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Imagination of Thought. Using Your Own Life to Create the Next Story

15 February 2012


Photo Credit: Imagination by `archanN, http://archann.deviantart.com/art/IMAGINATION-101986460

It’s been a while since I’ve penned any real thought to paper.  I write now and then, here and there, only to find that sometimes I give in to daily exhaustion before I make any progress.  Let’s face it, we all have long days.  You have to find your fifteen minutes as least once in that 24 hour period. But regardless of our every ambition we have to do so, sometimes the whole ‘you know, there’s always tomorrow’ ends up winning out.  Because it’s not like we’re not not doing it.  We’re just not going to do it now, but a few hours from now.  Right? Make sense? 

So it’s not easy.  It’s like working out, it’s not supposed to be easy.  But the results are immensely rewarding when you’ve actually done it, and NOW you have the results to show for it.  As much as I love writing, I do find it an arduous task at times.  Well, let’s face it.  All the time.  Although curiously enough, when I’m sending emails to friends of mine and commenting on some of the reality shows that I’ve been watching, like ‘The Bachelor’ I can expound endlessly on the subject.  When I have to sit down and write a story, well, that’s another story. Nothing seems to come to mind.  The times in my life when I seem to have a lot to say is when I’m filled with anguish, like a steam engine looking to decompress.  Maybe the reality show I saw on television the night before got me really fired up.  In so many of these television programs, there appears to be more and more internal fighting taking place amongst its guests.  Talk about reality TV firing up its viewing audiences.  Chat rooms all over the Internet and Blogs alike are humming with opinions, and no one seems to be short of one.  

So what gives?  Why is it when it comes time to write, we blank out?  It would seem that as people, we’re extremely compassionate, verbally so, about issues that affect us profoundly.  Even if it doesn’t take aim at us directly and at someone else, we will find ourselves indignant on that other person’s behalf.  This is what empathy gives to us.  It allows us to experience vicariously what another person is feeling.  I can’t even begin to say how long my emails have been to friends anytime I watch an ABC episode of The Bachelor.  So naturally, it goes without saying that we need to feel the same connection, the same indignation for the characters who populate our stories.  And if any one of us can get into an endless, internal dialogue of whatever is bothering us, we are surely capable of writing a story that for another, is worth reading.  If I were to write a daily journal logging my aggravations, every time I complained about something (that’s when the material gets really good); someone is pissed, somebody’s done somebody wrong, I would have a book by year’s end.  In fact, I did have a diary once where I documented my experiences in the seventh grade.  Years later when I looked back, it was amazing some of the things that I documented.  It was young adult all the way, filled with angst and aggravation.  In fact, that’s what it should have been entitled “Angst and Aggravation”. 

Promotional picture for the CW TV series The Vampire Diaries

I remember years ago, I had a friend in college who was in love with one boy, but was loved instead by his brother.  It was a very thorny situation, as one would imagine.  Funny thing is, they were twins.  Identical twins.  They looked alike, minor differences here and there, but, you get the picture.  Although personality wise, they were worlds apart.  As the story goes…the girl fell for the one, but not the other brother, simply because she saw something in Brother A that she didn’t see in Brother B.  The one she loved admitted that he had feelings, but felt weird about ‘going there’ with her because he felt it would hurt his brother.  She wound up dating the brother, but he turned out to be deviant.  Well, ironically enough, years later… out came the Vampire Diaries, with the heroine, Elena Gilbert caught in a love triangle between Stefan and Damon Salvatore, two brothers turned Vampire over a century ago.  She fell for Stefan, and there’s Damon, loving her from the sidelines, injecting himself with every opportunity that surfaces.  You probably figured by now I’m a die-hard Vampire Diaries fan, but I just love using fan fiction for reality checks.  

In any case, I always think of that story every time I see that show.  The ingredients are there:  The two brothers.  One good.  The other bad.  The innocent girl unwittingly caught between the two.  In fact, Ian Somerhalder has a slight resemblance to the brother she wound up dating.  Damon has a spiteful streak to him, and as I recall, so did this guy.  Not surprisingly, that situation didn’t end too well.  It was mired with so much drama.  The girl was right to choose Brother A in the first place, and should’ve just walked away when it didn’t pan out.  Brother B proved to be nothing but a heartache. 

Yes, I realize that the two seem nothing alike at first glance.  The minor details differ in so many ways.  Stefan reciprocated.   He loves Elena dearly and the two are an item in the series.  He’s not guilted into letting his brother’s feelings interfere with his own chances.  The guy in our universe bowed out, reserving his chance for love.  He felt for her, but never took it to the next level.  In the series,  Damon, though scorned, continues to reassure his love for her regardless.  Brother B in our world felt so slighted by her initial pick of his brother that he ended things.  Those of us watching the series know that Damon would never do something like that.  His love for Elena endures. 

Still, it’s a play on reality, flexing and bending it into something that we would’ve liked to see play out. Incidentally, she was told at the time that she should write a story on it.  Daily life is drama.  Our lives are dramatic just the way it is.  We don’t always need to recreate a whole new world, when everything we need, plot, characters, sometimes is right in front of us.  The story we’re looking for happens to be what we’re living …in the here and now.  So the next time you find yourself wandering for a storyline, short on ideas, look no further than your life and see if there’s something in it you can turn into a chronicle with a strange, dark twist.  

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