Tuesday, May 12, 2009

fiction + faith = what [this] girl[s] want[s]


I've been trying for years to figure out the relationship of fiction to faith. The two things are my passion. Fiction includes stories, novels, poems, film, television, ballads, narrative music videos - visual art, dance, pretty much any form of art. Faith includes theology, theophany, epiphany, apocalypse, prophecy, morality, mortality, existence, actuality, potentiality.... as we say in the Nicean Creed, "All that is, visible and invisible".

Today I stopped by the chapel at the Oratory, not feeling much like praying but wanting to move past the opacity and the reluctance of prayer delayed into either an honest flow or an honest stoppage of communication with my Lord. Kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament, the only thing I could communicate was,

I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want .....

Later today, after dark, sitting on my porch in my rocking chair (my sun room converts to a porch when I put the screen door in) feeling the breezes of the evening as I rocked and tried to make out shapes in the fading light, it hit me that in that prayer I had stumbled across the key to the bond between fiction and faith.

Fiction is our way of reproducing our wants and running simulation after simulation of what happens when we run pell mell after them, chasing them down, gorging on them, and letting them reveal to us the state of our souls in the wake of their consumption.

We are quivering bundles of wants. Faith teaches us how to stand our wants on their heads. Fiction revels in our wants and reveals their final destinations. And then lets us roll the dice again and take off on another permutation of the chase.

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