The sickness is slowly dispensing, and whenever I have energy and brain cells to spare, here’s what I’ve been up to:
While taking breathing treatments, I use the time to read (so that I’m not puffing medicine mist and staring into space for 15—20 minutes. Dreadful waste of time). So far, I’ve read Understood Betsy, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, still reading Three Roads to the Alamo, and I’ve started The Phantom Tollbooth.
I picked up The Strange Case &etc. on a whim several weeks ago. The premise fascinated me: a man who creates a drug that splits his personality, letting him maintain his good reputation through one persona, but indulge in his temptations through the other. I wanted to see how Stevenson handled the concept, and how the musical (or rather, the 1994 concept album) resembled the book.
Though I knew generally how the tale ended, it was nonetheless interesting to see the story unfold. The imagery is vivid; Stevenson spends more time describing the London atmosphere at night and during its fogs than during the day. Also, I don’t think Stevenson portrayed Jekyll’s experiment as right. He sets forth the problem of how difficult it is to resist temptation; yet makes clear that giving in to that temptation—one way or another—destroys you.
But Stevenson’s theology is somewhat incorrect; man is not made up of dueling forces of good and evil. Man is capable of justice and righteousness because he was made in the image of God and retains an understanding of good, even if he twists it. But because man has rebelled against God, his nature is fallen and capable of any kind of evil. I maintain that it’s because Jekyll’s theology is wrong that his experiment fails. If he had a better understanding of God’s gift of salvation, he might have accepted it, and learned how to better resist temptation.
As for how the book compares to the musical…well, they’re two different stories. They share a premise: Dr. Jekyll creates a serum splitting his personality into its good and evil sides. But the motivation and fallout is completely different in the musical. Dr. Jekyll hopes to divide the evil and good in a man’s nature and do away with the evil. His motivation is improvement, curing of social and physical ills–a noble aim. Thus, it’s all the more tragic when the experiment fails—again, I maintain—because of insufficient understanding of God’s laws. The musical also added a little more nuance to the whole problem Jekyll is confronting, showing the hypocrisy of London society.
Fiddling with my blog
Which you may have noticed if you visited recently. Each theme has some feature that I like, but also something I’m not qui-i-ite happy with. So I keep tweaking it—hopefully, I’ll find a design I’m content with soon.
I’ve also drafted more blog posts. In the works is “A Few Notes About Christine,” an analysis of her character, like the one I wrote for Raoul several weeks ago. However, Christine’s post may take a while to put together, because there is a lot of material to consider and organize. Also in the words is “A Few Notes about Movie-Raoul,” which might be interesting, and I’ve even drafted a couple for some of the Lord of the Rings characters.
Mainly my very, very informal outline (mostly narrative, which I’ll trim into a list of events later) and character profiles. Developing characters is one of my favorite parts of writing—once I get excited about who these people are, I can’t wait to tell their stories. And I make detailed profiles. Some of my favorite character details to create are demeanor, quirks, birthdays (often, it’s a date that commemorates something about the project), the humor they use and enjoy, whether they can swim, the qualities they admire, and favorite books. I use the Beautiful People meme to delve deeper into my characters.
I’m still deciding how much information to share about my writing. On the one hand, sharing snippets could build interest in my work, and I could get feedback. On the other, there’s something to be said for working in privacy. However, I will say that this story was inspired by the 2004 film The Alamo (*gets urge to watch it again*), and its main character is Durant, whom I drew a while ago holding his baby nephew. Posting the picture again because I melt every time I see it:
Durant loves his nephews. It’s the cutest thing.
And whenever I rest, I often think about the story, making up isolated events that probably won’t end up even in the draft–but this exercise helps me learn more about the characters and the dilemmas they might face.
Other times, I just pin pictures and quotes on Pinterest. That’s work, right? 🙂