Sunday Soliloquy: Flames Ignite Flames

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Hey y’all, sorry to have been ghost for a while,

I just got back from a short road trip up to the Tampa Bay area, and I have to say that I witnessed one of the coolest, craziest, and most terrifyingly awesome things I’ve ever seen in my life. On the road up and on the way back, I witnessed a massive forest fire in Big Cypress National Park. On my way up to the Tampa, Saturday night, you could see the glow and the flames from the beginning of Alligator Alley (Interstate 75, that cuts across the state) and for a solid ten-fifteen minutes I was driving adjacent to the fire, fully visible in the distance. On my way back, it was daylight, and what I thought was a rain cloud revealed itself to be smoke from the still burning fires, two days later. I was driving through a reddish gray cloud of smoke, my car was illuminated as if I was driving through a tunnel. I was truly shaken to my core.

Fire is a beautiful and dangerous element. As a long time fan of the Avatar and Legend of Korra series, I find it hard not to recognize that fact. The truth is, that beauty from a distance, that coolness, spells the end of life for so many living organisms and ecosystems. I have to respect the fire for it is powerful. I have to admire it because it is beautiful.

Now I can’t say that the fire experience had consciously led to this, but I found myself writing more background information for a fantasy series I’ve been ideating for years. Thinking about the different elements and how they work together, how fire destroys wood, but leaves room for new life; how in enough abundance fire can withstand even some heavier rain; how fire and water regularly cancel each other out. I can’t say that I’ll ever “publish” the work because it feels extremely derivative of a lot of different stories that I’ve encountered in film, in anime, in books, but the exercise is helpful. For the first time in a long time, I felt my mind developing aspects of a world, adjusting placements to allow for better and more interesting conflict. I dropped the pressure of writing a story from beginning to end, a practice I learned about years ago, but never really practiced until this weekend. I sat for hours working on one scene/section would likely never make it into a “final” or even “rough” manuscript because it felt so pivotal to the fabric of the world. It was invigorating, it was tremendous.

Honestly, I never felt like I could write fiction, whether in short story or in long form. I may not actually succeed in drafting this project…but I definitely feel like I am better for putting pen to paper (figuratively). I’ll let you know how it goes. I might even post some samples over the course of the years that I spend writing it.

Have a great week!

Peace,

Rafi

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