Thursday, November 24, 2005

Heroes without wands

So this generation's literature has discovered the mythic story and probably feel they invented it. In the Star Wars sagas, the Lord of the Rings, Medieval romances, and even the Harry Potter series that combines coming-of-age petulance and shifting sympathy with heroism, prophecy, wizardry and magic, we have clearly rejected social realism in favor of the epic romance. And those escapist big epics have proved well-matched to quantum leaps in technical innovations and the big screen.

I'm all for it. There's nothing wrong with having heroes, even the fantasy variety. Every generation has its idols. But it's interesting that today's generations seem to need to turn to fantasy to find them. It seems to me they do so only because they do not find them in the societyat large. They are not evident in their entertainers, their political leaders, their religious leaders or their inventors, scientists, sports figures or writers or academics anymore. And curiously, they used to be, and in abundance.

Oh, to be sure, all fields have leading figures. But none, evidently, inspire admiration or a desire for emulation or imitation by the young as many did before. Ask the young whom they admire, whom they would like to grow up to be like, and you will probably get the name of some current singer or actor or athlete, but none of any career length or history.

I have little doubt that the events of the world will eventually inspire a new realism in the culture and the return of real heroes. I don't know from whence they will emerge, but I think they will most likely result from a re-emergence of the family. I think that the stable family is a necessary precondition to molding solid character and values and instilling the kind of knowledge and creative imaigination, strength and endurance that can lead to the kinds of heroic achievements younger generations will want to emulate.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I'm betting Dumbledore's death was faked

I think Underwear Ninja's right: Dumbledore's not dead. Remember, his faith in Snape was unshakeable, he immobilized Harry so the latter couldn't interfere on the tower fight, he didn't stop Malvoy despite the fact that he probably could have, he called for Severus, and especially this: once Snape zapped him point blank, he tumbled over the wall and presumably ended in a crumpled heap on the ground, but we never saw him clearly. Then Hagrid covered him and carried him at the funeral. But we never really saw the confirmation that he was (sniff) truly deceased, never-coming-back gone for. Remember, he was the greatest wizard, and he left many secrets.

I think the Snape-induced "death" of Dumbledore was part of a plan to draw out Lord Voldemort and force his hand, make him reveal his plot prematurely. Surely at the right moment, Albus Dumbledore, or at least his still-potent spirit, will reappear to help Harry foil and destroy the dark lord, and Snape will be shown to have been Dumbledore's most trusted accomplice, justifiably so.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Time and the River

Writers have a tendency to think that the collective response to what they write will be evident soon after they publish, like reactions to speeches often are. But curiously, I have seen more visits to my postings on this site since I stopped writing to it than during all the previous weeks when I actually wrote those posts. Writing hangs around, sometimes for quite a while.

I'm not posting as regularly these days as I did last summer and early fall. I'm not sure why that is. I thought it was because I got pretty busy after Hurricane Wilma with cleanup, then with catching up with my classes once we resumed our semester. But I now believe that's not the sole reason. The fact is, I may be getting tired of it. Clearly my mind's on other things these days.

I can't imagine I'd want to quit doing it, but I'll never do it from a sense of obligation. I'll blog when I want to express something, just as I wrote regularly in my longhand journal when I wanted to set down something. And these days, my attention is on action more than on reflection, on doing what I need to do each day.

However, from writing my longhand journal for three decades, I'm certain of one thing: I'll be back. I'm a writer, and writers can't help ourselves; we must write. We have our dry spells and our blocks, but we never can ignore that imp in us that compels us to set down words and ideas for long. Maybe that's how we come to realize that we are writers.

We may write little of consequence or even of sense, but we will write something. Similarly, I know I'll continue to write my longhand journal no matter how much I also post to my blogs. Neither can replace the other, any more than I could stop thinking to myself because I say things to others, or vice versa. I realize that I will probably always do both.

What I can't predict is when I will do either.