Do you ever watch reality TV just to feel better about yourself? Do you tune-in to point at red-neck activities and revel in the weirdness? I admit it, I do. I like to see people that are completely different from myself, and wonder how in the world their lives developed. It helps my creative mind to be free when I can point at real people and say my creative ideas are not so far off base when compared to life. Seeing wonderfully weird people in real life somehow frees me to create them in my stories. Seeing those lives also makes me think that perhaps I am not quite as strange as I think sometimes. And until recently I thought that was why all people enjoyed those program. Then I found the one about me. Well not actually about me, but the one I can really relate to…Doomsday Preppers. I watched, and rather than pointing and saying “wow, how strange” I found myself taking notes. Ok, so maybe I won’t go as far as burying a bus on my property for a fallout shelter, but the show struck a chord in my obsessively worrying soul.
I plan, I prepare and I worry. <Hey if I don’t worry about solar flares, Iran, and Quebec separation (seriously it keeps me up some nights…what is wrong with me?) then who will?> The answer used to be no one, but not anymore. Now I’ve found my people. The ones who wont laugh when I tell them about my 5 part zombie survival plan (which btw works really well for any natural disaster/society collapse situation). I put a lot of effort into not worrying so much, especially since I now live in a condo, and storing six months worth of food isn’t an option. But after seeing Doomsday Preppers at least I know I am not alone in my weirdness. So now I have to re-evaluate my opinions on reality TV. It may not just be a voyeuristic pleasure. Maybe these shows are building communities. Allowing those of us who are “unique” (polite way of saying weird) to find out communities and share.
I have to go and research food storage systems now. And then watch several episodes of Hoarders to balance myself. Wow, what would I do without TV?
Do you have a special weirdness? Something you don’t share with others for fear of being judged? Maybe you save old shampoo bottles in case you run out one day and need to rely on the dregs? Maybe you just can’t pass-up paisley pants. You are not alone. So rather than hiding your special kind of weird, be inspired by it. Write a character that shares your weirdness, and tell your readers about their lives? Do all of their friends know about their habit/hobby? Do they hide it? Do they even know it is weird to most people? If it is hidden, what would happen if it came out? Spend thirty minutes exploring the motivations behind the weird.