Here and There…

There’s a bird in the neighborhood on a frenzied calling streak. I’m familiar with most of the feathered fliers nearby, the way they look, their habits, the sounds that rise from their throats, but this one is new to me.

***

I’m wrestling conflicting plot turns in my latest project. Part of me wants to disable a major character with a stroke (let’s call him Character One), in order to push another major character into taking a risk she would not ordinarily take (we’ll call her Character Two); and the other part of me is resisting, afraid the stroke will seem too pat, too manipulative. I mean, it’s not as if I haven’t set it up, laid numerous hints that Character One’s condition is fragile enough that such a thing could happen, but really….  Then, of course, I wonder if I, or anyone else, for that matter, will believe Character Two’s willingness to put herself in harm’s way if he doesn’t have it.

It’s a conundrum.

***

Lately I’ve been particularly irritated by the phrase, “Ordinary people,” particularly when it’s employed by politicians and media personalities.

If ever there was a way of creating a divide—no, a chasm between groups, designating one as special, the other not, it’s that.

We were all born pretty much the same way. We all need liquid and nourishment to survive. We all process that nourishment via the same route (some with medical modifications). We all have vulnerabilities—flesh that can tear, bones that can break, organs that can wear and malfunction. We are all constantly fighting and adapting to microbes we can’t see, or worrying about surviving weather that is worsening and becoming more severe and destructive.  We all depend, to varying degrees, on assistance for survival. In the most fundamental ways, we are ALL ordinary.

Still, the other night, I heard the host of a late night news show say that the flag-draped casket of our recently deceased past President was going to lie in state so that “ordinary people could walk by.”  Why not simply describe the people attending as, “mourners?” Why even make a distinction?

I know there are people with unique abilities and gifts who merit recognition and honor for their heroism, contributions, innovations, selflessness, and brilliance. But is it really necessary to spotlight their accomplishments by calling everyone else ordinary?

***

Clues notwithstanding, I don’t know if I’ll be happy if I let Character One have that stroke. But I know I won’t be happy with Character Two’s motivation unless he has it. Would more clues help? Or would they stick out as laughably obvious?

***

Sadly, that bird stopped singing. Maybe it was resting here on its way to its winter home. I hear they are expecting record snowfalls in some areas down south, while here in the north, it is crisp and sunny.

So, I think I’ll take advantage of this spell of indecisiveness and go for a walk. Maybe I’ll hear other bird songs…undoubtedly ordinary to their own kind, but to me, nothing short of miraculous.

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4 thoughts on “Here and There…

  1. I love the spontaneity of your post. It sounds like a stream of consciousness and yet it’s so involving.

    I agree: the expression “ordinary people” also puts my back up. In the UK, there are also “real people”. When one of my plays featuring a barrister, a Cambridge academic and a society photographer, was workshopped in a London theatre, the playwright hosting the discussion afterwards asked the audience if they didn’t mind the fact that my characters (given their social status) weren’t “real people”. I was seething. I felt like punching him and asking if my punch was “real” enough.

    I’d love you to write more at length about the mysterious bird.

    Follow your gut with regards to your character’s motivation. Yes, I see why the stroke would be contrived… but then real life is sometimes unrealistic.

    I hope you enjoyed your walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The phrase, “Real people” gets to me, too!. My goodness, I understand why the playwright’s comment had you fuming! As if all the characters in your play were automatons! Just ridiculous!
      Thank you for your kind comments about my post. Actually, it was the bird that started it all. But, sadly, he had moved on by the time I went for my walk. I hope he returns someday. His call was so beautiful and unusual.
      Thank you, too, for your wise advice. I should trust my gut more, I suppose, but I’m always questioning, and, probably, over-thinking. But, with further reading, I see there is ample motivation for Character Two to take drastic action without subjecting Character One to that stroke, which relieves me. (The truth is, I hate to wound my characters, especially when they’ve come into the story wounded anough. I am an old softie….)
      More as the story unfolds….
      🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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