Oh…, to be 21 again

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Don’t forget to click the purple button to see what everyone else has to say on this week’s subject. It’s at the end of my post.

Where were you at 21? How does that reflect in your writing today?

Looking back, as I tend to do now that I’m getting on a bit, I can see how all the things that happened to me have influenced my life in some way. And now, I use those experiences to add realism to my characters and their journeys.

On my 21st birthday (in July 1979, if anyone’s interested), I was on a ship, working as the third navigating officer. I actually spent my day being wrongly sacked and subsequently reinstated.

It was a misunderstanding that got out of hand, assumptions were incorrectly made, I was caught in the middle of things.

I remember a feeling of injustice, of being powerless to get my story across and of not being believed. Apologies were made, but I always got the feeling that they were not genuine, that suspicion still attached to me by implication.

As it happens, I left that particular company soon after and got a job with a different employer. Not because of what happened, my contract was over and I had been wondering what to do next. In the end, I wasn’t sorry to go.

Even though what happened was an unpleasant experience, I ended up in a much better place.

The sense of injustice that I felt way back then has been utilised, it runs through a few of my novels.

Miles Goram, in the Balcom series, is falsely imprisoned and abandoned by the people he thought were on his side. He feels it as a personal insult, it drives his determination to get to the bottom of WHY things turned out the way they did.

Rick Wilson, in Life and Other Dreams is not believed by his wife and fails to get the support he needs, as his world falls apart around him.

Dan Jones, in The Hitman and the Thief is blamed for an unexpected complication that ruins his plans. To atone, he has to do what he swore he never would. He’s already unsure if he still enjoys his boss’s full support, again there’s a feeling of the loss of trust evident in his subsequent life.

My other heroes (and villains) also exhibit emotions drawn from my life.

In a previous post, I told you how my own survivor guilt played a big part in the development of Dave Travise, in the novel Myra and its sequels.

Like I was, when I was young and naive, Horis Strongman, my Steampunk hero, is far too trusting of his superiors, at least to begin with. His illusions of their integrity are shattered when he finds that they operate a cosy cartel. Being from the wrong part of society means that he has his uses but never their respect.

As I’ve frequently said, nothing is ever wasted, even a bad experience can be useful, once the dust has settled.

Until next time.

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4 Responses

  1. Stevie Turner

    Yes, we build up experiences over the course of many years, and nothing is ever forgotten. I sometimes think it’s better to start writing in your fifties or sixties, as then there are many memories to look back on.

    • Richard Dee

      I agree, I have a wealth of experiences to base my stories on.

  2. P.J. MacLayne

    I’m glad you found a different job and got away, because you are right, the suspicion would have been on you forever at that company.

    • Richard Dee

      So am I. Looking back I can see that what felt like a step backwards was actually the first step forward on a new path.

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