Real Life

I’m still into this Dostoevsky novel.  This time I was prepared.  When I read The Brothers Karamazov (and none of them were actually black guys which I don’t understand) I started getting mixed up a few chapters in as to who was what in relation to whom because there were so many characters.  Add to that the fact that Russian names can get confusing to people who don’t speak that language and it’s a wonder I got through the book at all.  In fact I had to re-read it in order to figure out all the stuff that confused me the first time.  This time I began The Idiot with a pen and a pad of paper.  As each new character was introduced I wrote down the name, something about them, and who they were in relation to the others. 

This has resulted in a nifty little reference sheet for me to go back to when I get confused and it also alerted me to something of which I was hitherto unaware:  Dostoevsky has more characters in this one novel than the total number of people I know in real life! Not counting relatives and co-workers, do you know how many people I know on this planet? ABOUT TEN! There’s Ken, Bernard, Phelps, UNLV Jacket, Tyrone, “Layla”, Jenn, Kelley, Danny Stowell, and Monique and THAT’S IT! THAT’S ALL THE PEOPLE I KNOW!!! DOSTOEVSKY HAS MORE CHARACTERS THAN THAT IN THE PROLOGUE OF THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV!!!

That said, all that means is that the novel I write is just going to be a little less convoluted than his stories.  I can do one main plot with two subplots and a few twists along the way.  That’s all I will be able to manage without giving myself a headache.  I think there’s something to be said for having very few characters but making them so multi-layered and complex that it can have the same effect as having a lot of players. 

The funny thing is that while I care little to nothing about interpersonal interactions in the real world (I’m bored even hearing gossip about myself), I find it highly amusing to concoct interpersonal relations with my fictional characters.  I think it’s because I have the total ability to contrive situations which will open themselves up for timely one-liners, the kind that are few and far between in real life.  The key is, as Bruce Lee says about fighting, is to strive for natural unnaturalness so that the effect appears effortless. Sometimes I’m within my own mind for so long that I cease to be aware of the outside world until my stomach begins to growl.  Speaking of. . .

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