Thursday, May 26, 2016

William Myrl; Letters to No One (52)

Dear No One,
Fifth Element is one of the few movies I can watch whenever it's on. I can't explain what seperates it from more lackluster SyFy fair, it certainly doesn't break any new ground from a storytelling perspective, and it ends on a pet peeve of mine, when love is suddenly the answer to every ill. In this case, love stops a demon meteor from crashing into the earth and destroying all life in the universe. That is what happens.

I like to think that fantasy and science fiction is a metaphorical endeavor. It isn't really about Sauron and Gandalf, but what they represent. This excuse explains why the genre is so repetitive. We're not telling new or original stories, its the same tired play with the same tired dialogue each time. Some cosmologies, like Narnia and the Golden Compass, are open about their derivation. Others are less so, a little less. Villains tend to be personifications of negative emotions, hatred and anger and pain. That's why they are always so insane. Wanting to bring about the end all things isn't the crazy part, its how they go about about doing it. Voldermort's actions only make sense if you recognize him as an avatar for hatred, because hatred is stupid and can be beaten by children. Stories are rarely written as if the characters were real people. Instead, they are archetypal fill in the blanks. I'm not saying this is wrong, but it would be nice if we could fight off the tropes occasionally.

So the good emotions beat the bad ones, and love triumphs over all. That's the world as we would like it to be, where good intentions and friendship could overcome as many dark lords as you like. In reality, emotions don't make us stronger in the sense of being able to pull the sword from the stone, but they can anneal us, after a fashion. Looking at the right photograph can be torture if you let it, if you focus on all that you don't have and never will. But sifting through that pain we find some material of use. Love is what keeps our families with us, as inconvenient as we are. It is also a reason to move, to change, to build ourselves anew into something worthy of that love. Not every writer is in a literal prison, but all people struggle, and it is those struggles that are born out in the stories we tell ourselves and each other. The sincerity of a story doesn't make it readable, but other things being equal, it helps. Seeing what we want can inform us of what we are supposed to be. And if we cannot write this world into the confines of a pleasant story, we can put more of that story into ourselves, and become a thing worth writing about, and triumphing for.
Love doesn't win everything for us, it makes us want to win.

William Myrl

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