We all have this dream about being in control of our lives. We’d all love nothing more than to be the person calling the shots, able to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, while having the rest of the world at our beck and call.
And I suppose some people get to achieve that dream. There are the great captains of industry, or those born into power and privilege, who get to live that reality every day. But that’s certainly not the existence that most of us share.
I have to say I’ve never felt particularly in control of my life. When I was a kid, it was school – following rules and doing what the teacher told you to do. And things didn’t change once I ‘grew up’ and graduated. No more school, but instead it was time to get a job. More rules to follow and directions to take. More feeling like I was living my life purely on the whims of other people.
The older I got, the more that dream of self-determination receded into the distance. Sure there were things I could do. Rather than being an employee, a drone or a cog in a much larger wheel, I could break away and start my own business. But that never seemed particularly inviting. Partly because I never came up with an idea that seemed especially marketable, partly because the whole idea of running a business was not something I could particularly relate to, but mainly because running a small business would almost certainly place me at the whim of a bunch of other factors I’d have zero control over.
So what was I to do? How could I try to create at least the smallest illusion of control in my life?
I got it. A surefire answer. The best idea possible.
I would become a writer.
What a perfect way to take control. At last, I could become ‘the boss’.
As a writer, I can create my own worlds. I can populate those worlds with characters, all who exist at my beck and call, required to do exactly what I demand of them.
I am the master of all I survey, an omnipotent superpower. My characters are powerless to resist my will. Except for those times when they talk back and tell me that their actions are not consistent with their characterisation. Or when they complain that I’ve created them as stereotypes and they demand to be more complex. Or when they all gang up on me and try to take over the story, especially in the middle of the night.
Yes, being a writer is the best. It enables me to play out all my fantasies about being in charge, and acting like the boss. Well, at least some of the time.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as