What is this normalcy she spoke of?

Yesterday, I had the mother of all mood swings. I think it was premenstrual.

I was talking to Sonya, who’s been beta reading my new cozy mystery novel. Sonya’s the most brilliant beta reader out there. She sort of put her foot in her mouth, and it made me burst into tears.

I asked her what she meant by a note she made in my story. There’s a character (a minor character who’s, in fact, already dead) who’s schizophrenic. And Sonya noted, “But this character is schizophrenic too, right?” And I had no idea what she meant, so I asked her, and she was refering to the main character, my first-person narrator of the book.

And I said, “No, she’s completely normal. Isn’t she?”

Well, no, apparently she isn’t.

Sonya said, “She’s showing all these mannerisms of a mentally ill person. She sounds like you!”

Well, of course she sounds like me. All of my characters are different parts of myself, I reckon. But I’d thought my main character was representative of my normal side. I see now that I made a logical error. I don’t have a normal side.

Sonya explained to me that normal people, people who fit “the norm”, never react to anything, never feel emotions unless something super-extreme happens (death of a loved one, job loss, being diagnosed with a scary disease, etc.), and they are surprisingly simpleminded.

Is she serious? Do these people exist? Where the heck are they? I’ve always assumed that everyone (in a broad sense) struggles with something, whether it be dyslexia, trauma, a horrific accident/injury, grief, poverty, prejudice or discrimination, addiction, etc., etc. But Sonya has this worldview in which most people are living unaffected lives of easiness. Is this true? What’s the purpose of incarning on this life if your life is going to be that easy? Do these simpleminded people incarn here in order to torment the rest of us by shoving it in our faces that they’re not remotely troubled by anything whatsoever?

It’s always been a source of confusion for me. When I was a teenager, I assumed my self-absorbed friends had hellish home environments, as I did. I suspected it was why I was so self-absorbed, so I bequeathed the explanation onto others as an excuse, or something. (It turns out I was wrong, and they were just bad people.)

I can’t explain why it upset me so much to find out that my MC (main character) isn’t “normal”. I’d thought she was so normal. My brain must be so utterly biased against normalcy that I can’t recognize it, nor can I write it.

Are there really loads and loads of people out there who live brainless existences?

Sonya, in an effort to backpedal and/or fix it, tried to sell me on having my character be the schizophrenic detective, not unlike this guy, but schizophrenic instead of OCD:

Adrian Monk | Monk Wiki | Fandom
Meet Mr. Monk, the defective detective.ย 

But she conceded that agents and publishers don’t want to publish “out there” concepts like schizophrenic detectives. While agents and publishers would love the idea of a psychic detective with her psychic pet cat, they wouldn’t love schizophrenia. And the whole reason I’ve jumped into the cozy mystery genre is to get published! So then Sonya offered to help me “normalize” the character, and that didn’t help. There is no normalization for the mentally ill, even in a fictional capacity. Darn!

I was mostly upset because I thought my character was normal. Nope.

We discussed what normal looks like. Sonya referenced the main character, Bella, ofย Twilight. She’s right. Bella seems vapid and vacuous to me, as if she can’t think for herself and is incapable of an original thought. And that’s what happens in every YA book I pick up. No intelligence. No ability to think. Just mindless idiocy.

Now, I’m on my period (I think it started overnight), and I’m completely miserable. I feel like shit, physically and emotionally.

 

8 thoughts on “What is this normalcy she spoke of?

  1. I’m not sure that I entirely agree with Sonya. There are definitely a fair number of simple-minded people and people who aren’t that intelligent.

    But there are plenty of people that live relatively easy lives. I had an easy life, and so did most of my friends and colleagues. The people I knew were for the most part well-educated, and they certainly weren’t simple-minded.

    When I think of a detective you could channel, Nancy Drew comes to mind. Intelligent and PG-rated, but she didn’t let emotions get in the way of solving the mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not technically sure if Sonya used the word “simpleminded.” It was a confusing conversation, and it might have been I who used it, or her, or neither of us, or both of us. No clue, but I can check my chat logs. But offhand, when I think of “simpleminded,” I think of my paternal grandmother. She was rather unintelligent, but she was so loving and devoted and opinionated. And she was a wonderful grandmother (and presumably a great mother to my dad and aunt, from what I know). I miss her a lot.

      Unfortunately, I never read Nancy Drew!! (I guess it’s never too late?) Yeah, though, my heroine never lets emotions get in the way either! I feel confused about it lately. But in good news, I just took a nap, and boy did it help!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If Sonya indeed did use the word simple-minded, and if her definition of what normal people are like is true, I never want to be normal, and I don’t think I could ever create normal fictional characters. Most of those I have created in my short stories absolutely don’t fit in, which usually wasn’t my intention, and some more normal ones that I wrote about in very early years of my fiction writing adventure either died in some spectacularly dramatic circumstances, as I loved gloomy endings, or they experienced something at some point that could hardly be called normal that affected them strongly. I so agree with you that the vast majority of main characters in YA novels lack intelligence so badly, and Bella’s dullness is one of the main reasons for which I really hate Twilight. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, I’m glad you agree about Twilight. I thought it had amazing atmosphere and magic, but the character of Bella was so lackluster!! And even though I loved the first book, the series really went downhill afterward. Let’s hope
      Sonya didn’t use the word simpleminded.
      That must’ve been me
      !! Hmm… having ke
      yboard issues…. UGH
      !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I fixed it!! Apparently, it was plugged into a plug-in on the top of my computer that was too big to fit it. Now it’s more snugly plugged in!! YAY!!

        Liked by 1 person

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