adventures in dysthymia

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Of Fiction and Politics

I’ve little doubt that many of my friends and acquaintances think I’m some sort of moderate liberal. If they read my books they might change their minds about that — I don’t talk much about politics in ‘real life,’ preferring to put that sort of thing into my novels.

But there it is characters speaking their various views about things, and those views might or might not be mine. In truth, I reckon that life and the human race are going to muddle on and the politics doesn’t really mean that much. It can be an interesting show in the meantime.

Let us say that I am definitely not a libertarian — though I have a certain fondness for the TRUE libertarians, that is, anarchists. Still, I don’t have enough faith in human nature to desire an anarchist society. I threw some anarchists into the mix in my recent fantasy adventure, THE EYES OF THE WIND, and admittedly poke a bit of fun at them even while admiring some of their ways.

I tend to poke fun at lots of different sorts in my fiction. People generally make that rather easy. Too easy, some times! It’s not good to take shots at the easier targets, and one is too likely to fall into clichés and caricatures when one attempts it (this is one of the criticisms I have of Mark Twain).

So what am I, actually, from a political viewpoint? It doesn’t matter. Humanity is best observed and understood from a variety of vantages. An agenda only serves to get in the way of that. And I am very much aware that there is no perfect way of life, no ideal system. Imperfect humans create an imperfect society.

A society and a culture that constantly changes. This too must be recognized. Lord Doufan, in my DONZALO’S DESTINY epic, says, “History is a runaway horse and most of the time all we can do is to hold on. But now and then, perhaps, we may find ourselves able to give a little tug on the reins and turn it, ever so slightly, in our desired direction.” It is how we ride that horse that most interests me.

May we all ride well! *

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* Ha, this reminds me of a song I wrote thirty years ago. One of the very few that was ever recorded by someone other than myself!

THE RIDER, THROWN

Faith doesn’t come easy and the truth isn’t free;
Answers aren’t handed to you and to me.
We spend our lives searching for something to trust,
Hoping there’s more than ‘dust unto dust.’

But the knowledge we seek has been well hidden,
For life is a steed not easily ridden.
Though some may ride far, in the end it is known
Each man is unhorsed, each rider is thrown.

So try to ride boldly and try to ride well,
Keep firm in your seat where other men fell;
Then maybe before you go down to the dust,
Before you go down as all of us must,
You’ll have learned just enough to know the time’s near
To let loose the reins and to go without fear.

When we take the long fall from saddle to earth,
Can it mean the end of all that’s of worth?
Believe what you will, but the truth won’t be shown
Till we share the fate of the rider, thrown.

Stephen Brooke ©1987

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