G. K. Chesterton (he’s just about the most quotable guy ever) says in Orthodoxy that:
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.”
For YEARS now, I cannot think think of this quote without thinking that it would be a perfect tagline for The Crimson League: The Fight for Hope. In some ways, the entire structure and perhaps my unconscious purpose in writing the novel was to illustrate that this is what courage is.
Courage is the craziest thing. It seems even crazier when you think that, per Thomas Aquinas, all virtues are “habits” of the soul that we develop through repeated choice and action. It seems difficult to think we can practice “a readiness to die.”
But we can, every day. In the little things.
We can die to ourselves by swallowing that gripe or that uncharitable comment, by pushing on in that last hour on the clock when we don’t feel like working anymore despite having a duty to do so, by facing smaller fears to make sure we are prepared, when need be, to face bigger ones.
Good philosophers (probably Aquinas, again, and likely Aristotle as well) have defined courage as “the form of every virtue at the testing point.”
We can’t have any other virtue without also possessing the courage to practice them.
Kora and her fear of heights
I am only realizing now (because I draft without outlines) that my protagonist Kora has to face her fear of heights (among other fears) before facing her greatest fears of all. That’s appropriate, I think.
She learns to die to herself to a real degree in facing that fear of heights. It prepares her to face more dire threats later on, emotionally, spiritually.
Facing that fear of heights makes her not only a better soldier of sorts in the resistance movement against sorcerer-dictator Zalski Forzythe. It makes her a better human.
What fears have YOU faced? How can you die to yourself a little today?
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The Crimson League: The Fight for Hope release June 15!
Read an excerpt or a character spotlight of Lanokas here.
- Doing the grunt work feels thankless . . . but it’s actually magical
- What the pícaro?
- A look into an author’s mind a week before launch day
- What the graveyard scene in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” taught me about high stakes action scenes
- Character Spotlight: Zalski Forzythe, because everyone loves a good villain
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