“Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
— C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
I am inspired today.
I do not say this lightly.
I have watched God move in unbelievable ways over the last couple of weeks. Things that I cannot explain in any other way besides “that has to be a God thing” have absolutely astounded me–and not just once, but multiple times. I am not one to say “God thing” lightly. I’m a skeptic by nature. I would prefer coincidence over the Divine, given the choice.
God has left me no choice.
This morning, I read this amazing post from Brandon Morse about manhood and allowing our boys to become what God designed them to become. And right there, smack dab in the middle of this brilliant post that is 100% worth reading, was this gem of a paragraph:
Of all historic figures we can harken to, the most good man that ever walked the Earth is also the most dangerous. Jesus taught compassion, mercy, and not making faces at the dinner table says my grandma. Once you get all that out of the way though, you have a man who flipped over tables after making a whip and driving out people’s live stock from a church. Oh, by the way, I don’t know if you’ve read His memo but He plans to come back on a horse, drenched in blood, leading an army, and killing everyone who ever screwed with His peeps. The dude is hardcore and totally UNSAFE…but He’s good, and the baddest of the bad fear the holy hell out Him.
Do you recognize that? DO YOU SEE IT? This is Mr. Morse’s take on the very same passage that I posted just yesterday–the one that was my inspiration for my fictional hero in my previously published works.
The hero I have ignored for a year.
The hero who still begs me to tell his story.
The hero who, I am convinced, mainstream fantasy will reject because he is, at the most basic level, a good man–a fractured, imperfect, and dangerous good man.
I have mentioned before–mainstream fantasy prefers its heroes dark. For whatever reason, mainstream fantasy believes a hero can no longer be a “good man”–he has to be a man who is a thief, rapist, murderer, what-have-you who happens to accidentally do some things that have a decent outcome.
This is what heroism has been reduced to–accidentally doing things that benefit society.
I reject this notion. I have always rejected it, and therefore, my work has been rejected as too idealistic or pure or “good.”
I am not advocating a return to “white hat” heroes with perfect smiles and nary a hair out of place who would not dare to have a curse word pass their lips. I absolutely believe that writers have an obligation to tell the truth about the world, and that truth includes fractured people who make mistakes and bad choices.
But I also believe that we suffer, culturally, from a dearth of heroes. We need heroes. The human spirit craves the heroic. We need to believe that sometime, somewhere, there are men who act with chivalry, kindness, goodness, nobility.
We need some good examples of heroic badassery.
I intend to write them.
I still don’t know whether I can ever share my writing again. I don’t think it’s possible to adequately describe how utterly defeated I felt after leaving the whole world of writing and publishing last year. I have no confidence in my work at all, and I don’t see any signs of confidence showing up.
What I do know is that I have to write heroes. I need to satisfy that craving that my own spirit has for chivalry, nobility, and heroic badassery. And if I’m the only one who ever reads about the heroes in my head, then perhaps that’s enough.
But after reading Mr. Morse’s post about manhood and seeing the responses he received, I have a little hope that maybe–maybe, possibly, perhaps?–other people need heroes, too. Maybe other people also crave the same things I crave–male characters who serve and protect women and children, who stand up for objective moral standards, who refuse to serve tyrants and dictators, who slay dragons and defeat foreign hordes and protect the people and lands entrusted to them, who bow only to their God and their king.
Are these not heroes worth reading? Worth writing?
I think so. And henceforth, I am unapologetic.
Till next we meet . . .