Well, hello! It's my turn again to dazzle the world (or at least the readers of the blog!) with sharp and gripping comments on the Lost Genre. To be honest, I don't feel up to it - don't feel like I have anything to add to the wonderful things that have been said here in the few weeks since we began. We have defined the Lost Genre from top to toe in many different ways and all of it adds to the picture. But I can't come up with any more today. So I'm going to settle for a dose of gut-wrenching honesty and hope it brings a personal connection to the theme. Excuse me if I go on a bit. There are a lot of words inside me today. I'm just treating you as family...
You see, I'm passionate about the Lost Genre. On average I read three new novels every week if I can get them. It's necessary for my job, both as a translator, which pays the bills, and as a writer, which might do the same one day. Before I realised this, I used to feel guilty for reading so much. Now the only reason to feel guilty is if I read all night and end up being late (or sleepy) at the office.
One of the reasons I'm passionate is that the Lost Genre provides a way to escape my mundane and sometimes downright awful existence. A way to find healing in the beholding of some far-off planet in my mind's eye, or in the courage of a noble king or a brave peasant child, a way to believe again in true goodness, true hope, true fulfillment, and this in the face of some enormous hardships. This is true of reading, but also of writing.
What happens if I write some of my own problems into the character's life? Usually I just want to see what they do, and sometimes they surprise me. Sometimes I end up writing rather more of my own life into the fiction than I expected. But you know what? I'm happy with that. Maybe there are episodes from real life, but if they take place on another world or in some distant future scenario, then there are other possibilities to explore in order to solve them. For example, in my current novel I'm exploring what might have happened if I had never moved to Germany. If I said no to what I believed was God's voice. I switch realities, so to say, and take a peek at the other side.
And: there's always a happy ending. Put it another way: God always comes through for the people in my stories. No matter what kind of hell I've put them through beforehand, and what trials their faith went through, good wins over evil. Because that's the way it's going to be at the end of time, thank goodness! And as I watch the faith of my characters waver and recover, or stay strong through all sorts of difficulties, and see them come out victorious in the end, somehow it builds my own faith too. If I can untangle the problems in the book, maybe I can deal with real life too.
You see, I've been through hell myself this year. But it drove me to write. You can follow the progress on my personal blog if you want. But that's another matter. The important thing here is that I now begin to see that there is a purpose in the suffering - all things working together for good. If I have suffered, then I can describe it, change it around, pull it and stretch it to match the character in my book, and more: I can appreciate the relief, the joy, the beauty found later on, with a depth that would have otherwise been impossible.
Am I making sense here, folks? I have a feeling that the more I know of the whole broad spectrum of human emotion and experience, the more I can bring it to life in my words. I seek to hold it in the story I weave, to enter it, to experience it in all its wildness and intensity, and then to resolve it. Look around. Times are harder than they've ever been on this old world. But if - IF there were other worlds, things just might be even harder there. Yet the imagined people I get so close to in reading and writing the Lost Genre, well, they make it. Some of them, at least. Yes, there are losses. But the good guys win. They get stronger after their troubles. They find peace after battling through whatever it was.
So that's part of the reason I write the Lost Genre. I seek my healing by setting my suffering in grand and extreme scenarios. And who knows? Maybe it might just work...