Friday, October 24, 2008

Missing Muses, Politics, and Religion

I try to stay away from politics and religion on my blog because I accept that my views - which are supported by my beliefs, values, and morals - are different than those belonging my readers. My assumption, whether correct or not, is that 90% of viewers and people I meet are Christians - either culturally or religiously/spiritually. The reason I am broaching that topic now - One to many religious and political arguments that can never be won? Maybe. Maybe not. I did, however, read an article that reminded me of a book that has been stewing and is now pummeling me. The article? It was one that was in the school paper - about a Pharmacist in Virginia, who following his personal, religious beliefs, decided not to sell pop (Coke, Pepsi type things), candy, or birth control. Now some people want the government to order in mandatory that he and others like him sell all prescriptions, not just the ones they choose. Now, I demand respect for my spiritual beliefs and that they may not be yours, and in return I must respect others personal spiritual beliefs. This Pharmacist - I don't think he should be forced to sell things against his beliefs, but there should be a big sign before you walk in the door that due to religious preferences this pharmacy is not fully stocked and does not carry and will not order birth control - that is his right - but the problem with that argument is that if too many people start deciding what they should and shouldn't sell, and they get their church leaders involved, then that gives unqualified people a say in some one else's medical care, and it gives towns a way to force the beliefs of the majority on everyone and then there goes that whole religious freedom thing. It's a catch 22 - he shouldn't be forced to sell against his beliefs, but at the same time it's a dangerous prescedent that could be set and that could endanger the lives of a lot of people and force the beliefs of one or few onto many. It's a lot of coulds, ifs, and maybes, and it might be avoided by saying that a pharmacy may decide against selling birth control only if another pharmacy within the same city/town/village limits does sell birth control. And it should be limited to birth control. Pop and candy aren't necessities of life and should never fall under any jurisdicition accept the store owner. And I have strayed from the original reason I went here ---

The book. The one that won't leave me alone, despite the fact that my muse is no where to be found. It's an M/M/F set in another world - that is hounding me. One that alternately ignore and respond to.

Why a new book, when I was set to go back to the tropics? Partially because it is fresh, new, and therefore really more of a crayon drawing than the outline of a fine artistic masterpiece. And partially, because designing the structural complexities of a world that must coexist in today's complex world deserves more time and effort than I have to spare this semester (it'll be great when I finally stop thinking in terms of semesters) and a new book that adding random brightly colored scribbles is preferred for this semester of heavily laden lab sciences. And next semester when my classes are easy and I am in need of more use of the logic side of my brain, I can go back to the complexities of world building a believable world for my characters to inhabit.

And where is my muse -- I don't know, but she sent photos.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

All About Heroes

Last week at the Grip, they were talking about heroes – alpha, beta, omega – whatever your pleasure. The concentration was on abstract flaws as part of their character while assuming physical perfection. Even Disney™ does it, and the women in Disney’s “The Princess Diaries 2) agreed that a flawless male – physically and in character was wanted.

But what I am noticing in romance, at least, is a lack of the physically flawed hero. There are more and more stories/books being written where the hero is a military vet (usually Army or Marines) who served in Iraq or Afghanistan as the war stretches into it’s 8th year and more and more people are serving over there. Some repeatedly.

While Billy Ray Cyrus’ song “Some Gave All” is apt, and accurate, we as writers want to acknowledge the service and sacrifice without delving to deep or losing the romantic essence of our books, so we have a tendency to stay away from the physically flawed hero. We understand the demons that even those who return physically unscathed must carry and deal with can be monumental, adding a physical complication and that set of demons would further complicate the matter, pushing our characters into unknown waters and setting up a possible failure in a complicated relationship.

I’m wondering why shy away from the physically imperfect hero. Is it because our heroine can’t handle it, or because we can’t?

A good portion of that answer we must shoulder ourselves – it’s scary and sad and potentially terrifying to look away from the safety of the world we know to the one they have dwelled in. But, at the same time, we can not ask a soldier to reveal and relive their time giving such details about their feelings for the good of a story. The qualities we love in our heroes are the same ones that can prevent them from seeking the help needed. PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – can show itself in many varied and lasting forms, which could be another deterrent.

So while writing about the characters with fixable flaws or smaller ones that can be overlooked or accepted is infinitely easier, maybe we should reconsider our stance on physically perfect. The physically imperfect hero wants to be loved and accepted just as much as the physically perfect.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where in the Universe... my muse?

The note I got says she's "on an extended vacation, the view is fantastic, and she'll try and keep me apprised of her whereabouts and adventures. Of course she took her staff with her, so lets hope she e-mails, because writing is imperative. Yes, so are a lot of other things, but I'm a writer and writing is as necessary to me as breathing -- No, I don't consider it an over-exaggeration because I know it's missing and it feels like I'm walking around in a fog because I know I should be writing or doing something pertaining to writing and since I'm not, I'm lost in the fog bank - you know the one they love to show in movies - with fog so thick you can't see through it and that amazingly enough goes up to the top of the Redwoods.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

License Plates, Books, and Alpha Males

Today in the parking ramp I saw one of the coolest bumper stickers ever (gotta love college kids -- they voice their opinion all over their cars - probably because 1) they're passionate about their opinions and 2) the cars are nearly as old as they are so it doesn't hurt anything) and it ties in with a blog by Brynn Paulin over at Oh Get A Grip:

"Freedom means having a choice"

(cool part is the car was parked next to a car with a "DAV - Vet's Vote" bumper sticker)

Both Brynn and Anny Cook talked about Alpha heroes and women's roles and heroines. I am not the woman who wants to be led or have decisions made for me (not even by someone I trust almost implicitly - not even if the decision they made is the one I would've made) , I don't want to be rescued but if I need help I'll ask -- but, and this is big -- but, several of my closest friends are those women, or want to be if they hadn't had to step into the role of being the rescuer - the decision maker - some have accepted it others fight it constantly. The world cannot function - grow and change - if everyone is the same. If all women were submissive or all men were submissive - things would get very boring, very fast - and you wouldn't have that really special couple that finally learns that yeilding to the other person(s) doesn't make you weak or incapable of living.

Friday, October 3, 2008

OOps --

Now I update my blog. I didn't make any of my goals, and my goals from now until the end of the semester all revolve around school, staying sane, and trying to pass, along with getting my applications for grad school in. That being said, I am going to a writer's retreat next weekend and have begun to dust off the manuscript I finished over the summer along with several business cards to finish my logistical research before beginning the new round of edits. I was hoping to participate in NANOWRIMO again this year, but since the two lab reports (25 pages a piece, they should count :( ) I write week probably won't count I'm not banking on it. Hopefully for Halloween, my website will be up.