I’m really tired, but I don’t feel like going to bed or taking medication…and I have work tomorrow. I have also been bouncing around an idea of a story about someone who believes they’re functionally immortal, but on a dying planet. (or otherwise, a planet going through one of its near-death experiences/mass extinctions.)
This then calls in tension between the desire for unending life and the idea of not clinging to temporary things (as clinging causes suffering and rebirth — not seen as a good thing). The former, I’ve read as Daoist; the latter is classically Buddhist. The former brings conflict and life; the latter brings peace and a lack of life as we know it.
I am not sure I would be able to work this into my previous story: if I did, the character in question would be about the fifth main character (I have traditionally had characters I can shorthand as psychic, lover, demented, parental, all interacting: yes, I can make them more complex; at the time I first conceived them, though, I was a teen)…but I guess that keeps things…interesting? I’d like to keep at least two of these characters female, meaning the one who feels immortal (in a mortal world) would likely be such, in addition to the main (though the latter is complicated…though now that I look at this, there are only two clearly male characters here).
Also, I keep having flashes of concern about worldwide famine, which ties into the story I’m thinking about, but which I don’t want to write about in a serious manner (talk about scary and depressing). On top of this, I’m dealing with multiple generations…though what I mean by that is hard to explain.
What I have found is that I’ve entered the story about 2/3 of the way in, as I thought of it at the time. But I don’t know how I’ll resolve it…in fact, I don’t know what the central conflict is, yet, to resolve (or maybe I knew at one time, and forgot). Making peace with death? Growing tough in order to survive? Growing together in order to survive? Dealing with mental illness? Accepting non-quotidian brain functioning? Maybe I should just write and see what shows up.
The famine kicks in at a very late (potential) point in the game, and at this point I don’t know if I’m dealing with echoes of past lives, or telepathic beings, or if any of the psychic phenomena are key to solving any of this (more than key to ending and surviving it).
They aren’t “ghosts;” at least in a Western sense, I know what ghosts are, and they aren’t the same things as spirits; rather, they’re interdimensional echoes caused by powerful trauma. Thus, when you hear coughing at the ruins in Pompeii, it’s possible you’re actually hearing the psychic (traumatic) imprint of coughing reaching you from the past, in the moment in which it happened. It just has to cross (I need a new word for this) the time barrier, not time and space.
If we’re looking at remnants of the workings of past lives in present entities, such as beings who appear to be outside spirits but are actually personifications of who “you” used to be (given that we don’t remain the same between lives), that’s different. And if we’re dealing with beings who reside on Earth (apparently) but who only give evidence of their existence in the thoughts of those whose minds function in an abnormal manner, that’s something else.
I should really get to reading some of my material on Daoism, here — I’m sure it would help, though I know I can only learn so much from books. At one time I was directed toward an elder teaching ba gua about 30 minutes’ drive away (a Chinese internal martial art); I have not met her yet, and to be honest, I’m kind of scared to. I don’t even know if she’s still alive.
I did find another author who caught my attention the other day at work: Kenzaburo Oe.
It has been an extremely long time since I have read any fiction (which makes it hard to translate this out into fiction), but one of this author’s books literally found its way into my hand recently…and I have wanted to read more material from Japanese authors, aside from Yukio Mishima (I believe I have read at least one or more of his works, but I can’t recall which — or if what I read was poetry or prose; it had to have been a lifetime ago), and Haruki Murakami (who I just don’t jive with).
Why Japanese? It’s the East Asian culture I have most familiarity with; not a nationalistic thing. I figure it’s as good a place as anywhere to gain some solid footing, and then from that place, branch out. Although I’m fairly certain my main character is not Japanese. It’s just been so long since I’ve read any good fiction, that I need to start with something I can grasp and which has some semblance of cultural relevance or utility for me on a larger scale.
And…I’m being told to get to bed…