Friday, July 9, 2010

No Imagination

I was having a conversation with one of my coworkers and had a sudden realization…this woman lacks any sort of imagination. It all started from a comment I made about wanting a dog just like my sister's…as seen here with Santa and I planned to name him Sirius Black. Well, my coworker had no clue who that was, which is fine. Not everyone is required to know Harry Potter.

When I explained it was from Harry Potter, she went on a tirade about how stupid the books and movies are—even though she’s never read or seen any of them—and that it’s just dumb to write about people flying around on broom sticks. For a minute I just stood and stared at her while my other two coworkers—who’ve read and loved HP—went about telling her how great the books are.

Her counter argument was, “Why can’t people just write about normal stuff?” This was her honest-to-God answer and belief. Now, I’m not one to mock someone’s beliefs because I’d hate for someone to do that to me, but the interaction just made me sad.

What would the world be like if people only wrote about ‘normal stuff’? People are well within their right not to like fantasy for whatever reason they choose, just as I’m well within my right not to like books on science or math. But wow, I have no clue what I would do if I had no imagination. I certainly wouldn’t be a writer.

This coworker is, overall, a decent person. She makes me laugh and we have fun when we hang out, but I could never have a conversation with her about ANYthing other than beer—which I don’t really drink—annoying patients, or family. She has no interest in history, has no clue about current events or even pop culture. Sometimes there is a vast nothingness that comes across her face when you say something to her that you think would be common knowledge. And I just want to point out that I have no plans to change her, because who am I to tell her she shouldn’t be this way? She’s happy, she’s a good person and I really do like her, but my heart just hurt for her today. I know that’s dramatic, but being someone with such a vivid imagination, I almost felt like I should transfuse her or something.

I don’t mean for this blog to sound like I’m ragging on her, because it’s not. It was just something that I saw and as most of the people who follow me are writers, I thought you all could relate and maybe give me some ideas on how to deal with someone who thinks something so valuable and important to me is just a big ball of ridiculousness.

So this is my question…Do you have people in your life—close or not—who think it’s bizarre that you write? Or have you come across people who can’t even begin to wrap their minds around fantastical worlds or think they are a stupid waste of time—especially those of you who write fantasy, urban or otherwise, paranormal, or sci-fi?


Jennifer Hillier said...

First, it would really bother me to hear someone criticize a book or movie they've never seen. You want to play the "That book is so stupid" game, read the book first. Otherwise your opinion has no weight.

That being said, there are definitely people in my life who think it's bizarre that I write, especially since I write about serial killers and stuff that makes them uncomfortable. I say that's fine. You don't have to like what I write. But just don't say you hate my book if you haven't read it!

Karen Denise said...

Jennifer, I'm with you on that, but so many people criticize things they know nothing about it's a crying shame. I remember an aunt saying The Davinci Code was full of lies about the Catholic church and Jesus, but when I asked if she'd read it, she said no, her Priest told her. What do you say to that?

There are people in my life who think (and tell people) that my novel is just like Harrry Potter, when they haven't read my book to know that it's SO unlike Harry Potter that I can't even count the ways. But they think because I read the books and liked them, that this is what I must write about. It can be taxing sometimes--lol.

Palindrome said...

I told one of my coworkers that I wrote horror and she said oh so you do tarot and practice witchcraft? In all seriousness...because that's what horror is about. Sigh.

Jai Joshi said...

I've met people like your coworker and it's always a frustrating experience.

Did you ask her to define 'normal'? Or what her favourite story was? Or if she liked any fairy tales? Maybe you could point out the ridiculousness of her statement.


Theresa Milstein said...

I completely agree with you. If Harry Potter doesn't tackle real stuff - love, friendship, sacrifice, and so on, I don't know what does.

I'm programmed to write fantasy. I can't write anything else. But it's all about the characters, their growth, and relationships.

My husband doesn't gravitate towards fantasy. But he supports my writing, and so does everyone else important to me. I'd probably have a hard time being close with them if they didn't.

Karen Denise said...

Palindrome, wow! Sometimes I wonder how people make the leap from one thing to another. You write horror so therefore you must practice witchcraft. All I can say to that is, wow.

Jai, no, I didn't ask her to define normal because she also said that 16 Candles was a good normal movie when I mentioned that I'd bought my sister a copy of The Princess Bride novel for her b-day. So I pretty much know what her idea of normal was. LOL. Don't get me wrong, I liked 16 Candles, but not as much as I liked The Princess Bride.

Theresa, to my coworker, she wouldn't be able to see all the normal human things in HP because she wouldn't be able to get past the people on broomsticks.

Fortunately, the people close to me are very supportive, so it allows me to deal with those who are completely baffled by me-lol.

Mohamed Mughal said...

I don't have anyone in my life who thinks that it's bizarre that I write. I do have a couple, though, who think that my writing's bizarre, but that's different. As for folks who don't click with the world of fantasy, I say "To each his or her own." It takes all kinds to make the world go around.