New title: Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

PERLOU

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
J'ai terminé ce matin "La Duchesse Mackenzie" de Jennifer Ashley Tome 4
J'ai viens de commencer "Daniel Mackenzie, un sacré coquin" de Jennifer Ashley Tome 6
Il ne me reste plus qu'un livre en Stock "L'appel des Highlands" du même auteur Tome 8
J'espère recevoir ma commande rapidement sinon je vais être en manque...

I finished this morning "The Duchess Mackenzie" by Jennifer Ashley Volume 4
I have just started "Daniel Mackenzie, a real rascal" by Jennifer Ashley Volume 6
I have only one book left in stock "The Call of the Highlands" by the same author Volume 8
I hope to receive my order quickly otherwise I will be in short supply...
 

Redrock12

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
gottathink and placematt, I am very encouraged by what both of you have written. This is exactly the sort of thing that I hoped to see happening. It's the kind of thing that would happen naturally over the course of a person's life if they had good role models in their lives which, sadly, most do not.

Like both of you, I have noted characters displaying a lot more strength and fortitude, love and compassion, than I ever did as a young person. How much better could I have been, how much faster could I have developed, now must more could I have done, had I had good role models and a strong framework of family and friends - even society itself - in which to grow? But when I was in my formative years, it was the 60s and 70s and the whole hippy, free love, drugs, free sex thing was well on the march. Parents were still appalled by that, but most of them had been damaged by the Great Depression and WW II so they didn't have much of a foundation themselves. But then, things like that are true enough in all periods, so what is needed, it seems to me, is something more.
Ditto for me as well. I think what is needed is in this romance project, not just the books but the postings on what emotions, memories, insights members are experiencing. But we also need the entire Fellowship with the accumulation of knowledge and member interactions and sharing that knowledge through the various meetups, reading workshops, exercises, Mind Matters, Objective Health, SOTT, the forum, as well as being open, but maintaining objectivity, to new sources of knowledge and information.
 

Séamas

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Here's a great description of the principals of 'the hero's journey' as they're conveyed in the Romance genre - that was posted to the YT page of the recent MindMatters show:

Elizabeth Ellen Carter
"Originally, the term romance referred not the contents of a book, but rather its form. These original romances were epic adventures full of daring deeds and heroism.

From the 1300s, romance referred to reciting a narrative from the Old French romancier, which meant ‘to translate into French’. Prior to that, it had come from romanicus, meaning of the Roman style.

These narratives, although written, were often performed. Can you imagine everyone gathered around the flicking firelight while one of the household recited the passages from Beowulf or the story of King Arthur? From there we get to chivalric romances – noble knights imbued with honour, fulfilled their quest and returned to claim the hand of the beautiful maiden. The French particularly specialised in tales of courtly love.

Okay the history lesson from the historical romance writer is over.

What about the romance bit?

1. A hero has a quest
He knows his purpose in life. He doesn’t let life happen to him. He has a clear objective and a clear morality. He knows there is risk. And he takes it any way in the pursuit of the highest good. In fact the word virtue comes from the same Latin root word as virile, so it’s no accident.

2. A hero takes responsibility
Not only for himself and his actions, but also for other things about him. He doesn’t leave it for other people to do. A hero is willing and able to deal with an issue, even if it is not of his own making. A hero has ‘response ability’ which means he has trained and prepared himself to act effectively when the situation calls for it.

3. A hero has courage
A hero knows things aren’t going to go his way all the time. Sometimes the odds are really stacked against him. Sometimes he has to descend to the depths of hell to defeat the foe. He know what is at stake if he fails. He know what the opportunities are if he succeeds. He finds his courage because he draws on his purpose, moral clarity and ‘response ability’ to fight for victory.

4. The hero acknowledges that a weak man cannot be a virtuous man
A hero masters his inner beast, the dark force, the capacity for malevolence that lives within his heart. He doesn’t deny it. Instead he acknowledges it and uses it to develop his courage and strength. Think Luke Skywalker tempted by the Dark Side; Christ’s temptation in the wilderness. A hero is good because he chooses not to be bad. A hero who has integrated his darker nature, and mastered it, becomes a formidable man.

What about the heroine?

A true romantic heroine is no helpless damsel in distress. She is an equal partner on this joint quest but acknowledges there are some paths the hero must walk alone.

She encourages the hero to find his inner courage and helps him fully realise his capacity for valour and honour.

A real romantic heroine never betrays the hero. As the adventure becomes dangerous, she is the one person above all on whom he can rely. And if the heroine herself has dragons of her own to slay, she has enough courage to allow him to step in help, if needed."

I saw that post this morning while I was watching the video. Its such a good summary of the role of the hero, thanks for posting it! I bookmarked it to refer back to it.
 

gottathink

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Like both of you, I have noted characters displaying a lot more strength and fortitude, love and compassion, than I ever did as a young person. How much better could I have been, how much faster could I have developed, now must more could I have done, had I had good role models and a strong framework of family and friends - even society itself - in which to grow? But when I was in my formative years, it was the 60s and 70s and the whole hippy, free love, drugs, free sex thing was well on the march. Parents were still appalled by that, but most of them had been damaged by the Great Depression and WW II so they didn't have much of a foundation themselves. But then, things like that are true enough in all periods, so what is needed, it seems to me, is something more.
There is so much going through my mind and that I started to write. These things all started processing through me after joining this forum years ago now and I have a feeling of things culminating to something, some sort of real learning becoming integrated. An aha moment. I suspect this journey is what we as a group are voluntarily approaching and engaging in is moving mountains together. I’m not sure exactly what, I feel like we will get stronger together...

I’m reading Morgan Bedwyn’s story. I am Flemish and her witnessing and nursing survivors after the battle of Waterloo is quite disturbing me. This is the history of where I come from. I’m seeing a bigger picture, the trauma the shaping of our minds and bodies to repress and quell our spirits into submission. Instead of just sulking because my mother never made me lunch.

It’s enough, this is enough. No more I’m fed up with the control and the power and the ‘terrification’ (can’t think of how else to put it) of humanity into submission.
 

gottathink

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Hey gottathink,

I have similar views when it comes to the male characters and how they handle the issues in their own life. I think we need to remember to have compassion and patience with ourselves. We have grown up in different times. Speaking for myself, my life has been to easy. Therefore without a consistent level of difficulty through my life, adult life now is probably more difficult than it would have been growing up in more difficult times. Even the c's said we are experiencing the whole, bad times create strong people, strong people create good times, good times create weak people cycle. I think though with role models wthin this sort of content, it can inspire us to do better the next time and the next time. Just my 2 cents
Thank you, that is really helpful.
 

Adaryn

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Sorry I’m going to sideline a bit from the men discussing masculinity.
But wanted to make these notes while fresh in my mind.
I moved from feeling disbelief if ‘men can’t love’ to realising ‘men can’t love me’ to ‘I have no self respect’ to ‘yes I do have sone self respect and self love but I am flawed in many ways and I want to correct what I can’.
All very wordy, but this developed from identifying with the women in these stories. I was horrified to realise that I did not have one iota of the strength of character to deal with the adversity that these women did with dignity and determination. I would have sulked, and moped and become suicidal. I am somewhat disgusted with myself. Now working through the list of things that I have accomplished and achieved against odds, so all is not lost. But it’s all a bit shaky and so wanted to post.
I've come to a very similar realization recently, asking myself: "what have you done that would make you 'worthy' of such love anyway? Well, not much. Where are your resilience and fortitude, your response-ability? You had it pretty easy all your life. Just compare your own level of being to that of those heroines. Or compare your life to that of your ancestors, especially your female ancestors." It's pretty humbling.
But then, I can't help being born during good times. And my ancestors - both male and female - though resilient, strong people who dealt with adversity with dignity and grace for most of them, and lived pretty hard lives compared to our "mollycoddled" generation, never really experienced the kind of happiness, emotional intimacy and love that are depicted in those novels. They just "sucked it up" without complaining; showing any emotional vulnerability, being open about your feelings or about anything "intimate", etc. was taboo. As was sexuality. It was just not done to talk about those things, and longing for that kind of thing was… well, it was"sinful" (here, I'm really talking about my grandmother, who pretty much raised me along my mother). So yeah, as Laura says, what is needed is probably something more.
 
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I watched the Bridgerton Chronicles series on netflix.


It was a different experience. Normally I used my imagination when I read the novels. I got to see the Bridgertons through the creator Chris Van Dusen.

I liked it but I like the novels better in paper. Viewing the Bridgertons was not as difficult as the other novels I have read.

I have started the Wescott series by Mary Balogh. I used Kindle to read these novels. I had to stop for the moment at the 5th novel. The others are not yet available in French.

The Wescott series was more difficult for me. At times, I had to stop reading because it was too intense. I had unpleasant sensations. My brain was boiling at times and I was very hot. I had sensations in my face and these sensations generated pimples.

I don't like to have pimples. Pimples take me back to my teenage years. This period was not a fulfilling one for me. I closed in on myself during this period. I tried to be invisible so that I wouldn't be seen or have attention drawn to me.

Things have changed since then. I often have to make an effort to be more outgoing or to express myself.

Currently, I have started the Bedwyn series. I have finished the second novel.

I have confidence in this work but if at times I doubt, I continue. I like the moment at the end of the novels.

I am 38 years old. I have never been in a relationship, in a couple or married with a woman. There have been opportunities but it hasn't worked out.

Perhaps this work will allow me to move towards a relationship with a true spiritual and loving connection. For now, I am not anticipating anything and I am trusting the Process.

Enjoy your reading.
 

gottathink

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
The Wescott series was more difficult for me. At times, I had to stop reading because it was too intense. I had unpleasant sensations. My brain was boiling at times and I was very hot. I had sensations in my face and these sensations generated pimples.

I don't like to have pimples. Pimples take me back to my teenage years. This period was not a fulfilling one for me. I closed in on myself during this period. I tried to be invisible so that I wouldn't be seen or have attention drawn to me.

Things have changed since then. I often have to make an effort to be more outgoing or to express myself.
That’s interesting and to hear of very direct evidence about the tremendous healing effects from this reading project is encouraging. Yes I agree, trust the process and we keep going.
 

primeaddict

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
I have noted characters displaying a lot more strength and fortitude, love and compassion, than I ever did as a young person. How much better could I have been, how much faster could I have developed, how much more could I have done, had I had good role models and a strong framework of family and friends - even society itself - in which to grow?
Looking back on my formative years I noticed that my failure was not seeking the advice, counsel and help from my parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles or teachers. I had a knowitall-tude, an excessive sense of self importance. As such I plunged recklessly into the future and had to learn by the school of hard knocks. I expected the gods to give me what I needed and others to know what they should do for me then get angry when sh*t would happen and I had to deal with it. I cringe at the stupidity of it all and know that I failed to incorporate the wise counsel of my elders into my life's journey.
1617919829872.png

Because of this project I noticed that my inner dialog has changed and I am now looking inwardly and probing for a better way of connecting with others. Just as gottathink and placematt has posted that inner flaws are triggering the external drama. Life has been so much happier since I have change perspective and I am amazed by how great insights flow through me since this change.

I moved from feeling disbelief if ‘men can’t love’ to realising ‘men can’t love me’ to ‘I have no self respect’ to ‘yes I do have sone self respect and self love but I am flawed in many ways and I want to correct what I can’.

Being a male I do know that between 16-60 we cannot love certain women because we are brain-muddled by testosterone. At my age I have the good grace of being 60+ so I can see and hear women more clearly which makes it easier to relate without the Iwantabedu blinders on.

There has also been a steady attack against true femininity (as well as masculinity) since the 60's so being a real female is getting harder with each generation. My 14 year old grandson says that there are no teenage girls that know how to kind and caring female because they are too programmed to ridicule boys for being sexist. Just being a normal boy is now condemned as being too aggressive.
1617922361792.png
The modern feminist would have a collective fit-of-the-vapors with any of the male characters in these books. The fact that they are rogues that are loved by a women would cause a complete dissociative meltdown.

Greta-Thunberg-how-dare-you.gif

I'm being a bad boy aren't I ???
 
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Yas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
One of the things that has been through my mind has been what some of you are mentioning here regarding the resilience and integrity of the characters we read about in these books.

My thoughts were about how I can become quite upset by some things that are really irrelevant sometimes, for example, and how self-centered those concerns can be, too, and how I can be totally silly when compared to some of the characters in the novels I've read so far.

Of course, I may have seen few of these things about myself before, but I think there is indeed something to reading about it all in stories. Somehow, it becomes more memorable, perhaps, so that every time I see myself falling into a behaviour that I have come to recognize as not so good, I can remember this or that character who did this or that, or went through this or that with dignity, integrity, self-control, compassion, etc... And maybe, that's exactly what is needed to have that space between feeling/thinking and reacting that gives you the chance to choose differently and act differently.

Also, a thought that comes to my mind is about how Laura herself writes in The Wave and how these series can be so life-changing. Laura tells us her story and we learn (hopefully) with her by reading her experience and how she dealt with what came her way. Of course, there's more than that in The Wave, but that in itself is quite priceless. I think that's also what goes on when we network here, because we learn from each other's stories.

Appart from these thoughts, I will just report that I'm reading The Gilded Web now and it's proving to be one of my favorite already. The characters are so very interesting and I can't wait to see how they become closer as friends and lovers. I'm sure there will be lots to learn for both them in the process, especially for Alexandra, I guess. And I can already relate to some of her reactions and traits, so I guess there will be a lot to learn for me too.

I also read Heartless and Silent Melody and they were excellent and I still reflect on those stories in retrospect. In those books you can clearly see the resilience of characters who have been through tragedy and yet retain their integrity, dignity and compassion. They have lots of things to work on in order to connect with their families and loved ones, and they learn how to actually love in the process, but they are, at all times, struggling to do what's right while keeping true to themselves. Very inspiring stories!
 

PERLOU

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Je viens de recevoir "La folie de Lord Mackenzie" de Jennifer Ashley Tome 1
Je continue "Daniel Mackenzie, un sacré coquin" du même auteur Tome 6 malgré le peu d'intérêt qu'il m'inspire, j'en suis à la page 120...

I have just received "The Madness of Lord Mackenzie" by Jennifer Ashley Volume 1
I am continuing "Daniel Mackenzie, un sacré coquin" by the same author Volume 6 despite the little interest it inspires in me, I am at page 120...
 

luc

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I got to say that reading these novels gets more profound the more I read. "Survivor's Club" and "Gilded Web" had the most effect on me so far. I could identify quite a bit with some of the male characters, and it was such a relief "resolving" their issues with them, so to speak. Often, all it takes now is to think about the novels to feel the sunshine burst away some of my depressive moods, tangled thoughts or detrimental "standard responses". But there were also moments while reading that were very hard because they forced me to re-feel and re-evaluate painful situations, and lots of guilt/shame surfacing.

At first, I mostly got the most out of the books where I could more or less identify with a character's story, but lately I came to realize that to get the full experience, I need and I can identify with those characters that on the surface have had a very different story than I! When you really get into them, it's possible to "share their journey" and feel their feelings. It's funny that I guess some of my own issues got in the way of identifying fully with those characters before. Maybe that's part of the reason why reading lots and lots of these books is so important.

I think that at the end of the day, the differences between our own backgrounds and those of some of the characters is less important to get something out of the books than it might at first appear. For example, having an oppressive tyrant as a father vs. having an absent and/or "make nice" father might look like complete opposites, but is it really? Isn't it two sides of the same coin? In both cases, you are oppressed and deprived of something important - in both cases your dad's programs ran the show instead of true love. So the result is similar - you get estranged from the True and the Good and the Beautiful. This is just one example. But seeing it that way has helped me to identify with many more characters, including the female ones, and take the painful and relieving journey with them. It is all part of the same endeavor, the same goal of moving towards the light so to speak, of overcoming a whole variety of different patterns, a process that seems to be building overtime while reading these novels.
 

placematt

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
At first, I mostly got the most out of the books where I could more or less identify with a character's story, but lately I came to realize that to get the full experience, I need and I can identify with those characters that on the surface have had a very different story than I! When you really get into them, it's possible to "share their journey" and feel their feelings. It's funny that I guess some of my own issues got in the way of identifying fully with those characters before. Maybe that's part of the reason why reading lots and lots of these books is so important.
Hey Luc,
I think this is quite interesting. Im currently in the middle of the survivor club series and i think it's very compelling the idea of moving into the characters and identifying with them. I'm finding I haven't connected as much to the characters in some these books however oddly enough, there are some passages that have affected me. how do i put it. Like it's something I have shut off from myself or an experience that i'm living in these books that I have always wanted to experience.

I think it was in The Arrangment. The main characters Vincent and Sophia were having a fairly dramatic conversation. It revolved around the idea of Vincent thinking he was ugly (could be the other way around it was a few books ago now). Anyhow, i re-read the passage three times because for some reason, it was a conversation I have always wanted to have with the opposite sex. Having always felt as not a particularly attractive guy, it was quite profound to have this maybe half a page worth of story/ conversation that mimicked some kinda weird longing in myself. And it was quite sad and impactful and a few tears came to the surface and i really did think about this whole concept of beauty.

And perhaps I have also been too hard on people in general. And i know the corona madness has potentially added to that. But these books are certainly effective in giving me hope. Whether its for a relationship or just experiencing some sort of element i feel would have been healthy to my development which is very much in tune with what Laura spoke of a few posts back. Im really noticing my perspective is changing.

And back when this thread first began, i had a bit of a crack at the men in all these stories having wealth. And I was pissed off. And the more i read, the more i think about these characters, regardless of wealth or position or status. Acting with integrity, honor, compassion, grace, kindness. These values are true richness that wealth can never touch. Perhaps only amplify. So its been interesting to turn this idea of beauty and wealth into something that has more meaning, particularly as i know even as a 30 year old i can still be somewhat impressionable from the greater culture. Being blasted by it everyday. But i see a richness of life in these books. Perhaps i could even say a longing for the richness these characters share with one another. And as the prayer in the crystal book says, more to be desired are they can gold. And i think now more than ever, it is so true.
 

Yas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I think that at the end of the day, the differences between our own backgrounds and those of some of the characters is less important to get something out of the books than it might at first appear. For example, having an oppressive tyrant as a father vs. having an absent and/or "make nice" father might look like complete opposites, but is it really? Isn't it two sides of the same coin?

I also think that's the case. It's true that it's probably harder to "connect" with the characters when they are very different from you, but those characters also give you an opportunity to understand and relate to different people. We may judge people who are a different in a certain way and with these books, we realize that they have their own struggles too, and we can put on their shoes for a while to learn from what they're experiencing, IMO.

Regarding your thoughts about having an oppressive tyrant father vs. having an absent and/or "make nice" father, it's quite interesting that they might be indeed parts of the same coin. I've been reflecting about it because, for example, a person with the "make nice" and lenient family background, may develop the same kind of strict self-discipline and inflexibility as a way to try control an environment that she or he perceived as out control when growing up, as well as some resentment toward the absence of true caring from his or her parents, perhaps. So this person could develop some of the traits you see in Alexandra and James Purnell, for example, even though the background is completely different.

So that's another way in which we can relate to characters that have gone through different experiences, yet, show us that we're all struggling with similar issues, and we can learn from each one those experiences.
 
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