How did you pronounce the title of this blog post? Due to the linguistic heritage of the English language you could have thought CON·tent, as in substance, or con·TENT, to be described as residing in an essentially satisfied state.
Is it an accident the same word, with two different meanings, could have those intricately related? Our needs and wants lead us toward an imagined state of satisfaction. The search for true contentment drives all advertising, ideology, and psychology. Theological premises good, bad, and evil leverage the promise to shape and direct the human soul each to their own ends.
We want to be satisfied. But how?
One eats, and eventually is full if well fed. Problem solved. How does one salve a wounded spirit, or a guilty conscience, or a traumatic memory?
Pharmacy is willing to present its answers. Personally, I have been betrayed by too many people on meds for whom I cared and with whom I merely associated to trust a prescription with the solution to deeper issues. Drugs might calm the mind, but it seems they also mute the conscience. Sometimes, as news stories of another psychotic break too often feature, the results can be horrifying.
“How could someone do that?” people ask. “Meds,” I whisper to myself.
Dissatisfaction is the result of missing something in what we think, feel, or sense. In one way or another, one may call that CON·tent. Cultivating substance in our lives and work leads to earned satisfaction in the same way diligent effort produces the harvest of a garden. But the totality of our existence encompasses more than just the physical.
Neglected, our spirits desiccate like an untended plot of vegetables. If nothing is there, the shell of our empty core collapses in on itself. It shows in what we think, how we live, and in the results we try to impose on a world we don’t really understand. Passion is no substitute for wisdom, as one ridiculous display of futility after another proves throughout the secular world.
Recently, the Editress and I, inveterate rummagers of bargain movie bins that we are, discovered a film featuring an actress we have in the past enjoyed. Neither her name nor the title is important. Art is what it is, and I’m sure the people producing this DVD felt it said just what they wanted.
But oh, did that movie suck.
Exhibiting the current trend to exclude white males from the cast was an early-warning sign. The evident millennial angst permeating the rest of the presentation settled into a uninspiring scenario in which nothing resolved, no challenge was truly overcome, and no premise outside of existential hopelessness emerged. Hollywood today. Meh.
She wanted to donate the CD to a thrift shop. I shredded it instead so no one else would be subjected to viewing that particular copy of the thing.
Like I said, it sucked, and I am sometimes a harsh critic.
Faith is the substance of the spirit. It connects us to the essential motivation of our Creator in setting this universe in motion. Without it, we are adrift like objects in space waiting for the gravitation of some greater mass to pull us in to a destination unknown. Meanwhile, we spin in a gyroscope of dissatisfaction.
I don’t make movies. I write. Regardless that my novels would make excellent films, I doubt the spirit required exists in the Hollywood of today. The same malaise can be evident in writing also, of course. One sees it throughout a novel in which the spiritual composition of the characters is ignored. Try as the author might, lacking that essential CON·tent, the presentation falls flat. There should have been something more, but neither the character nor his author ever came to the realization. It is the vitality of language and imagination versus the flat taste of a previously carbonated beverage translated into the written word … or the dialogue in a bad movie.
Our lives are novels, written in days instead of words. As Benjamin Franklin perceived, we each have our Author and Finisher. We have a part to play in determining whether we are notes in its crescendo or elements to be weeded out of a plot hole that is going nowhere, to be crushed and discarded like a page never again seeing the light of day.
Be Real Before It Gets Real. It’s a hashtag I use on social media. Those who know me well enough have seen in it the acronym REAL: Realize your need, Explore for truth, Accept your Creator’s gift of reconciliation, and afterward Live what you believe.
Welling up inside you will be spiritual substance: CON·tent. It will make for a satisfying story. You have His promise.
Choose to love, -DA
In production news, there is some! The Editress has finished her timeline and fact-checking review of Novel12/Boone6 Ghosts of the Republic, featuring, for reasons that will be evident, a heavy assist from Daniel Sean Ritter.
Moving on to the heavy lifting of production editing began this afternoon. Unlike previous outings, the predictable pace of She Who Must Be Obeyed is skewed by our present situation, and whether this results in an early or later completion and publishing depends on circumstances beyond our control. I hope to get the title out in the fourth quarter. As in all things … we’ll see, won’t we?