Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hollow Hallways or the Place of Philosophy in Dark Fiction

For a few months I've been working on a short story that falls more into Dark Literature than into Horror. It has philosophical undertones but it doesn't pretend to have all the right answers. It is a piece of fiction, after all, but I've always been fascinated by those artistic outlets that give more than pure entertainment. This is a new territory for me. I do have a nature that tends to ponder for a bit too long on the great unanswerable questions that plague human existence. However, writing about them within the realm of Dark Fiction is quite a struggle.

And since I'm in this boat, I've gone back to those artists that have inspired me through the years. Those who taught me that art can be deep, touching, and intriguing, yet still be fun. I guess the best examples of this kind of complex art in paintings and movies are Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel. Both surreal artists, their respective body of work has always inspired me to dig deep into my soul for understanding.
Metamorphosis of Narcissus by Salvador Dali

Dali's paintings are known to every single person on this planet. They are not only beautiful, but thought-provoking. Like the one above, for example. 

Now, if you haven't heard of Luis Buñuel (1900-1983) I wouldn't be surprised. Though his works have garnered continuous praise for decades, they can't be called commercial by any extent of the imagination. You are missing, however, some of the most important representations of cinema as art. His first film ever was written in collaboration with his life-long friend Dali. A Chien Andalou is a relentless, fifteen minutes long, Freudian free association film. In other words, a crazy ride that feels like seeing the thoughts of a schizophrenic mind. There are as many interpretations of this film as minds are on this earth, and it veritably represents every psychoanalyst wet dream. 

Years later he filmed The Exterminating Angel. A proper movie with a proper story this time, albeit as uncrackable as his first venture. It is considered one of the one thousand best films EVER. Strange and mesmerizing in equal measure, it will leave you with more questions than answers. And I promise you'll be back for more. A true gem.

Then, there is music. In this area I find my inspiration from a much more current source. A quite famous Progressive Rock band called Dream Theater. Most of its lyrics are deep and question life, death, past lives, and our present way of living. So no wonder they're not played by commercial radio stations. Still, they have a huge following. Though I don't like Heavy Rock, Death Metal, or half-an-hour-long songs, Dream Theater has captivated my mind. I share with you one of his ballads, which lyrics still make me ponder on their meaning.

"Once the stone 
You're crawling under 
Is lifted off your shoulders,
Once the cloud that's raining 
Over your head disappears 
The noise that you'll hear 
Is the crashing down of Hollow Years."

~Hollow Years
Written by John Petrucci.

So what stories/books have made you search into your soul for answers? Is there a place for Philosophy in present day fiction?


Misha Gericke said...

Interesting. Yes, there's a place for anything in literature, if it's kept in some sort of balance.

I suppose "balance" depends on the reader, though.

Nicole said...

Dali's stuff has always seemed both intriguing and disturbing to me. Which is probably the point.

Georgina Morales said...

Well, the last word is always up to the reader. The difference between being forgotten or having your work reissued for generations to come will always hang upon the reader. Thanks for commenting Misha!

Dali was a nutcase. Oh, but how strong his pull on our minds is to this day. I will never tire of looking at his art. And I'm pretty sure that's what he wanted, Nicole, to weird and fascinate us at the same time. =)

Elizabeth Twist said...

Philosophy and literature go hand in hand, as far as I'm concerned. Fiction can not only expose you to a new idea, but take you into it, so you can feel what it's like to live out a version of that idea. Science fiction is especially good at that, but horror / dark lit really does a great job with exploring the nastier little corners of the world of ideas. I hope you keep going in this new direction, or at least that the idea you're working on bears much fruit.

Georgina Morales said...

Thanks so much Elizabeth. I like how you put it, it gives me faith that there are readers who enjoy challenging reads. =)