Monday, February 22, 2010

On Life Imitating Art

First, thank you all for the nice FB comments and emails about the blog. I'm really glad you guys are enjoying it, and I wish I could figure out how to make it easier to leave comments here. I do enjoy reading your feedback!

Second, continuing my self-assigned homework, I'm half-way through Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever, and I like it! Also, oy, with the eerie coincidences again! But it's good. I'd describe it as a "gentle read." I don't know what I mean by that, but it's just the thought I keep having.

Now to the Life v. Art debate!

Without being too spoilerish, there's a scene in one of my books where a character discovers her significant other has had an affair and loses it. Like big-time over the top, trash the house, throw everything into the yard loses it.

I've never really been one of those displays of temper sorts of people, so it was an interesting scene to write. I thought of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez burning the house down or Angela Bassett's character in Waiting to Exhale loading up the car with all his stuff and then setting it on fire.

I'm always watching the cops in those scenes. They're almost apologetic about having to arrest the "love has made me crazy" person. It's all very fascinating to me.

The difference with my particular character is she would never burn her house down. It's as much a part of her identity as it is significant other's--possibly more. It's the repeated reason they're together. The dream. I really wanted to set them up as two people who care about each other but never really know each other. You know the type.

They stayed together because... well, they look great together and they're rich. And occasionally there were chances the could've gotten closer, but they just never pursued those opportunities. Work, kids, etc.

Anyway, so I was working this out around Thanksgiving, and I'd just polished off the house-destruction scene when my dad asked me if I'd heard about what happened with Tiger Woods. Not being as much of a golfer as Dad (or at all), I was all, "Huh?"

So it was another eerie moment hearing those first news reports right on the heels of writing a similar scene. Tiger's wife beat up the car with a golf club. It was close.

But my character would never go after the guy. She wouldn't know how or even why. Nope, she goes after the other female. Sort of. I like to imagine what happens next is unexpected. You'll have to read the book...

So life imitating art or art imitating life? That happened more than once as I was writing, and I decided to take it as meaning I was successfully creating real characters experiencing real life events in the course of telling the story I wanted to tell. Yep. That's what it was.

Finally, not to be cliche and not at all to say "poor Tiger Woods," but man. Talk about dirty laundry aired for the world. I wasn't alive yet (or old enough to be aware), but it seems like nobody cared when it was Warren Beatty or Wilt Chamberlain. I mean, news people didn't go after those guys, they came after us saying "Look, look what I did!" Right?

And like, why didn't those guys get sent to therapy?

Is it because he's a golfer? Is it because he was married? Did he become the leader of the Christian Coalition when I wasn't looking?

I'm just saying. I'd be fine with letting that story die.

Gotta dash now, kids. I'm on deck to sling that hash at the elementary school. Love volunteer work--and, hey, SFES parents, we need more helpers!

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