Happy Fourth, everyone. (Okay, it's now the sixth, but I wrote this on the fourth.) And, Happy Birthday to Mocha Memoirs, and congratulations to our newest authors.
'Hope you're all having a safe and happy Independence Day. Here in Boston, we had our fireworks a day early, due to the storm passing through our area. I stood on the banks of the Charles and watched the exploding, multi-colored rockets as I do every year. Then, walking home, I walked straight into a mini-monsoon and got soaked to the skin. They say Boston and a lot of other eastern cities may be facing major flood disasters in the not-too-distant future, due largely to global warming intensifying tropical storms. I've done my share of marching and signature gathering this summer for environment-friendly causes and candidates, and you see hopeful signs; more and more of the world's energy is being generated by clean, renewable sources. Still, it's hard to escape a feeling of helplessness in the face of larger, cosmic events, as beyond our control as a sudden storm. But, do we, in the course of our mundane lives, contribute to a creeping apocalypse of storm, drought, fire and flood every time we turn on a light switch or a computer powered by coal-fired power plants? We feel detached from larger, world-altering events, but we may be connected to them in ways we don't suspect or like to think about.
One theme I like to touch on in my fiction is that invisible connection between the lives of ordinary people and cosmic forces and events; that intersection between the banal and the infinite. Science fiction and paranormal fiction can both be used to find that connection (as religious fiction can.) Romance might not seem a likely instrument for that kind of story, but it certainly can be. Two of my Mocha titles, "Black Goddess" and "Along Came a Spider" deal with that theme of cosmic connectedness, from several angles: Science, altered consciousness, morality, romance, and, in the case of "Black Goddess," religion. The protagonists in both stories are guys looking for answers, and feeling their lives have hit a dead, meaningless end. Both find the answer they've been looking for in love, of a sort.
In this excerpt from "Black Goddess," I tried to use a love scene to viscerally express that connection between the human and the infinite:
As they made love, she felt the bed turn to stars, her body to sunfire and nebula, the room around her to infinite space, exploding stars and burgeoning infant galaxies. Her being extended throughout the cosmos, her fingers intertwining with his, new stars blazing into being, forming like beads of sweat on every pore of each finger
-tip. She screamed, a universe
exploding at the core of every particle of her existence…
“Josh…” she called out as he faded like a ghost, reaching out to her, his fingers slipping away into the ether like wisps of mist as his anguished face called out silently…
He faded like a dream, his memory lingering like a cool kiss of air as time and space resumed their normal shape.
She sighed as her hand stroked the sheets in the empty space where he had lain a moment before.
Everybody looks for answers, but the quest for them often just brings more questions. I think the best stories are the ones that raise more questions than answers.