Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mundane--or Magic?

by Elizabeth

So here are a few things that have happened to me in the past couple of weeks.

First up, my microwave died, the apparent victim of an underpowered and/or overloaded circuit. (Don't ask me to explain anything technical; my brain turns off.) The good news was the oven itself was okay; the bad news was that the dedicated circuit (or whatever) cost over twice what the new nuker would. Had to be done, though.

So I approve the work, write the check, wait around all afternoon while the electrician does his thing--only for him to discern, oops, it really was the microwave all along. This brings the grand total to an amount high enough I don't even know what president is on that bill.

The ordering of said new microwave from the home improvement store around the corner, a should-be five minute process, takes almost an hour. And then they get it wrong anyway, which I learn the night before when a machine calls to inform me of my delivery window. No changes allowed, so sorry, beep. Did I mention that one hundred percent of the reason we bought from that particular store was so I wouldn't have to hang around the house waiting for a truck? Now I'm stuck.

Fine, I can deal. The next morning, I dash through part of my to-do list and race home. I spend the first half hour of my delivery sentence politely chewing the manager at the local store a new depot. Then I putter around, waiting for the phone to ring. When it does, after an hour, and a mechanized voice announces the truck is thirty minutes out, I have a moment of celebration, realizing I might actually have time to run errands on the flip side. Sixty minutes later: no truck, no microwave. A second call to the store and I learn--it's been delivered there! Which is something the manager assured me they do not do. Now too late to leave the house, I gird myself for kids and carpool, and take a very considerate call announcing a new G.E. awaits me at the store. I very considerately do not use my George Carlins.

Next up: another electrical failure. I'm vacuuming up piles of black and white animal fur when smoke alerts me to another circuit snafu, the surge taking the life of the sweeper's motor like one of Voldemort's followers grabbing a muggle on his own way to oblivion. The vacuum, faithful as Hermione, at least leaves a parting gift: a hot melted stench that will no doubt scent my playroom all season long. Nothing says summer like the stink of scorched plastic.

We're not done yet. The next morning, I drive to my trusted auto shop for an oil change. A note on the door snarls that the manager has quit without notice, fired the staff, and left the charities the profits supported in the lurch. Not to mention me and my dirty oil.

This is all life, I know. As the writer of women's fiction, I guess I should just recast it as research, story fodder. And I do. But I wonder, too: what is truly interesting, life experiences other people can relate to and savor and guffaw over enough to justify inclusion in a story, and how much is just filler? Does anyone want to read the woes of my daily life injected into a fictional character's journey? At what point does alchemy transform the mundane into the magical?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous02 June, 2011

    Your life experience is justified to be included as long as it fit with the story line. For example, the wife found out that her husband forgot his passport on his way to the airport. She picks up the passport and drive out and finds that she first has to change the oil at her trusted auto shop. But the auto shop is closed, the manger is gone .. and she's frustrated. She wonders if she can make it to the airport bfor the flight.
    So your life experience with the auto shop fits well with the story, and the reader can relate to the frustration from his or her own experience. Best wishes from Canada. Giora


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