Sunday, January 24, 2010

Surprised by sehnsucht

Yesterday I surprised myself by ordering the two Narnia movies on disc. This was something that, before yesterday, I had been quite sure I would never do, because the Narnia books have been my favorites since I first read them at age seven. I wasn’t sure I wanted the movies’ vision of Narnia to displace the one in my head, so I’d decided to limit my exposure to them.

As it turns out, it took only the tiniest of things to change my mind on this. Friday night (well, Saturday morning, actually, just before I awoke), I had a dream in which I saw part of one of the movies and, in the dream, changed my mind and decided to buy them. Later in the day I remembered the dream, and suddenly realized that, despite the films' shortcomings, I receive from them the same overall feeling that I get from the books--the feeling C. S. Lewis refers to as "joy" in Surprised by Joy.

While looking at a couple of reviews of Prince Caspian (trying to figure out whether the three-disc version had anything to recommend it over the two-disc version), I saw one that mentioned Lewis’s use of the German word sehnsucht for that same feeling. Apparently it has a significantly deeper meaning than the usual translation of “longing”; but I’ll let you check out its wikipedia page for more details on that. It’s probably the best reason I can think of for buying a movie (or a book, or an album, or whatever).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Where does the time go?

I just now realized that I haven't posted since November. Sorry 'bout that. I was quite sure I'd written at least one post sometime around Christmas, but apparently what happened was I started writing a post in Word, offline, and then forgot to finish and/or publish it.

So, here's what I've been up to:

While plotting out my next novel (the one I was expanding from a novella-length rough draft), I kept thinking about a different story idea. It's an idea that's been in my head for at least ten years, and which I've been putting off working on till I was a better writer since of the many ideas I have waiting in the wings, this one's my favorite.

As I thought about it, though, I realized that if it's my favorite, then it's the idea I should be working on right now, especially if I would like to be a better writer--because the best way to get better at this sort of thing is to take the idea you like the best and put everything you've got into it. The more you care about the idea, the less chance there is that you'll settle for second-best from yourself, right?

So what I'm working on now is preparatory research, reading books about folklore and the Middle Ages (among other things); this is all stuff I should have been already studying, since I knew I'd be writing this book someday, but I'm a natural procrastinator (as you can see by a quick glance at my posting frequency).