We had a wonderful meeting this week-end. No writing, but a very deep exploration of what our character’s personal journeys will be and how they will change by the end of the novel. Really, a laying out of some of the bones of the storyline.
We also had a delicious smokey-tomato soup (I’ll pat myself a little on the back for that one) and Jean prepared a scrumptious lobster salad. (I know, I know, we suffer greatly for our art!)
I intend Terri’s experience to be one of spiritual transformation. However, I was struggling with trying to articulate exactly what Terri’s experience will be like and how it will change her life. Somewhat horribly, what kept coming to mind was Supreme Court Justice Stewart’s description of obscenity: “I know it when I see it.” Egad! Yet this is not entirely off the mark when attempting to put words to the spiritual and the ecstatic.
Yes, the ecstatic. This poor word has been hijacked and misused so much in our multi-phobic culture (think of ecstasy the drug, for example). Yet “ecstasy” is often used when people are trying to describe their encounters with the divine.
I hunted around and found this description of the word: “Used by 17c. mystical writers for “a state of rapture that stupefied the body while the soul contemplated divine things”…Or another definition: “The state of being beside one’s self or rapt out of one’s self; a state in which the mind is elevated above the reach of ordinary impressions, as when under the influence of overpowering emotion; an extraordinary elevation of the spirit, as when the soul, unconscious of sensible objects, is supposed to contemplate heavenly mysteries.”
I’m thinking more along the lines of Paul on the road to Damascus (“suddenly a light flashed from heaven around him”) and ecstatic trances. (Thank-you, Dr. Felicitas Goodman.) Or The Song of Songs in the Bible.
And yes, the sexual experience can be one of ecstasy in both the sexual and spiritual senses. A doorway to the divine. I was writing last week about some of the challenges I expect in writing sexual content for the book (the thought still makes me feel slightly ill…), but my motivation in doing so is because of how it evokes the spiritual for my character, Terri.
So this week’s direction is towards ecstasy. To find the words, summon the experience, go outside the ordinary. And imagine Terri both before and after. How will it change her? Who will she become? So much ecstasy to imagine, so little time…..
Photo credit: seaoat via Flickr