Saturday, September 22, 2012

Do androind dogs dream of electric squirrels?

Another entry of nothing much interesting. The dog is destroying a rawhide bone and I'm watching old "Doctor Who" episodes on dailymotion.com. It occurs to me that if time travel was actually possible, there wouldn't be any missing episodes. There is, of course, one school that says time travel is possible through different ways that I am no where near qualified to even begin to explain, but I highly recommend Kip Thorne's Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy as a easily understood if nevertheless demanding explanation of how all it works out. Regardless, none of 'em really allow one to travel to a point the past, for example, Great Britain in the 1960s. I feel I should point that out.

 For what it's worth, I've watched the first episodes of "The Dalek's Master Plan", "The Ribos Operation" and, as we speak, "The Marca Terror". I must admit, I prefer the old Who to the new stuff. Don't get me wrong, the new stuff is quality stuff and I enjoy it for the most part. However, it lacks the gonzo weirdness of the older stuff and takes itself way too seriously sometimes. Plus, darn it, I just do not care for all the relationship/family stuff. Just give me rubbery monsters, gibberish science and lots of quarries. My TARDIS, get off its lawn.

 Anyhow. I have some writing ideas I'm going to jot down while they're fresh. As I said elsewhere, I don't mind if someone takes these ideas and makes a groovy piece of media out of it. All I ask is you tell me where to find it and don't try to sue me if I ever get around to actually doing something with these ideas, if indeed they're worth doing something with.

 I was considering the Southern Baptist ghost-breaker. Think it's a good idea to give him some sort of academic background in standard mental health therapy. Most likely that second-run-through-college Master's program every therapist I've ever met has. I'm thinking the guy genuinely wants to help people and at some point in his back story went back to college to get the goods to be a practicing therapist as well as a preacher. He genuinely wants to help people and sees his academic knowledge as an addition to his faith and skills as a preacher.

 He needs a mentor, of course, and maybe that mentor wouldn't necessarily be an older preacher or family member. He needs an academic source, because I don't want him to be an expert on dark magic, too, he just fights it. I'm thinking he'd be a circuit rider, revival preacher type, not necessarily tied down to one church or one area. I don't want to make his back story too tragic. I don't want even his break with the Southern Baptist church zeitgeist to be even that tragic or jarring, though I do want it final and complete.

 And Southern Baptist is more just an archetype in my head more than anything else, based somewhat on Bro. Grady Nutt and somewhat on the innumerable similar revival preachers I saw at Hopewell or at Memorial in my youth. Bright-eyed, kind-faced, sort of an easy-going good looking. I don't want the guy to be morose and mopey, I just want him to give up on the fear and loathing that seems to be focus of way too many religious folks. I want a positive Lovecraftian hero, someone who fights evil with love rather than fear. His struggle is reconciling facing so much overwhelming evil with his belief in a benevolent Creator.

 Maybe make him a student of philosophy, as well, or at least folks like, say, Spinoza or Kierkegaard or more modern philosophically minded theologists of recent times. Maybe he has an interest in liberation theology. Perhaps give him an interest in the history of theology. Is this a lot to ask of a Southern Baptist preacher? Most of the ones I've met don't really go for that sort of thing and I don't want the guy to be too much a jack-of-all-trades, just a really nice guy. Perhaps he's studied it on his own after hearing it mentioned in a philosophy requirement class, and is interpreting it his own way (much like I do the philosophy I read).

 As I said, I want him to have a contact because he is just going to be a preacher with a therapy license, not an expert on elderitch lore. Someone connected to a university, maybe in New Orleans, since I do want to keep this located in the South. I could team him up with a New Orleans voodoo practitioner, a modern one you might find on Dumaine Street, say, not a Hollywood mambo queen. Or would that be too much?

 Speaking of his academic contact, I've got another character idea. Before I get into it, though, I'm afraid it's been influenced somewhat by Sarah Monette's excellent The Bone Key: The Necromantic Mysteries of Kyle Murchison Booth and its titular character. I won't get into a review here except to say check it out, it's pretty good if you like your Lovecraftian terrors. My character is a similar academic type, maybe a librarian or archivist, who finds himself embroiled in battles against evils too mind-bendingly terrifying to contemplate. He always survives, even if his companions don't, but he becomes more and more damaged and fragile with each encounter.

 However, he has no real choice. He doesn't seek out this evil. His career as a keeper of dark mysteries and a finder of lost things is no accident, but design. I'm not sure how - familiar curse, personal redemption, secret society, cosmic pawn, plain dumb luck - but he has to be the one that finds these evils and gathers the forces to fight it. He doesn't realize it's happening or that there's a pattern until his already fragile psyche and self-confidence has had a severe battering. He's the shy type, again not sure if I want a horrific back story - I really don't - or any incompletely understood mental diagnosis, just a really painfully shy dude. Bookish and reserved, not necessarily timid, but a guy who desperately would rather you not notice him.

 More later. The dog says it's time to go to sleep.