Thursday, December 16, 2010
Running errands today I almost got into two accidents in about a minute. In the first, a woman driver apparently decided that she couldn't wait for a break in traffic to pull out of her spot and had to exit immediately into traffic. I almost hit her (but needed a spot and I got that).
As I was reversing in to the spot a man walked by my car, then between my car and his, which was right behind me. I saw him jump (rear view mirror) when he realized that I was still reversing in. Who steps behind a car as it's already backing up and MOVING?
I'm writing about these two close calls because they play on a theme I've been pondering and one that many authors explore. We, in certain parts of this mostly stable country, expect things to work for us. We've been relatively safe, most of the time. How do people handle it when things don't work out; as sometimes they can't?
Where did we get this idea that life is safe such that we can explore - in literature - that it isn't? Is it a purely American in this day and age concept?
So I'll return to a book recommended by a dear friend ... Point Of No Return. Published first in 1947 it pulls us back into the world that preceded our own. The narrator works hard to create a better life then that of, as it turns out, his peers. He makes conscience choices, not expecting an end result, then returns to his home town (inadvertently) to contrast his own fate with those he knew. His is better.
And this narrative really is my chosen universal story, even more so than that of life surprising us. How much do we control our own fate and can we understand it even with the distance of time passing?
Both themes recur which is why authors like them so much. In our own lives, as opposed to the world of a book, we are left with the haunting repercussions.
I've started revisiting Captive's sequel again. I'd wanted to write something else first but was persuaded otherwise. Want to bet you might see one or both of these familiar narratives when I'm done?
I added the tree for the holidays. Slick pictures you can buy on your own.