The Vigilant Principle is a book about the grey area of personal justice – a vaguely broken moral compass which points in the right direction (by sheer luck) once in a while but strays off in to dark corners the rest of the time. It’s a story of someone getting lost in what they think is right only to find them self in the wrong. Searching for the line between black and white often ends with wading through the ocean of grey which that line really is.
The story in the book isn’t my own views or opinions on the matter. Those are just characters living their own lives and making their own decisions. To be honest, it’s a subject on which I have a lot of trouble taking a stance. The easy answer is the archaic one; ‘an eye for an eye’, ‘if you’ve hurt someone I love, I’ll hurt you back twice over’. But I don’t think that’s always, or even often, the correct one. Our justice system is obviously flawed, there’s basically no questioning that at this point, but is there not also a flaw in becoming some sort of Judge/Jury/Executioner cliché.
One of the first things writers on the internet will tell you is that you should try to avoid clichés. So, it seems logical to avoid being one. Cliché. Cliché. If I say that one more time it’s not going to look like a real word any more. It’s making me think quiche. Words are weird.
We all love a vigilante. They’re the type of character that most people can relate to or even admire. They act in a way most of us have wished we could act. I think there’s real moral consequence and struggle to those characters, though, that aren’t often addressed in a realistic way in fiction. That’s what I wanted to do with The Vigilant Principle. Not to point anyone in any specific direction, just to raise questions and promote thought about what our idea of justice really is. As with most things, I think the answer lives in the grey area. There is no universal right or wrong for every predicament. Everything is situational.
This is absolutely shameless self-promotion, by the way. If you haven’t picked up The Vigilant Principle yet, and anything I said above strikes your interest, then you should. If you do, I hope you enjoy it. If you don’t, I still like you.
Where do you draw the line between keeping up with the most modern quirks of the English language and refusing to contribute to the destruction of the words that you love?
We all use and abuse it every single day. We’re cool and hip and we’re having fun, OK Dad?! But, there’s got be a line, right? Right!? A handful of very successful writing careers have been built upon completely made up words, and I’m certain I don’t need to tell you who I’m talking about (Dr. Seuss. It’s Dr. Seuss. But there’s others, of course, like that one old guy they call Shookspork or… or Shakeweight, or something like that). Quite frankly, if you’re writing Science Fiction, it’s almost impossible to get by without making up a word or two. So why, do you ask, am I so crotchety about modern slang terminology?
Because I’m a grouchy ninety-five-year-old trapped in an only slightly less grouchy twenty-four-year-old body, I suppose. Get off my damn lawn with your “yeet”s and your “turnt”s and your “fire”s.
It’s total hypocrisy, of course. Ten minutes ago, I told my girlfriend how dope I think bagels are. Dope. If that doesn’t date my level of coolness, probably nothing will. Because it can’t be dated. Because I will never stop being cool.
Slang is almost certainly one on a long list of things that every generation, every subculture, every person thinks 'we did it right and you’re doing it wrong'.
Speak however you like. Say whatever new neato phrases your favorite hip hop rappers are using. Not everyone is going to like it, but if it’s the person you want to be, then be it. But stay off my damn lawn if you’re gonna be yeet-ing and doing lits.
Just kidding. Be your terrific self. Don’t let my whining affect your decisions.
Who am I?
I'm Mark Karsten. I'm from a city called Lethbridge in Southern Alberta, Canada. I read, I write, and I snuggle puppies at every given opportunity. It's lovely to meet you.