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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Capturing Emotion

In her first post, Kaye linked to a song by Rich Mullins, "Calling Out Your Name". I have always felt a connection to that song, since way before I even knew what a dulcimer was, and before I knew what the strange placenames referred to. The sights he described were also unknown to me. And yet - that connection was there. Something in the words painted a picture of that prairie like no TV show had ever managed to do.

I have had similar experiences with fiction at times. If you feel like humouring me - and I really hope you will, because it's worth it - go and look up this book: The Siege of Dome by Stephen Lawhead. The link will take you to its Amazon page; click on Look Inside and search for "fifty five". Start at page 323 and read to the end of the chapter if you can, but at least to page 328. If you have trouble getting the pages, let me know and I can email an excerpt.

My friends, that is the single most moving passage of fiction I have ever encountered. It fully engages with the universal human need within me, and blows me over by having comfort and empathy come from a source that is fully unexpected. In almost twenty years since I first read it, with hundreds of other books read in between, I have rarely found the like. Ask me anytime what is my favourite scene in fiction, and I'll answer gladly - it's Yarden and the telepathic fish. Even now when I read it, my eyes mist over and I have to pause and enjoy the stirring yet again. Just thinking of it makes me tear up at times, and it reminds me of everything beautiful about writing.

This has influenced me probably a lot more than I know. Believe it or not, I did not have that scene in mind at all when I invented Eclectia's angels - yet the way that some of you have written them is a very strong reflection of Yarden's experience. I love that! And it's proving that the Avenir project can become a very powerful force in fiction.

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