The Far Unlit Unknown

Subdivisions

Lyrics: Neil Peart

Sprawling on the fringes of the cityCitylights
In geometric order
An insulated border
In between the bright lights
And the far unlit unknown

Growing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided
In the mass production zone

Nowhere is the dreamer
Or the misfit so alone

SubdivisionSubdivisions —
In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
Subdivisions —
In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out
Any escape might help to smooth
The unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
The restless dreams of youth

Drawn like moths we drift into the city
The timeless old attraction
Cruising for the action
Lit up like a firefly
Just to feel the living night

Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

Somewhere out of a memory
Of lighted streets on quiet nights…

Subdivisions – Rush

In 1982, the year this song by the popular band, Rush, spoke to me and my growing feeling of isolation. It spoke my fears that I would never make it to the “far unlit unknown” and that my future had already been “pre-decided”.

This is timeless in that it speaks to that conflict in all of us between fitting in and living our best potential which is repressed by the forces telling us to be this false ideal that does not truly exist.  “Conform or be cast out” can be read “give up your identity or be always alone”.  I chose to be alone. The cost of conformity – it’s too much to bare.

“Some will sell their dreams for small desires and lose the race to rats…”

Too many suffer that fate, living in their little boxes, repeating the same worn routine day in and day out in some cubicle so that they can keep their box all the while screaming on the inside.

There is something so broken in society, it seems incurable. The way we live is not healthy or conducive to creativity and the resulting productivity that might evolve us beyond our technology.

We have so many more of these “Signals” in society than we did in 1982. We are always plugged in to the beast that is social media which instead of making us each welcome to the world further isolates us not only from each other but from our own humanity.

“Growing up it all seems so one-sided. Opinions all provided…”

This has grown exponentially true. If you dare step out of line with the latest narrative, being cast out is the best one can hope for.

Quotes – R.A. Salvatore

No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith     – R.A. Salvatore

Dragon

 

I have been in a dragon sort of mood lately. I imagine this sentiment is echoed throughout the fantasy world. I would not wish to exist in a world that has no dragons or magic. That is not a world worth saving.

G.K. Chesterton – An Actual Quote

“When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.” –Heretics, CW, I, p.143  G.K. Chesterton

 

Well, this explains so much. In this, something Chesterton actually wrote, fairy-tales more oft than not are dark and scary things sort of like our navigation in life. Again, I write fantasy and it seems my compulsion to do so is something echoed through time.

I love the writings of Chesterton, and I especially love the quotes attributed to him that he never said. My favorite misquote of Chesterton is from the popular television show, Criminal Minds:

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

Only he never said this. This wonderful quote is a reworking of the following from Chesterton’s work, Tremendous Trifles (1909)

StGeorgeDragonFairy Tales then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon. Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear.

  • Tremendous Trifles (1909), XVII: “The Red Angel”

 

Quotes – Ursula Le Guin Again

Dragon

“For fantasy is true, of course. It isn’t factual, but it is true. Children know that. Adults know it too, and that is precisely why many of them are afraid of fantasy. They know that its truth challenges, even threatens all that is false, all that is phony, unnecessary, and trivial in the life they have let themselves be forced into living. They are afraid of dragons, because they are afraid of freedom.”

Ursula Le Guin 1929-2018

I write fantasy. This is spot on, and I have nothing that I can add.

Quote of the Day – Mark Twain

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them”

Mark Twain 1835-1910

TomSawyerMy dad loved quoting both Mark Twain and Winston Churchill when I was growing up. My first dog was a Springer Spaniel named Winston Churchill so for the longest time I thought dad was quoting our dog. Winston was, after all, the best bird dog in the whole neighborhood.   I understood about Mark Twain. He wrote Tom Sawyer who gave me some excellent ideas on how to get out of unwanted chores.

I read all the time. I can’t fall asleep at night without reading as that has been my habit since I was three. So one day, in my early adolescence when the guitar took up a great deal of my time,  I was trying to explain a reference to Tom Sawyer in a Rush song to one of my buddies – as those who know me, I have always looked at certain song-writers as poets.  My buddy only cared about the cool factor of Rush and did not care why the song, “Tom Sawyer” was so brilliant for that time.

He did not get it because he never read anything. If it was not made into a movie, he reasoned, it could not be any good. There were movies on Tom Sawyer, I told him, but he had this idea that he must deny all childhood things to be a man, and asserted that he did not watch “kiddie” films. I was frustrated by it and suddenly there was one more quote by Mark Twain that also proved to be a truth.  A lot of his little gems proved true over the years, even without broader context.

Quote of the Day – John Milton, Paradise Lost

“Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light”

John Milton
Paradise Lost

 

ParadiseLostJohn Milton and Dante Alighieri were the bane of my existence in my early life.  In my parent’s bookshelves, I was fascinated by the tales that Milton’s Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno revealedand the insight they gave to this Hell where I was told I would definitely be heading. You see, I was sent to Catholic school from first to fifth grade, and not being the most agreeable of children, was threatened with certain damnation for all my vile imagination (boy, I could lie in a way that would put Lucifer to shame) and my refusal to conform (I was not a proper little girl).

My early writings sought to cope with my pending damnation. How might I get out of Hell? What could I do to fool Lucifer? The character I met inside Milton’s pages was not the lovable rube of Neil Gaiman and friends after all. He had once been glorious and then what? He found fault in boundless creation? Unlikely. I do not believe it. Perhaps, he was never part of Heaven. Perhaps, Lucifer simply lacked imagination.  Or perhaps, the only way to Heaven is through Hell or so this quote always made me believe. Even Christ stopped by Hell on his journey to eternity.  Contemplate if you like.  I must get back to figuring out how to get out of the Hell that is writing a query for my WIP. That is my only way out of damnation at the moment.

 

 

 

Quote of the Day – Ursula Le Guin

“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world, and exiles me from it”

Ursula Le Guin

1929 – 2018

LeftHandOfDarknessTheDispossessed

WizardofEarthsea

 

 

 

 

 

This author passed away in the last week. I had not realized that she was the source of a quote that always made me say, “Whoa, so true.” She will be missed. She changed genre fiction forever and shaped much of my early thinking when I was still developing.  I will let my betters sing her praises.  I only wished to share a favorite writerly quote.