The elements of story 4: fire
If water is the flow of a good story, and earth gives a story weight and substance, and air is the freedom of the storyteller’s art, then fire is the imagination itself. The energy that creates worlds.
To tell the story of fire is to tell the story of everything and how it came to be. The universe itself, we're told by the storytellers we call scientists, began in a burst of fire. Whether there was an Author behind it or not, this universe is an unfinished, always astonishing act of creativity. Just look at a lilac bush, or a sunset, or a giraffe.
The universe came up with stars, galaxies, planets, life, and then it really got going and dreamed up a being that could create universes inside its own head, share them with others, and change the way things are. A being who can tell new stories.
That’s the incredible gift and power a storyteller has at her command. A trace of the fear and reverence that used to be felt for those who wield this creative fire survives in the way we still regard authors as slightly mysterious beings. The difference being that we used to be in awe of the power of their art, but now we respect them only if they make lots of money.
Both attitudes miss the point. The fire is something meant to be passed on, from mind to mind, to be shared by all. We all have this creative fire in us. We all have the power to transform the world.
In the Perilous Realm trilogy, the spark of creativity is called the fathomless fire. It can be used for good, or it can be used for selfish reasons, to control others. The battle for the Realm coming in Book Three of the trilogy is a struggle between these two ways of wielding the power of story.
Coming soon: a post about the mysterious fifth element of story.