Sunday, September 13, 2009

Why I've Been So Quiet Lately

One of my basic tenets in writing is that EVERY character:
a) is the main character in their own story, and
b) considers him- or herself the good guy, or at least justified (even if they lie to themselves).

Being a writer, I often look at the real world through the lens of fiction. And, since I am the main character in my own story (just like you are in yours), I often compare my experiences to standard fictional motifs, events, or plots.

For example, in the past few months, the hero of our story found her home becoming more and more hostile and uncomfortable. The natives were getting restless, the ogres were starting to march, the resources were running low, the fort was compromised and becoming difficult to maintain, and it became apparent that, for the safety of the hero and those in her care, it was imperative that they flee.

So, in an unplanned and extremely messy move, the hero and her clan saved what they could, gave the rest away, and fled to a distant but friendly and well-stocked castle/farm where they could rest and recuperate while they plotted out the next steps in their adventure. (Note to self: while the author may know how the story ends, the characters DON'T, so it's okay that I don't know how my story ends even though I do when I'm writing). (Second note to self: pray you're living a fantasy adventure and not a tragedy).

Naturally, since things in stories can't stay pleasant, even in the safe and cheerful castle, we were stricken with the plague (or an evil magic spell...aka influenza) soon after arriving. In their weakened state, the spell almost did the hero in, but she was nursed back to health by the extremely generous and friendly locals and family.

Just like heroes in stories, though, living in safety and peace seems not to be the lot of our hero. While it is pleasant, there are missions to fulfill and work to do, plans to make and futures to prepare for, so the stay in the castle is tainted with the knowledge that it cannot and should not go on forever, despite the pleasant walks in the gardens and abundant harvest to be gathered and shared.

Despite the fact that the hero doesn't know what's coming next, she is busy trying to prepare for it....whatever it may be.

Or, if you prefer the more traditional Christmas-letter approach to a family update:

Tim has tours scheduled in Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, and California, so he's in and out. When he's in, he's busy being Farm Boy (if you've read "The Princess Bride" you know what I'm talking about), recording demo materials for his new show(s) he's putting together, and trying to track down the resources to make a demo DVD for his agent so they can start booking him out and taking him to showcases.

Becca is trying to sort laundry, care for kids, deal with suddenly having company EVERY DAY when she's used to living far far away, and make quilts/write novels for relaxation in the 20 seconds she gets free every day.

The kids are trying to learn how to do school with people around. It's taken them a month, but they've finally figured out how to play outside and are dirtier and happier than they've ever been. Caleb got baptized. Anda has decided the hammock is the place to be (though she doesn't use it to relax--frequently it's a boat going over a waterfall). Dan is building, doing 1st grade math, and learning how to be big. Benji is in less trouble because throwing things outside is okay--and so is digging in the fields, swinging on the swings, etc. Nathanael is trying to learn to crawl and sleep through the night. He's fallen in love with tree-ripened peaches. (As have I.) All the kids are delighted to have cousins to play with frequently.

If you happen to be in Utah or coming through, we're staying at a fantastic mini farm (3 acres) in Lehi and would love to see friends and family while we are here. Call or email first if you want to see all of us (since Tim is still touring). Also, the sleep disorder prevails, and we are at better but still odd hours, so don't plan to see us in the morning. And if we fail to call you back, call us again. Things are still mostly chaos here and we aren't always available at normal hours.

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