I often wonder why, at the ripe old age of 21, I am still interested in childish things. Young adult novels, the Legend of Zelda, Pikachu, even childish manga and cartoons. I wonder why when I look around the room where I paint and write and simply hang out do I see nothing but…simplicity. Simplicity worthy of a child. And yet, beneath it all, there is a complex tension as though there is something more mature underneath. The really confusing part is that even though my interests are, yes, rather naïve and innocent, I am far from thus. My husband often states in utter bemusement, “I don’t get how you can act like a four year old in one minute and then the next minute be the most mature and wise person I’ve ever known.”
I barely get it myself. But I’ve been piecing it out, using a mixture of the just world theory, psychology, and studying the genre’s that I enjoy and the kind of people who write them—as well as genres I don’t enjoy (I never want to read an adult romance again. *groans* such flat characters! It made me want to cry.). Today as I was looking through my blog I found that one of my followers had posted crass pictures of nearly naked women, men pouring beer over a girl stuck in a urinal, and a father feeding his baby while chugging a huge pint of amber liquid, which in turn made me think about pornography—and as I began to feel disgusted and depressed I realized I finally understood why. I find more truth and more comfort in the innocent stories of childhood. I can face up the worst kind of stories (sex, death, adultery, you name it), and still appreciate them for their skill (I kind of have to for my study of writing in general—because you never get anywhere being closed minded), but in the end I return to my small little writing room where I have a huge stuffed Pikachu on my bean bag, Yugioh manga on my bookshelf, and posters of Link on the walls.
I don’t like cruel humor whose punch line is at the expense of someone else. I do not feel comfortable with those who are crass in their stupidity, close-minded in their judgments, and drunk on their own laughter. They do not appreciate or remember the simple truths of childhood: how good always wins, how we cheer for joy when true love prevails, and how kindness always wins us at least one, loyal friend (I love you Samwise Gamgee!). We forget about the simple wonders of heroes and the worlds they must conquer, of wonder, hope, exploration, and that exhilarating cry of a battle well won. We forget about compassion and wisdom, because those things you have to work for. It’s hard to be kind to others when you’d rather not care. It’s hard to be compassionate. And it’s often hard to do what is right. But dang it, that’s why hero’s journeys are always so hard! Anything truly worth it takes a hard fight!
Instead, many glut themselves in their laziness—because they don’t care. They just want to have fun. Their gaze is only on tomorrow—on paying the bills, on getting the sex, on laughing and laughing and getting so doped on their mirth they can’t see their own road of life straight and where it is taking them. They don’t care about discovery, about magic, about innocence and doing what is right at all times, in all things, and in all places…about loyalty, nobility, strength, and character.
And it’s…rather sad. As a writer, it is my duty to try and understand why people turn out like this (see writing tidbit #1). It doesn’t matter whether I like it or not, I must know why I don’t like it and then try to understand these characters. We are writers. We are connoisseurs of our fellow man.
So as I analyze myself, I come to think that these sorts of people become this what because, when faced with trials in their lives and broken hearts, they simply crumbled to the best comfort they knew of—because it is hard! Not everyone is a hero. Not everyone is going to choose to do the hard thing just because it is the right thing, or because it is wise. Also I think sometimes our pride gets in the way and we forget to listen to others who know better, like our parents. Sometimes, even more, we don’t have wise parents and are left directionless. And sometimes—and this is the hardest to accept—many simply do. Not. Care. Why care about doing what is right when you don’t believe in where it can take you? Why do what is hard when doing what is easy is so much more fun?
…which is why I believe, especially for us writers who study the human nature, it is so important to remember our roots. It is important to remember the simple truths we were raised with. Kindness. Nobility. Heroes. Villains. True love. Fighting the battles—and winning. Friendship. Compassion. Selflessness. Humility. Faith. Righteousness. Light verses darkness, and ever a thirst for knowledge.
And as a final note: it wasn’t ‘Hangover’ the movie that changed the world. It was Harry Potter. There is something to be said about that.
It’s important to do these sorts of studies on oneself—to question why we like certain things and why we don’t and to decide whether we are okay with it or not. One of the greatest ways to understand other people is to understand one’s self. It’s also why many writers have to first begin their career by writing about themselves first and about characters that share characteristics with themselves. It’s a learning process. Once you understand yourself, you can move on to ask questions about others and learning about them as well and, in turn, creating complex characters that share less and less in common with yourself. It is also important to read things that you don’t usually read every once in a while so you can get a new perspective on other people, and in turn, on human nature overall. Did you know that many say the reason Shakespeare is so immortal is because he understood the human nature? As writers, it is our duty to be lifelong students of the human soul, for characters are stories, and stories are characters, and in turn, people. (again, see post ‘Writing Tidbit #1)
It’s hard stuff, though, being honest with yourself sometimes.