Dee commented in her blog last Tuesday on how many marriages end in divorce. Maybe that’s not so surprising. Marriage is an old institution. Years ago, when a couple married, they expected to spend, at the outside, twenty years together. Now, a couple could spend more than sixty years in wedlock. Writers will note the last syllable of wedlock.
Two individuals can grow bored with each other. What attracted them to each other no longer exists. I could go on but I can’t imagine why two people who bore or hate each other would stay locked in matrimony for years. For the kids—oh please, with parents like that who needs school yard bullies?
In America, religious beliefs seem less likely to stop a couple divorcing. I’m guessing most churches would prefer divorce to murder. However, I can imagine persons with strong religious beliefs might never feel comfortable after divorce, even if their daily lives are much happier.
Writers let people disappointed in love or in their lovers act out their revenge fantasies. It’s not enough to be free. Someone must be punished. Exploring the multiple possibilities in intimate relationships delights many authors. But what if individuals are committed to facts, the real and literal truth, and think make-believe is for children? Can all the resentful, jealous, and angry feelings be held up to the light and examined unflinchingly leading to greater self-knowledge? Perhaps, but I would guess unwanted feelings are sometimes dumped onto others.
I’ve worked with people who have disappointing intimate relationships. Occasionally, even if an end to such a relationship occurred decades ago, individuals harbor smoldering rage. If a person shares stories that justify the rage, I listen because that’s part of human nature, I’m curious, and there’s only one break room at work. It’s not my job to judge the intimate relationships of others. I’ve been surprised sometimes at how often a person who has never been able to share life for more than a year or two with a member of the opposite sex can still tell me what constitutes a satisfactory sex life and what I should be doing to improve mine. Do you ask a person with a flooded basement to fix your plumbing?
Sometimes a person who has never been married, had kids, or, in my opinion, much sexual experience believes she can direct me to the perfect mate. That perfect mate often looks remarkably like some stereotypical teenage ideal from an old movie. I hadn’t asked for Dear Abby advice and I don’t think the person qualified for such a role.
I wish anyone who aspires to be our final judge and advisor would take up fiction and spare the rest of us crazy and useless advice. Or maybe not. Literary agents with huge slush piles may think there are already too many writers in the world.
Could I write an authoritarian character into a story? What about the person whose unwanted thoughts and feelings are scattered over those unlucky enough to be standing close? Are the characters interesting enough?
Do you have characters in mind searching for the right roles?