Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Unlikely Inspiration Behind Lucky

The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him.

--Judges 16:5

I’ll be the first to admit that I get inspiration from some very odd places.  Getting inspiration from the Old Testament isn’t odd or unusual in itself, but I think it’s a little more unusual for it to serve as inspiration for a sweet, feel-good gay Christmas romance.

I hadn’t intended on writing anything for Dreamspinner Press’s Evergreen anthology, but inspiration happened to strike.  While I was trying to brainstorm some extras to offer the readers of my webcomic, one reader suggested doing a spoof of Samson and Delilah.  I decided that it would be a good time to brush up on the actual story of Samson, so I read the bible verses and checked out Wikipedia and a few other sites as well.  Rereading the story reminded me of how I always used to feel about Samson.

Samson has to be either the stupidest or the most ungrateful man in the bible.

God gives Samson this amazing gift of strength.  Then he meets Delilah, and Delilah says to him, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”  Samson says that if she ties him with seven bowstrings, he’ll lose his strength.  And Delilah tries it.  It fails, so she asks him again, and he lies again.  And again, she tries it.  And then—because he’s “sick of her nagging”—Samson tells her the truth: if she cuts the seven braids of his hair, he’ll lose his strength.

Keep in mind, every time Samson told this lady how to get rid of his strength, she tried it—and he knew that she tried it.  So why would he ever tell her the truth?  This is why I think he has to be either incredibly stupid or incredibly ungrateful.

All throughout the story, you can see that Samson is kind of an entitled jerk, although I’m sure that wasn’t anything unusual at the time.  Heck, it’s still nothing unusual.  But when I read the story, I really felt that Samson was so spoiled by his gift from God that he took it for granted.  After his strength was depleted, the Philistines blinded Samson and put him to work, but I believe he’d been metaphorically blind his entire life.

This was the unlikely inspiration behind Lucky, my Christmas novella, and if you look closely, you’ll notice a hell of a lot of references to Samson’s story while you read.  At the time I wrote the story, I’d also been reading a lot about racism and classism and privilege, and it made me realize just how blind we often are to the gifts and blessings that we’ve had all our lives but didn’t necessarily have to earn.

And that’s where Martel Heller comes in.  Martel is the main character in Lucky, and for seven years, he’s had the privilege of being able to pick and choose the hottest dates because he happens to have these dreadlocks that make him really attractive.  As a result, he’s pretty shallow, and he’s used to getting exactly the type of guy he wants.  But when he has to cut his dreads, his luck seems to magically disappear.  Like Samson, he feels disabled by the loss.  But this loss might be just what he needs in order to open his eyes and see clearly for the first time.

No comments:

Post a Comment