Notes to Stregoni Benefici, Ch. 21

September 20th, 2012 § 0 comments

A bit of a personal story interlude:

When my father turned 40 (I was 2, he’s now 68), his sister bought him a copy of the Tao Te Ching, He read it every morning for 20 years, so basically the entire time I was growing up. So it was always something I knew of, and something he quoted frequently, both in public and in private.

Not too long ago, I was complaining about something, and he told me that according to the Tao, I was a perfect daughter. I stammered a bit, and then he said, “In the Tao, to be is to be perfect. You are perfect because you are.”

One of the things that fascinates me about Carlisle, and one thing that continues to draw me to him (and where I felt SM gave him particularly short shrift), is this idea of his feeling of utter inadequacy as a result of his Puritan theological upbringing. Puritanism is a belief system of constantly falling short, of being born into a nearly irreparable state of original sin, of constantly needing to work to better oneself and to prove that one is worthy of God. I see this in Carlisle’s profession and his attitude toward it: in a way, vampirism becomes a new kind of original sin for him, a state of disgrace which he finds himself constantly working to be better than.

So as I thought about how Carlisle would react to a piece of philosophy/theology (I’m never quite sure where to put the TTC on that continuum, if indeed there even is one) like the Tao, I realized that it must shake him to the core—and for that reason, speak to him rather sharply. It’s a different forgiveness than the forgiveness he was taught. A forgiveness that rather than “Work hard, pray hard, and hope it’s good enough,” says instead, “Allow yourself to be. Be in harmony. And this is perfection.”

One of the beauties of Volterra is that it is this place where Carlisle does a ton of growing and learning and changing. For this reason, it is a place with which he is reluctant to sever ties. He associates it with a bit of his own personal renaissance as a vampire. Yet the very nature of such growth is that it tends to take you away from the place where you experienced it, as you desire to stretch yourself beyond the boundaries you now know are able to be broken through.

Growing pains, I suppose you could call them, though I’m sure Aro would have a more insidious interpretation….

As always, I owe great thanks to my beta, Openhome, who always helps guide these chapters until they are pinpoint precise on what I wanted them to be.


Happy Reading.



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