Every day I have to make a left turn at a light to get on to the main road to get to work. I have been amazed at people who don't like to share the road on the other side of the intersection by making their right turn into the left lane right in front of me. I don't curse them as selfish, egotistical, clueless bastards any more. I've been broken of that habit. But yesterday I saw someone who was even more selfish than the ones who just take the lane they're not entitled to.
I was third in line and to make my left turn as I always do. Across from the intersection was a person driving a black SUV who wanted to turn right. There were probably a half dozen cars behind him. This happens around 7:30 in the morning, mind you, so we're all on our way somewhere and likely in a rush to get there. The two cars ahead of me went on and made the turn when the light went green and I entered the intersection anticipating him turning into the lane next to me. He didn't move.
He was waiting to make his right turn until the left lane was clear, holding up everyone behind him.
I tried to imagine what it was that kept him from making that turn, accelerating and then putting on his signal to get into the left lane. Was he just selfish? Lazy? Careless? Was he not paying attention to the fact that the light had changed?
This put me in mind of my characters in Juggy and the Duchess (you can read excerpts here and here). Everyone in the book is selfish at some point, thinking only of their own benefit in a given situation. Each of them is unlikable at different stages of the story and that's a lot like life. No one is the same through an entire week, or even an entire day. We are different with different people.
One of the things that's got me excited about this book is that I'm finally nailing down how people interact and behave with their close friends and the people they've only just met. Not perfectly, mind you, but much better than I have previously. This book is about loyalty and relationships among intergalactic thieves stealing things that will be assembled into a super weapon that will end the universe as we know it. It's a human story set in a fantastic situation. I hope.
All my writing is about searching for the inherent meaning of one's existence. Whether it's seeking truth in religion or the thrill of adventure or making art that affects people my stories are about living a life true to oneself. There are things we do to feel alive and there are things we set aside to accommodate others because those people are important to us. Ego dictates what we do and how we act. Ego is something that gets in the way of having relationships that last. It's also what makes for interesting stories when one Ego goes against another. These experiences inform the writing and it's up to the writer to make it relatable to readers. That's the theory, anyway.
(Disclaimer: I'm not saying I've been a professional thief nor am I encouraging you to be one. I'm also not encouraging anyone to end the universe. I'm quite fond of it the way it is, thank you.)
I'm sure the guy in the SUV is a nice person to those he cares about. Well, maybe mostly anyway. I don't know. I do know the Ego in the SUV didn't care he was holding up others. He only cared about making his right turn his way. There's gotta be a story in that.