Friday, May 25, 2012

Spaced Out by Mary S. Palmer

Making revisions to my science-fiction book TIME WILL TELL gave me new thoughts about values. Since the outer-space beings in it have a lot of free time, I began to wonder how that would feel.
 Since I have a type "A" personality, I need to be busy. My philosophy is that people who have all day to perform a task, any task, take all day to do it. Perhaps without realizing it, they drag it out. A four hour chore can usually be accomplished in that amount of time.
 It's good for retirees to keep occupied, but it bothers me when they say, "I don't know how I ever had time to work." It seems to me they've just reset their priorities.
 The same would apply for people who say, "I don't have time to write." Honestly, though, don't we make time for the things we really want to do--especially fun activities? Oh, but writing is work. Right. But if you really love it, it's a blend of work and pleasure; sometimes, a catharsis. It can be much more entertaining to put down your own thoughts than it is to sit passively and watch a boring TV show with a plot line that tells you the outcome up front. Or one filled with so much sex, violence and offensive language that you can't even determine what the plot is.
That's a waste of time to me. I'd rather be creating characters and learning to love or hate them. In addition, I like to see where, when and how those characters are going to lead the plot forward. More importantly, I like to let them reveal why they act as they do. If I can feel what they feel, maybe readers can, too. In interacting with my characters, by extension, I am interacting with my audience.
 If I learned anything by editing my book, it is that outer-space creatures in novels often aren't too different from earthlings. Even though we may say we'd like to have time to do different things, most people become discontented and bored if they don't feel productive, except the couch potatoes, maybe. But I wonder if even they feel useless some of the time. Isn't it human nature to have a purpose in life? Perhaps TIME WILL TELL.

Mary S. Palmer teaches English at Faulkner State Community College and Faulkner University. She enjoys collecting beanie babies, and plates from the states and countries that she has visited. She writes stories in a variety of genres. Visit her website to find out more about Mary and her books.