I was inspired to start writing speculative short stories after reading Fondly Fahrenheit by Alfred Bester. The story broke a lot of preconceptions I had about short fiction and the limits that were inherent to the form. For example, before reading the story, I had gotten it into my head that because of the length he setting, scope, and pacing had to be limited and slow.
The story contained several characters that reminded me of people I had encountered in real life. Coincidentally, Fondly Fahrenheit also involved subject matter from my academic life and interests of mine. All of this prompted me to research Alfred Bester and I soon discovered some real life commonalities. One of these commonalities was that Alfred Bester left short story writing to write comic books for a while, penning one of my favourite superhero comics, Green Lantern.
One of the most interesting bits of weird trivia is that Alfred Bester was often credited with composing the Green Lantern Oath that went a little something like this:
In the brightest day,
In the blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight,
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power,
The Green Lantern light!
I’m writing this from fanboy memory, so I could’ve gotten some of the words wrong – my apologies to the more scholarly fans out there. The weird part is that he had been quoted as saying that the oath existed before he began writing the comic.
A recent post over at Boingboing.net about a Magic Lantern museum got me thinking about Green Lantern again.
The result of my musings is my conclusion that Green Lantern should be every writer’s favourite superhero.
Well, for those of you not familiar with Green Lantern, he or she (there used to be a GL Corps with hundreds of these appointed space-policing Green Lanterns) derives his / her power from a ring which he/she needs to charge with a green lantern (hence the name). Once charged (yes, like a cell phone), he /she is able to fly and create just about any weapon / vehicle / whatever out of solid green light.
You’re probably thinking: Hey, mildly interesting, but why should GL be adored by us writer folks?
Okay, sorry for all that background (infodump). The reason for my contention can be found in Green Lantern’s limitations and weaknesses, namely:
- A green Lantern’s creations are only limited by his / her will power and imagination. This holds for writers too.
- A Green Lantern ring must be recharged regularly, because it can only hold finite charge of energy. This holds for all writers (even the full-time ones), because we need to recharge our writing batteries with outside interests and real life.
- The original GL Corps rings were all weak against the colour yellow / gold. To translate into writer language: Never pay too much attention to your own press and praise (gold). Keep striving to be better.
- Alan Scott, the first GL, possessed an older GL ring that was weak against wood. However, even with the risk of flying into a tree during a low air chase, he soldiered on with the mission as his successors would one day do. Writers should keep in mind that although technology has changed, the mission (to write) stays the same.
- The GL corps was comprised of heroes from different worlds across the universe and each guarded different sectors of space. Although, we’re all writers, each of us occupies a different point in “writing-space’. Learn from each other but follow your own path.
Wow, I surprised myself with how motivational this post has become. This is where my ‘charge’ has run out on this topic. Do you have a favourite superhero? Does he / she embody an ethic that you feel can help in your writing?
As always, keep writing and keep submitting!