Saturday, February 22, 2014

Inspired by art, here's the question: Is David a killer or a poet?

In my novel, Rise to Power, the first time David senses a conflict in his soul is in his youth, at the seminal moment when he is about to say farewell to Saul, and go face Goliath in battle:

“I lay the armor down at the king’s feet. It is leaning down there against my broken lyre. And a thought crosses my mind: here are the relics I am about to leave behind. Combat gear on one side—my string instrument on the other. Which way will I be remembered? Am I a fighter—or a poet?”

But while he sees himself standing at a crossroad, still with the possibility of holding on to his identity as a poet, others--such as king Saul--see him in an entirely different way:

“I catch sight of the reflection, my reflection in his eyes. In a flash I know Saul sees me as a danger to him. He fears me, he prays for my demise, and at the same time he adores me, too. In me he hopes to capture the fading image of that which is lost to him. His youth. 
I ask myself, what makes him so jealous of me? What is he thinking? 
Perhaps this: there is David, a young boy with a glint in his eyes. Morning breeze plays with his curls. It breathes words of hope and promise in his ear. 
Yet unscarred by battle, his skin is smooth. His muscles are flexible, his hands strong. They are large, larger than you would expect for such a slender body. They are the hands of a killer.
There is David. Narrowing his eyes to focus them at the enemy, the boy is searching for a way to change, to become that which is not: larger than life. There he stands, ready for the kill. 
I smile at Saul. He is slow to smile back.”

Needless to say, this detailed description is inspired by Michelangelo's David. The book in inspired, in many of its scenes, by the way artists--throughout the history of art--depicted the story of David at all its amazing twists and turns.

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