Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Tricky Stuff

When does helping stop being helping and become a crutch? You can't help somebody who woon't help themselves. If they are determined to self-destruct, you can't stop them, all you'll do is prolong the agony. It's their life, so they have the right to screw it up or even end it.

All of the above are issues I've had to deal with in real life, seen other people deal with, and am trying to incorporate into the books. Because it happens. One of the major characters in our world has a son who is utterly destroying his life, not suicidal, but completely self-destructive because he can't have the one thing he truly needs. I'm HOPING I can take the lessons I've learned from (a) screwing up my own life (don't ask, it was very ugly and a very long time ago, but it made me who I am and recovering from it has made me a much stronger person); and (b) watching people I love screw up their lives completely and royally and how helpless you feel watching and not being able to stop them or offer any kind of significant help.

Not happy topics, I know, but writing (and life in my opinion) is about balance. You don't appreciate light without shadow. In fact, most of life is set up to be balanced. Up/down; left/right; male/female; day/night; high tide/low tide; summer/winter; spring/fall... and on and on. Sometimes the good guys win. Sometimes they lose, but they learn something important. And sometimes in life (though not as often in art) nobody wins, but nobody completely loses either.

One good thing about life. If you own your failures, you also get to own your successes. Which also means that if you do too much FOR somebody, they aren't learning the lesson and they won't feel like the success is really theirs. Tough news for parents, for sure. Because I gotta tell you, standing there and watching your "baby" get taught a really painful lesson SUCKS. You want so much to protect them. Hell it's hard-wired into your BIOLOGY. But you can't always do it. Because if you do they'll never grow up, never be independent, capable adults, which is the POINT of raising them in the first place.

Serious stuff. But while I want what I write to be a good "beach read" in my opinion a good beach read should have some meat to it -- but it should not beat you about the head and neck with the "morals" and opinions of the author. (Unlike a blog [wink].)

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