“In Paradise there are no stories, because there are no journeys. It’s loss and regret and misery and yearning that drive the story forward, along its twisted road.” ― Margaret Atwood
We are obviously not in Paradise. I see problems every where I look. Children screaming for parents attention. Parents overwhelmed with the should’s and must’s. Lovers blocked by lack of communication. Antithetic economic policies creating a tug-o-war between political parties standing by concrete beliefs with no compromise toward resolution. Countries built on life long traditions and beliefs conflicting with their neighbors with no regards for differences of cultural differences in basic human rights and understandings with no desire to learn.
I began reading again since my move and decided on a book that I purchased oh-so-many years ago but never read. Until now. “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck, MD. While at times, I disagree with his philosophies, in general, I’m enjoying his book as he plunges into the depths of the human psyche in relation to love and God. Perhaps, the part with which I most agree is his insistence to question EVERYTHING. He spends much of the religious section with examples of people’s battles with their questions and beliefs of faith, describing them as hand-me-down beliefs. Dr. Peck goes on to explain that observing beliefs as a scientist would, we would be more adept to choose and follow the faith that fits our individual being.
I take this one step further. My son went through the phase of questioning everything I did. If I dusted the shelves, he asked why. If I stopped at a stoplight, he asked why. When I prayed, he asked why. It was an exhausting period and, as a young, overwhelmed mother, I became frustrated easily. Now, I wish he would return to that phase and ask why. In fact, I’d like to join him. Why do adults walk through stores with stiff necks while hushing their children? Why is it wrong to sing at the top of your lungs when stopped at a stoplight? Why can’t we have ice cream for breakfast…just this once?
Yesterday, I was reminded that every good story has to have a problem. And, in my new philosophy of life, I ask why.
Sometimes, though, the norm exists for a reason. As much as I’d like to buck the system and write just about internal thoughts of fascinating characters, I know that I need to learn how to write conflict. Give my characters problems. I need to back them into a corner until they are asking, “WHY!?” Not my forte. But I’m going to give it a go. It shouldn’t be so hard. I’ve lived through enough conflict to fill a bookshelf or two with stories.
Currently, I’m working on two (perhaps three) short stories and outlining a novel for nanowrimo coming up this November.
Sometimes the answer is simply…why not? It is good to be writing again.