Monday, September 13, 2010

In Touch WIth Reality

Once I read Lisabet's entry, I had a better idea of what the topic was about, but I'd already written mine, so that's what you get to read. 

I’m not to the point where I wander down Venice Boulevard and scream “What did I ever do to you?” at parking meters, so I think I’m good on the reality check level. I mean, once upon a time I saw a woman walk past a laundry mat in Santa Monica wearing nothing but flip-flops, but didn’t pinch myself to check if I was dreaming. I’ve also attended a wedding ceremony that was conducted entirely in Klingon. I might have imbibed a bit heavily from the blood ale before the event, but I swear that it happened.

So are we talking sex? I’ve done a lot of things I’ve written about, many I’d gladly repeat, and look forward to doing more. Have I done them all? No.

Or are we talking about worlds we’ve created that we’d rather live in?

Do you remember back when past life regression was a big thing? Did you ever notice that no one was a poor peasant who died in a puddle of his/her own diarrhea during a diphtheria epidemic? Nope. Sometimes, the people who paid dearly for this ego fluffing went through the regression were “mere” nobility or a high priestess or some whatnot that wasn’t as cool as being the ruler, but had a pivotal role in history. Usually though, they were some kind of king or queen.  Looking at the sheer volume of living people on this planet at this time (more, I think, than lived on earth during the entire reign of the Roman Empire, combined), odds are that the recycle bin for king/queen/high priestess souls emptied out pretty darn fast and god had to dip into the “huddled masses yearning to be free” vault just to keep up with the birthrate. At last, I assume so. Maybe we’re getting homogenized souls at this point: 99.9% miserable peasant, with a soupcon of nobility so that we can live in a world where, in the words of the Prairie Home Companion, “Every child is above normal.”  

In other words, if the worlds I create for my stories are as complete as I hope they are, chances are that if I lived in one of them, I wouldn’t be one of the three people off on the grand adventure. I’d be the dung farmer living half a continent away. And even if I were lucky enough to head out on the grand adventure, I know that I wouldn’t be the fit, fast, smart main character. More likely, I’d be the comic relief who, before the third chapter, would toss down her sword/magic talisman/ruby slippers and scream, “Damn it, that Nazgul got acid snot on my best tunic. I’ll be smelling that for days, and you’re telling me that the hardships haven’t even begun? This is fucked up, Dude. Tell the love interest/your mother/the king that the quest for the golden fleece/to destroy the ring/the Maltese Falcon is totally off and to just accept that life sucks. Why am I suffering to break a curse put on someone who was too damn mean to give a crust of bread to a starving crone?Tell the one suffering from the curse to fix their own problems, and to stop being such a jerk. I’m going back to my dung farm.”

After all, I’m a writer. I can dish it out to my characters, but I can’t take it. That’s reality, and I’m more comfortable there.


  1. Hell, I love your take on the theme, Kathleen. I'm glad you didn't have time to re-think it.

    I have often pondered those very thoughts on the "past life regression" fad.

    Where did all the peasants go?

    Excellent post!

  2. Sorry to leave you out in left field, Kathleen! (I did try to explain my thoughts on the group calendar...) In any case, you've pulled together a brilliantly funny post, though you do sound a bit mystified!

    I think your dung farmer has a lot of potential as a character, though.


  3. I think I was a dung farmer in a previous life. There is a certain wistfulness that comes over me when I smell the rich aroma.

    And to be clear, I was a very, very good dung farmer. Not just your average dung farmer...

  4. Craig - You must have dung farmed in Lake Wobegone. :)

    Lisabet - I wasn't all that mystified. I just couldn't think of anything sensible to say.

  5. I know what you mean about past life regression. I don't know anyone who went through it and got told they were a poor peasant either.

    On the other hand my family history is fairly well documented to several centuries back and I do feel a special affinity with (1) an ancestor who was hung for deer poaching and (2) one in the Victorian era who became a music hall singer, managing in the process to dump his rather mundane upbringing and re-invent himself under a pseudonym as a foreigner with an exotic past... from time to time I've toyed with the idea of incorporating his life history into a story.

    As to worlds we'd like to live in - some of my erotic writing comes from real life (with a bit of tweaking here and there) and mostly it takes place in a world I think would be generally good to live in, albeit one with its shady side and occasional social iniquities (much like the one we do live in, I guess).

    But my 'other' persona as a writer on the border of SF, fantasy and horror, under my real name, is generally about quite dystopian worlds. Thinking about it, though, they're also like some parts of the world we live in.

    Not sure how much sense that makes...

  6. Fulani - actually, yes, it does make sense.

    And I'm rather fond of my family scoundrels too. They seem to have to most personality.

  7. Hi Kathleen

    Interesting what you've brought up about reincarnation, and very true.

    I did have a psychic a very long time ago tell me about my past lives and they were mostly pretty mediocre. There was one interesting twist I haven;t heard of happening from anyone else. He said I was originally not a human life form, but a life form that had originated on an entirely different planet in a different part of the cosmos and had come to earth for Karmic reasons.

    Beat that, Napoleon.

    I can think of at least a couple of worlds I've created that I'd rather live in. Name of the game.


  8. I was a beautiful gay man in a past life but had no money so went straight down with the Titanic.


  9. Alana - The Titanic disaster is one of those events I can't deal with. I can't read about it, and I can't watch movies about it. It was too horrible, and preventable.

    Garce - One wonders how the human brains connects to an entirely alien point of view and makes sense of it. It boggles the mind. *looks at my cat* *realizes telepathically that she wants fresh water in her bowl* *fills bowl* *cat drinks* What was I saying? Oh yeah. I wonder how the medium managed to do that with your past life.

  10. Kathleen,

    Brilliant take on the topic.

    On the subject of past lives, considering my existence at the moment is so crappy, I'm beginning to suspect that, in my previous life, I was me. And I'm paying for it dearly.

    Great post,



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