I was going to talk to you about character arcs today, but that will have to wait until next week because I just read something that needs to be shared.
IT WAS A DAY (by Ursula Vernon)
It was a day a little bit like today
the way the clouds threw shadows over the hill
the day you realized that you weren’t going to find your future.
You were never going to go to Mars
You were never going to open the door that led, inexorably, to Narnia
(or even Telmar, you weren’t picky, and you were confident of your ability
to lead the revolution.)
Inigo Montoya was not going to slap you on the back
and invite you to take up the mantle of the Dread Pirate Roberts.
There would be no sardonic Vulcans or Andorians;
you would never be handed an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.
That was a strange day.
It ranked up there with the day that you realized that everybody else saw the you in the mirror, not the you inside your head. Not the you that was lean and tough and clever, not the you with perfect hair and a resonant voice that never said “Um….?”
Not that you.
No, they got the one that was fat and wobbly and stiff inside with terror, the one who was a little scared of eye makeup, the one who wore black because it was better to be freaky than pathetic.
You were never terribly fond of that you.
It was a day not at all like today
a day where the sun shone very brightly around the edges
that you realized that you could write that future.
You could blot out all those old arguments in your head by asking each character “What happens next?”
“And what do you say?”
“And are there ninjas?”
It wasn’t the old future, but it was close.
(Besides, by that point, you’d realized that Inigo probably bathed once a month and that when people stuck you with swords, you’d fall down and shriek, and also that your feet hurt. And writers get indoor plumbing
and birth control pills if they can get them.)
It was a rather odd day
though not entirely unexpected
when you met the people who were angry with you.
It took awhile to figure out. Much more than a day, in fact.
Eventually, it came to you that those people had a future, too,
but they hadn’t quite realized they weren’t going to find it
and they blamed you for the fact it wasn’t here.
You were not the sort of person that lived in their future.
You were still too fat and too wobbly and much too weird, and you laughed too loudly
like a good-natured hyena
and you were not supportive of their high and lonely destiny.
And if you were here and their future wasn’t
it was probably your fault
and if you went away
maybe they’d get to go to Mars after all
pal around with Tars Tarkas
have phone-sex with the Pierson’s Puppeteers.
They got very mad about it.
You pictured them hopping,
arms and legs going up and down
like angry puppets
when somebody pulled the string coming out of their crotch.
It was all very strange.
It was a day sort of like last Tuesday
or maybe the Friday before last
when somebody came up
with a copy of your book
it was dog-eared and they looked like they might cry
and they said “Thank you.”
It was a day.