The traditional hero, then, becomes someone who changes to conform to the demands of the world. What’s interesting about that idea of “heroic” is that it is oftentimes an unyielding refusal to see and conform to reality often defines the heroes of myths and legends. They never bend, even if such a stance dooms them. They remain fixed, constant—all the way down the line. That sense of impending doom, of being trapped in a Fate from which one cannot escape, does indeed seem missing from modern storytelling. It, as Baxter points out, runs counter to a culture that demands a sense that people can change at any moment—with the very next purchase, the next flick of the channel, the next Oprah or Dr. Phil program. I wonder how flash might remind us of the myth of such life-transforming epiphanies. If an epiphany does come at all, can it also create a pervasive, lasting sense of doom rather than the sudden life-affirming enlightenment? In other words, can the light sometimes goes off, rather than on?<
My story in Storyglossia “For This Moment To Arrive” (now that I look back upon it) was my attempt to address the nature of epiphanies in stories and reconcile them with their nature in “real life.”
Resisting the epiphany feels like resisting “meaning” in writing a story, since the so much of a story’s meaning focuses upon that final revelation and transformation. How else might a flash piece mean something to readers?Jonathan, all his life, has resisted epiphanies. So what else is there but to put him in a story, the place of irresistible change. No one likes that stubborn refusal to yield to circumstances. It’s inhuman. And a million other god-awful things. Read the rest here.