I logged onto Facebook this morning while walking my dog and saw that most of my friends had posted wishes for a happy new year.
These status updates seemed benign enough, but instantly, I felt the need to do the opposite. Reject the norm. Resist the pull of the majority. Post a status update to the contrary.
I can’t explain why I feel this way, but I always have. My mother used to refer to me as The Instigator. Others have used less polite language to describe my propensity to contrariness. Either way, it’s always been my inclination to swim against the stream and disagree for the sake of disagreeing. It’s not purposeful or planned. It’s just how I think. And while I tend to like this part of my personality, it has also brought me trouble from time to time.
My former evil stepfather used to say that I’d make a “damn good defense attorney but nothing else.”
This innate pull toward nonconformity is one of the many themes that I am dealing with in CHICKEN SHACK. Like my previous protagonists, Wyatt naturally assumes some of my own characteristics, some purposefully and some unintentionally. I’ve found that it’s unavoidable. In this case, Wyatt shares my insatiable desire to be different. Fight authority. Resist conformity. And like me, it is this innate desire to be different that causes trouble and serves as the impetus for the central conflict of the story.
It’s also made it more difficult for me to present Wyatt as a likable character, which I fear may say something about me as well.
Yikes. Am I really this difficult to like?
If Wyatt had logged onto Facebook this morning and read all of those “Happy New Year!” status updates, he would have felt the same desire to post the opposite.
Eventually, I did, just as my walk around the block was coming to an end. It reads: