What I never expected was how surprising it would be to me to see the things that have influenced its creation.
I have a fairly intensive revision process. Part of that process involves marking out the things about the story that are important to me on a high level, the things that matter, the things that these stories are really about. (At least to me. It’s entirely possible that no one else reading these books will ever see the same things in them that I do, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s part of what makes fiction so wonderful.)
Perhaps because I am nostalgic and reflective by nature, when I work on revising any of the books in this series, I have a tendency to look back over the revision notebooks of previous books. Sometimes I am surprised to see what I have written there–surprised to see things jumping out at me that I don’t even remember writing down.
They are the philosophies that underlie Ravanmark–every person who lives there and every thing that happens there. And in the hope that someone else might find them as interesting as I do, I lay them out here, as they were originally written in my notes.
The power of humans to create is sacred–I wrote that for the first book, and it still applies. But more than that, life is sacred, living is sacred, and how we do it matter. We matter–each of us, all of us, and we are all valuable and deserving. Too much time is spent sectioning us off into various categories and then denying some of them–whether it’s because we think they are less than us and look down on them, or because we think they are more than us and fear them. All people deserve to live in peace, and to make use of their abilities however they choose, without impinging on others’ freedoms. There are no people who are somehow less human than others.
This makes me reflect on several things in Ravanmark, from the rather feudal class structure to the treatment of the Singari. What about you?
Freedom and equality aren’t just pretty words–they are fundamentally necessary for humans to achieve their full potential, as individuals or as a species. And the thing about them is that they go hand in hand–you only have freedom inasmuch as you have equality, and you can’t be really equal if you aren’t free. And if people around you aren’t free or equal–don’t think you are, either.
Again, I think of the Singari. And of the class structure…it seems to me that freedom and equality are not just issues for the disadvantaged, but for the very powerful as well. How free is a king, really? How equal is he? How much of his ordinary life–if he even can be said to have one–suffers for the demands of his position? And if he is an unjust king, how much do the lives around him suffer for the power of his whims?
Those are just a couple of items I came across while I was flipping through old notes. I’m sure there are many more waiting to be re-discovered; if I find them, I’ll try to keep them all in this category, with the Philosophies of Ravanmark tag.