Every so often my characters surprise me with their wisdom. I’ll be writing away, happily trying to convey some occurrence crucial to my plot, and one of them will interrupt the action with a remark that causes me to pause and wonder where that came from.
Yesterday I sent the manuscript for my fifth novel off to my editor Joel. Big happy moment. I like to give the beginning and the end one last read before I do that, and I stumbled across the scene above. The fire dancer from Kiribati, Afi, has always been wise in my mind, and here he was once again surprising me with something insightful.
It might not have struck me except for the fact that I am mildly addicted to another blog. Every day Cathryn Wellner sends me a short blurb about something that gives her hope, and most days whatever she has found gives me hope as well. Yesterday she wrote about Officer Jeff Krebs of Kansas City Missouri, a man who is a lousy dancer, but uses his poor attempts at street dancing to reach out to the generally mistrusting youth around him. Visit this post Ferguson, Missouri is not Everywhere, nor Everyone and while you are there you may wish to check out some of her other dollops of good cheer.
You can also go straight to the video of Officer Krebs dance here. It’s not particularly impressive footwork, but he lends support to Afi’s point. Good things generally come from trying to dance.
Lately I have been absorbed by the idea that each of us is less an entity and more a sort of probability cloud. Those closest to me cannot say with absolute certainty how I will behave under a certain set of circumstances. They can, however, make a good guess and they will be right more often than not.
Does not being totally predictable make me wishy-washy? Inconsistent? Or does it confirm that I am multifaceted and even intriguingly complex? It probably depends on who you ask. The fact is, none of us are the same person day in and day out. We have our moods. Wisps of memories become unexpected triggers and we say things that are rather out of character. We love papaya but for some reason cannot stand the taste of mango. Let’s face it, we are each kind of sort of a certain way, but not always, and never completely.
I like this idea of a probability cloud as it applies to all kinds of things. d4 has forced me to think hard about the future, and to speculate on the extent to which it is firmly fixed and the degree to which it is ruled by wild chaos. Neither end of the spectrum feels like truth, and I go with a universe in which order and the unexpected strive for balance. I think it has to do with the ways in which the macroscopic world mirrors the microscopic and perhaps even the telescopic as we all go whirling through space kind of sort of in a particular location, moving in a certain direction, but never absolutely so.
The other day my husband did something odd. I don’t remember what it was, partly because it is his personality to behave a little erratically. What I do remember is his response to my “what was that about?”
“I want to keep you on your toes,” he laughed. “I don’t ever want to become too predictable.” He needn’t worry, he never will. Remaining hard to predict is part of who he is. I wouldn’t expect anything else, even though maybe every once in awhile I should.