the death penalty for a girl to fall in love with someone? My thought on that is that a girl represents an unused sexual object. Men are terrified of being rejected by those they want to have sex with. Most men develop the courage to cope. In some societies and individuals, they don't. Rather than risk rejection, the girl's basic human right to choose her own sexual partner is taken from her. Like a non-sentient animal, she's not allowed control over her own body. To say nothing of her heart. This is rape, but some people dress it up in a religion or whatever.


Kimber An has the makings of a field-changing author! (not just writer; AUTHOR).

This is the kind of thinking we all need to be doing on so many levels.

Deep inside what Kimber An has said here lies the key to World Peace.

And that really has nothing whatever to do with sexuality or choosing a mate. It has to do with taking an idea (such as Linnea tossed out for discussion) and turning it over, inside out, analyzing Linnea's idea and synthesizing it with other bits acquired elsewhere, to create another idea.

Science Fiction is the Literature of Ideas.

Science is nothing more than the organization of knowledge that's been verified by cross-checking (peer review journals being an example). Ideas can't just sit there. They get organized, rearranged, strangely juxtaposed, and turned upside down.

Fiction is all about finding the invisible shape of things that lies within the interlaced and overlapping fog of tiny ideas and facts. We swim in a sea of trivia, bits and pieces and shards and pebbles of nothing much all clumped around and thus hiding nuggets of Infinite Joy.

The writer's job is to pare away the dross and expose that underlying, intrinsic, meaningful pattern of true joy. That is, generally speaking, what art is for, what artists do.

The universe is such that the bits of dull matter and negative energies (which includes most acts people tag as evil) we swim in are attracted to the bright Joy, clump around Joy, cling to it and disguise it -- not destroy, disguise. As a result, it's very easy to live your life convinced the world is nothing but angst, boredom, overbearing men, and pointless toil because that's what you see on the surface.

It takes the penetrating gaze of the mystic to spot the hidden Joys. And then it takes the Artist to portray that Hidden Joy emerging from hiding in such a way that ordinary people can go out and about their lives and actually SEE Joy they never knew was there.

From there, it's possible for the oridinary person to internalize and experience that Joy for themselves.

That's why we read Romance Novels -- in any sub-genre. We know that our lives can be changed if we can SEE what's really there rather than the husks of dullness and negativity accreted around our joys.

Finding the right mate is only one of those many Joys in life, but let's look a little closer at what Kimber An has said.

Now why would a girl (woman even, maybe) be willing to risk her very life for something different than she has right now? How terrible does it have to be for you to prefer death to continuing?

That might be the wrong question.

It isn't how bad conditions are here and now that drives people to risk death. It's how GOOD they think it MIGHT (fantasy-romance?) be elsewhere.

Look at the Mexican and Hispanic illegal immigrants -- they come seeking a BETTER life, not fleeing the life they have. If the USA weren't their northern neighbor, dangling all that forbidden fruit before them on TV signals, would they be flooding north?

But look at Iraq - it's bleeding population to every surrounding country, people walking out with what they can carry, desperate for a place to live that isn't exploding all the time.

But though they are refugees, they aren't moving because conditions are horrid where they are.

They are moving because they believe conditions are better WHERE THEY ARE GOING.

If the other countries were in the same or worse shape, they wouldn't move.

They are trying to "get away from" horrid conditions -- and that means being able to imagine that conditions are better where they are going. Look at all those still sitting in the mud. They're the ones who can't imagine conditions are better elsewhere.

Look at those who are sticking it out in Iraq, (likewise the Balkans, Northern Ireland, various African countries, Darfur comes to mind). Horrid conditions don't make them move. Why? Things will get better here by and by, and then things will be horrid "there" (wherever there might be) eventually. Home is always better. For some people.

Some people can imagine the Joy hidden within the layers of angst in their current position. Sometimes that Joy isn't really there -- but people are more motivated by imagination than by facts.

People are more sensitive to LURES than to GOADS.

It's a psychological principle. You get people to alter behavior faster by offering rewards, not punishments. Even works with dogs.

Confidence Operators use that principle.

So women denied the right to choose their own mate won't leave, won't murder the power-mad whip-wielder, won't murder the unwanted husband or legally licensed rapist, and won't strike against the system.

Why? Because conditions are horrid in the marriage system? No. Because they can't see that it's BETTER anywhere else, or how any other system might work better. "All men are the same."

However, because of TV, photos, the internet, tourist travel, telephone etc. etc., women the world over are being exposed to other ways of looking at the problem, other solutions, places where things work better, where they can imagine it's better, where they can imagine Joy exposed to their sight.

And so the world is changing. That change is causing a backlash against "Western Civilization." There are those who are striking out hard against freedom to choose, even to choose wrongly.

But make no mistake. In the animal -- birds, squirrels, dogs even -- it's always the female who gets to choose the mate.

Just watch in your yard or in the park at this time of year and you'll see female birds rejecting randy males, just flittering away before they can mount. And the poor male has to sit there and watch her fly away. (saw this the other day and felt so sorry for that piteously drooping male bird -- then he went after a different female.)

Human civilization will swing back to accomodate this pattern because it's inherent.

So as SF writers, we should be wondering what would happen if some Alien Species landed on the UN Plaza and offered women something BETTER. What if so many women left Earth that it put the species in danger?

Jacqueline Lichtenberg



  1. JL writes: That's why we read Romance Novels -- in any sub-genre. We know that our lives can be changed if we can SEE what's really there rather than the husks of dullness and negativity accreted around our joys.

    Oh, I grovel at your feet, Jacqueline. ;-) This is so incredibly on-point it makes me shiver.

    It still begs the question, though, as to the knee-jerk negativity by some of the SF community toward SFR/RSF. But that's topic for a past and perhaps future blogs.

    JL writes: It isn't how bad conditions are here and now that drives people to risk death. It's how GOOD they think it MIGHT (fantasy-romance?) be elsewhere.

    Yes, I agree. But I think when you factor in Intimate Adventure and the drive for companionship/acceptance/love, things get to be more of a sticky wicket. The drive for acceptance in humans--IMHO--is huge. That acceptance can be simple friendship or a torrid love affair that reaffirms (truthfully or not) the acceptance/attractiveness of one or both parties. Humans are pack animals. Not quite the hive mentality (so often explored in some of CJ Cherryh's fine books), no. But study any teen-aged fashion fad and you can see "pack" (almost hive) in motion.

    Peer pressure is also huge. So now you juxtapose Peer Pressure/Pack against I Want To Be Accepted/Loved. Peer/Pack Pressure tells you that you MUST stay within X Village to be accepted. Yet you don't FEEL accepted in X Village--and are then seduced (rightly or wrongly) by The Other from Y Village.

    Peer Pressure vs Individual Acceptance/Validation.

    West Side Story. South Pacific. Rodgers & Hammerstein played with this theme a lot. (I'm showing my age.) So obviously we don't need SF to explore this issue.

    I just believe that in SF we can explore it more fully--and perhaps without overtly pissing off The Pack. ;-)

    But then there are also, as you point out, JL, those that stay with "The Pack." Abused women are an example of that. I once read that for many, "a known evil is preferable to an unknown good." We are also creatures fed by complacency.

    What and where is the straw that breaks the complacent, fearful person's back and makes them leave Known Evil and chance Unknown Good? Is it the repeated lure of The Other Is Better, as you suggest? Yet some people (characters) need only a nudge and others need to be whacked by a series of two-by-fours to get moving.


    This fascinates me. This is why I write the characters I do. It's something I continually explore.

    BTW, I needed only a slight nudge to leave The Pack and, as I look back on my life, had been trying to leave The Pack for years before I did. The only Lure was that it was Not Here, not my present reality.

    Yet when I try to explain that to many people, they regard me strangely...and back away. ;-)


  2. (Kimber sniffles, turns and blows her nose on her sleeve, hoping her children didn't see.) I always enjoy how Jacqueline and Linnea expand on each other's thoughts.

    This whole discussion reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite childhood novels, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Marilla is an uptight old maid who's just received a girl from the orphanage instead of a the boy she wanted to work the farm. Her narrow view on life has been suddenly thrown into chaos with this hyperactive redhead. (Yes, this is where I picked up my fascination for that species.) She's determine to be rid of Anne as soon as possible and return to the Known (though lonely and boring) Reality, yet when she has the opportunity to do so she can't. Marilla still has a long way to go, but she's begun her Intimate Journey. Here's the quote:

    Anne: "Don't you ever imagine things differently than they are?"

    Marilla (sternly): "No."

    Anne (sadly): "Oh, Marilla, how much you miss!"

    Little wonder that novel has been loved by thousands of girls for generations. It helped them believe they really could create their own Happily Ever After.

  3. I agree with Linnea that there's a major (all-genre and Literature too) conflict between
    " Peer Pressure/Pack against I Want To Be Accepted/Loved"

    Human pack structure always seems to involve a hierarchy of Power where some people make sure that others know they aren't acceptable and thereby exercise "authority" over the "rabble."

    In the modern, internet world, though people can be "rabble" in their day-job workplace, and "The Ultimate Power" in their online Persona and play-place.

    In fact, some of these online "play-places" have turned into real-life money makers.

    The new generation of teens may teach the Psych Pundits a lot about humans that has never come to light before.

    A human individual may be an underdog, kisser-upper in one group and Alpha Pack Leader in another.

    Are there any other animals that can do that?

    Jacqueline Lichtenberg

  4. This is one reason I prefer Science Fiction anything to most Fantasy. Anyone can learn science and this is empowering.

    Quote from the HOLY BENNU:

    Zu: "Magic!"

    Junior: "No. Science. Here, you do it."

    Science. Science Fiction. Science Fiction Romance. Don't take your job as authors lightly. Your words may be the conduit through which power comes to someone you've never met.

  5. Anonymous10:16 PM EDT

    Wow! This is some great stuff here! And, Kimber An, that last paragraph is awesome -- elequent and profound at once.

  6. (Kimber blows her nose into a proper tissue this time.) Oh. Wow. My sinuses haven't been this clear since I had that insatible craving for garlic when I was pregnant the time before last.

  7. "What if an alien species landed in the UN plaza and offered women something BETTER?" As most of you probably know, that's the very theme of the classic "The Women Men Don't See" by "James Tiptree" (who, of course, was a woman). That story conveys such a bleak vision of women's lot in our culture (and not only in this hemisphere but all over the Earth). The clueless male POV character asks the older of the mother-daughter pair (about to depart on a spaceship piloted by extraterrestrials with whom they don't even share a language) how she could choose to leave everything she's ever known and live among aliens. She quietly says, "I'm used to it." Many of Tiptree's stories embody this theme that "there may be a place where I belong, but by definition it isn't here."

  8. Just as there are women which men do not see, there are men which women do not see. We don't need a spaceship. There are good men here and a good life to be made with them. Unfortunately, women don't 'see' them. Or, they truly don't believe they deserve them.