The majority of my blog posts are non-fiction, with the occasional poem thrown in from time to time, but I rarely exhibit any of my fiction. I’ve completed one work of fiction and have been trying to gain some traction with another one, with little success (I’m hoping this post might spur me on a bit!). However, one brief scene I have written, featured below, is exactly what I look for with my writing and seeks to develop the goodness of the body and the evil of using others for our own pleasure, even in internal fantasy. Often people scorn fiction as a waste of time, but I believe it can be a powerful source for truth. Think about it, even Jesus used a form of fiction to teach! (Several of his parables, like the Prodigal Son and the Rich Man and Lazarus).
When I write fiction, I like it to mean something. Reading and writing fiction teaches you to think with nuance and look beyond surface meanings to understand deeper subjects and subtle intricacies. Studies have even shown that those who read fiction are actually more empathetic because of the common practice of having to enter another’s point of view. All that helps to show how fiction can function to develop, challenge, and grow a reader. The scene below is designed to do just that. Usually my fiction is actually inspired by non-fictional books and arguments, as was this piece. So below the fiction piece you’ll also see the short section by Matthew Lee Anderson that I modeled this work after. The short scene works in my usual play with contrast, focus on beauty and longing, and clear cultural critique. I’m still not certain I like the male character’s name, but currently it was chosen to reflect a Greek myth of the god Neptune who raped a woman and then granted her one wish (as a weird form of repayment) to turn her into a man, in order to tragically, as stated in her own words, “Put pain like that beyond my power.”1
Here is the scene, I’ll leave the reflection up to you!:
“I heard a song the other day.” Eva rises onto her tiptoes as she tosses her head playfully, the golden weaves of her hair reflecting the late summer sunlight. She reaches out to the lead sunflower in the patch before her, the plant grows a foot ahead of its breathen, taller than them all it stands as a rebel or a forerunner. She fingers the perimeter of the petals as that somber yet joyful feeling rises once again, reverberating within her as she thoughtfully beholds the mystery that is a flower. Her inspection of the vivid flora is a pleasureful expression of young innocence and sheer wonder, of simple delight and deep reflection. And still, this is not all. There is more before her than meets her eyes, of this she is certain, and yet she does not know.
“A song? And what makes this song so remarkable?” Price Neptune queries from behind as he stares her slender physique down, the myriad of yellow gifts meaningless before the girl not given. Lust dominates his heart, as his eyes behold her they tell him only of his own worth, of his own sovereign rights. As does the fictitious woman of his current and conscious dreams. With a guise of genuine conversational interest maintained, he plays the god of his inner fantasy.
“Is it the song? Or is it what the song produced that is remarkable? The violinist, in absolute harmony with the minstrel’s mournful notes; there was a hint of perfect beauty in it, if only for a moment; oh the feeling, oh the ache.” Eva steps back from the foremost shoot to take in the full measure of this little sea of suns. Rays of golden light land upon the tips of each blossom, the wind softly rippling them together as one organism of a diverse unity.
“My dear Eva, you are a woman like no other I’ve known.” The words are straw, empty of all but appearance. His aim is not knowledge, but conquest. Even now her form is pillaged in his mind, her body is his pleasure, her person is his adversary. The real figure before his gaze is not the girl of his cerebral imaginations. His heart does not wish for her as she is, but only for what he wishes her to be. She is an instrument to be wielded, not a woman to be truly known. He, and so many like him, would justify it as merely innocent fantasy as her body is robbed of its complete humanity, as the person is destroyed to make room only for the desired, if only in his mind.2
And here is the non-fiction inspiration:
“Beneath pornography is the supposition that the mere fact of our desire for a woman makes us worthy of her… It is no surprise that the industrialized, cheap and easy sex of pornography has answered and evoked an almost unrestrained sexual greed, which allows us to be gods and goddesses within the safety of our own fantasies… The empathetic imagining of themselves in a pornography scene, though, does turn the other participants into objects and instruments for our own satisfaction. What are all the other characters in the scene for? Nothing, save our own self-indulgence… In each case, the woman is nothing more than an instrument to our own fantastical pleasures; she is a tool that we discard the moment we find a more satisfactory widget. The people of pornography are no more irreplaceable than salad forks… reducing the human person to an instrument for our own pleasure is to wish in our hearts that they simply did not exist as persons.”2
1. For a simply amazing Christian reflection on this myth as it relates to male and female distinctiveness see: Gerald Hiestand, “Put Pain like that Beyond My Power: A Christocentric Theodicy with Respect to the Inequality of Male and Female Power,” in Beauty, Order, and Mystery: A Christian Vision of Human Sexuality, ed. Gerald Hiestand & Todd Wilson, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2017)
2. Found in: Russel Moore and Andrew T. Walker, The Gospel For Life Series: The Gospel & Pornography, (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2017), 96-99
Photo by Mike Marrah on Unsplash