Thursday, September 5, 2013

Betwixt and Between: Quite a few Thoughts

 quill pen prose
“... It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.”
~Matthew 12:34-37~ The Message version
Thought I'd share this ^.  It's an interview with my favorite author, Jeffrey Overstreet (who's a Christian), about how he's retreating from work to go back into the joys of writing.  Plus he mentions what his up-coming stories are about!  Now I'm really excited to see what he comes up with, and am praying that God blesses him.

Also, sort of mentioning something from the Cinderella post and tying it, I found another post that opened my eyes a bit more.  I shall post snippets from it here.  Doctor Who is mentioned and it's a long post, so I edited it some:
Writing about Doctor Who this week got me thinking about sexism in storytelling, and how we rely on lazy character creation in life just as we do in fiction. The Doctor has become the ultimate soulful brooding hero in need of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl to save him from the vortex of self-pity usually brought on by the death, disappearance or alternate-universe-abandonment of the last girl. We cannot have the Doctor brooding. A planet might explode somewhere, or he might decide to use his powers for evil, or his bow-tie might need adjusting. The companions of the past three years, since the most recent series reboot, have been the ultimate in lazy sexist tropification, any attempt at actually creating interesting female characters replaced by... That Girl. 
River Song, interestingly enough, did not start out as That Girl, but the character was forcibly turned into That Girl when she no longer fit the temper of a series with contempt for powerful, interesting, grown-up women, and then discarded when she outgrew the role (‘Don’t let him see you age’ was River’s main piece of advice in the last season). ‘The Girl Who Waited’ is not a real person, and nor is ‘The Impossible Girl.’ Those are the titles of stories. They are stories that happen to other people. That’s what girls are supposed to be. 
Men grow up expecting to be the hero of their own story. Women grow up expecting to be the supporting actress in somebody else's. 
As a kid growing up with books and films and stories instead of friends, that was always the narrative injustice that upset me more than anything else. 

It's a feeling that hit when I understood how few girls got to go on adventures. 

Sure, there were tomboys and bad girls, but they were freaks and were usually killed off or married off quickly. Lady hobbits didn't bring the ring to Mordor. They stayed at home in the shire. 

Stories matter. Stories are how we make sense of the world, which doesn’t mean that those stories can’t be simplistic and full of lies. Stories can exaggerate and offend and they always, always matter.  
The only way we get to be in stories is to be stories ourselves. If we want anything interesting at all to happen to us we have to be a story that happens to somebody else, and when you’re a young girl looking for a script, there are a limited selection of roles to choose from.

...fiction creates real life, particularly for those of us who grow up immersed in it. Women behave in ways that they find sanctioned in stories written by men who know better, and men and women seek out friends and partners who remind them of a girl they met in a book one day when they were young and longing.

Part of the reason I’m writing this is that the MPDG (Manic Pixie Dream Girl) trope isn’t properly explored, in any of the genres I read and watch and enjoy. She’s never a point-of-view character, and she isn’t understood from the inside. She’s one of those female tropes who is permitted precisely no interiority. Instead of a personality, she has eccentricities, a vaguely-offbeat favourite band, a funky fringe.

"Everybody is setting out to write a full character. It's just that some people are limited in their imagination of a girl.” [because sometimes men have a narrow view of females]
And yet something in me was rebelling against the idea of being a character in somebody else’s story. I wanted to write my own.  

Because the other thing about stories is that they end. The book closes, and you’re left with yourself, a grown woman with no more pieces of cultural detritus from which to construct a personality. I tried and failed to be a character in a story somebody else had written for me. What concerns me now is the creation of new narratives, the opening of space in the collective imagination for women who have not been permitted such space before, for women who don’t exist to please, to delight, to attract men, for women who have more on their(our) minds. Writing is a different kind of magic, and everyone knows what happens to women who do their own magic - but it’s a risk you have to take.


I've realized the different ideas put in here.  Abbey wrote a wonderful comment below reminding me that we can't be selfish.  A mother does sacrifice much because of love.  The person who wrote this post seems to be writing partially from a feministic point of view.  The idea of feminism is that women should be as strong as men in every way, and I think that's a little selfish.  That's not how we were made.  We can change the world like men can, but in different ways, for men and women were made with different specialties.
Sure we can't be quite as physically strong as men always, but men don't always know how to do everything we know how to do (like cooking great food, being gentle, having grace and poise, doing laundry, etc.).  Think of the differences between your parents.  What is something your mom can do better than your dad, and vice versa?  I suppose that's why a man and a woman build each-other up and have the perfect balance for parenting.  That's one of the reasons why homosexual marriage doesn't work.  It's either too masculine without a mother, or lacking a father figure, and this will only confuse a child even more as they grow up.
There was a feminist who couldn't understand how her mother was so happy and yet her mother Sacrificed so much for her children.  When she herself grew up she didn't want to sacrifice as much(that's one thing about feminism that's nonChrist-like), and I believe that's selfish.

It reminds me of the beginning.  Eve felt like she should be as strong or as wise as God when the devil tempted her (especially when the devil HIMSELF wanted to be as powerful as God when he fell).  I think it's happening again today in several ways.
*Edit over*

One thing that really stood out to me in this post was the fact that Fiction CREATES real life.  What we put in us comes out of our actions, even if it's a lie we've consumed.  So out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
What we write really will change the world.  In America, we're pretty much all consumers of entertainment, day in and day out.  Shouldn't we pay a bit more attention to the messages in what we're watching or reading (and forget the fact that we're also not paying attention to what's in the food we eat either.... literally).

I hope you weren't too bored, and here's a big sticker if you actually read all this!  *glitter sticker*
I feel like I could write forever on stuff. lol 
And my second part to analyze the story of Cinderella is still coming.
One of the reasons why I'm analyzing fairy stories is because I'm sort of rewriting fairy tales myself and want to capture their hearts and brighten them and make the most of the stories they can possibly be.  Analyzing what makes a fairy tale so wonderful makes me feel like I then have permission to rewrite the story.
A book I read last winter I now recommend to you: Finding God in Fairy Tales.  Each chapter talks about a different story and how it's allegoric, and it was very good.
Anyway, tell me your thoughts below!


  1. Interesting article. I agree with the parts about being your own person and such - that's important. And I agree that in certain unhealthy circumstances, it is definitely a good thing for women to break away from the 'leads' in their story... But at the same time, woman was created to be a companion for the man. It's not that we shouldn't get jobs and make an impact in the world and be our own person's... but at the same time, we should be content to be man's helper. To be the rib, rather than taking over the whole chest cavity (and then THE WORLD! MWAHAHA). One of the problems I have with the whole "woman is as strong as man!" stuff is that, well, we're not as strong as man. Men are strong, big, muscular, and one-track minded so that they can get work done quickly and efficiently, and bring home the bacon. Women are smaller, and more emotional so that they can take care of the house and raise children to be Godly young men and women. I think it's fine for women to go to work, but if they are sacrificing time with their family and their children, I think something is wrong there (unless, of course ,they are single mothers and the only source of income).
    When I marry and have children, I want to be content to be a mother, a teacher, because that's the job I will have been given. I don't want to be off in a corning thinking, 'why on earth am I here when I could be off being a lawyer or a politician or a businesswoman?' No, I want to say, 'I love being home with my children, so that they can see a Godly influence in their life.'

    Technically, we're already someone else's story anyway. Like the song says, "I am not my own, I was bought with a price, I was purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. All my debts were paid by his sacrifice, halleluiah to the Lamb who redeems my life."
    I was just at a conference that was talking about this... Instead of fitting God into your story, you should be a part of God's ultimate story, fitting everything in your life around His plan.

    The allegorical Fairy Tale book sounds very cool!

  2. Amen, Abbey! I remember our co-op talking about that, and one of us was writing a research paper on how Feminism has been ruining the Biblical family because of that. It can be pretty hard, trying to figure out our roles and still being content when one feels the world doesn't think much of them. I myself am struggling a little bit, because of confusion and different world-views everywhere.
    I spotted the feminism in the post a little bit, but either forgot or was too tired to talk about it when I posted it. I've been a bit sleep-deprived lately...

    After all, living life isn't about us chasing after everything we want but about our important roles in the whole of the Body of Christ.

    Oh, and I think it's interesting because there's two reasons to write from two perspectives: in the first post I linked to was a post about why Jeffrey Overstreet (who is a Christian) is becoming less busy so he can focus on being an artist and writing for joy instead of money. You might read that one if you haven't yet.
    And then comparing that to the snippets of the post below it, you've got two different worldviews, two different reasons to write!

    It's amazing how confused the world is because of that void without Christ, and how confused the world can make us even though we're Christians. I'll go back and edit the post a little.
    Thanks for your comment, it's such a good reminder.

  3. Yes, I totally agree! It's sooo hard to figure out what kind of role to have in the world, nowadays. Although it shouldn't be. I think that because there's so much pressure on "what are you going to be" and with all the feministic views, the light is taken off of our real purpose, which is just as you put it: "After all, living life isn't about us chasing after everything we want but about our important roles in the whole of the Body of Christ." Worshipping our Creator, as well.

    Wow, how interesting to compare the two views on why to write! The Jeffrey Overstreet article reminded me of a video my mom and I watched the other day. It was a recent TED Talk (I don't know if you're familiar with them... I actually don't know much about them myself, only that they are "ideas worth spreading")

    And oh wow! That last paragraph of your edit - Eve being tempted - I've never thought about it like that before, but it's so true!
    You're not the only one having ah-hah moments - the way you put things on your blog, really make me think! Thank you for that.

    Also, this is kind of off-topic... But I was tagged, and I don't know if you do tags, but I'm going to tag you (I haven't posted the blog post yet). You don't have to do it if you don't want to (it's for a book release... party... thing).

  4. If I'm tagged, do I have to do something or say something?

    *clicks on link, looks at related videos by same people* woah, I'm gonna subscribe to these people! Their vids look really interesting. Thanks for your thoughts!

  5. Basically, if you get tagged, you have to answer the questions and that's about it... You can tag others if you want. For this specific tag, you can be entered into a giveaway for a book that is coming out (by self-published author Joan Bassington-French) if you comment on her blog with the link to your post. You don't have to do it if you don't want to. It wouldn't hurt my feelings if you didn't do it.

    Yeah, they are pretty interesting!

  6. Sure you can tag me! (: Do you need my e-mail address or something to ask the questions or...?

  7. You just go to my blog post titled "tags galore" (from a week or so ago) and copy/paste the questions/rules. I'm not sure if it's still open or not... *furrows brow*

  8. Hm... the only thing is, I'm not sure I could find five people to tag. Could I tag you and count your past post as it? lol