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Who You Ain't

Banes at 12:00AM, April 21, 2016
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Lately I've been spending some time doing some light renovations on my house. I'm under some pressure with this stuff, and it's been very difficult, mentally.

For the most part, things are working out so far. These are renos that some people could pull off with barely a thought. I'm just not that guy.

Drywall, wood, paint, scraping stuff off of stuff, sticking things to other things, silicone beads (oy, what a mess!)…it's a whole world that I'm quite uncomfortable with. I did a much larger reno a couple years back, and I learned some things, but I had excellent help. An expert or two who could make things happen. This one I'm doing mostly on my own. It's tough!

But this experience, combined with Gunwallace's post from the other day about giving characters different voices, has made me think of how useful this kind of thing can be for writing and creativity.

I don't know about others, but I've often found writing stories to be mostly about self discovery. I like looking inward, figuring out my thoughts and what they mean, and translating my own quirks into exaggerated versions that appear in my characters and their adventures. My characters come from a place that's very ME.

But dipping my toe into this other arena, where I don't often tread, is kind of exciting (maybe I'm feeling this positive because it seems to be going all right at the moment. Tomorrow could be a different story).

I've thought about the sort of person I'm NOT. I'm not talking about wish fulfillment; I'm thinking of the type of people I will never be and have no interest in being in the long term. People who fix engines and build walls and figure out how to get the lights working and the water draining.

It's immensely satisfying to learn some of this stuff of course, but it's not how I want to spend my time.

I'm getting the strong sense that my next protagonist(s) will be someone who has very little in common with me, and has completely different interests and points of view.

Again, one of the pleasures of writing characters and stories is self-discovery and self examination. Who we are is endlessly fascinating.

But it leads to equally fascinating questions about who we ain't!

Have a good one, and thanks to Gunwallace for kicking off this train of thought!

-Banes

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anonymous?

Bruno Harm at 6:16AM, April 23, 2016

man I'm rambling! They have this thing in a lot of tabletop RPG's;in Shadowrun they're called "Edges and Flaws". Basically its just a list of character traits and quirks, and when you have this little idea of a character, and you bounce some of these ideas around, you can come up with some people very different than anything you might have brewed up in your own head. Role playing games have allowed me to really get out of myself and make some bizarre and fascinating people.

Bruno Harm at 6:09AM, April 23, 2016

I was always in my head growing up. my interests were games and drawing and comics. I ruined my first car because I never got an oil change(It was always running out of oil, and I'd add more...why change new oil right?...so retarded). Anyway, I fell bass ackwards into a career in heating and air conditioning, and grew a whole new appreciation for how things worked and what one could do with a hammer. I do tend to be a jack of all trades. I've dabbled in all kinds of things at this point in my life. Playing in punk bands, Ballroom dancing, bowling leagues, I took a year of Java programing and web design in the 90's. But I haven't been one to dedicate myself to one clear ambition (until this whole comic thing that is!)

Gunwallace at 6:13PM, April 21, 2016

Interesting stuff. Since buying (or more specifically borrowing to buy) a house I have managed to pick up all sorts of skills I never thought I'd get. Have I mastered any of them? No. But I've got pretty good at tiling floors. Our floors have a heat mat underneath to provide warmth during autumn and winter. They are just kicking in now on occasional days. Making comics is better with warm feet.

PaulEberhardt at 4:42PM, April 21, 2016

I got quite good at all kinds of construction stuff over the years, especially when it comes to improvising. Judging from my success rate, that is. It's always fun to watch how those who learned it by the book completely freak out when they see how I do things, and even more so when they see that it works. These situations tell me volumes about the way people who are not like me think, and it reminds me how, by definition, that'll always be practically everyone I'll ever meet. ;) They're an invaluable source for ideas, too.

bravo1102 at 5:25AM, April 21, 2016

And I have had a few crazy sitcom moments where everything went wrong. Watching and paying a pro is so much more satisfying than having the little fixer-upper literally blow up in my face.

bravo1102 at 5:22AM, April 21, 2016

The obsessive perfectionism necessary to totally master a skill burned me out and turned me a nervous melancholy wreck that couldn't finish a project. So I pulled back and worked on getting a grip on things that didn't verge on obsessive compulsive behavior. Mastery without losing perspective of personal well being turned out to be much better for me. I also realized that for many things around the house calling in a professional is worth the extra expense. I can follow what they do in rapturous attention, but I am smart enough to not do everything myself.

KimLuster at 4:50AM, April 21, 2016

These little blogs of yours are so good! As for me, I admire people that actually have the drive to master something!! I have an interest and passing knowledge about so many subjects, but when it comes to actually doing the stuff I've read about... Just never seem to have the time or energy. And when I do, I'll dabble with it for a little while and when my curiosity is satisfied, just leave it behind!! I do stuff, and have daily habits and weekend hobbies, but... is there anything I'm just extraordinarily good at? If so, it's not because I burned midnight oil mastering it! So... characters that do (Samurai or Martial Arts masters, Master Musicians, gymnasts and ballerinas, Theoretical Physicists...) - I really envy those people!

Ozoneocean at 12:41AM, April 21, 2016

I admire people with more of an engineering mindset though! Ian on the Forgotten Weapons chanel is just exactly the guy I'd like working on Pinky's Trompers: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrfKGpvbEQXcbe68dzXgJuA also Also the softly spoken Big Clive as well: https://www.youtube.com/user/bigclivedotcom The man has an AMAZING mind for electronics and how things work. These are great engineer characters.

Ozoneocean at 12:38AM, April 21, 2016

I know what you mean man. Making and building stuff is very easy for me and I can understand that type of work quite naturally- however, when it comes to programming and web design it's a huge struggle and I have to learn from the ground up, anything to do with business or money too, I'm hopeless with that stuff. I hate it and would rather pay someone to handle it. Ironically a bit of my working life always involves just exactly those things XD


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