Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nerd or geek?

One of my students recently told me that a nerd is someone who knows a lot about useless things while a geek knows a lot about something useful. If that's the case, what am I? I'm a nerd about Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek and LOST: knowing anything about any of those topics is completely useless to anyone and certainly the culture at large. On the other hand, I'm a geek about ballet, knitting, and writing.

Yet somehow I still feel like those things are useless to the rest of the world. Hmmm...

Anyway, I mention this distinction because HH and I recently finished watching the series finale of BSG and found it, for the most part, wholly unsatisfying. We didn't think some of the world's rules necessarily were followed and the disappearance of some characters was frustrating, especially after the long adventure they had had together and we had shared with them. This got me thinking about writing and how much we invest in characters as readers and writers. As a writer, I am supposed to fall in love with my characters yet in doing so, sometimes that prevents me from allowing them to live the lives they should lead. But the story does have to end somewhere and often, I think, when writers can't come to satisfying conclusions, they simply kill some of their cherished characters.

Bu then I thought...maybe they don't want the character to go on living without them.

It's hard to end a book (or series or television show or movie). When you've spent hours and hours writing for these characters, letting them tell their stories, creating their back stories, you're reluctant to part ways with them (which is one reason for series books) but you know you have to. An ending can be just as bittersweet for the writer as it is for the reader.

So nerd or geek?