Saturday, June 5, 2010

Warning: Characters at Work

Subsequent to my post on fictional characters and their ways of earning a living, I find that my mind keeps meandering back to this topic. Whether in any productive way, I'm not entirely certain. But it's seeming like an important thing to think about.
This may, of course, simply be the result of my own history of earning a living in numerous ways. It would be a fine thing if I had forced myself to take notes on the minutiae of all the different jobs I've had, but of course that always seemed just intolerable at the time, even when I recognized that I ought to be noting the peculiarities for future reference. So often, one's gainful employment is largely a matter of getting through the day and getting the paycheck, even when one has taken on less than appealing jobs in order to benefit one's fiction. Besides, I am one of those people who isn't really very good at taking detailed notes, because I only jot down the most vital ideas, or else only what strikes me as new information. This means, among other things, that I don't have vast quantities of notes to draw upon when preparing art history lectures, but it also has its effect on my recall of how the various offices and factories of my working life operated.
All the same, my recall is probably sufficient, aided by spots of internet and library research, to provide convincing employment for some of my characters. It's important to get into that mysterious trance-like state where things float to the surface, and I'm pretty good at telling my conscious mind to go play somewhere else while I encourage things to come together. I'm all in favor of whatever works.
In the meantime, Wikipedia has done a fine job of educating me on the workings of the diesel engine and other things that I never really understood very well.

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