Saturday, September 3, 2016

When you feel you're a character in a novel someone else is writing

Do you ever have the feeling you are a character in a novel someone else is writing? The crazy-brilliant collector of anomalies, Charles Fort, offered the suggestion "that Momus is imagining us for the amusement of the gods, often with such success that some of us seem almost alive – like characters in something a novelist is writing; which often to considerable degree take their affairs away from the novelist." For those who have forgotten their Greek myths: Momus is the god of mockery and satire who was kicked out of Olympus because the other gods couldn't stand his savage humor. The quote is from Fort's The Book of the Damned. Its contents are less sinister, but possibly more weird, than the title suggests. By "damned", he was referring - with Momus-like mockery - to facts and ideas excluded from discussion by conventional thinking and mainstream science, like fish falling from the sky. The trick is, of course, to become authors - or at least co-authors - of our own life stories, and determine what genre we wish to inhabit. When I write fiction, I know that it is for real when a character comes alive and tries to run off with the story. In life, I sometimes feel like one of those runaway characters. Right now I am very curious to know who came up with the initial plot. In other words, I am a character in search of his author. There is a serious risk for a character who embarks on this quest. The author may have given up on you or forgotten your existence. Once contact is made, your author may decide you to write you out of his story and put Finis on your current life page. So my assignment grows. As a novelist, I create characters. As a character, I must play a larger game. I must seek to create, or at least re-create, my author.
images: Top: Momus as the tarot Fool in an eighteenth-century deck. Bottom: writing desk at Thoor Ballylee. Photo by RM

4 comments:

Mary Holden said...

Synchronicity: I just bought and am reading CHARLES FORT: THE MAN WHO INVENTED THE SUPERNATURAL by Jim Steinmeyer. And also: SYNCHRONICITY AND THE ONE MIND: WHERE SCIENCE AND SPIRIT MEET by Gary Schwartz, Ph.D.

Thank you.

Robert Moss said...

Perhaps you will find your way to my own "Sidewalk Oracles: Playing with Signs, Symbols and Synchronicity in Everyday Life".

creekrose said...

Robert Moss,

As a child I used to imagine alternatives to situations and incidents that would come up, especially after heated debates with my mother; they'd frequently end with this question "Where are the people like 'this', how come people don't do 'this', think like 'this'?" Then with time I stopped asking where the people like 'this' are and began walking a path leading to the being of 'this' instead, I figured if they didn't exist, then by being so myself I'd bring 'this' into existence.

I have been remembering that question often over the past few years, as I encounter with greater frequency people who are like 'this', people who are the answers to those questions, and I find myself wondering what seems like a fantastical thought at a certain level . . . did my question, similar questions by others, dream people into being like 'this', did we author them into being or have they always been there and are being simply authored into our lives as we pursue our assignments, would they have been otherwise, otherwise; are we all the dreaming of each other, more or less, whose dreaming am I? Oh Butterfly! . . . what an adventure to pursue gently down the stream:)

This post of yours has given me me a delicious moment of laughter as I just received The Clown of God, and the picture of The Fool you've chosen for the posting reminds me of the cover of the book ( which I have not read yet so cannot speak to whether the substance/content is similar). Thank you.

May all blessings be with you while you shape and play, row your boat, recreating creation!

Mariam from Vesuvius

Peggy said...

Ah, dear Robert, more synchronicities! I recently wrote an article, "You Are the Author of Your Own Life." Perhaps a lot of us are using ghost writers.

Thanks for your delightful post.