“We have a right to exist!” John’s words, shouted at some ignorant heckler, caused the hairs on my arms to stand up, rang through my ears, and punctuated a brainstorming session I was having while walking back from lunch along a summery pier. In this scene, Trishna already felt insecure about going out with painted toenails in some nice open-toe shoes… but let’s start at the mellow introduction of that brainstorming session for “The Story“
Spoilers?: Minor (character trait exploration)
It started after signing the second of 500 “The Story” business cards.
“It’ll be worth something’ somed’ay!” [Writer’s Note: How well did those two apostrophes work for denoting a slight accent?] During my walk to get some greasy fish and chips, I thought about my artist’s signature, its value, before going down a rabbit hole of asking: Am I doing all this for wealth and fame? No. Even if it doesn’t get me out from under the constant pressure of salaried living, “The Story” should mean more than that, and should do more than just sell plenty of books.
I thought about visible and invisible impairments.
That might be the final threshold to surpass. Why do we judge others so harshly on their physical features? Or what condition they’re in? If someone’s wearing a cast, has a prosthetic arm, has a mobility impairment due to obesity, or wants to wear nice shoes while using a wheelchair, what difference does any of that make to us? It shouldn’t make the least bit of difference and yet it seems like there is subtle hostility, confusion, disdain, or otherwise toward people that look “different.”
That’s when that scene popped up.
It’s not like “The Story” will completely be about advocating for one cause or another, nor will it be completely one-sided, but there will be some general sympathies. General respect toward others being a central point, because though I haven’t had any extended or permanent physical impairments, I’ve experienced enough commonalities to consider the broader appeal, and I am empathetic to the argument that we should strive for equality toward all people.
That said, some people have shitty behavior toward others.
Let’s be fair. If this heckler is just someone walking along, minding their own business, when they see something completely outside the realm of their comprehension, there are a few acceptable scenarios. A reasonable person might casually observe and say nothing. A curious person might strike up a casual conversation. An obnoxious person might, in their own way, try to learn more but end up just being rude. That’s probably what happened in that situation.
Unfortunately, John and Trishna will have many scenarios like this in “The Story.”
Fortunately, they’ll also find ways to endure, preserve, and thrive. It’s in examples like these that we can start to see more of the toll our behavior plays on others, and how, taken too far, a seemingly innocent interaction might cause someone to lash out.
It’s our choice to be offended, and, to offend others.
|Quotes:  This was subconsciously inspired by the Elephant Man.  Part of the idea with handing out these business cards is to crowd source ideas. I’ve tapered off handing them out recently, maybe out of fatigue?|
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium.|
|Inspirations: Brainstorming through some ideas to make sure that I am clear in my intentions. The more I write about these intentions, the less ambiguity I have in my mind about my actions, and the faster I can act.|
|Related: Essays building “The Story.”|
|Picture: Generic picture to save time.|
|Written On: August 23rd [1 hour]|
|Last Edited: October 13th [5 minutes]|