Phobos Books, a medium-sized publishing company, is starting a series of
science fiction murder mysteries set on the moon. I just got the news that
I'm writing the first book. Working title: DEAD MAN IN THE
I went to ConFusion this past weekend, but this post really isn't about the con itself (great con, had a wonderful time, fyi). Anyway, I was up in the middle of the night due to a small bout of insomnia, and was watching television quietly to pass the time. I happened upon a program about prisons, and part of the program covered a local jail where the prisoners were confined with an amazing number of people per cell. Due to the lateness of the hour and the lowness of the volume, I can't give more specifics, but what occurred next caught my attention.
The voiceover said, "The inmates find creative ways to pass their time." Following this was a visual of a mural that would have done Picasso proud. It was drawn/painted on the wall of one of the aforementioned cells. I dislike murals, they are definitely not my preferred art form, and yet this one contained so much honesty and passion, so much of the experience of the people/person who created it, that it moved me. Following that, they showed a young man (19, I believe) who had been jailed for robbery, singing. It was amazing. He played some unknown object in a rhythmic counterpoint to his song, accompanied by his cellmates utilizing various found objects or vocal expressions to harmonize with him. His song was to his mother, telling her not to grieve even though he was gone.
This was the blues from its heart, from its guts. I wanted to cry. I wondered how we could show the young man with the beautiful voice, the person or people who painted that mural, how to use their talents to save themselves from a lifetime of imprisonment. I didn't know, but what I did understand, in my heart and in my guts, was the absolute beauty of human nature, and that it will perservere in the most adverse of circumstances.
I know this seems trite. I know that it's a cliche; however, cliches must contain some grain of truth or they wouldn't be so persistent. I might not be able to convey my own personal realization, but I do urge whoever reads this to consider the idea of the indomitable human spirit in a fresh light. I don't think it's a cliche, I think that we all have it. In the absence of truly adverse circumstances, or even and perhaps especially in their presence, what beauty lies within each of us?