After three years of being constrained by the title ‘Writing Historical Fiction’, this blog has had a makeover (Oct ’13). The aim now is to write about whatever gets my quill pen quivering, rather than just about historical fiction. Naturally there will still be a strong element of the past (hence the title inspired by Owen Barfield), as that is my chief interest, but I will not be constrained by it. So expect a rant about modern problems now and again! – but I shall always try and understand what bedevils us now by looking at the past.
I’d like the site to reflect my central belief, which is the oneness of all things. This covers all beings, from amoeba to universes, but of course, the main interest is in humanity. Whether a drunken Maenad in a dionysiac procession, a slave in ancient Cyprus, a king of Britain, a scribe in Renaissance Florence, all people in all periods and places share a common humanity. When people cast doubt on historical fiction and the ability of an author to imagine another age, or write about characters of the opposite sex, they have a very literal view of life.
All it takes to connect with humanity is self-knowledge (understanding those parts of yourself which are universal) and imagination.
In the quote from Barfield below, he is speaking of Sophia (ancestral voice) becoming transformed by Christ into an un-ancestral voice, the voice of the Imagination. However, I’m sticking with ‘Ancestral Voices’ as ‘Unancestral Voice’ – well, that is far from self-explanatory.
‘Once I was the ancestral voice of the Father-wisdom, the theosophia that spoke inarticulately through blood and instinct, but articulately through the sibyls, the prophets, the masters. But at the turning-point of time, by that central death and rebirth which was the transformation of transformations, by the open mystery of Golgotha, I was myself transformed. I am that anthroposophia who . . . is the voice of each one’s mind speaking from the depths within himself.’ (Owen Barfield, Unancestral Voice 221)