Monday, February 2, 2009

I Bet Parent Teacher Conferences Are REALLY Interesting

I'm starting to work on my next book, which is always exciting. At least for me. It's probably boring as bleep for everyone around me, because it's practically all I can talk about. I don't have trouble coming up with book ideas, as I've mentioned before. But still, I keep thinking about how people say that there are no original stories, so there's some pressure to come up with something original, or at least an original twist on a familiar concept.

The easiest way to do this is to get into a bunch of wild situations and then draw on them for your writing, but I would never do that. Snarf.

But seriously, do you believe that there are no original stories? Because I don't, and I'll tell you why.

I worked in research for a long time, and one of my projects involved administering confidential surveys to people about their health and risky behaviors. We didn't pull any punches; I asked people about drug use, unprotected naked time, and domestic violence. It always amused me that people would tell me that they cheated on their spouses or used cocaine but not how much they weighed.

Anyway, I once got a survey from someone who obviously decided to make everything up. I say this because I was proctoring the survey, and I know for a fact that none of the respondents was a 500 pound midget. I would have noticed that. And it got more outrageous from there. My respondent was a crack-addicted, transgendered, hermaphroditic (how you could be both transgendered and hermaphroditic at the same time, I don't know, but he/she/it was), fight clubbing, no toothed, STD-riddled, severely obese little person, and also a parent of 15 children.

And you've got to wonder, what do the kids call him/her/it? Mom? Dad? Your Wonkiness?

So I've decided to write a book about that person. Because I am sure that it's a story that hasn't been told.

Speaking of stories, I've added a few more books to the Read 50 Books in 2009 challenge. I read The Batman Handbook (very cool except that they did not mention eyebrows ONCE), Deathworld (which my teenage Christopher Pike loving self would have adored), and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish (which is made of awesome).

14 comments:

K. M. Walton said...

Totally agree with listening to your life - watching everything - jotting everything down. I heard James Howe say he keeps a small notepad on him at all times for those moments.

p.s. parent/teacher conferences ARE very interesting - especially when you're the teacher. I could tell you stories!!!!!!

Keri Mikulski said...

Seriously?? They wouldn't talk about their weight? :)

I have to agree with KM about the parent teacher conferences. :) They are REALLY interesting when you're the teacher...

Jeremy Kelly said...

I have to belive that there are original stories out there to be told, or else I would lose the drive to sit down and write them.

The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish is pretty original and one of my favorite children's books.

K.C. Shaw said...

I can't write about the people I used to work with at a movie theater, back when I was 20-something, because no one would believe it. That was a seriously weird (and marginally cool) job. We didn't have a 500-pound midget at the time, but I'm sure they hired one at some point.

Kelly said...

There are always original stories, and sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!

Rena said...

I have never understood that idea of there not being any original stories left. I think there is. And like Kelly, truth is often stranger than fiction.

PJ Hoover said...

I love starting a new story! It's such a great feeling!

Catherine J Gardner said...

There are definitely many original stories still waiting to be told - and I think the one starring the 500 pound midget may top them all.

beth said...

HAHAHA!! I totally think it's hilarious that they'd lie about weight. But yanno...I would, too. :)

Yeah--I think there are new stories. Because even if I were to write a story about a crazy captain looking for a whale, I STILL wouldn't be writing Moby Dick, because I'd add ninjas or something to make it not be mind-numbingly-boring, and it would therefore be a different book.

Vivi Alden said...

Of course there are original stories, but personally, I prefer an original voice over an original story.

And, wow...transgendered and hermaphroditic. That's what too much crack and fight clubbing will do to you, I guess.

Elizabeth said...

Oh there will never be an end to original stories. The crap I hear at work (I'm an RN) you just cannot make this stuff up.

jessi said...

I can't wait to read about the severely obese hermaphroditic transgendered midget - sounds like an amazing character!

My teenage self also loved Christopher Pike. My semi-adult self considers him a guilty pleasure. :)

Scillius Maximus said...

RE: Original stories from medical field.

I hear the best one to hear are from San Francisco Paramedics. They have literally seen it all.

Christina Farley said...

Oh parent conferences. Cringe! Yeah I'm a teacher and I really don't like those.

But I must say think about the simple Cinderella story. Talk about a successful story! I'd be curious to count how many stories follow the Cinderella theme.

And then there are some stories are the same with a different twist.