On the drive up to the neurologist’s office for my long-awaited nerve conduction study, the results of which almost seem to prove that it’s not a neurological problem but will only find out tomorrow when I get the official word, I thought of “The Story.” I thought of how John’s arm and finger disability is much worse than mine and how John might go in for a study like this, and also, silly fantasy tropes.
This past week, I went to two different podiatrists over two days. Do experiences like that directly or indirectly influence “The Story?” I think, at best, these experiences help me meander through parts of the narrative that maybe I could have figured out otherwise, but, sitting in a doctor’s office is the best way to “method write” your way through your character’s motivations, I suppose, except, it gets weirdly dissonant regarding reality; don’t overdo it.
Earlier this week, I had two doctors’s appointments on the same day, and if there’s anything that American healthcare is good at, it’s making the patient wait around, so as I waited in the waiting rooms and patient rooms, I invited John and Trishna from “The Story” along with me. They are fictional characters, but, that doesn’t mean that I can’t imagine how these characters might act or react in situations like mine, even, temporarily.
I had a scene possibly from “The Story” pop up earlier this week. I don’t often chase these scenes down as potential story ideas that will anchor elements of the narrative. I’ll explore the scenes to see where what happens and to see if there’s any weight. I think the best stories for realistic fiction, even if abstracted somewhat, are the ones where there isn’t a whole lot of forced narrative guidance from the writer.
After my recent spine appointment, I went to a graveyard to visit a local celebrity, but also to incidentally think of “The Story.” While I was waiting for the appointment, I wondered how Trishna and John would handle such meetings, and what might inspire them to go visit graves. These moments are impetus for ideas for me. Whenever you have any sort of writer’s block, explore your local area, and let things inspire you, perhaps.
I had a foot MRI which revealed some insights into the problems I’ve been encountering. It won’t solve all of my problems, but what will other than some humane doctor treatment? What’s been interesting about this first self-diagnosed foot swelling then properly-diagnosed mild intermetatarsal bursitis with mild edema is how oddly similarly this could align with elements of “The Story.” Years ago, I wrote about how Trishna was disabled with a foot problem? Prediction? No.
Character building can involve asking about what things the characters like or dislike, and I feel, to a certain degree, that can apply to anything as one entry point. I don’t think of it as a truism to say that someone will always like something like this or dislike something like that. Tastes change. Just because someone likes something violent doesn’t mean that person’s a violent person. The same applies for “The Story,” oddly enough.
While I was waiting at the mechanics, getting my car worked on, I overheard a parent schedule an appointment for a child’s new neurologist. It wasn’t that I was being nosy, but that the information was clearly spoken out in the open. I could try to filter out the information, but I wondered, as I heard some of the details: How might this relate to “The Story?” I don’t usually borrow inspiration from the public.
When I usually think of “The Story,” the events take place when John and Trishna are in their mid-teens or maybe early college age. On my way home from my neurologist’s appointment this week, my mind wandered to a different part in “The Story” – when they are in their mid-20s. I imagined that they were going to a doctor’s appointment of some sort, and how they spent their time after the appointment for the day.
My experiences with doctors over the past week have not been positive. When my weeks are knee-deep, or I suppose eyes-deep, with problems about healthcare, I often forget to think about “The Story.” Saturdays are a good mental reframing time for me to remember to think about this project. I like to ask questions like “how would Trishna or John handle this?” to instigate fiction-writing thoughts, and, to help me thoroughly explore my own actions/options.