Monday, February 15, 2010

Because I'm a Wuss in Real Life

I've always loved to read books full of adventure. Usually, the heroine is facing imminent danger and the hero comes to rescue her - maybe on a gallant steed, maybe in a really cool Camaro, but come he does and the day is saved.

I also like reading books where the female characters can really kick some tush - they aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty, trekking through muddy fields or climbing rugged mountains, and then firing a few rounds from their semi-automatic and shooting the bad guys, if need be.

I always wanted to be a gal like that. I always wanted to take a trip to some far off destination where I get mixed up in some international intrigue and this sexy spy guy and I work together to catch the bad guys. And of course, I would be one of those gals who wouldn't complain that all the running has given her blisters, that she is tired from staying up for 24 hours straight, or that she doesn't know the first thing about how to shoot a gun. Nope, not me. I would be the kick-butt chick.

In some ways, I think reading all these books throughout my life has given me a rather irrational view of what "adventure" is really like. More likely than not, if I landed in a situation like I described above, I'd be hunkering beneath some bed, terrified for my life, or running to the nearest police station. And more likely than not, the "sexy spy guy" would probably turn out to be an aging Cold War relic whose reflexes aren't what they used to be.

Sometimes, I get bored with my mundane existence and I start to think, "I want to have those adventures." But then I realize that I am a wuss in real life. I am not the kick-butt heroine. I have only shot a gun a handful of times and was not very good at it. I also complain a lot about blisters if I get them, and I also hate getting dirty. If I go for more than 24 hours without sleep, you will see a bear the likes of which no grizzly has ever come close to personifying. I like to sleep on a bed at night, I like my water from a tap, and I definitely like indoor toilet facilities. Globe-trotting or spending the night in an abandoned farmhouse or hiding in a dark, cold cave would not be my thing. At. All.

I am happiest in my home, reading my books, writing my novels, taking naps, playing Nintendo and Monopoly with my daughter, feeding the ducks, attending the symphony, eating my chocolate, surfing the Internet, and generally being comfortable.

I think I shall stop wishing for those particular adventures to befall me and instead start writing those particular adventures. And in those books, the heroine will be sassy and plucky and be able to survive on crusts of bread and sleep on a bed of rocks...while I stay in my pajama pants, dark chocolate by my side, fire in the fireplace, cat sleeping on my leg, and type out my heroine's dastardly deeds from the comfort of my couch.


  1. Now you see, I would never, ever think of you as a wuss. You vacationed, alone, in Europe, which in my book, takes a lot of nerve. I don't know that most people would be able to do this, and I think it speaks volumes to your inner strength! I'll bet there were all sorts of adventures there. Maybe of a different sort than you mention here, but still adventure.

  2. Joanne - Aww, thanks. Yes, I guess I'm a bit adventurous in that way in that I'm not afraid to travel by myself - at least to an English-speaking country!

  3. Yes, you took that huge adventure when I first met you when you went to Europe alone! I was in awe of you!!

  4. I agree, traveling alone in a foreign country takes nerve!

    But I'm with you...I do adore my creature comforts. This is why we're novelists, after all--we take adventures in our heads!

    (Oddly enough, I just watched Romancing the Stone this weekend--how apropos is that?) :)

  5. I think it's an excellent idea. Go for it. And why not write an adventure set in England? Or Italy?

    I'm travelling all by myself this week. I'm going from England to Wales ... :oD

  6. I'm hobbit-like. Travel intimidates me, don't know why. My characters have wild adventures as a result, poor things.

  7. I agree with the others. How can you be a wuss when you went on your travels all that way and by yourself. I could never have done that.

  8. Cool that you can funnel all that adventure-seeking into your characters and plot line. Go kick some butt!

  9. Anonymous12:56 PM; You saved my day again.

  10. Terri - Sometimes I look back on my trip to England and can't believe I actually DID IT.

    Christine - I LOVE "Romancing the Stone"! Maybe that movie is what put the idea in my head that I could have grand adventures...

    Diane - My first novel was set in England and I plan to set more there!

    Rebecca - Live vicariously through your characters, I say!

    Debs - Oh, but I got to stay in hotels and have hot showers while on my vacation, plus take taxis and buses to my destination. Of course, if the bus driver had been a secret agent and suddenly, a group of jihadists got on the bus, that might have made for an adventure...;-)

    Angie - Well, if I can't live them in real life, might as well let my characters have some fun!

  11. Melissa, not just the trip to England, but also every time you drive home, to 'me' that is one helluva adventure, really!! Bringing up that darling wee girl of yours too just has me in total awe (these are the traits of a true kick-ass heroine!). The fact that you can submit your writings and get knocked back, dust yourself down and try again, and again...just demonstrates so much inner strength. Plus with your hair tied back, you have an uncanny resemblance to that Tomb Raider heroine!!! :) Keep smiling.

  12. I'm late coming in so everyone has already said what I was going to. To travel to England alone is *not* the action of a wuss. And anyone who submits their writing to agents/editors is very brave indeed. I've been doing that for, um, a lot of years now and I still tremble at the thought of it.

    Now get writing. :o)

  13. Paddy - Driving home can certainly be an adventure, especially when there's snow and ice on the road and people talking on their cell phones and driving at the same time! I wish I could be as tough as Laura Croft!

    Shirley - Thanks. :-) Although, when I got the food poisoning in London, I certainly felt like a wuss at that point! (Or more like a wrung out washcloth!)

  14. Don't underestimate how much courage it takes to be the person you are. Even deciding to pursue publication is an adventure!

  15. L.T. - How right you are!

  16. Right on the button.
    And for those of us that don't kick butt or write kick butt, we'll have your stories to get lost in.


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