random notes--the mystery of love

Clifton Snider wrote a very interesting essay entitled "On the Loom of Sorrow": Eros and Logos in Oscar Wilde's Fairy Tales where I found a reference to one of Oscar Wilde's fairy tales, "The Nightingale and the Rose."

The essence of the story is that a young man falls in love with a beautiful young woman, who promises to dance with him all night long if he brings her a red rose. A nightingale hears the bargain and senses that this is the true love of which she sings about night after night, so she offers to procure the red rose for the young man.

Fairy tales usually operate on the rule of three, and Wilde's is no different. The nightingale approaches three different rose bushes: the first bears only white roses, the second, yellow, and while the third bush is indeed a red rose tree, because of a harsh winter, it can produce no flowers.

However, all is not lost. The rose bush tells the nightingale that a red rose can be created.

If you want a red rose [...] you must build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart's blood. You must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine.

I loved the imagery of Wilde's fairy tale and kept this passage by me while I wrote the climax of Garden in Umber.

random notes--the value of the heart

I utilize a lot of different resources when I'm writing a story. As I clean up my notes and arrange my scattered sources into notebooks, I often come across random notes--highlighted passages or notes that I've written to myself--that take on a special meaning within the context of the themes I want to express.

I'll share a few of these from time to time, just to let you in on that "where do you get your ideas" question.

When I create magical systems, I like to fall back on religious texts already in existence. Saves me a lot of work, especially when someone more intelligent than me has gone to the trouble to write all this information down. I came across this particular passage when I was looking into the symbolic value of the heart.

There [the heart] is conceived of as central in the activity of the rsis, those seers who intuitively perceive the divine and express it in hymns. The heart is the secret place of their inspiration, where hymns are prepared to offer the gods, but it is also the critical authority that monitors the hymns' value. The heart thus becomes the place of divine vision, which is only given by grace to those who practice self-renunciation. It is understood that the heart's knowledge is satya, real and true, since it alone can enable one to pass from the unreal and the illusory to the real. Such knowledge is transformative, for it discovers, by means of the heart, the divine immanence within man. In bhakti, the heart is the seat of an aspiration to join the god and the center of a desire that "binds man at the level of his heart." Man should also reject the desire of natural and illusory realities in favor of the enjoyment of bliss and union with brahman. It is necessary to clear this heart by way of renunciation in order to become "a polished mirror" in which the god can be reflected.