So folks I’m back on board after a crazy couple of weeks, hope you didn’t miss me too much 😉
After some recent events and also inspired by Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild that I am halfway through, I got to thinking about how a dramatic event in your life can derail you so completely that your life is suddenly and irreversibly chaged forever. Not just the changes one expects to come along, getting a new job, moving towns etc. but something that, to you, is earth shatteringly changing, enough to change your thought patterns, your natural way of interacting with your world, your very behaviour, even your own perception of yourself.
For many of us we ride this life rollercoaster, even with all its dizzying highs and plunging lows, on a fairly even keel, we absorb the impact and continue on changed, but recognisable. For others the results are far more dramatic. These are the people that we read and write about. Funny thing is, in fiction, these dramatic shifts in personality and behaviour can often ring untrue.
Cheryl Strayed was rocked to the core when her mother died, her behaviour over the next five or so years was dramatically different to life while her mother still lived. If her memoir was written as fiction you would put it down in disgust, why would this loving wife do such seemingly despicable things? So out of character? What was the author thinking, did they really think we’d buy this? please! But she did, really. And then she wrote about it, raw and honest.
The truth is truly stranger than fiction.
What about those perfect storms of coinicidental events that culminate in drama. They all happen in our lives, we know that, but when we read a book or see a movie where a seemingly ridiculous sequence of good or bad luck occurs to one person, it doesn’t ring true. But in life we know it happens.
It’s funny that we need to temper our fiction to make it believable.
When we returned from holiday last night we first pulled into our local shopping centre to restock the pantry. I rushed from the car, leaving Little Man sleeping and Bman phoning friends. As I hurried past the corner coffee shop I noted a bit of a crowd was clustered, When I drew closer I saw one of the outdoor tables was covered with a blanket and there were two people holding brightly coloured giant parakeets, just stroking their heads gently and silently. There was also a man holding a piglet wrapped in a blanket, but no one was looking at him. Bizarre! I felt like I was in a parallel universe. I’d only been gone 2 weeks, what on earth had changed in my short absence? If I wrote this scene up, which I’m tempted to do, would it ring true? There was no obvious explanation why the wildlife was there, nothing happened, I didn’t pat the bird or the piglet, but the sense of scene was so odd.
On a completely different note my just turned four year old Little Man is showing signs of being a story teller. During a particularly gruelling ferry crossing, where I did not manage to maintain my dignity, my Little Man made up adventures to make me feel better (while the ever supportive Bman slept!). They were serious boy’s own adventure stuff, lava surfing, rocket boosters and speed, elaborate in their action, seriously light on plot and character development. I loved every minute of it!
We bought a litte exercise book and he dictated three stories to me. They were less dramatic than his earlier offerings as I wrote too slow for him!
One proud writing mama will treasure this holiday souvenir for a long long time!