One of the ideas that comes up regularly is the idea that every character is the hero of his or her own story. It's a pretty obvious statement, and seems like a good thing for a writer to keep in mind. Except... A recent spate of navel gazing has made it pretty clear that it isn't universally true, and I wonder how common those exceptions are. I am fairly confident that most people are the heroes of their own story, except...
I'm not. I haven't been for a long time. I was once, but somewhere along the line I became a little bit too self aware, and it just stopped, for the most part. I didn't notice at the time; I'm not THAT self aware. But looking back on the last several years of my life, I realize that the most meaningful things I have done is fight for a little bit more screen time in other people's stories.
The awareness is kind of liberating. (Also a little bit depressing, but that is a single snowflake in a blizzard.) There is a line in C.S. Lewis's "Perelandra" that has stayed with me since I first read it, more than 40 years ago. I think I get it now. "Love me, my brothers, for I am utterly superfluous." Exactly.
I'm not the hero; I'm an extra trolling for a speaking part. And it turns out that I am OK with that.
A coda of sorts: A dozen or so hours after I posted this, FaceBook dredged up a post from last year, reminding me that November 6 was the anniversary of the first flight of the first Hawker Hurricane, an event that (cryptic reference number one) changed the history of the world. This led me to what I will call a (cryptic reference number two) "Rose for Ecclesiastes" moment, and left me in tears. NOTHING is EVER simple... (Cryptic references will be decyphered on request.)