Life is a funny thing. When I first started my journey I had no idea some of the friends I met along the way would fall to the wayside as easily as they have, yet that is the way of things. I never imagined in the moment people I spent hours with having fun would melt into background noise, only to rise to the surface every few months in the scope of our social media connections. It’s been a good reminder over the years about the difference between main characters, supporting cast, and cameo appearances.
I equate life to writing because that is the lens which I choose to view it through. The tenets of writing have become an easy allegory for much of what I see and experience. The famous English teacher phrase “eschew obfuscation, espouse elucidation” directing writers to shed the confusion in their writing and be as clear as possible with the audience. People aren’t as easy though, and they don’t play by those rules. Our social structure has evolved over the years to the point where I rarely recognize what my oldest son considers his circle of friends. I don’t bang the gavel when it comes to this though, because my parents wouldn’t have understood how my friends operated either. When those friends -his or mine- grow up they may withdraw from his story. This can be a painful or educational experience.
During my life I’ve had more than one supporting cast member withdraw, but that’s because I needed to learn the lesson that they were never going to be a main character in my story. What I needed to learn was that their withdrawal was alright. It wasn’t something I’d done to cause it, because those types of thoughts can be harmful.
Years ago I learned to hold back my heart from new characters in my personal story, I’d been hurt often enough that my default position was to stay protective. Riding the emotional wave of passion is a dangerous game. The ups and downs are difficult to manage, but over the years I learned how to control it. The night I met my future fiancee (and in less than a month my future wife) I absolutely ignored all that, which I am very thankful for. I met a main character in my story and I knew it from the start. I was that reader in the dark corner with the book, desperate to read more and more about them. I wasn’t interested in any other plot points going on around me, because in that moment the universal plot weave was already hard at work and I could see it.
It’s not that I don’t miss the cameos and some of the supporting cast – their portion of my story had some great moments – but at this point I need to focus on what the main characters are doing and where their lives are going. I’m not sure where you are at in your story, but if you look hard enough, I think it’s a puzzle you can solve.
Addendum – 28 Days (no not the movie) until our big day. I’m not sure where the time went, but the next few weeks are going to pass by like a blur. We have our lists, spreadsheets, and action items, all ready to be checked off. Part of me wonders if we can pull this off, the other part of me is too wild to allow it to worry me. It’s going to be a great time. A chance for Emalee and I to bring our cast of characters together for one night.
After that the book we write will have two hands with one pen.