Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bardo, Dante, Guilt, and ow.

So for my MFA thesis my advisor suggested a novel. Which I think is a good idea, for the most part, excepting the whole ack-a-novel-thats-huge.

My ideas for a novel are still pretty fuzzy, but I'm sort of toying with a story that'll examine the idea of justice & punishment. Wait, no, punishment's not really the right idea. I'm sort of thinking of punishment like the levels of the afterlife Dante's Comedy -- you know, how people get what they deserve, but it's also kind of crappy and unfair.

My friend Hope invited me to a lecture next month about the Tibetan Buddhist concept of Bardo, which is sort of like this space between lives where you have visions, and your reaction to the visions determines your next life. And that reminded me of something I read a while ago, which argued that one of the lasting aftereffects of slavery was that white people had cut themselves off from empathy towards such a large group of other people that it caused long-term damage to society and family. That idea of something dogging you forever, until you get it, intrigues me. It's like punishment, but more like a karmic thoroughness.

Oof. Shouldn't a girl with a masters in writing be able to get this out better?

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