Casual and Ordinary Miracles, Lucifer, Jane, and Other Tangents
You can call it procrastination, and it might be, but sometimes I think when you’re writing some big lumpy thing, and you’re called off in whatever directions, you should just have fun and go. So, as you likely know, since I seem to be blurting it out all the time now, is that I’m writing a novel sort of about angels. I’ve been working on it for ugh ages. But I’ve also stopped from time to time. The first time I stopped I hadn’t even really begun. The novel by Amanda Leduc titled The Miracles of Ordinary Men came out in 2013 and I read it maybe a couple of years after. Anyway, I think I read somewhere that she was inspired in part by the Marquez story I’m always telling everyone about and which since reading it I knew I wanted to riff on it somehow. Then I read Leduc’s book and thought she’s done whatever I could do so much better so that’s that. I quit my angel book.
But no, I didn’t, because it kept coming up for me. Kept calling. At a point, I just said, write whatever for yourself, and get it out of your system. 300 pages later….
So, there’s another book I love, by Peter Darbyshire: Has the World Ended Yet? It is full of surprises, and is so fresh, inventive and contemporary, raw and imaginative, you have to read it. And of course it’s full of angels. The second story is titled, “Casual Miracles,” and begins: “Most of the people who wanted miracles found Zane through Craigslist. He had an ad he never took down in the Casual Miracles section. There was no other miracles section, but Zane wasn’t capable of other kinds anyway.”
Of course if you’re writing an angel book, it’ll make you want to quit writing for a while.
I remind myself though, that my writing style, especially in this thing I’m writing, is nothing like the above, and that there is room for us all to do our own stuff.
Meanwhile, I’ve been listening to Radiohead and The Stones again, for all their angel/devil music. Research, amiright? Writers can pass almost everything off as research….
And of course, my finest bit of procrastination has been watching the Netflix series Lucifer. Which I finished last week but it’s haunting me in all the good ways. So I keep thinking it would be so fun, such fun, to write an essay about Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester, Lucifer and Chloe Jane Decker. Is it a coincidence that Decker’s “impossibly boring middle name” which Lucifer happens to know anyway, is Jane? I think not.
The connections are loose, of course, but enjoyable, nonetheless. So you’ll remember the scene in Jane Eyre where the fortune teller arrives but who is actually Mr. Rochester in disguise. He’s wearing a red cloak, a thin disguise, and yet she does and doesn’t know it’s him. The devil is mentioned at a couple points by the fortune teller, “What the devil have you seen then?” and when Mason arrives, “The devil he did! Did he give his name?” As the fortune teller, Rochester says to Jane, that her brow professes, “I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure, born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld…”
Well, Jane knows or thinks she knows that Rochester is betrothed to the angelic Miss Ingram, who is in turns described as a “lily-flower” and as having “proud grace” and possessing “snowy robes in queenly amplitude.” There is also the rather pressing issue of the “madwoman” in the attic (Bertha, who is referred to as a demon) and upon her discovery we see Jane flee, only to come back when she’s pulled by a supernatural call….to find that Rochester’s home has burned down and he has become quite the unhandsome fellow, burned frightfully and hand amputated. Still: “His form was of the same strong and stalwart contour as ever: his port was still erect, his hair was still raven-black; nor were his features altered or sunk: not in one year’s space, by any sorrow, could his athletic strength be quelled, or his vigorous prime blighted. But in his countenance, I saw a change: that looked desperate and brooding — that reminded me of some wronged and fettered wild beast or bird, dangerous to approach in his sullen woe. The caged eagle, whose gold-ringed eyes cruelty had extinguished, might look as looked that sightless Samson.” When Jane arrives, she says to him that she will “rehumanise” him.
When Jane earlier says she cannot marry Rochester, he says, “To women who please me only by their faces, I am the very devil when I find out they have neither souls nor hearts…but to the clear eye and eloquent tongue, to the soul made of fire, and the character that bends but does not break—at once supple and stable, tractable and consistent—I am every tender and true.”
So, as I said, the correlations are rather loose, but anyone in the least bit literary cannot hear the name Jane and not think of Jane Eyre, or Jane Austen. There’s more to tease out in Jane Eyre, the casting off of Rochester by his father, various punishments, sins, atonements, sympathies. The sisters with whom Jane lives and their brother, St. John (pronounced Sinjin), who wants to marry her because she will be useful in his travels, but who doesn’t love her. (I’m sure we could compare them with Pierce and Chloe’s female friends, Ella and Linda). It would be fun to compare the campiness of Lucifer with the melodrama of Jane Eyre. Maybe some day, maybe after the release of season 5 of Lucifer :) But if I were to continue now, it would definitely be procrastination…and this book isn’t writing itself.
One last tangent, don’t even get me started on the Gary / Lucifer thing….Gary being quite the angel imho. The end. Bye.