After reading and reviewing both books in my epic fantasy series, David Wagner threw some interesting challenges my way. Continue the mini-series as we delve into the world behind the words (previous posts dealt with themes and characters). Required reading for this assignment: The Riddler’s Gift and Second Sight. Deeper into the Tale of the Lifesong we go!
DW: In both of your novels, you certainly demonstrate that you have a solid grasp on, and deep understanding of, many (what could be called) “Biblical” concepts – far more so than many “Christian” authors I know of/have read.
I don’t believe it is necessary to study religion to find understanding; all you need is within yourself. If I display a grasp of ‘Biblical’ concepts that is coincidental as I don’t claim any knowledge of the contents of your Bible, which I tried to read but found the writing style obscured my inner sight. All I have done is to reflect on the world I see through the eyes of my soul. I have allowed ideas to come through me rather than from me.
DW: One of my favorites was the idea of the wildfire revealing who you are on the inside, transforming you so that your inward nature is directly reflected by your outward appearance. You addressed this in part in your web post “The Lifesong and the Search for Truth”.
I suspect that would be a horror for most people, as would the presence of a telepath nearby. I doubt any of us would look very beautiful with our inner nature and thoughts on display. But a beautiful soul is something worth striving for, isn’t it? The state of our soul is our own special secret creation. That makes life a journey, rather than an achievement.
I am wary of people who claim to have ‘found’ the way to enlightenment. People are clever enough to puzzle out their own path. But we can all do with some inspiration to get us moving in the right direction, so if you are a singer, sing! If you are a writer: write!
DW: Please know that I absolutely am not going to try to engage you in a religious discussion, and will by no means attempt to foist my own set of beliefs upon you… I was only curious if your Atheism has been from your youth, or do you come from a religious background, which you subsequently left? I’m only curious because of your remarkable grasp on many underlying concepts that I feel have been obfuscated/hidden and are sorely needed among those that claim to follow Christ.
I appreciate your considerate approach. You are the kind of Christian I get on very well with. My wife is Roman Catholic, my best friend at school became a pastor; both understand religion is a personal path. To me, the sensation of spirit doesn’t imply worship is appropriate. I choose to walk alone. And my atheism is definitely not spelled with a capital A; I don’t use it to classify or limit myself.
I have been an atheist since about thirteen, when I worked out for myself that going to church wasn’t right and proper for me, it was a one-sided dialogue and simply traditional. Before that I wasn’t Christian, I was too young to know what Christian was. After that, I was the kid at school who refused to sing the hymns. I guess I’ve finally found a way to change the words
In the Tale of the Lifesong, I present a world that has entranced my inner eye. That you find deep concepts in it is due to the fact that you are able to see them in any world, I don’t believe it’s due to any special ability on my behalf of being able to express them, but thanks for the compliment.
I aim to be ‘true’ in my telling of the story; I am guided by my sense of ‘off-key’ notes, which I try to reshape into a harmony. I believe the less we explain in our stories and the more that it is up to the interpretation of the reader, the more powerful those interpretations can become because they are moments of discovered truth, entirely personal and (hopefully) therefore genuinely enlightening, rather than just dazzling displays of intellectual wizardry.
In the Lifesong, I seek to understand the magic I sense whispering under the surface of life, the essence of a beautiful song. That some people enjoy sharing my journey of discovery is a bonus. Maybe we are not that different, after all.