Are We Kidding Ourselves – Pt. 1

 

Gaining Perspective

I’ve been sharing my experience of writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy—that it started out as one book and now may actually be four books. One of the problems is that demanding characters keep showing up and so do intriguing twists to the plot.

That’s one set of issues, but there is another set which is related. It requires me taking my psychologist off the shelf. Being a clinical psychologist has been interesting and demanding, but after all these decades it seems I have no greater fixed clarity.

Essential Questions

I still have to ask, What is reality? And I also still have to ask, What is mental illness?

Okay. There, I said it. There is a fundamental problem. Well, two fundamental problems. First of all reality is maddeningly unclear. Second sanity and mental illness have no bounds.

The Matter of Reality

Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder. And reality is in the eye of the beholder as well. Is that bad? After decades of dealing with psychology my answer is clear. Reality is a matter of what is serviceable and functional—broadly defined. We don’t have to agree and our respective viewpoints may serve our respective purposes. If we have the same job and the same focus, that is another matter.

The Outcome

The end point is respect and accepting that these different views need not be considered a problem so long as they do not serve negative purposes. Currently we are seeing the down side of this issue about reality on the political stage and the uproar and potential devastation are terrible to consider. 

So again, we see it is a matter of functionality, but in some instances there are destructive orientations. Reality may not be at issue but intent may be the key issue.

The essence here is related to intent and outcome. The wonderful thing is that in writing fiction we can serve whatever purpose we choose and it is up to the reader to love the story or to throw the book in the trash.

Mental Illness

Quite awhile back there was a movement to move virtually everything related to human nature into the health field. Our mental status and related functioning was dragged in kicking and screaming. To this day there is a dispute about what is and is not mental illness. 

Our differences are substantial and, especially thanks to Carl Jung, we understand that there can be vast differences in personality. That means those differences are often great but not pathological. The issue again comes back to functionality. We often have to see what the outcome is or how harmful the person is. It remains complex and we have to respect the complexity.

What Is The Point? (It’s about time you may be saying!)

While the issues of reality and mental illness do have real world consequences, the basic point is applicable to the world of fiction writing. In fiction we can swing open the door for exploration and what we see is generally safe and can be intriguing. As I indicated above I found that characters could be insistent and plots could be intriguing in many forms. In the end, in fiction we see how nuanced our lives can be and that our different realities and functionality enrich our lives. And that enrichment is not just in our books but in our existences. There is much to be enjoyed and savored and, yes, managed.

What have you concluded?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

The Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

What in your life took hold even without a plan?

Ephemerality to Fact

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It was my writing of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy which inspired this blog. As a psychologist I have always been impressed by how ephemeral reality can be even for people who are demonstrably stable. When the inspiration for the Majesty stories struck, it quickly became clear that a lot of it had already been created back in the reaches of my mind. Granted, we now have the tools to scan our brains and can see unconscious processes. But it was still amazing to me how well formed it was.

Layer upon layer it came forward and with each layer came the characters. Maybe they did not quite come up and introduce themselves, but they were there. Many days after writing I found myself quite weary as if I had really been dealing with a host of beings. I have to wonder how many other people experience that or something related when they write. Our imaginations are powerful things and I suspect many writers feel the same way.

Writing is not an academic exercise or exploration. We have to understand that it is part of ourselves. Possibly what we recall, wish for or feel developing at the moment within us fuels it. But the fact is that it is a dynamic process and the characters bring dynamism. That means they draw energy.

A Sequence Existed

And so the writing proceeded. I thought I was writing a book, but it quickly became clear that there was more than one. The first one, Gaia’s Majesty: Mission Called introduced the concept, the settings for the characters, the characters themselves and the fundamentals of what was happening to humankind. In the second, Gaia’s Majesty:Challenge, Gaia becomes ever more prominent and the world descends into crisis. But, being who I am as a person, there were things I could see. I may be cynical but believe everything can be salvaged. In turn I moved into the third book, Gaia’s Majesty: Transformation.

I’ll leave the books to unfold, but at this point I remain fascinated by the process. And now I have the first book days away from publication and two more books well advanced. What disturbs me is that I feel a fourth book is stirring deep inside and I have no clear idea where it will lead but I can feel it.

Reality as a Living Process

What we call reality requires considerable attention. It is clearly made up of depths and when we get to reality, then we have the interface with our fellow humans. The fact that it is so complex and alive is what gives us our passions and excitement. How wonderful is the process of creation in all its facets and that we have so much moving what we call reality!

Can you perceive something stirring deep inside you?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt