Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sample writing

This week, my hand has been bothering me. As a result, I can't write the piece I intended to share about some of the reasons for why I consider Shining special. So instead, I'll share a small piece I wrote around the time I wrote Shining. You might recognize some of the themes and feelings from one of the chapters. Hope you enjoy.

I know not the year, except it be the Dark Ages. I know not where I am, except it be not my sweet home. I know not the season, except last I saw it was brilliant summer, yet it be cold and dark enough for winter. I open my eyes only to see darkness and find myself lying down. There be not much light to see if any at all. I can sense the cold muggy air and the frozen hard ground. I can smell a horrible stench but cannot identify it.
            My eyes are now accustomed to the darkness and I see in front of me a terrible figure. In the blackness, I can only see what appears to be an armored Minotaur. I cannot tell, yet my gut tells me so, that this thing be drawing up a sword to attack me and that I should run. The shadowy movements confirm it. I run. I run as fast as I can into a passage between the murky and shadow-filled walls.
            I move inside the path only to see it split. I try the left path only to find another fork, so I try the right one. I then hear something that sends a chill down my spine. My ears convey the clanking of armor and the slow pace of footsteps. However, they come not from just one direction, but all of them! I continue on the same way as before, hastening my step, hoping it be a trick of some sort, but it seemed not. I make some more turns only to find the thing I had been running from in front of me as I make another turn around a corner. I quickly change directions in what be, now plain to me, a Labyrinth of darkness. Oh! How I wish I had the string that saved Theseus! I make another turn and to my dismay find that horrendous thing once more before me!

            I know not what that thing be, except what I have described in the darkness. I know not how many there be, except I appear surrounded. If it be alone, I know not what magic it uses, except it always appears ahead of me. I do know, though, that this be true, that it seems to know where I go though I do not know myself. How will I escape? I do not know.  

Thursday, January 7, 2016

An Epiphany of the Epiphany and Storytelling

    In the Christian Bible, there's a story about magi coming from the East to pay homage to the newborn Christ. It's an interesting story in that it doesn't appear to fit into the narrative. There's no mention of why they know about the Christ and what happens to them afterwards. It's like what I feel when I hear the term Deus ex Machina, meaning that the event just happens and there's no set up for it (the phrase means "God from the Machine" as it was a device used in plays, but it also has a reputation for lazy storytelling). In fact, I've heard some Biblical scholars claim the events never happened and is more a myth leading to the verses "As it was foretold by the prophet...".  That would make sense, but I actually have a theory.
    The Old Testament books are focused primarily on the tribes of Israel. Occasionally, there are snippits of text that mention about blessings for the world, but they are very few. How can a religion that is very exclusive have people from other nations know about its prophecies? The answer is the Babylonian Exile. One storytelling technique employed here is the idea of Providence where something seemingly bad happens but it's the requirement for something great to happen. Exile and destruction of their homes was bad, but the exile allowed this exclusive nation to communicate with the world. If the idea was for the world to receive redemption, this is a crucial event.
    If you read through the Old Testament, there is one person during the Exile who is ranked important to all the nations: Daniel. Daniel is a Jew who gains favor for his Wisdom and Faith among the kings of Babylon and Persia. In fact, he is said to have been placed in charge of all the magicians and that they should worship Daniel's God. Another name for magicians? Magi.
    So there actually is a setup for the Epiphany story, but it's hidden/ignored. However, once you see the connection, can you ever not see it? Doesn't it actually appear to be fantastic storytelling? I don't think I can pull this off with Neostriker, but I do think this was amazing and I just had to share it. What do you think? Doesn't it put the Story of Epiphany in a new light?

J. D. Nyle

Update: I forgot to mention this detail to help explain to those who don't know who Daniel was. Daniel was a prophet who interpreted dreams and also the famous "Writing on the Wall" which meant doom. The Book of Daniel contains prophecies about the Christ, one of which is number of days which scholars have calculated to correspond to when it was expected Christ to have died. So since Daniel was a prophet and influential to all of the magi (a term for wise men), it is likely that there are some who followed his teaching and model and therefore received the prophecy about the Christ. For all we know, Daniel could have told them, "A certain Star will appear when he is born. Follow it and you will see the Light of the World." Actually, I think that would make a neat story, too bad I already have too many story ideas in my head.