eight_of_cups: (Default)
Oops, I'm talking about friendship again. Let's take the traditional pause for all my longtime friends to groan.

[pause] And also with you.

So a couple of years ago I wrote a meditation on Friendship and Eros as motive forces in stories, which you can read if you like, but here's the gist.

In stories, romantic love (eros) tends to function on a mythic level to signify healing or mending something that was broken; representative reconciliation; and redemption for one or both of the characters. So much so that when we read or watch a story that has no romantic love, or in which romantic love is unfulfilled, we are tempted to think that the characters have missed their chance (sometimes literally!) at salvation. Or that the universe the story takes place in is still broken.

Likewise in stories, friendship functions to signify that which is unbroken or in some cases unbreakable. If you have a friend, you discover that something is right with the world, that something is right with yourself, that there is a part of you that doesn't need fixing, or that makes fixing the broken part worthwhile. A story about friendship isn't a story about redemption, it's a story about vindication. A universe with friendship in it speaks of stability in spite of the odds. Friendship is relief from a siege, a cleared path in a lane of mines, a point of perception that bypasses and sometimes even neutralizes chaos.

The point is, we want out of stories what we want out of the world. Here follows some aro patriotism )

All this is by way of saying that I just finished Megan Whalen Turner's Thick as Thieves, and now that I've resurrected myself from a death of flailing squee, I'm perpendicular enough to cry out my gratitude to MWT for writing in these times a book that is a paean to friendship. In a series that affirms friendship with its true mythical strength.

Spoilers, obviously )

No mode of human love is watertight; and we wouldn't want it to be. But mythically speaking, we need robust, physical, unabashedly equal friendship, not just for the aromantic among us, but for everybody who wants breathing room for the love they love best.

There, that should do it for another couple of years.
eight_of_cups: (Default)
Every so often I get the urge to worry away at a conundrum that has preoccupied me over the years: the qualitative difference(s) between romantic love and friendship, as types of human love. I suppose the preoccupation dates to the first time I read C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves, which I found illuminating but ultimately very unsatisfying. This recent Sojourners article brought the subject to mind again, along with perennial fandom wrangling about bromance vs. slash, and of course my novel project, Ryswyck, rendering in the background.

I don't think I'm any closer to mastering the subject than I was when I started, but this time I decided to focus on one particular aspect of it, which is the writer's point of view -- the kinds of stories we tell about friendship and romantic love, and what kinds of stories that each love drives. It's timely because I'm seeing other writers in various venues writing about ways to "rehabilitate" friendship as a valid love in its own right, and it's important to me because -- well, we shall see.

by and by, Lord, by and by )

Call for wine; let there be an enchantment.

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