Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Most of the stories you read--and write, for that matter--deal either with the need incumbent on one or more characters to arrive at a decision or the consequences visited upon those characters for decisions they have already made and acted upon.  Decision is a major, often unnoticed player in a drama, just as the act of decisions that are currently in abeyance but necessary are major players in what we like to think of as Reality or real life.  Sometimes the decisions are minor:  What shall I wear?  Do I really want oatmeal for breakfast today.  Sometimes they arrive in these difficult-to-open packages, making for a potential to dither.  Yet other times, the big ones sneak in between the striped shirt or checked shirt or oatmeal or omelet decisions so that, having opted for the striped shirt and oatmeal, you've sneaked in a larger decision such as the one you arrived at this morning, where you suddenly knew you were going to tell someone the equivalent of get stuffed and stay out of my life.  Even now, thinking about it, it doesn't seem any more important than what you ordered for breakfast (blueberry pancakes) or which shirt you chose (solid color).

This is somewhat disturbing because you more or less reserve telling individuals to get stuffed for a level of behavior rooted in that borderline area between fantasy and wish fulfillment.  In many ways it is good to have this alternate universe, this fantasy life in which you can do such things without having to deal with the consequences in Real Time.  But such is the nature of life and of your approach to it that even this kind of fantasy life has consequences.  These consequences have nothing to do with not being able to distinguish between fantasy and reality, rather they come to haunt you in reality because of your generosity in your fantasy life with telling individuals of your acquaintance to get stuffed.  There is a kind of residual holdover in which you find it easy to think of yourself as a grouch.

There is something unnerving about going through the warp and woof of your daily life, generally smiling or regarding things with admiration while arguing away the notion that you are behaving as a curmudgeon.  This does remind you that no character in a story you write or a story you read and admire should be without some kind of, shall we call it, inner dialogue.

You will find a more diplomatic way of telling this individual to get stuffed, making sure she is aware of the intent but also making sure you have not left yourself with any lingering doubts about your curmudgeonly state.

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