Friday, September 26, 2014

Published 8:07 AM by with 0 comment

The Most Powerful Thing in the World

Words are powerful.

For me, words are the most powerful of all things.

The name of God that has resonated brightest in my soul is "Maker". He is the Creator, the Giver, the Singer of Life. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Written word is how I relate to others best, but spoken word has a dear place too.

Part of it is most likely due to my synesthesia, which makes every letter, every word, every sentence, every paragraph, glow like a jewel, each one individual with splashes of color. 

Part of it is that words make stories. And story is what I love: the stories of others, the stories that make me, the stories I hear, the stories I see. When I tell someone about something real that has happened, I try very hard to keep it to the absolute truth of the events that occurred. But once they enter my mind, experiences are transformed into memory, and the memory glows brighter; truth becomes molded into something new, no longer the strict report of an occurrence, but a Narrative of Being, a Tale of Life, a Story. 
Books upon books of stories are within each of us. Stories of triumphs and tragedy, sorrow and joy. Stories that we never share with anyone. Stories of our parents and grandparents. Stories that have emerged from the experiences of our lives. Stories that have shaped our image of who we are and who we will become. 

Some of these stories are helpful - they inspire us and remind us of who we really are.

Some of our stories are hurtful - we cling to them and they cause us a lot of suffering.
 
~ Lisa McCrohan
Whether we pick up a New York Time's bestseller, or a classic from our grandfather's library, or a novella from a friend, or a tattered copy of our favorite work of fiction, or a biography of someone else's existence, we are constantly seeking stories. We love true stories and we pine for the realms of fantasy. We sit around the campfire to whisper ghost stories. We sit in chairs around cups of coffee or tea, sharing our stories. We hear of others' stories, as they describe what life is like when you are born on a commune, or tell the strange tale of the last true hermit.
"The book was in her lap; she had read no further. The power to change one’s life comes from a paragraph, a lone remark. The lines that penetrate us are slender, like the flukes that live in river water and enter the bodies of swimmers. She was excited, filled with strength. The polished sentences had arrived, it seemed, like so many other things, at just the right time. How can we imagine what our lives should be without the illumination of the lives of others?"
James Salter, Light Years
What is at the root of Story? 

Love.

Whether it shows the Love inherent in the universe, or the love shared in a family, or the Eros kindled between two people, or the lack of love which destroys hearts and men, or the desperate desire for love that we all have, Story is about Love. 

And stories, whether they are told to others or kept in the secret treasure vaults of our own hearts, are what make and keep us human, remind us that we are all connected, link us with our past and our future, and draw us closer to Love as it speaks to us in whispers of divine mystery.

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Her dress flew into the room before she did. Airy cream-colored fabric with thin brown stripes wafted around the corner of the doorframe as she paused to laugh with someone in the hallway. Jess blinked as the woman bounded into the room. Green diamonds on the front of the dress were complimented by the woman's dancing silver necklace; her sandy blonde hair hung in wisps where it had escaped two short braids. Only a few of the other teachers seemed to take much notice of her, so Jess figured that her bold appearances were typical here. 

Jess fumbled with her notepad and pen, trying to sneak another look at the woman, yet not wanting to seem rude. Bright red glasses matched her lipstick. Faded shoes were kicked off to rest beside the door. Nothing about her could be identified as "beautiful", or even "young", but she caught the eye in a way that spoke of attractiveness, or perhaps an aura of intense life that magically drew the world around her.

She loudly pulled a chair over to the group of teachers already sitting in a circle. "Well!" her cheerful voice matched her wide smile. "What have we already talked about? Did I miss anything?" Another teacher turned to her with a patience resembling long-suffering fortitude. "How kind of you to join us, Naomi," he said dryly, yet Jess thought she could detect a subtle twinkle. 

Naomi beamed at the gathering. "Hi there! Don't mind me. Always rushing about, but I'm glad to finally be here! Go on," she urged. As the teacher's meeting progressed, it became apparent that Naomi was a highly qualified teacher. However, it also was clear that she had little use for anything that she felt was not directly relevant to her particular teaching approach. 

Jess watched out of the corner of eye over the next forty-five minutes as Naomi shifted restlessly in her chair, then pulled out a laptop to begin taking notes, lost interest, filed her nails, then very obviously began surfing online out of boredom. But, as Jess noticed, Naomi was clearly keeping an ear out for important subjects, because she would often look up sharply, pay attention for a minute, and call out to join the conversation. Everyone always listened when Naomi spoke, whether because they felt that her contributions were helpful or because she had such a commanding way of talking that they found it impossible to not pay attention to her. Once she even answered a question quite cheekily with a joke, grinned at the ensuing laughter, and winked at Jess. 

In between taking notes notes during the meeting, Jess found space to wonder about this woman, how she was so carelessly confident, so easy-going. The way she dressed showed that she had a fashion entirely enjoyed and created by herself. The very way she sat showed that she was completely comfortable in her own skin. Yet she didn't flaunt her uniqueness. She simply glowed with her own light, the light of a soul so radiantly itself that it couldn't help but shine out of sheer glory of being alive. 

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Earth’s crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries.
Not one day, in the artist’s ecstasy,
But every day, feast, fast, or working-day,
The spiritual significance burn through
The hieroglyphic of material shows,
Henceforward he would paint the globe with wings,
And reverence fish and fowl, the bull, the tree,
And even his very body as a man.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fio ran into Able as he suddenly stopped and turned to face her. He caught her hands in his, staring at her intently. “Look, Aiofe. I already let you go twice before, when you decided to leave, and then when I thought you had died."

Fio tried to reassure him. "But this time I'm not going to be gone for good! Now it's either the capitol to work under Dr. Emeth while I try to get some answers, or I'll be joining Realis..."

Able interrupted her roughly. "You're leaving again, going straight into danger. That's what I hear. So matter what you do, I am just going to have to deal with it. Both of those choices are bad." 

Do you even know why I'm considering joining Realis?” 

Able dropped her hands and sighed. “Everyone has the same reasons: fighting for justice, fighting for freedom, fighting for a new place to build a future.” He began to walk through the trees again. “They're all the same, Aiofe. 'This is worth dying for'! And then they do die, and who benefits? Nobody. While the provincial government continues to be in power, they'll keep their stranglehold on all goods and weapons and armed forces, making it impossible for any change to happen! Every single attempt Realis has ever made to take power has been stopped immediately. They can't get a step ahead to gain the upper hand, that's the truth of it.”

Oh, come off your soap-box," Fio exclaimed. "Maybe this is what they need me for. They told me that my father and I had been part of their biggest attempt to get an advantage. What if the abilities that I used to have DO come back? What if I'm what they need to succeed?” 

Able snorted. “There you go, just like old times, trying to make it seem like you're the savior of the world. I thought you were arrogant back then. Maybe you are exactly what they need: another wannabe superhero who will throw yourself into the fray and try to rescue us all!”

“Fine!” she shouted, stung by his mocking tone. “I've only got two bad options: either I end up dead on a mission or dissected like a lab rat! If you're so selfish that you'd rather stay out here for the rest of your life, then go ahead. I'm going to try to find some kind of meaning for why I'm still alive!” She headed back the way they had come through the trees, trying hard to blink away tears that she did not want Able to see.

His footsteps came crunching through the leaves after her. “Wait, Fio... Aiofe.” She refused to look at him, keeping her eyes fixed ahead. “You're not stupid for wanting to help. I'm sorry for snapping at you. It's just... hard to admit that there's nothing more that we... that anybody... can do to fix what's wrong with our world. Believe me, I tried. Why do you think I joined Realis? Even after I knew the truth about my parents' deaths, I still wanted to do something to help the cause of freedom. I was younger then...” 

“You still are young now,” Fio shot back. 

“... and I was a lot more na├»ve,” he continued. “It wasn't until I discovered that the so-called 'advantages' that Realis claimed it had to gain the upper ground over Caname were false that I made the final decision to leave both Realis and Caname behind. Working for Caname as an engineer would have meant that I would be living in a lie I couldn't trust. Working for Realis would be futile; there was no point in throwing my life away with them."

"But you didn't KNOW that," Fio said. 

"That's just the logical conclusion!"

"Sometimes you have to go with what you know is right, rather than what you think is best!"

"It would be stupid to volunteer for something that would get me killed!"

"Oh, so you'd rather be a live nobody than a dead hero! Good luck, then, you'll do a great job hiding out from civilization in the middle of a forest, only worried about your own safety!"

Fio's barb hit home. Able appeared stunned for a moment, then his face evened into the expressionless look that she was used to seeing. He turned away. Before she could open her mouth to say anything else, he had disappeared into the forest.

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I think certain sorts of stories bring you into their experience, make you feel like you’ve fallen into their world and sometimes there’s an almost palpable sensation when you finish those sorts of stories, like you’re coming up for air. And I do think there’s something about fiction that’s about intensity and shared experience, and that’s tied, finally, to a willingness on the part of the reader to be generous, to share in the risk, if that makes any sense. I am asking readers to go through intensive experiences in my fiction, and I can’t ask, in good conscience, for them to do that unless they feel that I’ve got something at stake as well, something real. A great many of the stories that fail for me don’t fail because of technical imperfections but because there’s something numinous that just isn’t quite there, some sense that not enough is at stake.
Brian Evenson
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