Monday, December 10, 2012

Guest Post: When a Horse is Not a Horse by David LeRoy

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Author David LeRoy
“Sometimes David, a white horse is just a white horse,” she said to him at the break during the workshop. 

“Maybe you let a white horse go to waste, but I don’t,” he quipped back with a  smirk.  

In the crowd I hang around with, it is fashionable to write stories or novels that explore only the physical layer of existence.  This can also include the emotional and mental layers, since both are a part of physical existence.  However, the spiritual layer is often off limits today, because it is considered sentimental or even superstitious.  

This is ironic because so many of our movies absolutely dive into this playground of meaning.  Hollywood knows our inner drive to understand what we do not fully comprehend, and it works hard to craft stories that both entertain the viewer and cast a fog of mystery.  

Another current trend in symbolism is explaining the meaning up front instead of allowing readers to project their own interpretations.   

Readers are sentimental and superstitious, even if they say it is not true.  Our minds are hard wired to see patterns.  The conscious mind may dismiss the pattern, but the subconscious absorbs it.  

One dimensional symbols have only one meaning; for instance, the American flag  is the symbol of a nation.  Take the flag and fold it into a triangle; it is given to a widow of war and later held by a son who never saw or met his father.  Now it is transformed beyond just the symbol of a nation.  It becomes a symbol for the unseen father. It may drive a character to join the military to be spiritually closer to the father that he never knew in life.  Put the character in a circumstance where he has to choose between saving the flag or saving his own life, and now the flag becomes a burden, and its destruction is a doorway for the character to achieve freedom from the past.  

The Tree of ….( what are you thinking?)

The Four horses of the ( where does your mind go to?)
The Garden of….(what comes to mind first?)

All the phrases above are strongly associated with religious symbolism in our culture today, even for people who are not religious.  

By carefully incorporating symbols into a story, weaving them together, giving each physical element multiple possible meanings on a psychological and spiritual level, you create a richer story.  Upon finishing the story, the reader was not only entertained; he knows, on a subconscious level, that there is more here than can be gleaned through one reading.  He may talk to others who have read the story, look up reviews and see what others had to say, or read the story again.  In today’s time-crunched world, that is magic .  

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About the Author: A native of California, David received a BA in Philosophy and Religion at Point Loma Nazarene College in San Diego. After returning from a European arts study program, he became interested in the history behind the French Resistance during World War Two. Writing fiction has become his latest way to explore philosophical, moral and emotional issues of life. The Siren of Paris is his first novel. You can visit him at website.

About the Book: Born in Paris and raised in the United States, 21-year-old Marc Tolbert enjoys the advantages of being born to a wealthy, well-connected family.. Reaching a turning point in his life, he decides to abandon his plans of going to medical school and study art in Paris. In 1939, he boards a ship and heads to France, blissfully unaware that Europe -- along with the rest of the world -- is on the brink of an especially devastating war. When he arrives at l'École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, more ominous signs surface. There are windows covered with tape, sandbags shielding the fronts of important buildings, whispers of Parisian children leaving the city, and gas masks being distributed. Distracted by a blossoming love affair, Marc isn't too worried about his future, and he certainly doesn't expect a Nazi invasion of France. Marc has a long journey ahead of him. He witnesses, first-hand, the fall of Paris and the departure of the French government. Employed by an ambassador, he visits heads of state, including the horribly obese gray-haired Mussolini and the charismatic Hitler. He witnesses the effects of the tightening vise of occupation, first-hand, as he tries to escape the country. He also participates in the French resistance, spends time in prison camps, and sees the liberation of the concentration camps. During his struggles, he is reunited with the woman he loves, Marie, who speaks passionately of working with the resistance. Is she working for freedom, or is she not to be trusted?

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