Funerals, Book Ideas, and Other Odd Behavior
Whenever people ask me where I get my ideas, I say, “Anywhere and everywhere.” Almost anything can be the seed of an idea for a story. Yet for all that I mine for ideas in every aspect of my life, even I never expected to get an idea at a funeral. But that’s exactly where Broken Fate first appeared in my head.
It was the funeral of a relative who died way too young. Like any sane person, I hate funerals, even more so because I tend to be a snotty crier. Once the tears start, it gets embarrassing. I do everything I can to keep myself together until I can cry in private. So there I was, trying to distract myself from thoughts of death, when I found myself thinking of, well, death. Specifically, what kind of nonsensical, cold, cruel system would claim someone so young?
I remembered the unit on Greek mythology from my freshman English class. That was where I first heard the myth of the three Fates: The first spins human lifelines, the second assigns them their destinies, and the third kills the humans by cutting the lifelines.
My brain locked on the third Fate. How bad would that job stink, I thought. All you do is kill people, day after day. And you’re immortal, so it never ends. You’re just a cog in the business of life and death. After a while, you wouldn’t even care any more. Your days would just be snip, snip, snip. It’d be like working on a never-ending assembly line.
Beyond the fatigue, you couldn’t possibly have any relationships with humans because loving people you have to kill is insane. “Hey, let me love you so I can kill you and then be sad.” Um, no. But what would happen if one day you did fall in love with a human, and that human had a very short shelf life?
There it was: The idea for Broken Fate. I spent the rest of the service working it out in my head, thus averting the snotty crying crisis.
I wanted to write it down, but that’s not cool in the middle of a funeral. After the service, I reached for my phone, but since we’d carpooled to the service it was still in the car back at the house. I dug around in my purse for a pen but I didn’t have one.
I kept chanting, “Fate, Fate, Fate,” in my head until I caught up to my cousin at the reception.
“I need to use your phone to send myself an email.” I said.
She looked at me strangely, but fortunately my family is great at overlooking weird behavior. She handed over her phone and I sent myself the following:
“Fate, business, crappy job, how could you love someone if you had to kill everyone, person with rapidly approaching expiration date.”
So a novel about death was born at a funeral. Since I can’t separate the funeral from the book, Broken Fate has become a weird, bittersweet, and humorous last memory of my relative. That’s strangely comforting.