Thursday, January 10, 2013

Comic book writer Mark Shainblum once observed that "I often feel like a character in someone else's story. I want my writer to be Alan Moore, but I frequently think it's Phillip Roth. Sigh."

And I thought, that would make a great party game, or one of those annoying-Facebook quizes: If your life turned out to be just a character in a novel, who would your author be?

I can't come up with an author for my own life though: I need an Russian author's attention to pointless minutia and a Canadian author's themes and obsessions, but tempered with an American mass market author's optimism. Who is as verbose as a Russian novelist, has a Canadian's characters and lack of action, but is still upbeat? Can't think of anyone to fit the bill.

For me, the realization has now slowly dawned on me that instead of the hero in the novel, I'm just one of the background characters (you know, not really fully developed, just sketched out in broad stereotypical strokes) in my daughter's or wife's or even student's stories. Here I thought my life was entirely about me, but now reached the age when realize I am just going to be "annoying professor" or "neighbour with loud dog" when the credits roll....

Though, you know, being Canadian, I'm mostly good with bystander role. Adventure is unpleasantness that happens to other people, and actually, not being the hero is all to the good. "Neighbour with loud dog" is a satisfyingly stable life, and "annoying professor" gets some of the better lines in the book. IMHO.

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