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Peter Krausche

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The Traveler Series

Intentions

I wrote the Traveler series as an attempt at the next Great American Novel, and to impart a profound spritual message to my readers. It is my deepest desire to help change the structure of our society so we can--

Yeah, right. Come on, who's gonna believe that, anyway? I love a good story as much as the next guy. And that's primarily my agenda, to write a suspenseful tale with interesting, three-dimensional characters that will keep the readers turning the pages. If I fail in that, I'll give up. Promise!

Nah! You're not getting rid of me that fast. I have a few more things to say.

The thing is, we're all products of the society we grew up in, partly by choice, partly just by living. My background is mainly Christian, so it would be profoundly foolish if I tried to convey anything but the values I've come to believe in and the things I've personally experienced. No matter what I do and how much I try, these things will always flow into my writing in some form or the other. So why try to hide it?

No, I'll never write a GAN, or any Great Novel, for that matter. Although I've had a good education, I'm no scholar, so I don't write literature. But I have done a lot of reading, I love interesting ideas, and I'm always looking for ways to integrate such things into my stories. Please forgive my misplaced enthusiasm if it comes across as an unwarranted attempt at intellectuality.

But -- and this one's a biggy -- I've always been fascinated by the idea of using utopian literature as a means to impart spiritual concepts. On the one hand, I think this type of narration is great for telling about (more or less) normal people in unusual circumstances. On the other hand, the genre facilitates the use of symbolic elements to express basic truths. C.S. Lewis did this in his fictional work, such as the Narnia Chronicles, and since I'm a big fan, you'll have to forgive me for trying to emulate his methods, however unsuccessful the result.

Another great example is the German author Karl May. I found this little parable in his autobiography, and I thought you might enjoy it, since it expresses exactly what I'm trying to say.

There are mundane truths, and there are celestial truths. Mundane truths are established by science, celestial truths are endowed by revelation. Science tends to prove its truths; the claims of revelation are regarded by scholars as being plausible at the most, but not proven.
Such a celestial truth descends to earth on the rays of stars and goes from door to door, knocking to be admitted. She is rejected everywhere, for she requires faith, but no one will believe her since she can provide no scholarly legitimation. Thus she wanders from town to town, from city to city, from country to country, without being heard or received.
Then she soars to the heavens on beams of starlight and returns to the one from whom she came. In tears, she bewails her plight. But he smiles benignly and says, "Don't weep! Return to the earth and knock at the door of the only person whose house you have not yet found, the writer's. Ask him to adorn you in the guise of a story, and then try your luck again!"
She complies. The writer receives her lovingly and clothes her. She resumes her task anew as a story, and wherever she calls she is now welcome, finding her way into hearts and homes. Her words are heeded with devotion; people believe in her. She is asked to stay, for everyone has grown fond of her. But she must move on, always on, to fulfil the task with which she has been entrusted. Yet she departs as a story only; as truth she remains. And even if she cannot be seen, she is still there and prevails forevermore.
-- Karl May, My Life and Aspiration

Since fundamental Christian values such as love, hope, and faith are very important to me, these values also flow into my writing. I personally don't like depressing, nihilistic stories, and I try to avoid films and novels with such a message. That doesn't mean a film or book can't express pain or suffering, but I like stories with a predominantly positive message. I hope all these things can be found in my writing, and as Karl May's parable says, I hope a bit of it will stay with the reader.

 

Acknowledgments

The parable above was taken from the 1910 edition of Karl May's Mein Leben und Streben (My Life and Aspiration), p. 140-141. The English translation is by me, Peter Krausche. The excerpt is being used by explicit permission from the Karl May Society.

I gratefully acknowledge the Karl May Society, which is registered in Hamburg and has its offices in Radebeul, Germany. Please click on the link below to go to their English hompage:

Karl May Society - English Home Page

 

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