Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Close quarters to manslaughter

Well..."vole"-slaughter, to be exact. This packing job is in the basement of a house in a part of Golden that's still rustic, and apparently voles run rampant here. So one got in and I saw it and tried to get it to get the hell out the same way it came in, but it was lost or something, so I just left it alone. It wasn't bugging me...and once or twice seemed to wonder if I had anything for it to eat (I didn't...unless Dr. Pepper counts). So I kept on working and the little critter finally got bored with me and left the room. And the guy I'm doing the packing job for (he's cataloging as I pack) apparently saw it and, as he was trying to catch it, accidentally crushed it.

I felt awful. If I 'd known that would happen, I'd have tried to catch it in a box. I did have a bag of chips in the car. Then I could have taken it outside to be released. But I tend not to consider things like that. I just figure things will work out...and sometimes they don't. Now my feeling is, I should have taken a more proactive role in this and I hope I will, next time...but I honestly don't know if that will happen.

I find that attitude colors Brendan's character. He spends the first part of his story figuring things will work out, even as chaos explodes around him...and then is handed some brutal reality. He tries to get back to that attitude in the second part of his story, but soon learns he has to take control of how things will go. And in the third part, he's running the show, even as he's not.

It's the opposite for my characters of Curt, Alec and Antony. They're all proactive in their search for justice and meaning and truth, even as they're also being manipulated and brutalized. And Eric in BC goes from a guy who thinks he has control of his life to one who realizes he doesn't back to having actual control, even as Bobby, who did have control, crashes into chaos after losing it, even as he desperately tries to regain it.

I'm not sure what this means as a theme for me. And the truth is, I don't think I need to know. Each character informs me of who he is and how he fits into his world, and some of them make a secure connection while others decide they've made a mistake and fight to retract their decision...only to find it's too late.

If that vole had stayed outside (or if I'd caught it), it might still be alive. But then again, it might also have wound up as dinner for a hawk or owl. You never know what the hell would have happened had you made a different choice at a particular juncture. Things might have turned out better; they might have turned out worse. My characters learn something sort of like that as they go through their rites of passage. Too bad I can't seem to accept it.

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