Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Grind, A Plop, and A Lot Of Smoke--And Inflicting Pain

How did your New Years go? Ours went off with a bang...or maybe I should say a grind, a plop, and a lot of smoke. Here's how it went down.

First Hubby's car started making a horrible grinding sound. You know the kind that means your car just became roadkill, and you immediately see an image of yourself as a Flintstones character followed closely by dollar signs. Lots of them.

But we weren't smiling.

And we don't have a dinosaur for a pet. Just saying.

As for the plop, well it was worse than the grind--for Kid B at least, and for my heart. You remember how I blogged about the magic of Christmas and waiting for decades for my disabled sons to get excited? And how it had finally happened? And how happy I was?

Well, Kid B asked for something for the very first time. Ever. He wanted a Mario Cart DS. And that was all. It's the only thing he's ever wanted in fourteen years, and he asked for it every day. A lot. Santa brought it cause he's an old softy.

Kid B had five glorious days with his DS, then it slipped from his fingers and fell with a plop into, you guessed it, the toilet. The evil thing ate it.

We, yet again, shoved a hand down the toilet and retrieved the DS. It now lies in pieces in a bag of rice drying out for a week accompanied by fervent prayers for a miracle.

Kid B feels like this:

Except he's a lot bigger and has more hair. Oh, and more clothes.

I feel worse.

Now on to the smoke. Sigh. Sunday we prepped a chicken to cook while we went to church. I set the oven for 325 degrees and headed out the door. Three-and-a-half hours later we came home and opened the door to billowing smoke. Like this:

But without the flames. Every sad story must have at least one silver lining, that's ours.

One of our kids (probably Kid C cause he often inspires...er inflicts drama on us) helped us out by cranking the oven to 475. Yup. Smoke and charred chicken. And smell that bonded on a molecular level with every surface in our home. Ug.

Yes, it was that kind of weekend.

What does this have to do with writing? Tons. As a writer you must inflict pain on your characters, loads of it, like some demented torturer obsessed with producing tears and heartbreak.

Why? It helps them. Really it does. It provides challenges for them to overcome, and they morph into a hero right in front of your eyes as they rise above all the pain and suffering. It also creates sympathy. You love them for their pain. (This means you should love me right now. Just saying. He he.)

Think about Katniss, would you love her as much if nothing bad ever happened to her? Or Harry Potter? What if he'd had a great childhood with loving parents, and friends, and magic in his life, and roses, and lots of great food, and a dog, and and and... Well, he'd be boring for one, and not nearly as endearing as the Boy Who Lived.

So, does this make me feel better about my weekend? Yes. A little. After all, who wouldn't want to be compared to awesome characters in some small way? I mean, I can go to the grocery store today and tell some poor, unsuspecting stranger that me and Katniss are buds. (And, yes, the odd looks will be so worth it.) Maybe I will even morph into something wonderful in time. Here's to hoping and overcoming drowned gameboys.


Jonene Ficklin said...

Oh, I'm feeling your pain for the wet DS! My son in Brazil had a native Brazilian companion who's family is dirt poor. Somehow this missionary scraped up enough money to buy a camera, but he dropped it in the toilet as he was packing to leave on his mission. I think he knows how you feel!

And here's to hoping the smoky smell leaves soon, and the good auto fairy twinkles your husband's car!

LeishaMaw said...

Jonene, oh that poor missionary. My heart goes out to him and his family.

Thanks for the good wishes. :)

Carolyn V. said...

Oh no!!! That's a lot of bad things all at one time! I hope Kid B's game and gameboy system fair out okay. That just make me sad.

I know it's important to inflict pain on our characters, but I hate it when it happens in real life.

L.T. Elliot said...

I feel a little like kid B after reading this. What a weekend you had! I hope this week goes swimmingly, that the DS is visited by some Divine Intervention, and the car problems are resolved with little hassle.

Excellent points on story, though. I love a tortured character. It makes me appreciate them more. =D

LeishaMaw said...

Carolyn, thanks, and the real life thing is less fun than in books. :)

L.T., thanks as well. I know what you mean about appreciating characters more. When I first started writing I never wanted my characters to hurt, everyone was always polite, and I bored even myself. Now when I send my characters off to face horrible things I love them so much more.

Hmmm. Maybe I should just feel really loved right now. :)

Clancy said...

I hope all the problems resolve happily (like in our books)... except maybe the chicken - too late for that. You are a rockstar - for your patience, your grace under fire (and smoke), and for being a darn good writer.

As a conflict avoider, thanks! I have to have this constantly reminded to me. Conflict is necessary or there is no story.

LeishaMaw said...

Clancy, I've consoled myself about the chicken by imagining it wanted to be cremated and is now at peace in chicken heaven.

And no more conflict avoidance! Hurt those characters. Mwahahahahaha!

Elana Johnson said...

Oh no! So sorry about the DS. That's awful, I hope it gets repaired. *hugs*

Lydia K said...

Oh I hope those molecules of smoke do eventually peel away from your house. Grat post, and good point about our suffering characters!

LeishaMaw said...

Elana, thanks for the hug. :)

Lydia, I hope so, too. I'm still wrinkling my nose at the stench. I even shampooed the carpets. Still smelly. Ick. But like I said, no flames, so all is good. :)

The Stanley's said...

Okay, this is my favorite post.

LeishaMaw said...

Anita, to you, too! :)

Donea Lee said...

Ahh, what a weekend! So, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for the DS's recovery, an easy de-smoking of the kitchen surfaces, and cheap and easy car repairs! Best buds with Ms. Everdeen for a weekend is a good silver lining ~ :)

LeishaMaw said...

Donea, indeed! Thanks for the well wishes. :)


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