I was going to participate in ControverSunday this week but I thought about the topic – To Protect or Not to Protect – (children, not car insurance or condoms) and realized that I don’t have any strong opinions. (you can read a post someone else wrote, though right here and if you have a strong opinion, you can participate. Anyone can! How splendid!)
Every child is different. Every parent is more or less protective based on personal experience. I couldn’t say “you should…” because I don’t know you. Or your kid. Or your “issues” if you want to be all 1998 about it.
Here is my motto, which borrows a little from Scouting and a little from Douglas Adams:
Anything can happen at any time, and it probably won’t. Unless it does. Be prepared.
At the barber shop 2 weeks ago I read a magazine from 1989 that said The Big Earthquake Was Coming Any Day. 21 years ago. You would think I’d be scared but I’m not. I’ve never experienced an earthquake. I have no reason to fear one. What have I experienced that gives me fear?
– a sinus headache so bad I thought it was a stroke
– hearing sirens minutes after my kids go out with someone else
– driving so close to the edge of a cliff I could hear our wheels scraping at loose rocks
– hearing Fresco’s chest rattle like a maraca and taking him to Emergency
What have I not experienced that gives me fear?
– cancer, firsthand
– serious illness in my kids
– serious illness in my partner
– serious illness in my parents
The common thread there is death. In case you couldn’t tell. What might kill me or those people I care about, that’s what scares me, whether I’ve experienced it or not. For some reason, earthquakes don’t count, even though The Big One will likely kill us all and then won’t the banks be laughing.
Not that I’m preoccupied (reallyI’mnot) but all roads lead to death. I know this because every time I write a short story, it ends up circling around death like vultures over – dammit!
I start funny. I look for plot. I end in death.
Observe this blog post. It is now about death.
I would like to get away from it. For one thing, it is kind of boring and it has been done. Death is everywhere in literature. I just read the most amazing death scene. It was in a book by Colum McCann that I picked up at the library the other day.
(I chose it based entirely on its cover! Apparently you can do that, after all. They say you shouldn’t. At first I thought it was too precious a book for me but now I am sucked in.)
Anyway, now that I’ve read that amazing death scene I have no reason to try to write about death. I feel there is no reason. And yet. I guess I actually *think* there is no reason because if I *felt* there was no reason then my *feelings* would let me write about something else. Except I wrote the one story about death and I thought: OK! That’s it! I got it out of my system! Wrongo.
The problem with the character driven story is that the characters inevitably drive you where they want to go. Which, because they are in my head, means to the morgue. So much drama. Can’t we go to the beach and not drown there? Can’t we go to the park and not find a dead body in the bushes? Can’t we be lighthearted? Self?
There are other interesting things that happen to people besides death, right?
Like, winning lotteries? And loving their pets? And. Then the pets die. Of course.
I saw the word “bromance” today. Maybe I will write a series of humourous bromances. But the dudebros can’t drive. I am commencing a phase I call writer-driven stories.