Friday, April 16, 2010

Spiritually, Ya Gotta Have Faith

a back door opens and our intrepid narrator walks through it and onto his backyard deck. he takes a deep breath and is overwhelmed by the cool mountain breeze blowing in and the warm sunshine beating down, which creates a lethal combination that bathes his soul and refreshes his spirit. spying his lounge chair at the far end, he strolls over and jumps into it. settling down, he leans back and is about to speak when a red robin comes sailing in and comes to a stop on his head. he waits for it to get comfortable and relaxed, before putting a finger to lips and waving everyone closer.
Today's post was inspired by my circle of friends on Facebook, who are for the most part, genuinely religious and/or deeply spiritual. Not really sure how it came about that the bulk of my Facebook friends are like that, but I'm not complaining. In fact, I actually find it quite refreshing to learn about a particular facet that most people keep under wraps a good chunk of the time.

Their religious/spiritual background indeed touches on a little bit of everything. I have quite a few friends who most people would call born agains....however, unlike those few who you would come across who are somewhat hypocritical about their beliefs, these people are very genuine about theirs. I've had some incredibly interesting conversations with them about their beliefs over the past couple of years and have at the very least, walked away a little more enlightened.

I also have a few friends who are not what you call born again, but nevertheless have made their faith an integral part of their life. I haven't actually had conversations with them about their faith, because I feel (right or wrong) that to ask them about it would be intrusive. So from time to time, I read what they post on Facebook, in order to learn a little more about them and gain a greater appreciation and understanding of them.

As for a few others, while they don't follow a particular faith, spiritually they are just as religious as the next person. I have some who do follow the Wicca faith, some who follow spiritualism, and a sprinkle of those who don't follow any kind of religion or spirituality, but nevertheless worship God in their own particular way.

As for me, I would like to say I'm relatively open-minded about religion/spirituality. People have often asked me what faith do I follow, and I usually give them a two part answer: 1} I'm a lapsed Methodist (haven't participated/practiced in about 25 years) and 2} You can compare me to Ralph Waite's character in The Waltons.

But that isn't to say that I look down on most types of faith and/or religion, because I don't. I may not actively practice a particular faith, but I do try to incorporate what I feel comfortable with into my life. I know that sounds like a walking contradiction, but it has served me well.

For now, it mostly shows up through my writing, which is odd considering what my preferred style of writing is. But as you can see, just from reading the opening paragraph, it does make for good copy and a great hook. Seriously though, I do find that melding all different kinds of faith/spirituality helps make the one strong suit of my writing, description, even stronger.

To whit: I have one piece of spirituality, Cedar Mountain, published in an e-zine and I have another that touches on the topic of death that you'll find on FSG.

Also, I have an upcoming story later in the year on FSG that draws on both Heaven and Hell somewhat extensively (one of the few stories in which I actually did some research on).

In any event, I enjoy reading the comments/discussions that my circle of friends on Facebook make/create, simply because I learn so much about them. Not only as people but the hows and whys of their personal belief system. I truly believe that exposing myself to other viewpoints about religion makes me not only a more well rounded person, but a more well rounded writer as well.
as our intrepid narrator finishes his tale of enlightenment, the red robin awakens and starts to sing a haunting spiritual melody. softly at first, it soon gains in volume as a few of its brethren, the blue jay, the cardinal and the oriole, arrive to add their three part harmonies to the mix. almost as an afterthought though, a small orange halo suddenly appears at the top of our intrepid narrator's head. he bolts upright and chases his feathered friends away with a wave of his hands, just before a hole no bigger than his lounge chair opens up. Belching fire and brimstone, our intrepid narrator makes a desperate lunge towards one of the onlookers, but is pulled back down into the hole. a look of terror falls across his face as the horrific chants of the damned envelop his being. then with a flash of light and a thunderous clap, he was gone.


  1. You handle Dante's area of expertise pretty well in these excerpts. Gathering various spiritual and religious viewpoints in your writer's basket could definitely bring added dimension to a writer's perspective and characterization.

  2. A lot of my fiction has a religious element to it. I think it comes from my upbringing in a very staunch Catholic home, although I'm not much for organized religion these days. I still consider myself spiritual however.

  3. Faith is such a personal journey and it's always interesting when we get to walk a ways with one another.

  4. Poor little escaped soul. sigh...Did you ever see a sitcom that was on maybe two years ago, I forget the name but the Devil had the soul for a kid that worked at a Home Improvement Store. The kid was a bounty hunter for escaped souls. I loved the whole idea. Can't remember the actor's name that played the devil but he was perfect for it.
    Ahhh, rambling again, I am. :)Bea

  5. Nice post, G. I'm looking forward to reading the story.

  6. Kelly: Thanks.

    Adding spiritual/religious elementst to my writing is something that I've only started to seriously about a year ago or so.

    Because descriptive writing is one of my few strong suits, this type of addition does let me stretch my boundaries in ways I never thought possible.

    And I do like playing around with Dante. Haven't read it all the way through, but have found it a fascinating study guide.

    Charles: I've drifted very far away from my religious upbringing, and at this point, I'm content to learn what I can about religion/spirituality from my friends.

    I have always been curious about about different types of religion/spirituality, but up until very recently never explored them with any degree of depthness.

    Talon: So very true. I will always be appreciative of the fact that my friends choose to share that part of their life with me. I may not always agree with their viewpoint, but I am respectful of their views just the same.

    Bea: Never heard of the show, but I do know in the 90's, that kind of stuff was very much in vogue (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Highlander, to name a few).

    Yes, we should show mercy on the poor escaped soul, because imagine how dull life could be if we didn't get to see random tidbits like that.

    R.K.: Thanks.

    The story in question was one I actually had to do quite a bit of research (The Divine Comedy, The Bible and the Pulp Fiction entry in Wikipedia), and dig deep into my memory of the Bible and Sunday School.

    Mostly because of the characters and situations I was using, I wanted to make them as accurate as I could.

    Factoid: The bible verse that Jules quotes in Pulp Fiction does not exist.

  7. That story is scary - wasn't expecting that. :)

  8. Thanks. Wasn't trying to make it scary, but simply trying to present a little ying and yang.

    I figured since I had such a positive beginning and that the content of the post was about religion/spirituality, it would make sense to have a very small negative ending.


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