Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Friday, December 20, 2013

Why a third volume to "Bobby Carapisi"?

I had somebody ask me that, They felt the book was complete at the end of volume 2. Everything else from that point onward was obvious. They allowed that some of what Allen did wasn't expected, but they questioned my attempt to do an add-on to humanize him. All I could say was, it made the story complete, to me.

Someone else once told me, when we were joking about serial killers, that I could never be one; I had too much empathy with people. My response was something along the lines of, "You never know what people can do until they do it." But she didn't accept that, not for everyone.

Both of these incidents happened some time ago, but I've been thinking a lot about them, lately. Not sure why. I've been over this terrain so many times -- all the characters in my head and writing a couple of leads in my books who are anything but nice and making them as believable as I could -- but I feel like I'm missing some key element to help me really grasp what this means for me. And for my writing.

I think it was jolted back to front and center with me because of that 16 year-old kid who drove drunk and killed 4 people while maiming 2 others, for life. Thanks to his lawyer and a psychologist claiming "affluenza" -- an illness that stems from having too much money and parents who don't teach you anything about accountability -- he got long as he went to a facility to teach him...something or other; I'm not clear exactly what that would accomplish, but a big deal was made about it costing $450K a year.

The situation reminded me of "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Daisy Buchanan kills a man's wife during a hit-and-run while driving Jay Gatsby's car, then lets Gatsby be blamed for it and holds no sense of guilt when he is destroyed by her lie. And that book was written 90 years ago. It seems the rich have always been not only different but a bit sociopathic.

The reason I comment on this is, as upsetting and horrible as his actions were, I pity the kid. He destroyed several people's, several families' lives through his stupidity and selfishness. His own life is ruined and he can't see it. His parents won't be around forever to protect him, and eventually he will crash and burn...and may take more people with him. All because he was raised by two uncaring fools who had more money than humanity and instilled in him the same sense of entitlement that Daisy Buchanan had.

And that's how I felt about Allen and his actions. Jean Renoir once said, "Everybody has his good reasons," and I wanted to give Allen the chance to explain his. Which he did, albeit without intending to. He thought he'd just write some porn stories to mess with Eric's mind, but instead he revealed why he became what he became...and Eric winds up pitying the man who hurt so many people.

I think that's the element I'm trying to get understand. How can one be angry at someone's vile actions and yet feel sorrow for them when they're held accountable? Is it just how you're was raised? Is it part of your DNA? Is it because of events you had to live through? Is it mere psychosis? I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't know. Maybe that would end the magic link to my characters, within me.

But I'm still asking the question...

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