Hello Reader. So this past weekend I had the time of my life. What did I do? Not important (I was at a retreat in Hermosa Beach). What happened there? Important because of its consequences. For a long time I thought of where Briok would go in his development. I knew the end, but I didn't know what it would mean. How would he have grown and changed? What exactly would he have grown into at the end of his story? I'm not talking about the end of this book that I've written, or the end of the volume of which it is a part. I'm talking about the very end of the story, when Briok can no longer be written about. What kind of man would he be? Would he even be alive at the end of it all?
The alive part I can't divulge. It's a rather appealing idea, killing off my character. That way, no one can write about him! Oh how selfishness does feel good! Anyways, Briok's death or survival at the end of the planned three volumes is of little consequence because what really matters is whether or not he has changed from the beginning to the end. I had a vague idea: he'd be more mature. Screw me for even attempting to write a character with such an ambiguous premise.
Over the weekend however I had a couple of conversations that were...well, life-changing is an inappropriate word however good it may sound. I mean, my life isn't over yet right? Can't count my chickens before they hatch. But these conversations were revelatory. And they both came from women. I'll post on another day about women in my story. For now, let's focus in on how Briok's going to be a man.
Black and white are two opposites on the moral spectrum that do exist. Yet in between both is a swath of gray that is far more prevalent. Most people will acknowledge this, especially in a post-9/11 world where our enemies can no longer be entirely vilified. We realize now that there CAN be a terrified, little boy amidst the sea of terrifying, suicide bombers. But people, in general, do not easily handle this. It's far easier to have an "us vs. them" mentality.
Herein comes our young hero, not yet the man he is asked to be, not yet ready to even attempt scaling the Everest of expectations rising high above him. Thrust into a moral continuity most grown men are unable to comprehend, he must find that balance so many others have not. He must accept the gray. For the course of three volumes he attempts to reconcile the morals and values he's been given with the realities of a world that doesn't give a damn about his idealized principles.
Verily this is not the traditional fantasy epic, because most of the time you have a child thrust into a vast war that forces him to accept his destiny. Ugh, what does that mean? Accept destiny? Why? Accept the gray, on the other hand...well, you have to. Otherwise you'll go crazy. You'll build these illusions about people and things that will come crashing down with all the force of a raging bull in a room full of mirrors. You won't be able to function normally.
Where did this all come from? Yes, my life. For a long time I've had trouble dealing with the little nuances in a person's character that make them less than perfect. I built up illusions that went so far as to idolize a person, and when they shatter my heart doesn't just break. It aches for months. These past few months have been transformative in a way though. I've allowed myself far more leeway in accepting others and their flaws. In fact, I've forced myself to realize that a person is nothing without them. Life itself is flawed, and if I'm going to enjoy it I've got to take the good with the bad. Because the essence of friendship, love, the relationship between me and this dunya (an Arabic word of enormous importance that generally means a plane of existence) is not based on how perfect someone or something is. It's based on how well balanced the yins and the yangs are.
Briok needs to find that balance, and he needs to see that balance in others. When he does that, then can he sit beneath a sprawling oak overlooking creation and let the silver clouds of joy wash over him. My question to you, the reader, is this: how would you have liked some of your favorite characters in books or movies to have ended up? Oh, and why? Until next time then.