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Monday
Sep242012

Life With Angel

 

I feel like I'm supposed to complain about Angel living back at home again. All of the social scripts around renesting are so ugly. The parents are supposed to feel burdened with having a twenty-something in their home. They should be worried that their son or daughter is not yet independent and maybe, secretly, is enjoying living at home and off the fruits of their labor just a little too much. If they aren't feeling burdened then perhaps they are enabling this overly-dependent creature. The child is supposed to feel ashamed for having to move back home. He or she bristles at every suggestion or request or piece of advice. The child should feel burdened by the parents lack of understanding, by their inability to treat him or her as an adult. Perhaps Angel feels this way. If he does, he hides it well. As for me, I enjoy having him here immensely. 

Angel does good conversation. He's a thinker and a processer. He loves to tear a discussion into fragments and build it back up again. He is someone who sees talking as an activity and can stay up all night doing it. b went paddling for the weekend and Angel and I spent Friday night siting in the kitchen discussing writing. 

He is finally writing the novel (well actually a trilogy) that's been playing in his head for the past 10 years. He started out using a simple plot line as a device to help him fall asleep at night. Over the years he has developed an amazing cast of characters and several backstories along with the main plot. He has started a daily writing practice (he's aiming for an hour a day) and is drafting out the structure of the novel. 

Many years ago I heard that if you talk too much about something you want to write the chances are high you will never actually write it. For most of us, it seems, the talking fulfills the urge and writing about it seems stale. I have found this to be true of myself and generally don't talk too much about writing projects until I at least have a draft. This does not hold true for Angel. I have heard many details of this novel-in-the-making and it only seems to fuel his desire.

The other night we were discussing his story when he suddenly brought up a novel I had started writing some 7 or 8 years ago. I must have let him read a chapter or read some part of it to him because he had vivid images of some of the main characters. He said he always wondered what happened to them. Angel has an ability to bring his characters to life in his head (and it seems my characters as well) that I have never possessed. He then asked me a series of questions on my motivations around their development and the plot line. The questions were difficult to answer because (a) I haven't thought of this novel in years, (b) I'm not used to talking about my fiction that way, and (c) I don't think I put that much conscious thought into it when I was working on the novel. By the end of the night I had promised to reread it and see if I was interested in working on it again.

Today, as I was grading my students' papers, he came in and asked me to read a few pages in a book by Nietzsche that he's reading. He had written down notes on the points Nietzsche was making and he wanted me to read it so we could discuss them and he could develop a deeper understanding. In addition to his general interest in Western Philosophy, Nietzsche is essential for one of his characters so this was research he was doing for the novel. I took a break after grading 3 papers, read the pages, and we had a lovely discussion before dinner.

Somehow I don't think we fit the script. 

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