OK, so bear with me, because these are just... thoughts a'borning. Nascent,
if you can dig it.

There's this writer named Sherri S. Tepper, and she wrote a wonderful book 
called Beauty. I'm a sucker for new and different looks at classic folk tales, and
this is a good one. Fantasy and sci-fi and... self-romance? All in one. What do 
I mean? It's like... we get to see Beauty coming to know herself in time, and
all of its shifts, young to old, lust to love, fire to simmer. 

What does beauty mean? What is truth? Who is like unto God? 

I dove in with a vengeance, even having a (very, very brief) twinge about 
having to put the book down when Jessica came home. She has a message,
and she twines it elegantly, subtly through her prose.

The message isn't new -- we create our own hell. God gave man the ability
to create, and we use it. Some of use it to find the meaning of beauty, to
hunt for magic in the everyday. Others of us... don't.

Apparently, those of us who don't are using the options inherent in free
will to turn away from beauty, and, in the turning away, we lose sight of

What is the turning away? Well. How about my Traveler series? A study in
darkness, originally begun in the hopes of filling up Kate's Loaded site, and
also to understand some of the metaphysics, philosophy, and theology 
running rampant on Buffy these days.

Who better to bring back than Oz? Man, wolf, and now demon. Where does
he fit? He is one of a family of killers. Predators human enough to... hmm. 
Perhaps take from the purity of the hunt. They are not just feeding themselves,
they take pleasure from the kill.

It's dark, and the writing has hurt people who are closest to me. Violent,
and black. Cruel. 

Reading Beauty, I had something of a crisis. Was I contributing to the death
of magic? Why *couldn't* I write more beautiful things? Beauty in the sense
of warmth, encompassing humanity. Uplifting, transcendent. It is simple 
truth for me to say that yes, I have the talent for this, and yet. And yet.

I spread pain. My characters are dark, to weave in with a (very) current 
conversation with Otsoko, my take on humanism, on the interaction of
person to person, is almost universally... well, depressing. 

And I was sad, and ashamed of myself. I suddenly found myself understanding
Debra Fran Baker's definition of heroism. I lost my fantasies, and the story 
ideas bounding around my head seemed dirty. Wrong to have.

I became ashamed.

I still am, a little, but with the help of people like Dawn Sharon, and Otsoko,
I think I'm beginning to understand another truth, a more complete truth,

<<otsoko: I want to answer you with something Zen-like.  Like:  there 
is no light without the darkness to define it.  >>

Is there beauty without ugliness? Pride without shame? Pleasure without

How many dystopian utopias have we seen where the inhabitants lead 
lives of perfect art and leisure and grow... bored?

Ennui, really. Losing the ability to see all their gifts, blinded by raw good.

A message there. God gave man the power to create, and curiosity. We ate
of the tree of knowledge, and know it is *in* us. Now we *are* knowledge, 
kernels of it growing as we grow.

With knowledge comes questions, contradictions. The wisdom of knowing,
perhaps, when there is no right answer?

Ah, but I think I've been poisoned, just a little. It all becomes a little 
self-serving. An excuse to play on our darker emotions which we are, maybe,
supposed to shun. Do we achieve purity by becoming Good?

Do we become closer to God?

Is knowledge wisdom?

What happens to those of us who can see the darkness clear as day, who 
travel in it? Am I crippled or gifted?

I've been poisoned, but is it something I was always supposed to know? Is 
this what righteous guilt is supposed to be? I don't know, I don't know. I 
feel like Anya, faced with death. Is there one simple Truth? Have I turned 
away. Do I kill the magic.

Or do I define the whole?

What right do I have to share with all of you what I know and love and 
believe in? Why does my beauty have to be so ugly?

Am I here for a reason? What is it?

I want to write. But I am afraid.