It's New Years Eve as I write this, and I am curled up on the couch, reflecting about the past year. It was a great year for me with exciting events and some not so exciting events. And as always, it was those not so exciting events that I learn the most from.
- If you put eggs on to boil and go back to your office to write, the eggs will eventually explode. Honest.
- Don’t try to put a frightened cat into a pet cage by yourself…even if you’re trying to get it out of the house because you’re afraid its lungs are going to be damaged by the smoke from the burned beans you remembered when you were lying face down on a massage table.
- Never ask a woman when her baby is due, even if she looks 8 months pregnant. Ever
- If you drop an open-faced, peanut butter sandwich, it’ll always hit the floor peanut butter side down. That goes for a jelly sandwich, too.
- But not for an English muffin. Somehow it always lands right side up and the honey doesn't even drip onto the floor.
- When someone says they want to hear the truth, they’re usually not telling the truth.
- Consider your answer carefully when a friend asks if you like her new hairstyle. (See previous bullet)
- When a friend asks you to critique her granddaughter’s story, RUN.
I’d like to say I didn’t actually do any of these things. That they are all figments of my imagination. I’d like to say that. I will say that each of the events happened only once, except the ones about dropping food. Hence the title, A Few Things I Learned in 2016.
There is a positive side to my lapses of common sense. Thank goodness. The resulting stories make entertaining blog posts. And since I’m a writer, at some point, in some story, my hero or heroine will forget the eggs or do one of the other dumb things I’ve done, not just last year, but during my lifetime—today’s list is way short.
And guess what? My foibles will strike a chord in readers, endearing my protagonist to them, even if they’ve never exploded an egg. Because they have done something similar. They can identify. And that’s what it’s all about for me. Creating characters readers can identify with and care about.
So, would you care to share something you learned in 2016? It doesn’t have to be something crazy like my list. Just something you’ve learned.