Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Believing In Happily Ever After Part 7 - The Writer's Lifestyle and Voice

Part 6 (which has a link to part 5 which links to previous parts of this series) is dated April 10, 2012:


At the end of Part 6 we began talking about the trajectory of a writer's career and how it can be affected by decisions about what to write.

Look again at that quote from the screenwriting blog discussed in Part 6


If you take "the wrong job" just because you've let your lifestyle drive you into needing a check, you will find the quality of your work deteriorating and it'll be harder to get another job (by this, the screenwriter is talking about WORK FOR HIRE -the exact business model that is freaking out L. J. Smith's fans.)

Here's something I know about Marion Zimmer Bradley.  She did take just anything that came along, writing, editing, odd jobs, anything!  She had kids to feed and bills to pay and she scrambled and scraped for years before the career triumph of having one of her novels made into a TV miniseries.

If you've read the Darkover novels in publishing order, you know that the quality of her work increased over the years.

But she did what that screenwriter is advising writers not to do.

What's the difference? 

Over her lifetime, Marion was a practitioner of many religions, an expert at considerable depth at many philosophies and worldviews.  She understood Tarot, Astrology, Magic, Christianity, Paganism, and much more.  She understood what they all have in common, the conclusion that behind it all there is a strong Hand that guides events. 

The theory of what that Hand is, where it comes from, how it manifests, how it treats this person differently from that person, etc etc -- all these mysteries of life, was always an open question for her, but one thing she always knew throughout all her adventures in life -- something is 'assigning' us our problems, and solving them makes us better, stronger and more able to solve the next one.

At least, that's what I saw (remember the commentary above here about memoir writing and facts) -- that's what I saw in her. 

That basic concept about the nature of reality is woven into all the Darkover novels she wrote, and it is something I think I was born with.  And so when I encountered the Darkover novels, I resonated to the stories in a way that was different from how I responded to other novels written at that time.

Marion, for the worldbuilding behind Darkover, invented a term for the psychic effects we experience as real but which somehow just can't be proved (or disproved actually). 

Science as we know it today is based on a "law" that Francis Bacon popularized, the system of empirical science based on the law of cause and effect.

Our whole Aristotelian worldview (I do hope you remember that from the Tarot posts) is based on cause and effect, establishing that when you do this, then subsequently because you did this, that happens.  This causes that.

Current politically correct philosophy insists that because cause/effect has worked so well to improve life on earth, that therefore there can and must be nothing else in reality except cause/effect.

Any phenomenon that is observed that can not be analyzed down to a cause/effect basis just isn't real.  Therefore it must be ignored.

Well, Happily Ever After is just exactly such a thing! 

Nobody has ever been able to nail the CAUSE for which the inevitable and repeatable, achievable by anyone EFFECT is Happiness, nevermind Ever After-ness!

Finding and marrying a Soul Mate is not a project one can embark upon by reading the textbook and performing the required actions.

So Marion came up with a catch-all term to lump together the entire non-scientific (not anti-scientific!!!) world of actions and events. 

She called the psychic and spiritual world "the non-causitive sciences."

As has been observed in Astrology for thousands of years before "science" was invented, very often the EFFECT can precede the CAUSE.

That is, what happens as a result of an action can happen before the action is taken. 

In modern science, this can be accounted for if you have been following developments at the edges of theoretical physics where the realm of magic is converging on the realm of science.  But we've still a long way to go.

So how does this apply to L. J. Smith?  I have no idea because I don't know L. J. Smith personally.  But the Vampire Diaries fans are resonating to her Voice which has to be inflected by her deepest philosophical notions, possibly notions she isn't even aware she has.  I keep finding such notions lurking inside myself, a constant revelation, so I assume others have them too.

So how is it that one writer can observe in himself and his compatriots in Hollywood that taking a job (writing a script) that is just for the paycheck can cause a deterioration in quality and marketability of the byline when another writer (in novels at the time) finds the exact opposite, that taking whatever COMES TO HAND increases skill quality and marketability?

I have a theory (well, 2 actually )about how that could be.  It might not be true, and might not apply to any of the writers mentioned here -- but it would surely make a grand foundation for a novel series.

There is a principle of Magic that says that if a Magician turns his/her Talent to lesser tasks than the Talent was gifted to him for, then the Talent will dissipate, not be renewed by the Higher Power that gifted him with it.

That could be what the screenwriter was observing. 

But there's another way to look at this process.

In Magic, there is a principle known as the Law of Abundance.

It's pretty well illustrated by the Biblical story of Mana -- how in the desert, when the Tribes camped, in the morning the ground would be covered in a dew-like substance that could be picked up and taken home to eat.  When eaten it would taste like whatever the person craved, and sustain them perfectly in energy and vitamins.

From that story is derived the concept that we work for this Higher Power, God Himself.  God pays our salaries, not the person who signs the check.

We are gifted with a Talent to make our way in the world, and a Lesson that we must learn and take out of the world with us when we die.  What work we are assigned is the work needed to learn that Lesson, and our Salary will come to us via another channel. 

In other words wealth itself is mana, or a Gift. 

In yet other words, your salary is not caused by your work.

Salary, sustenance, income, wealth are not part of the Scientific Universe. 

Work, tasks, difficulties, traumas, job, unemployment, success and failure, are not causes that directly result in wealth or poverty.

So, if you live in a world where there exists such a thing (right alongside Science and interacting with it smoothly and invisibly) as the non-causative sciences, then you accept whatever tasks, work, job, script contract that comes to you, and you do that work with all your might, all your strength, every last iota of Talent, ability, craft, and no-stone-unturned meticulous effort.

If you work with that attitude -- that the task is yours because God assigned it to you -- then you will, little by little, achieve the purpose of your life.

Meanwhile, sustenance will be provided, sometimes wealth, but inevitably happiness will accrue (even in poverty!). 

But wealth and happiness (two often incompatible things unless your Soul has achieved its lessons in this life) have to be understood not as a result of  what you do but of what you are, what you've made of yourself on a Soul level.  And it isn't a simple, scientifically understandable paradigm. 

The laws of cause and effect as they operate in material reality (Pentacles of the Tarot) do not apply at the level of Cups or Wands -- at least not exactly and without modification.

If you live in a science-only world, where no spiritual dimension exists or functions, then you have to believe that if you take on a shitty job writing some crap script for a very small paycheck, then you, yourself have caused your reputation to deteriorate so you can't get more work BECAUSE you made a wrong decision about what work to accept.

If you believe that your actions and your actions alone cause you to get work, then you must believe that your actions cause you to not-get work.

The belief that there is nothing but simple cause/effect operating in the world can become your religion, and anything that challenges that belief (such as an inevitable Happily Ever After) must be rejected with religious fervor.

If on the other hand you can understand your reality as managed by and even driven by a Higher Power, then you will look at your monetary problem in another way. 

You might conclude that you were given wealth beyond your spiritual level of development to handle (e.g. that you didn't give the 10% to Charity you should have) and so find yourself in poverty.  You will then pray, make ammends, pray real hard, and take whatever work comes along and do it with all your Talent and all your might.

This is what happens when people find themselves out of work and, despite pounding the pavement, can't find any opening.  So they go volunteer at a Hospital as a candy striper or at a Soup Kitchen or Homeless Shelter -- or teach Bible Study on Sundays, or whatever -- just DO something for others.

And then a break happens, out of nowhere for no reason anyone can see, and the person's life picks up, barreling hell bent for leather toward a Happily Ever After.

That's the stuff out of which stories are made because that's how real life really works.  (I know real people who've been through that process and I've followed the astrology of it all.)

So if you find yourself young, with writing Talent or storytelling Talent, you can regard that Talent as a "lethal weapon" with which to "wipe out the competition" and achieve Great Things (and maybe die of a drug overdose in some posh, or foreign, Hotel Room). 

After all, "you" are just a lump of meat, and it's a dog-eat-dog world.  You're never going to be Happy Ever After because there is no such thing -- there can't be because there's no such thing as a soul.  After all, brain research can account for every human trait and experience, including near-death and out-of-body so that proves there is no God.  What you, yourself do with your own hands is the only cause of events in your life.  So use your Talent to elbow your way to the top of the heap -- at least you can breathe a little up there.

OR -- you can look at the entire matter from different perspectives, not just that one narrow "Scientific" perspective.

Why did I put scientific in quotes?  Because real science keeps an open mind.  No matter how well proven any theory might be, it is always possible that NEW EVIDENCE can prove that theory wrong.  Science doesn't "believe" -- science only knows, and that knowledge is only tentative.

The Real Scientist admits of the possibility of the non-causal sciences -- even if she hasn't seen any evidence at all of such a thing.

It's possible to think it, so it might be true.  It might not be likely, and you might not want to bet your life on it -- but...


So now read the following from my review column -- The False Hobson's Choice:


That's part of a Series on Justice, and you'll find the index to the year 2012 reviews here:


That's my review column I've been writing for the paper magazine, The Monthly Aspectarian which is posted to their website lightworks.com then after the exclusive they paid me for has run out, it is archived on my site, http://simegen.com/reviews/rereadablebooks/   

Science and Magic are not different things, not incompatible.  They are different coordinate systems, each useful for describing the same Universe.

A coordinate system is like a Point of View.  When writing a novel, you can shift the genre (remember the post on genre I linked here above) by shifting the point of view.

And that brings us back to the top of this topic.  A writer's LIFESTYLE "informs" the writer's "Voice" -- but Voice and Lifestyle are not connected by Cause/Effect -- they are interlaced via the non-causative sciences view of the universe. 

Some Voices irritate, send shudders through you.  Others soothe.  Others are as @MiriamSPia noted, boring. 

Boredom is, as most students of Magic know, the strongest of all Wards.

You want to keep something secret?  Make it boring. 

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

No comments:

Post a Comment