In the Oxford English Dictionary, the first four of the eleven meanings for “passion” (n.) derive from the root words meaning pain, or suffering. Definition number five is: “the fact or condition of being acted upon or affected by external agency.” The sixth meaning is the one used most commonly today: “any kind of feeling by which the mind is powerfully affected or moved; a vehement, commanding, or overpowering emotion; in psychology and art, any mode in which the mind is affected or acted upon…” Using any of these definitions, it is reasonable to conclude that Miguel Santana’s writing is suffused with passion.
The Marien Revelation opens with the first definition of passion. A somewhat ambiguous prologue evokes the Passion of Christ. Yet, if one is fortunate enough, as I was, to speak with Miguel, his passion for his writing and subject matter manifests itself immediately. In this passion, all definitions are apparent – most overtly, it is obvious that his art commands vehement emotion, yet one begins to sense that his writing is acted upon or affected by external agencies, and yes, I suspect that there may be some pain, as well.
Miguel was generous enough to share with me his thoughts on the process of writing his second novel, The Marien Revelation, his literary background and influences, and his beliefs on religion and humanity. Despite what many will see as the controversial nature of The Marien Revelation, Miguel Santana’s passion clearly lies in stimulating conversation and questions rather than conflict.
Note: This interview with Miguel Santana was conducted by both e-mail and telephone. I have included Miguel’s e-mail responses below each question (questions are in bold type). The italicized passages that follow Miguel’s written quotes derive from my notes of our conversation.
The Marien Revelation has a dreamlike, almost visionary quality to it. Can you give us some background on your inspiration for this story?
The inspiration comes from my reading of The Man Jesus Loved by Theodore W. Jennings. I was preparing for my doctoral exams and in my reading list there was a book by Miguel de Unamuno. His novel is about a priest, San Manuel Bueno Martir, his work as a man of God and his own doubts regarding faith. I identified with the novel and it sparked a parallel search while I was completing the required readings for my Ph.D. This search explored the foundations of Christianity. That was the inspiration. The actual creative process may have also influenced this “dreamlike” description of the novel.