Sunday, April 02, 2006

The freedom part of a Freedom Outlaw

Well, I took a break from blogging and did indeed get more writing done on other projects. But that other writing has given birth to a lot of new questions and concepts that just need some working out. And a blog or journal is a good way for me to explore them.

As some of you know, I'm writing a novel about a unique version of an underground railroad in the days of Bleeding Kansas, just before the outbreak of the War Between the States (or whatever name you prefer). And I'm striving to understand the motivation of people who prefer (or at least accept) non-freedom, and what separates them from those who truly need to live in freedom.

The heroine of the story starts out naively assuming that every slave desires freedom, and the only reason they haven't yet taken it is because they don't see how. So she's going to teach them. But in the process she learns that even most of the slaves don't have the will to freedom - some do, of course, but many just want to get by and not make waves, or they're stopped by fear that the unknown will be worse than present reality.

So what I’m dealing with here is the vast ability of humans to adapt to conditions, to find ways to get by under any system. Most humans, anyway.

Where and how and when do the lines in the sand get drawn? Do some people have no lines at all, or see no need for them? Do the lines more often only become evident in the heat of a situation that threatens to become intolerable, for instance when one’s children are about to be taken away?

What causes some people to draw lines beyond which they will not go? I get the sense that lately, with National ID and NAIS and all that encroaching, many of us are thinking that we have impermeable moral boundaries, but worrying that when the time comes, we'll cave.

I'm sure not certain that I'll have the strength and courage to refuse when finally faced with National ID. And yet I think all of us who desire freedom have some depth of courage in us that knows it will make its stand someday, who knows how or when, but the courage is there and will prevail.

Does everyone have that courage in some way, when the right combination of chips are down? If not, what makes us different? What do they have that we lack?

The deeper I get into the planning and plotting of this novel, the more I realize how central questions such as these are to the heart of the story and its theme - which is "the unquenchable urge to live free." This whole project is turning out to be much wider and more complex than I expected. I've got a lot of thinking to do.


Blogger Morrigan said...

It is good to see you posting again!
You raise some very intresting questions, actually these are some questions that I have been thinking about myself.
I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

4/03/2006 7:27 AM  
Blogger lewlew said...

Huzzah! Welcome back to the blogosphere. I echo Morrigan's sentiments.

4/06/2006 1:26 AM  

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