Yesterday through this morning has been research on site for something, I have no idea what. The First Reader, sitting in the dark with me at the wee sma’ hours, suggested I make this post about cranky old men and bad hospital beds. So… yeah. He’s cranky, and recovering, but it’s a good thing, not a bad thing. This was a repair of damage and ought to make him better than ever. Once he’s allowed to get out of the godsdamned hospital bed and into his own.
I hadn’t necessarily approached this as research from the beginning, although I’d learned something yesterday – under stress, I can’t write. I knew that. Under sufficient stress, I can’t even draw, or focus enough to do much of anything other than sit in the waiting room – and I was perfectly healthy and fairly comfortable. It’s not the first time I’ve dealt with stressful situations, by any means. But there is a difference between being in a situation where you are doing something, or can do something, and one where you are sitting on your hands until news comes. I was contemplating this sensation in correlation to story situations while I was trying not to watch the board… this hospital has a nifty thing where they give you a number (for privacy reasons) and you can then keep an eye on progress similar to watching flights come and go at the airport.
Waiting is, inevitably, part of life. I’m not fond of it – is anyone? – but I find it very difficult to write into a story. It’s boring. So much easier to skip past it and back into some action. The trick is to skip it, while still giving the readers some idea of that passage of time, where nothing is happening, and our hero is biting his nails with worry waiting to hear news. Otherwise, you get the sensation of hurtling through story at breakneck speed with no pauses to breathe.
Because while sitting in a waiting room watching the clock is highly stressful boredom, there’s another kind. Restorative boredom. Sitting on a beach sipping a cool drink and watching the waves roll in. Sitting in a dark room watching your new born baby’s face while they sleep. You should be sleeping, too, but… Sometimes you just want to let time roll past you like the tide. When it turns is time enough to get back into the action. To be torn away from the peaceful boring times that keep you going through too much excitement…
Because it’s easy to get to a point where you’re addicted to the rush. Where you have to be doing something all the time and boredom is intolerable. Some of the characters we write, well, normal society isn’t for them. They couldn’t deal well with a 9-5 job and the boring minutiae of meetings and inventory and the same tasks week after week. Can’t you imagine how well that would go over with them?
Which may be, of course, why we write exotic adventures far away from us in space, time, and reality. We’re bored with our lives, and our brains provide us with the escape to a less boring world we can live in a time or three, before plopping back into cold reality. Sitting on a hospital couch waiting on the doctor to come say you can go home and sleep in your own bed and eat your own food. Because that’s at least your boredom, not someone else’s. And this is a perfect time to read…
(Header Image: Shaggy Dog sketch by Cedar Sanderson)