How to convey how mystified and misty eyed I am at words on a page creating characters and experiences who nourish and move my heart?
What a wonder, fiction. What a wonder, words. We are able to create imaginary experiences that create and activate real emotions. Plato saw this as a problem, wanting to banish all the poets from society for its safety. Meanwhile, I spend my Sunday afternoon relishing in one of my favorite ST authors’ creations.
The Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations – Shield of the Gods eBook came out last week. I’ve been reading it a little per day, trying to savor it, and it came to a climax today. I had been wanting something more creative, some temporal gimmick, some plot twisting hook or nuanced intricacy of landmarks from the ST canon tied together in some clever way (as Bennett is wont to do, see Watching The Clock, Forgotten History, or even The Collectors). But, as with another beloved of mine in this moment, sometimes what you expect simply disappears and goes silent.
Luckily, in this case, something better arose. It’s almost a passing-the-torch novel, as Ranjea and Teresa Garcia (the two junior agents who came to partner up in the first novel) are showcased perhaps more than Lucsly and Dulmur (who basically ARE the DTI as established in original canon). But then (SPOILER ALERT) Ranjea gets abducted and sent to the past, and chooses, in perfect alignment with the depths of compassion in his character, to stay there in order to help love, rehabilitate, and heal the deep emotional wounds of the villain. Leave it to Star Trek well-written to give an illustration of compassionate healing for one’s antagonist rather than elimination (discounting, for the moment, the extremely simplistic action-film trope format that doesn’t do anything like this with General Chang, the Duras sisters, the Borg Queen, Ru’afo, Shinzon, Nero, and Krall…with the notable cryogenic re-freeze of Khan).
I wept as Ranjea spoke his goodbye message to Teresa. The book, I realized, doesn’t need a gimmick of plot…it’s theme and the characters, in a testament to those pillars of fiction that will stand for many centuries to come regardless of vicissitudes of genre and setting, are strong enough on their own. Brilliant enough. Beautiful enough.
Even though I predicted this ending – Ranjea sacrificing himself for love of another, in a very unique and long-suffering way – about two pages before it happened, it was the kind of thing that makes me want to do the same.
To listen, hold space, and step back rather than condemning when someone dishonors their word and leaves me with a violated expectation. To love them through their wounds and not stop when their blind action from those wounds hurts me.
After all, no pain is mine but that which I can heal. Or redeem in creative combination with art and the quest to empower others.
Recipe for bliss #80: Allow the gifts that are uniquely yours to arise in and redeem your experience, and then give them.