Advice columns always interest me. I like finding out if the advice truly answers the question and usually it does, but I also wonder what happens afterward: did the writer seeking advice follow the directive?
A Victoria, BC moonrise . . .
What happened next? A reader or reality-show watcher seldom witnesses the fallout, the next scene, unless the show isn’t cancelled, but even then there is an ending and lives are lived following too many different paths to ever guess what really happened next. As a writer I do try to make pathways for my characters to explore, and create a world for my characters to inhabit and they have to be human responses true to each singular character. The truth of that choice has to be believable or the work falls apart. Readers are smart and can tell when an author is being false, creating cardboard situations, not suspending disbelief. In movies this suspension of disbelief is there on the screen and it isn’t fun to always question impossibilities; I tend to just enjoy the stunt or scene for what it is but it better be brilliant fun: How did James Bond get out of that one? Do invisible cars really exist? And what to make of all of those vampires…I tend to like my vampires threatening, one step away from biting someone’s neck, and feral with bloodlust, rather than wilting vegetarians with a moral compass and Victorian sensibilities in this modern age.
I don’t read many advice columns anymore, part of the sad phasing away from the printed newspaper world and a surge to keep up with the internet’s rise. I guess I could always click to the columns, discover new questions to ponder: How would I answer that humdinger? It’s the same reason people watch reality television or talk shows with guests yearning for an answer to make everything clearer, better, definitive.
One of the answers Dear Abby gave long ago that I’ll never forget is one I’ll share with you:
You can’t get blood from a stone, and you can’t force loveless people to love you. But you can stop beating yourself up for not being able to “please” them and go on to live a happy and useful life, and that’s what I’m advising you to do.
I woke up today feeling I needed to heed this advice once more and it puts things in perspective and I moved on. One of the characters I’m writing about is searching for this advice but remains clouded, the emotion out of reach, and he’s becoming infected by an outside influence that is distorting his view of the world.
Take care, Justin
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