I’m working on a novel in which my main character has a fear that a meteor or comet will crash through his office window and take out the potted plant sitting on top of his printer. Every day, before he begins work, he feels compelled to look out the window to make sure the coast is clear.
Later in the novel, he wakes up from a near-death experience in a room where he is surrounded by potted plants.
Fiction, especially comic fiction, allows us to laugh at our quirks and foibles. But it also forces us to examine all those things in life that are holding us back. In case you haven’t noticed, our brains are not exactly built for thinking and reasoning.
Even in a standard-issue brain, our operating system is essentially reptilian with some random and very buggy mammalian upgrades. The unit is prone to shut down or run wild for no apparent reason. This is the stuff of the human comedy.
My hero’s phobia is part of a very normal fear response, the type that we evolved to sniff out danger in the first place. But the slightest glitch in the programming, the most innocent misconnection in the circuitry, and - well - that’s the story of our lives.
Our brains comprise 100 billion neurons forming 100 trillion connections. As I like to joke, that adds up to a million things that can go wrong. Normal becomes abnormal. None of us are immune.
There’s a question in this. Let’s keep it on the light and comical side: Your own quirks and foibles - tell us about them.
This one may be easier to answer: Quirks and foibles you have observed in others. Go for it.
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Published On: March 11, 2014
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