Why You Should Never Live With A Literary Fiction Hero

I’m back! (Yes, I know you didn’t notice I was gone.) But it’s been a while. I went away to write a book. And despite every obstacle and distraction I merrily threw in my way, I did it. Wolf Music, a NaNoWriMo project, is a few chapters short of a novel just yet, but I did fulfil the brief by writing over 50,000 words between November 1st and 29th, and therefore will be blowing my own trumpet until the proper musicians on TV take over around Christmas.

Why You Should Never Live With A Literary Fiction Hero

 

To herald my return to Thursday blogging (which may also be Friday, Saturday, Tuesday, or Museday, depending on how contrary I feel) I have another in the Why You Should Never Live With… series. Unreliable Narrator here. Chick-Lit Heroine here. Cop From A Crime Novel here. Young Adult Protagonist here. And now we have the Literary Fiction Hero. Bless him or her. You just know it’s never going to turn out well, don’t you?

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Why You Should Never Live With A Literary Fiction Hero

The door of your ultra-modern house opens soundlessly: silent as the unspoken vitriol between you and your mother thirty years ago, and the love you bore for that person who is dead now. You walk with heavy step towards the kitchen. In another universe, you would be alone with your thoughts. But unavoidable reality takes the form of somebody in the kitchen. It’s your housemate. All the lights blaze – even from the oven and the fridge – and yet, it is dark. So dark.

You: Hey. How was your day?

Lit-Fic Hero: I met a woman in the park this morning. She wore a cloche hat and lace-trimmed gloves. She had the beginnings of a stye in her left eye, yet somehow that made her more beautiful. When she looked up, I saw she was crying. I wondered if she’d just been jilted. But she told me she was weeping for the crisis in that war-torn place which also serves as a proxy for the conflict within. I didn’t know what to say.

You: I’m sure you didn’t. But c’mere, what were you doing in the park this morning? Isn’t your office on the other side of town?

Lit-Fic Hero: I had a dental appointment.

You: It’s not like you to do something so pedestrian.

Lit-Fic Hero: Actually, I’m always doing routine stuff which serves as a metaphor for something else.

You: That’s true. What was the meaning of the dental appointment?

Lit-Fic Hero: Man’s struggle for unrealistic perfection, and the fact that I used to smoke.

You: Ah.

You have a bag of groceries with you, and begin to put them away. When you open the cupboard above the sink, you get a nasty surprise.

You: Where’s all my food gone? This cupboard was full when I left this morning!

Lit-Fic Hero: It was the only food in the house. I remembered at lunch that I hadn’t eaten in seventeen days. I’d been thinking too much to notice I was hungry. Going out for bread felt too meaningless, so I had to forage in the wasteland of my life instead.

You: But weren’t you at work…? Oh, never mind. You were never very location-specific, anyway.

Lit-Fic Hero: I got a letter today.

Why You Should Never Live With A Literary Fiction Hero

You: This is going to be a long story, isn’t it? All right, shoot. I have no plans, and definitely no opinions.

Lit-Fic Hero: Scarred white envelope. Gentle, trembling hands: the cold of the knife, edging ever further – lifting the lid – paper cut. Life’s essence running out.

You: You know I hate it when you talk in adjective-laden staccato. This is not the Pulitzer committee. If you don’t form a proper sentence right now, I’m going upstairs to watch internet porn. Who was the bloody letter from?

Lit-Fic Hero: I’m in charge of the puns here, thank you.

You: Sorry.

Lit-Fic Hero: It was less than I believed my life would deliver, but so much more than I expected. I stared at it for such a long time. How had it happened? Was it my fault? Had the thoughtlessness I’d been accused of all my life – ever since I was eight years old, when the incident which ended my innocence happened on the edge of the forest – finally brought this upon me? Upon everyone near me?

You: I’m not sure I follow. Actually, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to follow, but I’ve come this far, so I may as well see it out to the end.

Lit-Fic Hero: I dropped the letter as though it burned me.

You: That reminds me. We never replaced the Fire Blanket after your last disaster.

Why You Should Never Live With A Literary Fiction Hero

Lit-Fic Hero: But I couldn’t run from it. Even if it did lead me to the dark. Even if it leaves me there, until I forget who I am, and how it was I came to be.

You: I could leave a few buckets of sand around the place, I suppose. You do burn things fairly regularly.

Lit-Fic Hero: I have faced the darkness before.

You: Although buckets of sand won’t be much use unless I’m around to use them at the crucial time. Maybe I should get a few more Fire Blankets.

Lit-Fic Hero: Are you even listening?

You: Absolutely not. I’m only still here because I get points on my Intelligentsia Loyalty Card for every soliloquy you do.

Lit-Fic Hero: I am alone. Solitarily, achingly alone.

You: Are you going to tell me who the letter was from? And I’m warning you, if you don’t finish up with either a killer one-liner, or a truism that’ll be plagiarised by six politicians before the weekend, I’m going to slap you.

Lit-Fic Hero: It was the figurative story of my life, I suppose.

You: [sighing] Go on.

Lit-Fic Hero: A final demand for the overdue electricity bill.

You: I’m going to kick your arse.

Lit-Fic Hero: That kind of earthy language won’t win you any prizes, you know.

You proceed to kick the Lit-Fic Hero’s arse. You don’t win any prizes for it, but it’s more satisfying than anything you’ve read in years.

Then the lights go out.

The End

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  68 comments for “Why You Should Never Live With A Literary Fiction Hero

  1. December 1, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    I would so kick his arse 😀 Perhaps this is why I don’t really dabble too much in literary fiction – that much rage isn’t good for anybody 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 1, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      At least the rage would save you from the moribund ennui, Helen. That’s what scares me the most…

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 1, 2016 at 1:42 pm

        Well, there is that, Tara… ;-D

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter
        December 1, 2016 at 3:10 pm

        You got me at cloche hat, this was hilarious. I smiled breathlessly, normally i just frown when i read so plainly . Insight and ..forget it, it was delightfully agile. Thankyou

        Liked by 1 person

  2. December 1, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Welcome back and well done on the writing. Just dusting my trumpet off!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. December 1, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Oh, the drama. ha ha. You just killed the genre, Tara. It’s dead and buried in the back yard.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. December 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Best line EVER: “Actually, I’m always doing routine stuff which serves as a metaphor for something else.”
    Damn brilliant post, Tara! Wish I’d written it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 1, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      High praise indeed from the queen of comedy, Melodie. You just made my return to the blogosphere!

      Like

  5. December 1, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    I suppose that’s the real reason why I took a sabbatical from my lit-fic novels-in-progress to indulge in a bit of cancer: my subconscious needed to ponder the densities of the dark side. I was wondering why I chose this, of all times, to laze around in a chemo- and radiation-induced brain fog, with only enough gumption to re-blog my most popular posts and do simple cut-and-paste occupational therapy projects. But now that all of the nuking and the worst of the poisoning are done, I have four illustrated books to show for it, and I’m beginning to feel better, so I should be back in the literary hot seat around the first of the year. Thanks for covering for me so thoroughly. That’s true friendship.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 1, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      I’m truly sorry to hear about your health trials, Christine. I hope you’re well on the mend now with that ordeal behind you. Well done on doing anything at all during your illness, let alone four illustrated books…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. December 1, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Lol – not only are you back, but you’re in rave form, too (and no, Grammarly, I don’t mean *grave* form)! Congrats on the NaNo success. Looking forward to reading the book now!

    Like

    • December 1, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      So am I, Nick, if I can find a book in there 😉 Kidding aside, I was much better organised going in to this year’s NaNo, so despite a big dip in the middle of the month, I was generally able to stick to the plan. I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 1, 2016 at 4:36 pm

        *Chanting*: Write-the-book! Write-the-book! Write-the-book!

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 1, 2016 at 4:41 pm

          I find that strangely soothing. I don’t know if that was your intention.

          Liked by 1 person

          • December 1, 2016 at 6:57 pm

            Well, I was aiming more at sending you back to the manuscript than lulling you to sleep, but I’ll take what I can get. After all, most of my writing ideas come to me when sleeping.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. December 1, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Ah – an arse-kicking challlenge! 😀 Just what I need today after fighting with Goggle Drive until gone four in t he morning… 😛
    Good news about NaNo – I didn’t make the word count last year, but I went on and finished the novel in the Spring so I’m glad you’re going to see it through too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 1, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      I’m only about 3 or 4 chapters off the end, Jan, so I hope to have it done well before Christmas. Didn’t stop me telling everyone (repeatedly) and revelling in the glory of the 50k count in November, though!

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 1, 2016 at 4:29 pm

        You made the target though – I missed by around 7000 & even then it was a lot of old stuff I was recycling! Pat yerself on the back lady! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  8. December 1, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    No plans and definitely no opinions Tara? I doubt that very much – What a Novel way to have spent November.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 1, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      Oh, I’d have plenty of plans and opinions if I was allowed. It’s hard being a literary foil. Still, at least I got a book out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. December 1, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    It was worth the wait. This is brilliant, Tara. And congrats on finising up NaNo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 1, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      Thanks, Sarah! I had a lot of fun with this one. Felt like revenge on some of the stuff which may have been slightly oversold lately.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A.S. Akkalon
    December 1, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    “You were never very location-specific, anyway.” I love this! And hate it about literary fiction – I’m looking at you, Ulysses. I’m a simple soul. Why can’t you tell me where you are and what you’re doing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 1, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      I blame the ‘show don’t tell’ brigade, A.S. They forget that stories started out with telling. It never does to go too far away from the basics.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. December 1, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Is that a new novel on your hardrive, or are you just….. I don’t know where I’m going with that!! Congratulations 🙂 You made it out of Nano alive, hurrah! So now you’ve all this time on your hands, do you think you could turn this series into an animated sketch? You know, like Martin’s Life? I think that would be AMAZEBALLS (hah! you thought I was going to leave a comment and NOT use caps?!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • December 1, 2016 at 10:54 pm

      Haha! Why yes, Evie. It is a new novel. Imagine what it’ll be like once I go back to it, and realise I’ve committed 98% of the crimes I lampoon on this blog. I love your idea of an animated sketch. Now if only I could animate or sketch….

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 2, 2016 at 8:54 am

        Ah yes, the stumbling block of all great ideas…. total lack of any relevant skills or experience! Not to worry, I’m sure we could cobble something together with a bit of marla (remember that?! why didn’t we call it plasticine?) Anyway, love this Lit-Fic Hero and the gravitas he brings to proceedings. Look forward to seeing that novel too 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  12. December 1, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Dear Aunt Tara
    I am sure I’m being stalked by a simile. Yesterday for instance I was in the Butchers when he said ‘How would you like that madam?’ When I told him my name was John he said he liked people with confused orientation. My partner says these aren’t similes but if not are the meaty metaphors for the turbulent viscera of modern living, putting steaks through my heart and liver in my pool? And then my daughter said she was, like, peckish and could she, like, have a sandwich but she doesn’t like sandwiches so that had to be a simile that had colonised my daughter’s vocabulary and is intent on a parasitical infestation with randomly constructed figures of speech of my whole subtext.
    Or am I just a walrus with a hormonal imbalance as my therapist maintains?
    Please advise.
    Doreen L. Latvian, (Brigade of Guards)
    PS I enjoyed your novelty whippet; very jejeune

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 1, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      Dear Latvian,
      I’m afraid following this year’s global events I can’t help you because language is now officially broken. My best advice is to make up some facts and punch anyone who walks on their tip-toes while carrying any dogs larger than wasps.
      Also: don’t put liver in your pool; it’s not all right. Alright?
      Auntie Tara.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. December 1, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    HAHAA, your writing is therapy, love it. I missed you so I’m glad you’re back!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 1, 2016 at 11:32 pm

      Thanks Liberty. I missed me too. Feels so good to have done that in November though!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. December 1, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Oh god, I think I recognised someone from my first novel… or maybe a scene from my second. I actually went to look at the scene – life is so embarrassing. Wolf Music had better be good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 1, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      BRILLIANT! I can go to bed now that I’ve embarrassed someone. It’s a shame it’s you, though, because you’re so nice, but blogging as you know is a cut-throat business, and I’m as ruthless as a family who have a daughter called Ruth who didn’t come home for Christmas.
      And you’re right. Wolf Music had better be good….

      Liked by 1 person

  15. December 2, 2016 at 7:58 am

    As per my Facebook comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 2, 2016 at 8:55 am

      Ah yes. That was the one where you put into writing that you owe me 199,000 dollars. Yes?

      Like

  16. December 2, 2016 at 10:59 am

    I think that was a highly successful ending and definitely deserves some kind of prize, if not a Pulitzer then at least an International Federation of Thai Boxing championship medal. Anyway, great to see you back, Tara. Congratulations on getting so much of your novel written.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      I’d love a boxing medal, Bun, as long as it’s delivered in cake. I think that would satisfy everyone. Also, a boxing credit might tempt my enemies to be a little more frightened. They’ve been getting more emboldened of late and I’m getting tetchy sometimes as a result.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. weebluebirdie
    December 2, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    HaH! Worth the wait;-) Where can I get a Intelligentsia Loyalty Card?? Can I save my stamps up for Absinthe?

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 2, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      You can of course, Birdie – as long as you’re content for the stamps to be in the form of man-eating typewriters and tumblers of depressed whiskey?

      Like

  18. weebluebirdie
    December 2, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    That would be grand. And a fine sick note that will make too!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. December 3, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    I love this so much, I’d give you all my half-filled Costa loyalty cards. Fair play on producing the Nama goods. Sorry, NaNoWriMo. Feel free to KiMyAr.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 4, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      I’d love to, Tenderlation, but I’m too disturbed about the state of your loyalty cards. What sort of an animal moves onto another before finishing the first one?? How??? I get that you might be in a fragile state of mind following recent world events, but really. We’re supposed to be a civilised society.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. December 4, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Is this the main inspiration for your book? Bit of a spoiler.
    My favourite line, written about a letter! “It was less than I believed my life would deliver, but so much more than I expected”.
    Congratulations on finishing your novel, and NaNo. I’m looking forward to hearing you speak at Wexford Literary Festival! A fellow blogger suggested, when I confessed my failure, that I join her in a different group called, NaNoNoNo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 5, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Haha Tric, it’ll be a fine day indeed if they ever let me back in Wexford again! Don’t hold your breath 😉
      I like NaNoNoNo. Sounds much snazzier. I think I want to be in your gang.

      Like

  21. Sue Bridgwater
    December 5, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Love it – reminds me so clearly why I never seem to enjoy ‘literary’ fiction when I do force myself to have a go…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 5, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      I do enjoy a lot of it, Sue, but I reserve the right to lampoon it all the same!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Sue Bridgwater
    December 5, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Reblogged this on Skorn and commented:
    Laugh till you drop alert!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. December 12, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Well done on completing your writing challenge! As you can tell I’m having a great afternoon trawling your recent posts. A nice way to pass the time

    Liked by 1 person

  24. December 28, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Rather belatedly at this party – and I don’t even have writing as an excuse. Over this festive period I had been considering dipping my toes back into murkiness of literary fiction. Thank you for reminding me why I shouldn’t bother. Back to the Mommy Porn for me (I find the Daddy Porn too disturbing)…
    As I’m really into belated stuff, Merry Christmas, Tara!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 29, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      But literary fiction is so fulfilling, Graeme! Every page of misery reminds me of what I should be grateful for. This also includes not believing I am the centre of the universe for every minute of every day. On another note, I don’t even want to think about what Daddy porn is suppose to be.

      Happy Hallowe’en to you too!

      Like

      • December 29, 2016 at 7:53 pm

        Nice try, Tara, but those pages of misery will just be busman’s holiday for me and my GP already restricts my supply of antidepressants.
        And if you don’t even want to think about Daddy Porn, I’d better keep quiet about the Granddaddy Porn – just too many wrinkles…

        Happy New Year! (I’ll let you choose the year)

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 31, 2016 at 1:38 am

          I think you may need a new GP. Just don’t mention your Grandad. And a splendiferous 2017 to you too.

          Liked by 1 person

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