Ideas are fickle creatures, are they not? They flit in and out of your consciousness randomly, with no real reason, and it can drive a man to distraction. Earlier today, while taking a load of cardboard back to receiving to load into the baler, I was struck – and not for the first time – how inconsequential my job was. Regardless of what I have accomplished academically or in my career, I’m currently stuck in a menial job, trapped by circumstance and my inability to find something that interests me.
I’ve noticed how carelessly we, the workers, are treated, not just by rude customers, but also by a management team that cares more about their own pocketbooks than the lives of the workers they espouse to lead. And that’s not unique to where I work. It’s a universal theme, the lowly being taken advantage of by “The Man”.
That’s the story I want to tell, the story of my life. Well, actually the story of a middle-aged man facing a crisis of identity, revolving around his job, but also how that job affects his self-worth and trickles down to his relationships with family and friends. It’s highly personal, and it’s a story that I attempted to tell once, before I picked up writing seriously.
It’s also a story, therefore, that scares me. How can I make my experiences compelling? I guess I can make a zombie jump out of a desk, or maybe have a customer hold up the place, or maybe have the business blow up, but that’s not really what I’m going for. I’m striving for raw and emotional, personal in a way that I want people to relate to it as if they themselves are in the narrative. I want the character to become an avatar for the reader. I hope for the reader to experience the protagonist’s journey because they have been on that same journey before.
I believe we all want meaning in our lives, and I find that my work has no meaning. It’s a dull, repetitive task that drains me of time, energy, and sometimes the will to live. I know it’s not a sexy story, or even original, but it’s something I know, this life I have lived.
What do I know about knights and dragons? How can I write of teenage girls and of their trials in growing up? I know almost nothing about politics and religion. I know this life I’ve lived. That’s why so many of my characters have been cheated on and have had their hearts ripped out. That’s why so many of my characters are introspective and quiet,. That’s also why I give them voice, to say what I need to say, to validate my ideas, both brilliant and utterly stupid.
I want to tell the story of real life, my life, but with a few slight changes for dramatic effect. But then again, maybe I could try my hand at another teen-vampire-romance series. I hear they are all the rage. In mine, the vampires are the heroes while humans have shunned the light. Oh, and don’t forget the forbidden love between the human man and the female vampire. And maybe a big musical number, just for the hell of it, but definitely no bunnies. I have to draw the line somewhere.
And now the idea is gone. Crap….