VARIATIONS ON MISERY
Posted on August 12, 2017
I recently chatted online with a friend from high school who was in the middle of reading The Powers That Flee. He easily identified the bully in the story and his real life counterpart and proceeded to to tell me of his troubles with the same person. This friend had been a classmate through almost all of my time in school, and we'd never known about each other's misery. It got me thinking about how teens withdraw so much when they encounter intimidation. What would it look like if these victims from different walks of life banded together? I admit is has a bit of The Breakfast Club feel, but I'm confident the twists I have planned would yield a creature of an entirely different color, with science fiction spots or fantasy stripes most likely. :)
As anyone who is hip to my creative side knows, when my mind wanders on a subject a future novel bursts forth almost of its own volition.
That's what happened this morning as I was doing chores. What if a person from the future came back as a teacher to the very school where they were persecuted? This person, whose resentment for his childhood woes had only grown over the years, would time travel back to band together a small cadre of misfits to help his younger self ensure that he never ended up so damaged. The teens wouldn't know he was a future version of one of them until later in the story. The narrative would initially present the bully and the social stratification of the time as the enemy, but the real villain would eventually resolve into being the boy's future self, a little comment that we sometimes create our miseries in tandem with the bully in our lives. I know my meek inaction didn't help matters when it came to my own persecution. Yes, kids shouldn't be so nasty to each other, but I let the bully exert control over me by not doing anything about the situation..
Anyway, the story would play around with the variations of misfits that exist in school. My plan would be to explore this utilizing the trappings of the eighties once again. Sue me, I happen to know a lot about that decade and find it nice to revisit as I get older.
This project would likely need to wait about a year or two as my schedule is pretty committed to the Randall Flood book and revisiting Turrncoats and Irving, but I would like to do this.
Some of my most emotional novels, Irving Wishbutton, Monsters in Boxers, Graham the Gargoyle, Tagalong and The Powers That Flee, deal with bullying. It's a theme I know very well and feel I can confidently reveal the variations of the misery contained in such a situation.