The lighter side of Darkness

As stumble through Monday, our eyes firmly set on the sweet release of Friday, I think about how something pleasing or rewarding is often gained through blood, sweat, and tears.

“The path to paradise begins in hell.” – Dante Alighieri

It begs the question – is struggle bad?

My personal reaction to that question is, no.  Struggle is the great building block of humanity.  But I think a person’s point of view on struggle, hardship, and the dark paths in life is what can turn a hard time into a learning experience.

I have  a dark side (things that go bump in the night give me goose bumps of pleasure).  Trouble and hardship don’t bother me.  I don’t want a life full of strawberries and cream.  My day-to-day better not mirror an episode of “Leave it to Beaver”.   

Golly Wally…….

 As a voracious reader, I expect to find my latest literary acquisition to be full of trouble, failures, torment, and the ensuing battle/struggle to overcome and survive.  Otherwise, the book would be pretty damned boring.

I can’t expect life to be much different (life and art DO imitate each other). 

I’ve been reading a bit of Dante Alighieri lately.  The Divine Comedy is a masterpiece.  I looked at his journey through hell, purgatory, and then to heaven. 

In my mind, the most applicable thing he wrote about was the journey.  The struggle upon entering darker paths had the famous post “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”  Who hasn’t felt this?  But he pushed on, despite the sign, and reached his goal.

Dante made it to heaven.  The symbolism is valid for me.  I don’t need to believe in the Triune God he saw in the story.  But if I allow myself to be moved by his story, by his ability to pass through darkness, trials and struggles, then it doesn’t matter what vehicle he used to deliver the message.

It was a solid story with good advice and healthy ideals.  Here are a few quotes from Dante that I enjoyed:

“O human race, born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fall?”

“The man who lies asleep will never waken fame, and his desire and all his life drift past him like a dream, and the traces of his memory fade from time like smoke in air, or ripples on a stream.”
“Lost are we, and are only so far punished,
That without hope we live on in desire.”

“Thy soul is by vile fear assailed, which oft so overcasts a man, that he recoils from noblest resolution, like a beast at some false semblance in the twilight gloom.”

Struggle can be a bitter pill, but one we must take.  Why not take it with our shoulders squared, our chins up, and with hope and understanding that we can/will be better because of it.

Do you have favorite quotes or authors that inspire or push you when you are walking dark paths?


2 comments on “The lighter side of Darkness

  1. I don’t have a dark side, Zack — other than internal self-defeating behaviors — which is why writing comedic scenes comes so much easier to me than pulling together a non-stereotypical villain. Yet, every book needs a dark side to amp the tension and increase stakes.

    Hmmm. Perhaps the fact that Silence of the Lambs and, specifically, Hannibal, fascinate me suggests I keep mine well hidden. Fava beans anyone?

    No quotes from me today because your “The (wo)man who lies asleep will never waken fame….” quote hit a chord today. Thanks!

    • zkullis says:

      Gloria. I think we all have a dark side. Sometimes it might be a little hidden, but I think it’s there. Nurture it a little this Halloween. *wicked grin*

      I won’t deny that your comedic work is fantastic. (your most recent post had me cracking up)

      Have you ever read any of the Hannibal books by Thomas Harris? It might water that Fava bean darkness you have deep inside.

      Thank you for the reply, Gloria. You rock.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s