I am forming a picture in my mind of a Prologue for PASSAGES. It is a scene of a ritual regularly performed by the King of the Gods and witnessed by his sisters. During the ritual, the King reenacts Creation as an homage to The One, the ancestor who was the first God and created the world.
I was 16 the first time I read the Divine Comedy. I found Paradise a boring disappointment. And I probably just couldn’t understand how an adventurer like Dante who did cool stuff with a cool guy like Virgil could sustain a crush on a chick who spends her afterlife staring at God all day.
I tried to read Paradise about 10 years later and still found it unsatisfying after the fire, brimstone and politics of Hell and the unfairness of Purgatory. As an older adult, every 10 years or so, I read Hell without even going on to the next two books. You can do that as a grownup without feeling like it’s cheating your education.
It has dawned on me that in a world that The One created where evolution happens, the God who was in charge of nature – a God who starts her day by witnessing her brother ritualistically re-create the world while her sister plays the same beats the same way every time in a gong – that divine overseer would notice a change in the pattern of nature as humans got smarter and invented leisure.
Eventually, the God of nature that leisure is not the same kind of thing as the reverence and stillness of witnessing the ritual of the re-creation of the world every morning. Leisure is not their eyes are watching God, like Beatrice in paradise.