The Boring Bits

Recently, a bunch of friends and I got into one of those conversations – the kind where everyone reveals that they think they’re the boring one, and doesn’t know why the others put up with ’em and let ’em hang around. The fun part is, most everyone thinks this, and this group includes people that are far, far more interesting than me.

We all live our lives from moment to moment, and often, there’s a lot of “this was just the next thing to do” or “I just fell into this”, as well as eating, sleeping, wrangling kids, wrangling coworkers, and the ever-present laundry. So even the most outrageous lives can seem, to the person in them, to be routine and boring. And… like heroism, you don’t have to be interesting all the time, in order to be an interesting person. It’s all in how you frame the story, and what incidents you want to talk about.

So I started writing blurbs of my friends. And before you know it, the bladesmith who is a unicorn – a highly competent and supportive male military dependent, the utter opposite end of the scale from the dependapotomus – sounds like he’s in a thriller. That is, between rising from the medical coma bit and being the source of hairsticks that would make any weapons-minded woman squee, it’s be a techno-thriller, but when you factor in how he met and wooed his wife, it might be a romantic comedy suspense instead…

I actually know two highly competent male dependents, and the second, as boring as he thinks he is with his days spent wrangling some of the brightest and most precocious kids I’ve met, is anything but. (One of the kids is barely taller than my desk, and does origami frogs and cranes as a method of fidgeting. The attempts to emotionally manipulate me as an adult who might let them get away with things Mom and Dad won’t are transparent, and very clever, for their age.) I turned him into a thriller with post-apocalyptic overtones as I wrote a blurb for the Epic move during the Plague year in which everything from the weather to criminals attacked… The PCS From Hell.

A third friend, D. Jason Fleming, is an editor whose current project in life is getting old pulp classics back in print. He is smarter than to claim in the face of these example that he’s boring. But he did the next best thing: he claimed it was only because I’d written the blurbs mentioned above that he wasn’t saying he’s boring. So I did one for him anyway.

Things like this were supposed to happen in the movies, not real life!

When D— was in film school, he had no idea of the thriller that his life was about to become. After a seemingly innocuous trip to China, his return to America began a bizarre and terrifying descent into being hounded across the land by treachery, betrayal, and madness turning even his closest family into unspeakable enemies.

Out of cash, out of options, homeless and off the system, he was so desperate, that when a mysterious group online hunted him down and told him there was a plane ticket awaiting him… he took it.

The ride took him to a strange world where writers rewrote the boundaries of what he knew was real, and before he could protest, he found himself journeying thousands miles, hiding out in a warehouse with a costume designer for ballets… and then fleeing with her to Texas, where he’s surrounded by incredibly well-armed people. Who are suspiciously friendly.

They claim not to want anything…

Whether or not he’s is still looking for ulterior motives in the collard greens, beans, ham, and cornbread that was group dinner last night for the North Texas Troublemakers, I can’t say.

But I can tell you that he’s putting up a lot of old pulp on Amazon, and if you ever wanted to learn the origins of our field of fiction, he can talk for hours about it. Or better yet, read it yourself!

For original pulp westerns by Max Brand, here’s a set of three:

Or for an original space opera, there’s Bullard of the Space Patrol:

Or an old pulp thriller:

And now I see how long it takes him to notice I did this…

What, you think I do something predictable and boring like letting him know I’d be springing promotion on him? Bwahahaha!

Fiction, after all, is just like life, but cutting out the boring bits, or spinning them so they’re strange and exotic to everyone else!

17 thoughts on “The Boring Bits

  1. And then of course we have the nefarious princess, pilot, author, master of both pen and sword. And along side her the consort, himself writer, weapons master, battle scarred soldier, defrocked priest. Not to mention her familiar: evil incarnate, black as sin, with the mark of ash on its nether regions. And minions! Lord love a duck, she has minions, whether nearby in an undisclosed location somewhere in the vastness that is North Texas, or scattered hither and yon across the known (and unknown) world.

    1. Someday, I will live down the fact that when I met my now-husband for the first time, we were trying to outrun a volcanic ash cloud, and almost made it.

      In the meantime, C. V. Walter giggles at me and tells me our marriage is a romantic suspense novel.

  2. :laughs:
    Husband and I were talking just the other day about how much more interesting life sounds when you try to sum it up.

  3. Boring… Ah what a thing to aspire to! To be bored is to be content to the point of overflowing. For are soul-sucking awfulness, vile adventures, pain, suffering, want, problems and difficulties not at lest *something?* One can indeed be bored and at the same time in danger, pain, and suffering- but those things tend to concentrate the mind, however unwillingly, on the issues at hand.

    Oh to be bored! To have no agonizing worries, no looming deadlines, no personal dramas, no worries and angst! To become truly bored should then be the true Dao, the way to ultimate peace.

    To boredom! May we one day be foolishly wishing for excitement again, instead of mired in the muck of it, down in the filth and frustration of everyday life.

  4. As I sit here online and find clues about my friends who have fled various blue areas. Glad y’all have landed safely. Hope to get there some day.

  5. Boring and dull IS our ideal… Most of us have done the ‘other’ part already… sigh

  6. I write adventure stories because I don’t want to be in adventures.

    I know that adventure is telling stories in a pub when somebody else is up to their chin in liquid elephant shit. And, my cast of characters tends to get into the sort of situations where fast healing and regeneration are bonuses.

    1. I write Dr. Z like a noir detective. Concussions and bruises? Pfah, Doc Z is a real man’s man! Carries on like blood is just confetti for the awesomeness parade.

      Okay, not really. But he does get up to some stupid shenanigans while still healing up a stab wound that went all the way through his leg, a gash that opened up his lower back to his ribs, chest clawed up and then zippered together with nanintes as suture thread, two heavy bruises, and a probably concussion from all the shots to the head. In my defense as author, he was in microgravity and using a space suit with gas jets to move around mostly while he was running away from zombies.

      I’ve seen adventure up close and smelly. Not a fan. Give me a boring life any day! I’ll write adventures and maybe get paid for them someday so I don’t have to see adventure ever again.

  7. Reading these comments reminds me of a conversation I had years ago with my husband right after we got married, when we were discussing where to go on vacation:
    “Dear, let’s go on an Alaskan cruise!”
    “Why in the world would I want to go on a cruise!! I just got back from a nine month deployment and saw plenty of water! Why would I want to go on another ship for vacation!”
    Long pause while I looked puzzled at him and he glared at me.
    “Well, Have you ever been to Alaska? It would be beautiful this time of year. And I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t make you stand any engineering watches, run main space fire drills, or navigate the ship while were on the cruise. We could even sleep in the same bed, and go back for seconds on dinner.”

    There’s different levels of “adventure”. The types of adventures that I want to go on, (trip to Europe with lots of museums and cathedrals), an Alaskan cruise, etc. is not an Adventure! (in an announcer voice) when someone has seen combat. I’m perfectly happy to live a “boring and dull” life without being shot at, but getting out of town and going on trips to explore the area and region would be nice. Small adventures, not big ones that leave trauma scars.

    [We still have not been on a cruise, and it’s been nearly two decades since we had the above conversation.]

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