Writing Dilemma #344
Scenario: Character A is in love with Character B because I wanted to have love in my story because love is lovely, but that isn’t a good enough reason. It needs to be real and natural. I realize this after watching "Romancing the Stone" and pondering how the romance between the protagonists seemed to spring out of nowhere just because it's what a heteronormative audience expects to happen.
Solution: Character C notices that Character A is in love with Character B and asks him why. Character A discusses some of Character B's traits that he finds attractive.
New Scenario: Character A praises Character B's sense of humor. However, since I am the author and write the dialogue for both characters, this is really me praising my own sense of humor, which is immodest and unbecoming.
Solution: Character C responds, "She [Character B] isn't nearly as funny as she thinks she is." For good measure, Character D chimes in, "Neither is Character A, so it’s all good."
Of course, Character B is oblivious to the whole situation, which is probably the most realistic part. They say to write what you know. It’s nothing spectacular, but I promise it's a better love story than "Attack of the Clones" (as also are many other things including but not limited to the "Twilight" saga, amoebic mitosis, and a broken carburetor).
Addendum to last week's comments on serio-comic writing: do you know why I write serio-comic stuff instead of serio-serio stuff? Simply put, because I start from the premise that neither humanity nor life itself deserve to be taken seriously. Humanity is a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, yet with stupidity and depravity as boundless as the universe. And of course life itself deserves to be mocked for everything it's done to me. I will deny it the satisfaction of seeing me crumble, at least permanently.
Case in point for the former proposition - I heard on the radio just a few days ago about a nine year old boy in Florida who wrote a love letter to a girl in his class, saying things like "I like your eyes because they sparkle like diamonds." That is so sweet! I was never that sweet when I was nine years old. A normal, non-sociopathic human being hearing this story should be like:
But nope, instead he's facing sexual harassment charges.
Sexual harassment charges.
For a $%&# nine year old.
For writing a $%&# love letter.
You can't make this stuff up. I heard about this on a classic hits station rather than a news station per se, so the lady reporting it made no attempt to pretend to be unbiased or hide her incredulity. She was like, "Can you say STU-PID? Cause that's what this is!" Stupid is a compliment for something like this. But in fairness, the stupid school administrators were probably just trying to prepare him for the stupidity of the stupid, stupid, stupid real world, where people will expect him to take initiative in this sort of thing while simultaneously waiting with baited breath to jump on his throat for doing something "wrong", as they have done here. Would it be harassment if the girl had written the note? Would it be harassment if she had reciprocated his feelings? Was he supposed to psychically know what she would think of it beforehand? American society has its head so far up its whatchamacallit that it would be able to see the cavity where its heart used to be, if it wasn't blind.
News from another country that also has its share of societal problems but is also quite dear to me. On August 21, Matthew Martinich of the LDS Church Growth blog reported, "I just received word that the Church has approved the organization of a second stake in India. The new stake will be organized from the Bangalore India District on November 15th. Missionaries report that the Rajahmundry India District has almost reached the minimum criteria to become a stake. With multiple stakes in the country, prospects appear more likely for the Church to announce a temple for India within the foreseeable future as the closest operating temple is located in Hong Kong."
After this had circulated on Facebook for a bit (you're welcome), the India Bangalore mission president commented, "Today I read several posts announcing that a new stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be created in Bangalore on Nov 15. Unfortunately, as well meaning as these posts are, they are premature. The leadership of the Church has not approved a new stake. There is NO announcement that it will happen on 15 Nov. These posts are based on assumptions. Please wait until there is an official announcement from Church leaders before posting the information. President David Berrett"
When this was brought to Martinich's attention in the blog comments, he said, "I obtained this information from two missionaries serving in the India Bangalore Mission. I will keep this post up for now. If it becomes clear that the stake has not been officially approved, then I will remove the post and explain the situation to our readers. I have had previous instances of mission presidents contacting me who have even denied that no [sic] new stake or district will be organized, yet one or two months later these units are in fact organized."
On November 15th, the Bengaluru India Stake was indeed organized from the Bangalore India District. How does that work, I wonder? A lucky prediction by the missionaries, or what?
I can hardly believe it’s been a year since my friend Cece invited me to go Black Friday shopping with her. That was my first time ever Black Friday shopping, and it lasted about eight hours, if I recall correctly, and I feel very nostalgic about it now that I realize it was so long ago - not in geological, let alone astronomical time, of course, but it seems like a long time to me and that’s all that matters. The first place we went was Hasting’s. Only in Utah can you walk into a secular book/movie/music/video game store and be treated to a dance remix of "Popcorn Popping" over the speaker system. I bought that CD ("Called to Dance!" by Reverence, if you’re curious) some time later and gifted it to my family when I went home recently. Somehow I persuaded my mother to let us listen to it on the way to church. "This seems just a little bit wrong," she mused, but she didn’t turn it off.
Back to Cece and me - after Hasting's we went to the mall. There I had the privilege of holding her purse while she tried on clothes, and that was a first too. I’d heard about that sort of thing but never gotten to experience it myself. She looked fabulous in everything she tried on, and wanted me to help her decide what to get, as if I knew anything about that sort of thing. We also went into a perfume and shampoo and lotion store that smelled really nice, and I tried some free samples but didn’t feel that they matched my aura. We mostly did girly stuff like that but toward the end I went to "Fun Unlimited" - the mall’s more expensive and less organized version of Hasting's, I suppose - where I got my first Miami Sound Machine and Queensrÿche and Beyoncé CDs. As she was looking through the racks with me she commented on one pop star (I don't even remember who it was), "Wow, she looks so perfect," and then pantomimed shooting her in the face. Cece has apparently never seen a mirror. She says weird stuff sometimes, like "Sorry my makeup looks horrible," and I'm just like, "Shut up. You don't know what you're talking about."
Unable to decide on Arby’s or Carl’s Jr. for lunch, we got curly fries at the former and burgers at the latter (or maybe the other way around, I don’t remember). I offered to cover it but she declined because "This isn’t a date or anything." It was good to have that clarified. But as we were eating, the conversation shifted very quickly from "So how have you been?" to "Life is really hard, isn’t it? But just think how good it will feel to stand before God someday and tell Him that you never killed yourself." Not even once? Later in the day she decided that I needed a new wardrobe, and bought me two T-shirts, a pair of jeans, a package of socks and a pair of sneakers. I told her she didn’t need to do that just because she was concerned about me killing myself, but she insisted because "What are friends for?" Obviously I need more friends like that.
Nothing that exciting happened this year on Black Friday, though, because she was out of town, and for a time I was concerned that nothing would happen for Thanksgiving either. The initial plan was to catch a ride with a friend to my grandparents’ house, and from there to my great-grandfather’s house. This time last year he was able to get out of the house and do his own stuff, but no more. Alas, the day before I was going to leave, he was taken to the hospital, and my grandparents had to go see him right then and there. I don't know what's going on but he is in his nineties and has already been preceded in death by his wife and two of his children, so whether he recovers or not it will be for the best. Personally I hope I never live to be that frail. My friend offered to let me just come to her house, and I considered it because she’s one of the few people in the world I wouldn’t feel awkward with during a three hour car ride and I had been looking forward to it, but her family didn’t know me and they would have to find a place for me to sleep so I opted out.
I would just go to the bishop’s home, as I had heard that it was open for this purpose. I knew the second counselor had made a similar offer but with the caveat that he was going to his mother-in-law’s home and her husband had died a few weeks ago, so I didn’t want to intrude on that. Alas, I had been misinformed and the bishop was going out of town, but he said that maybe the first counselor/my boss was having people over. And indeed he may have been planning on it, until his basement was flooded with eight inches of water by an idiot neighbor trying to make an ice rink. It was one of the nice basements, too, that actually has carpets and rooms full of stuff like any other part of the house. Goodbye books and magazines and records and VHS tapes and a bunch of other stuff. I remember opening a back issue of the Ensign at their house to an article called "A Note to the ‘Good Girls'" and realizing that I was friends with the author on Facebook. Anyway, the situation was crazy, but they went to his wife's brother/my co-worker's house and took me with them, and I ate a lot of delicious stuff and brought a book so I didn't have to make friends with a bunch of strangers, and it was great.
My "Walking on Icy Sidewalks in Logan" song. Seriously, it comes into my head every time.
Sesame Street - Walk Like a Penguin
While watching "A New Hope" with the neighbors last week, I started spouting off trivia. I don’t even know why, but it was definitely not an attempt to impress my ex-crush. People were impressed, though. I always knew that not having any friends in middle school would pay off someday. But I was being a know-it-all and annoying myself, so I mostly shut myself up, but when someone asked me what the monster chess game was called and I said it was called dejarik he said "Let’s play a new game - 'Stump Chris'." No, I’ll be humble! I thought. You don’t have to humble me! We were watching the Blu-Ray version which I hadn’t seen before, yet the hokey blaster and lightsaber effects, and the garbage mattes around some of the ships, and various other teensy gaffes, still had not been fixed or improved. But the infamous Greedo scene had undergone its third butchering, I mean edit. Good thing George Lucas had his priorities straight. J. J. Abrams could make himself the most popular guy in the world just by changing it back.
But the enhanced visual quality may account for the fact that, despite having seen this film scores of times, I noticed for the first time a couple of black guys in Mos Eisley. The first black people in Star Wars. Of course, I already knew, as some of you do, that Billy Dee Williams wasn’t the first one anyway, nor was he even the first one with a speaking role. Oh no. That honor went to the lovely Diahann Carroll, and if you knew that then you already know why she probably hasn’t been too eager to claim her bragging rights. She appears in a scene of the impossibly bad "The Star Wars Holiday Special" (which everyone should watch as a tradition this time of year) where she sings a song to Chewbacca’s father, Itchy [sic], after having a brief... conversation with him. There are so many things I could say about it but I’m going to just let it speak for itself. I actually kind of like the song. They must have written it while sober and then drank gasoline while writing the scene to go around it.
The Mind Evaporator, including Diahann Carroll - This Minute
I'm slightly disappointed that the next one will be rated PG-13, because the Star Wars saga is supposed to have a broad appeal including families and almost all ages. I know Episode III was rated PG-13 but I don't think it should become a habit. Oh well. There's still plenty of hype left in me. This song would be perfect for it if "George Lucas" were changed to "J. J. Abrams" and "1998" [sic] to "2015". Then it wouldn’t rhyme, but rhyming isn’t everything.
Ultimate Fakebook - Far Far Away
"Guys. Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you’re ever looking for a good read, check this out!"
- Amelia Whitlock
"I don't know how well you know Christopher Randall Nicholson, but... he's trolling. You should read his blog. It's delightful."
- David Young
About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.