A Drift of Quills

The Stuff Between the Lines: Fact or Fiction?

Hello, and happy First Friday! A Drift of Quills is digging into our very souls this time, unearthing our philosophical innards. The question of the month is: “Is there any particular code, belief, or faith that inspires our writing? How and why?” Yes, we’re getting all existential on ya… Read on to see how that looks in writing!

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In all honesty, I don’t think the limited space of this format is up to the task of dealing with the subject. The best we can do is skim the surface of the tender, personal area that is our beliefs, codes, or faith. Do I have faith? Yes, absolutely. Do I have a code? I think that if I have faith, some sort of code (rules or laws) must follow. This morning I was working on a spreadsheet, and I am reminded of functions. “If this, then that…” For example, if I believe in upholding the law, then I believe in going the speed limit. I modify my behavior. If I believe in God, then I believe in the message He teaches. If I believe in the message, I modify my behavior.

Does that faith—and the subsequent code it leads to—inspire me? Yes, how can it not? Like anything else that is part of my every day, it influences my behavior—in this case, my writing. Whether I believe in God, an alkaline diet, or that my husband should take out the trash, I don’t want to preach to anyone. The purpose of my stories is to entertain, to explore, to express myself, to experience adventures outside of my own little space (and comfort zone!).

Several weeks ago I wrote an article called “10 Reasons to Read.” I especially like this one:

8) Reading shows other places and cultures: By learning about others, you can better understand and share their feelings and beliefs.

“It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.” —S.I. Hayakawa

As a writer, it then becomes my place to portray those other places and cultures. I write fantasy, so a culture or place might be utterly fanciful. Or it might be a spin-off of something I’ve seen or read myself. Or it might be a real issue set in a false world. In our society a label of any kind often becomes grounds for unwarranted criticism. Going back to the function analogy, the critic will decide, “IF Josie Author believes all humans should be assimilated, THEN she must be advocating the Borg in her writing.”

That makes me think of something else: When I was in junior high and high school, my English classes naturally included reading. Along with the requisite book report, the students had to define the theme of the book. And to that I say, in stereo with the eloquent Charles Gighna,

“Writers write what they know best,
their passions, fears, and dreams.
Writers never write about
what others call their “themes.””

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KristieKiesslingKRISTIE KIESSLING
Author of the short story, Sanguis Dei and a poetry collection, Light and Dark
Kristie’s blog

Japan, her people, and her language has fascinated me since grade school The beauty and mystery of such an ancient place takes me to a land I’ve never seen, but long to visit. From this far off isle comes a philosophy that strikes a chord in my soul and meshes with the beliefs that inspire and underscore every aspect of who I am as a writer. (Read more!)

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TrishReding2PATRICIA REDING
Author of Oathtaker
Patricia’s website

This is a loaded question—and not one fully answered in a few short paragraphs—but I can share some general thoughts . . .

At the outset, I would say that this topic makes me think of posing the following question to a judge: can you render a decision without letting your ideology play any part? (Read more!)

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