Friday, February 13, 2015
“The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.” --- Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express
I haven't blogged in a while and I'm mortified. Me, Talky McTalkerson, and I haven't blogged since Christmas.
To blog, though, I pretty much have to have something to say. I pretty much have to be riled up about something or my mind must be stuck on something and needs a release. And talking pretty much is that relief.
And it just so happens that today I AM sort of riled up about something. Not mad. Just frustrated.
About when a person---whether it's a reader or an author or an author/reader---who lays the law down about what a character can and cannot feel.
In this particular case...this case that has me riled...it's relating specifically to feelings, to recognition of feelings, in historical settings. It's relating to the attempt to try to tag, to try to pin down as gospel, how characters in books are supposed to think and feel in strict adherence to a historical era.
I've seen so many criticisms of books, of the characters in books, and how they could not possibly feel or do what they do because what they feel or do could not have been done in their time period. Did that make sense? I suppose my sentence makes as much sense as the reasoning of the folks who feel this way.
An example (and there are so many to choose from). A comment on a gay historical,
The simple acceptance of their own homosexuality that boys showed, living in **this era**, is mildly saying impossible.
Okay, okay. Yes, by gosh, there are tons of things that---in fiction---would be impossible for certain eras. Yes, time frames are critical in many cases. Yes, there are many, many protocols to be acknowledged for historical accuracy. Please don't think, for even a moment, that I'm trying to say that to be authentic to the time frame is not critical. It is.
But I'm not talking about authenticity in regards to day-to-day protocol, general beliefs during certain periods, machinery/inventions that have specific dates in history.
I'm talking about hearts. I'm talking about feelings. I'm talking about something very, very personal. Something that nobody---reader, writer, philosopher, historian, nobody---could every truly say is impossible.
I'm talking about feelings between people. Things of the soul that defy convention. Depth of heart that surpasses all logical thinking, that supersedes protocol. Love that transcends any and all philosophical reasoning.
Impossible, no matter what your era, to say for dead certain that a heart can feel any damn way it wants to feel? No. What is impossible is to say it is impossible.
Sugar, the heart defies fiction dictates. The heart has no rules. There are no boundaries, whether in past times or now, in human souls.
I read a comment once that denounced a novel because the hero and the heroine---in a particular historical time frame---would never resort to some of the openness and erotic behavior as depicted in their story.
If one wants to quibble over realism, then they can start by getting real. Get out some of your naughty classic erotic fiction. Oh, honey, yes, people---in the privacy of their own bedrooms---were no different than modern day folks.
Sex, feelings, sexual feelings. All the things we think we modern people feel we have exclusive rights to. These things have been around since time began.
Hearts can't be roped into a tight corral of historically accurate fiction. Nobody can lay claim to what people did or felt or what was possible for them to think once their souls felt that beautiful, too-deep-to-understand thing called...love.
So if any of us authors get it 'wrong' historically about certain facts in our fiction? Yes, let us know. Eras are unique to themselves.
Love is unique as well. But, unfortunately, it is unique to each individual. There is no guideline for what the human heart can grasp.
To feel guilt over it because of their historical climate with sexuality? To be tortured inside because they felt what they felt? Oh, yes, honey, I'll vouch for that one.
If, in historical fiction, you try to convince me that even the most naive, closeted, shy, religious person could not recognize their attraction to the opposite sex for what it was...if you try to tell me that they could not accept, even simply, what they were when they met someone like themselves...well...don't tell me that.
It's just not true.