Tuesday, April 2, 2013
The A to Z Fantastic: Beauty
"Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron." ~C. S. Lewis on The Lord of the Rings
I believe that the purpose of every art form is to create Beauty from within ourselves and add it to the world. Writing stories is one way of doing that. Writing Fantasy is, in my opinion, one of the best ways.
Now when I say "Beauty" I don't mean superficial prettiness. I don't mean that a story should necessarily be pleasant to read. As C. S. Lewis said, beauty can hurt.
"There is more beauty in truth, even if it is a dreadful beauty. The storytellers at the city gate twist life so that it looks sweet to the lazy and the stupid and the weak, and this only strengthens their infirmities and teaches nothing, cures nothing, nor does it let the heart soar." ~John Steinbeck, East of Eden
Art creates Beauty and Beauty points to Truth and Truth is that which, as Steinbeck puts it, teaches us, cures us and lets our hearts soar.
The reason that I think Fantasy serves so well in creating Beauty is that it allows us to take a step back from reality, which can so easily cloud our eyes. It allows our imagination freedom of movement to see things from angles we've never seen before and in lights we've never known before. It allows us to examine humanity and the world and our place in it in ways no other art form can. Properly employed, it can leads us to truths no other genre can. And I think that is its true purpose.
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty." ~ John Keats, Ode to a Grecian Urn