Blog 2: Who is Our Hero?
(Blog 2 aims to write the book from before the idea through the final work.)
This book might be a trip through the cosmos, though I doubt it. It could be as mundane as an exploration of journalism, or family values. Maybe an epic, a mystery, an adventure, a memoir. At this point, who knows?
But it’s fairly certain that Our Hero at the core of it will have certain characteristics that would be the same in any story. Our Hero is the flawed protagonist, the “I” in the tale, the eye of the author into whatever this becomes.
He’s not really heroic, either. But he’s all we’ve got to work with, so he’ll have to do. Our Hero might well be an absolute fool. Life feels that way sometimes.
His talents are average. He’s a little skinny, but his height is average. Intelligence, average. Income, average. Looks, average. Interests might be a little odd, but not that odd. He drinks beer, likes women and sports, winds up doing pretty much what his wife wants, embarrasses his kids as they endure their adolescence. Pretty ordinary there.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Just don’t tell him. He thinks he’s special, even as he affects normality. In his mind, he’s a budding legend, biding his time until the big breakout. A wolf only for the moment running with the sheep, hiding his fangs beneath those bleats. A maverick in thought if not deed. But then, that’s pretty much average, too, isn’t it? Don’t we all think that we’re somehow special?
And we are. We are. We see through these eyes, not those. Speak with this voice. Things happen to us. This experience is ours. Alone. Even as we each swim against the same currents as spawning salmon, head toward the brink like lemmings. We’re still us, alone and individual even while we share time and crowd together.
Our Hero loves to learn and to understand. But he hasn’t a real clue about how this world works. He can’t balance a checkbook even as he deigns to tell others to do so. He gets the importance of planning, though he never quite has the time for that. Life is going so fast, but where?
He’s in the river, riding some flotsam, Faulkner’s escaped prisoner on the flooded Mississippi, sometimes helpful, mostly just surviving and wondering where he is, who these folks around him are, floating from one event to the next, stuck with his craft. Humble as it is, it’s life.
Nah, that’s a bit too much the victim. Our Hero doesn’t view himself as a victim and certainly not as a criminal. He tries to do what’s right. For himself. For his family. For his colleagues, teammates, neighbors, community. For humanity.
He understands current, whether river, riptide or metaphor. You use it rather than fight it. You go sidewise, tack as a sailboat slipstreams upwind, pick your spots, relax and rest when the tide is taking you there or close to there anyway.
Well, that is, he likes to think he understands current. Actually, he’s more competitive than that. He gets frustrated with the tide. He fidgets. He’s restless, ambitious. He could easily drown trying to swim straight for the beach, though he hasn’t, not yet.
He’s physical. Played sports growing up. Surfed, sailed, fought wildfire, backpacked, biked, ran, adventured while a young adult. Still goes to war on the basketball court, running the hill, snowboarding, working out. Maybe it’s immaturity, not letting youth go so easily, the baby boomer’s greatest and worst quality all at once. He’s graying, he can no longer touch the rim, but he still takes on the kids as if he could. In everything.
It’s embarrassing for his children, though they let slip occasionally with something akin to an expression of pride when someone mentions their crazy father. His wife of 21 years is blessed with patience. Besides, the guy certainly can be entertaining in a sometimes blustery sort of way. When he’s not being a complete pain in the ass, that is.
To go by what you see, Our Hero is a cocky, never-wrong (just ask him) sort of fellow. You know the type. He expresses his opinion as given fact. Will argue anything, and always take the other side. Only a little twinkle in the eye, flash of a half smile will give away the fact he knows this full well. And that you, not he, could well be right this time. But he ain’t going to give it to you easily. You’ll have to hold up your end. Meet his challenge. All the better over beer.
So there’s a little bite there, some fight. If he’s not quite built to eat the sheep, he certainly doesn’t mind nipping at their heels a little. See if they’ll be inspired or aggravated enough to bark.