I’m almost finished with Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials. Really enjoying it. But am sensing more separation between these stories and books written for adults. Moreso than with the first novel in the series, The Golden Compass. As I’ve moved on, that separation grows.
Can’t quite pinpoint it yet. But I think it mostly has to do with sex. There is a slight undercurrent throughout the trilogy, but it’s vague and subtle and mostly hidden. Hints occasionally seep up through the surface of the sentences. But there’s not much there there. A book for adults would obviously handle the subject in a different manner.
As I read the final novel, The Amber Spyglass, I can’t help but wonder if this trilogy wouldn’t have been better as an “adult” series. Of course, when I say that, I’m talking about “better for adults.” The ideas involved, the poeticizing of alternate worlds and connections and commonalities, the Dust and the Dark Matter all coming together — the quasi-Zenish implications — might provide a truly spectacular piece of fiction for “mature audiences.”
Does writing for kids and young adults hamper the writer? Does the audience prevent explorations into certain themes and scenarios? Or does it free an author from other constraints? Chances are, you get a bit of both.
Will talk more about the books when I finish the series. But, in the meantime, will switch gears here and post another one of my poems. Written when I lived in Boone. Written while in the midst of studying various Christian mystics, including Meister Eckhart. And, written after a particularly strange and baffling encounter. A mystery of sorts. A woman there had developed an obsession with me. She knew who I was by sight, but I didn’t know who she was. Only that she was a friend of a friend. We only spoke by phone, and those phone calls became increasingly more bizarre. It was something out of Poe, updated to the late 20th century . . . .
Echoes of Eckhart Fade
Pine trees in the window squares
Dreams of climbing the trunk
The branches into cold mountain skies
Crosses the moon in window squares
As I feel the mist drape the town
Unlike the work involved in mere pollution
I am potentially holy Other
Needing the mist to join earth and sky
I am a frame that eternalizes
Eats and touches and drinks it all in
Only to throw it back to the god beyond
Our impoverished limited view of Him
Publishes my passion
No seizures send me up the pine trees
In search of some
Universe on the head of green needles
Will you take me into unity
Beyond different Things colors smells and pain?
Can you make the brown rivers and cold mountains
With loud parades and unsteady mobile homes?
Over all the five senses without the sixth
Competing for victory and divergence
It scatters and the mist ends in white rags
It scatters and the trees walk away from me
It scatters and mountains here in Carolina
Are too different from the Rockies and Andes
Or goddess-topped Himalayan peaks
The voice on the phone split
Into laughter and anger
Love and condemnation
— by Douglas Pinson