My original fiction has been mired in last week’s quandry, but in a good way. I did some research on various supernatural creatures that could be the inspiration for my own characters. And discovered, if the sources I read have any accuracy, that several well-known classes of “spirit beings” from various world legends have a lot of similarities to each other. For example, the Celtic Fae and the Middle Easter Djinn. Of course, they reflect the cultures they come from in many ways as well, but the similarities are interesting considering these cultures developed in relative isolation from each other.
I took notes on those similarities and started thinking about how to create a supernatural being that could be “the reality behind those legends” without overextending them to every.sort.of.spirit.creature.ever.imagined. My notes netted me 1156 words, and I wrote 110 fictional prose words, which were really just a short summary of those notes written as dialogue. Which gives me a total of 1266 words for the week. Not bad for a sickie on overtime.
One other thing came out of last week that is cool. I wrote about my difficulty feeling a connection to any of these myths and legends. They either come from cultures that are not my own heritage, or they come from my heritage but belong to distant lands I never lived in. I don’t feel naturally drawn to any of these creatures. And that disconnection is a symptom of a larger alienation that seems to be the curse of living in the modern Western/North American mainstream. We don’t have deep roots into the past, nor to a rich cultural heritage that hasn’t been homogenized and plasticized. We are adrift in so many ways.
And I realized I sort of want to write about that. That theme of disconnection. I think it’s been in the back of my mind for a couple years now, part of my vision of my supernatural characters. Specifically, I picture my own supernatural characters as being “humanized”–they have walked in human guise for so long, been cut off from the natural state of their own species, the natural home of their own species, where ever that is, that they themselves need to rediscover who they are. And the reader along with them. They have also been “modernized”–cut off from a past in which they, and the supernatural in general, were believed in and not alienated by the shield of skepticism that is part of modern life.
I think this is very much in the spirit of urban fantasy and part of what draws me to the genre in general–its attempt to “re-enchant” the modern world.