Hello everyone! Today is January 17, 2020 and I am recording a brief update on Fracture, my current fiction project. It’s cold and snowy here today which makes it the perfect day to sit down and reflect a bit on what I’ve been writing. As mentioned before, I have decided to change the name of the next book in the Sylvia Wilcox series to Fracture and the change of the title has helped spur some new ideas, which is great. Along with those new ideas, I’ve spent some time thinking about some of the underlying themes of the book.
The idea that there is one singular Truth is dangerous. Humanity has had varied experiences throughout existence and every culture has its stories, myths, and histories that shape the way they live. When we come to the conclusion that we have the Truth about something, and feel that we don’t need to hear other opinions or stories of different experiences, we become fundamentalists. And when we become fundamentalists, we lose sight of logic. During the course of writing this novel, I’ve done a some research into the fundamentalism of different groups. Some of those groups are religious, others are political, and still others start off as social groups. I was searching for more information on groups that isolate from the rest of the world, and have insulated themselves with the idea that leaving the group will bring about social rejection or damnation. Secular groups employ similar tactics as religious groups, but the losses might not be as severe as losing salvation. Instead, distancing one’s self from a secular group may mean the loss of money, power, and social connections. Here’s an example: Anyone can run for political office, but the higher the office, the less chance they have of being elected unless they align themselves with a specific political party. Once elected, the person may feel like they can’t truly govern if they are beholden to the party, but leaving the party usually means their political career is over. But the stakes are higher when a person is tightly weaved into a belief system that requires complete and total dedication, and discourages questions.
Faith And Truth Are NOT The Same
Religion is related to philosophy, and the idea that one religion is more true than another is a foreign concept to me. Not to mention, if you “know” that something is true, you don’t need faith to believe it. More importantly, how do you know something is true? Because someone told you? Because your grandma tells faith promoting stories about your family during the holidays? None of theses things can be proven to be absolute truths.
That brings me to Fracture. I live in Utah and I must admit, this place is incredibly fascinating and foreign to my senses. My parents never pushed religion on me, but we did go to a Methodist Church on Sundays, and I attended parochial school. I never thought the other faiths were less true than mine. In fact, I wanted to learn about other traditions, and I’ve been to a mosque, Jewish temple, Buddhist temple, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the majority of Protestant churches, and a couple of different branches of Orthodox churches. I never thought one or another was “true” or “false” or anything along those lines. Instead, I thought, it’s wonderful that the diversity of humanity is represented by all these different faith traditions, and the plethora of traditions made sense to me because humans are so diverse. We’re all just trying to understand why we’re here, why we exist, and what we should be doing with ourselves. So, I’ve always been comfortable with faiths that were completely different from my own. I mean, everyone must find their own path, right? Well, in 2010 when I moved to Utah, I encountered people who were absolutely sure that they had the truth. I mean, absolutely sure-truth with a capital T. Now, most of the people I know that are in the Mormon Church do not flaunt this ideology much, but that attitude is weaved into the culture. And for some, those who might have a touch of narcissism, may take the ideology to another level. Most will just be arrogant, but what happens when one of the “chosen one” decides that they are a little more chosen than the rest of the people in their faith? What happens when someone becomes more and more chosen, and they become a self proclaimed prophet? This is where fundamentalism comes into play.
Fracture is about a woman who is searching for truth. She takes a look at her life and starts to wonder if she indeed has the absolute, bonafide truth about everything. At this point I’m sure you are scratching your head and thinking, “How can anyone have the truth about everything?” The answer to that question is at the heart of the third book of Sylvia Wilcox series.