Friday, May 17, 2013

Imagination, the future and frustration

Lots of young girls imagine their wedding day.  They picture the veil and the train and the attendants and the flowers.  They may not have an image of their grooms beyond a Ken doll or a GI Joe but they know all the other details.

Lots of kids imagine their future careers.  They see themselves as firefighters or cops or nurses or teachers or tackling any other job that they are familiar with.

Great imaginations these kids have.  Kudos to all of them.

But then reality sets in. The wedding doesn't happen the way they picture.  The dress and flowers and even the groom don't match the early vision.  As for jobs, no one pictures themselves at a desk in front of a computer, maybe answering a phone, or putting in long and boring days just to pay for health insurance.

Frustrating, isn't it?

When I have a story idea, I let it ruminate in my brain for a while. I imagine some characters talking to each other and doing things.  I try to allow a backstory to develop for them.  Their early school years.  Their nicknames. Their friends and parents and pets and favorite tv shows.  In my mind, these characters and their settings are awesome!  They have so much potential. I start to develop a plot and imagine a really cool ending and, voila!  Storytime!

But then reality sets in as I start to write. Characters talk in strange ways and accents.  They have their own quirks I wasn't aware of, quirks that prevent them from doing things the way I want them to.  Sure, I can force them but it's never quite the same as in my imagination.  I push my way through, from chapter to chapter, following the outline or deviating from it occasionally.  And then it's over and it's not anything like what I thought it would be.


Anticipation of anything sets us up for failure and disappointment. I should know this, after the many years I've lived on this planet, and yet I am always surprised when things fail to live up to my vision.  I try to foresee potential problems but I'm still stymied when life - and plot - throws me a curve.

This is another post where I posit a problem with no solution. I wish things were more black and white.  I wish the path to my goal could be clear and singular.

Yeah, frustrating.