Sunday, July 24, 2005

Without Plot

My dad and stepmom had a long-running argument about the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey." My stepmom loved the movie while my dad held it in disdain, sniffing contemptuously that it had no plot.

Sometimes, I worry that the problem with this blog is that it has no plot. If I'd written it in other decades of my life, the suspense would be killing you. Where will she enroll in college? Will she survive a summer working as a nanny? Who will she marry? Does her dad really die when he's 47? How does the whole infertility thing work out? Does a birthmother choose her? Pregnant? She's pregnant? When--and where--will the baby be born? Does her husband survive his throat cancer? Will the family move across the country or stay in rural Michigan?

Yeah, well, this blog occurs during a plotless part of my life. And here's a terrible confession--on dismal, cloudy days when I'm feeling trapped and suffocated by the laundry, I think of horrible occurrences that might shake up my life. Even as I permit these wretched thoughts to amble through my mind, I scold myself. How dare I do anything but give thanks for the blessings in my life--my home, my husband, my children, my health, my friends, my extended family?

The thing about a crisis is that in short order, your meandering, messy, mundane life immediately narrows into a sharp focus, like sunlight through a magnifying glass narrows into one red-hot point of light. You don't have a yard full of sunshine anymore, but a single searing inch of scorched grass. (Or a slug, if my kids have anything to do with it.)

Laundry doesn't matter.
The dust under the beds doesn't matter.
Cooking? No way.

All that matters is The Crisis.

It's completely sick, of course, to long for a crisis. And I don't, not really. But when I read that "good" blogs have a plot, I realized I am sans plot. Plotless. Empty, devoid of plot. Plot negative.

Wouldn't that be a great blog title? "Without Plot."

Well, sure, I do have a plot of sorts, but it's not the type of plot you'll find in any book sold in the grocery store. It's the dull "lead a responsible life and raise responsible children" kind of plot.

I wonder if some people keep making bad decisions because they long for a plot, for the excitement of a page-turner? The truth seems to me that life is less like a novel and more like a slide show, the kind that your dad used to show you in the darkened living room after he got home from Europe. One castle looked like the next and the Alps? Boring when all you really want to do is call your friend and check the rumor mills for juicy gossip. But your dad kept clicking the slides, giving a droning explanation of each one, "and there, if you look at the left, you can see the blah, blah, blah, blah, and on the right, see that speck? That's blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

See? Now, if I had a plot, I'd just tell you breathlessly about the latest trauma or drama. But I have no plot. Tomorrow we'll wake up after the sun rises. Shower. Welcome DaycareKid and CuteBaby--he's crawling now, his mom says. Play, keep kids from shoving each other, start laundry, make lunch, settle little ones down for naps, check email and blogs, answer the inevitable "what's for dinner?" question, fold laundry, offer snacks, play some more, walk around the block, wait for moms to pick up their kids, cook dinner, eat dinner, clean up, give baths, read . . . and another day will end. I'm a girl with no plot.

Tomorrow will be sort of like today. And today was kind of like yesterday. It doesn't make for exciting blog fodder, but it makes for a pretty good life. If you can stand the monotony.


Blogger HomeJewel said...

Bad decisions + looking for plot - sounds like someone we know DLT whatever her s/n is. Boring is good!

Oh, we had the dead battery thing going on here today, too. The good thing is that now my 2 teens and I can get it jumped in less than 2 minutes. They feel so proud of themselves - lol. The really good thing is we replaced the battery today.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Cuppa said...

When I read your blog this quote came to mind, so thought I would send it to you. Sometimes when we are feeling empty or dull and our life seems "plotless" we sit quietly and learn our greatest lessons.

We shape clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. Tao Te Ching

4:48 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

"A Life That Pleases God" is a good plot, and from outward appearances, it fits your life perfectly.

I think everyone who reads your blog could tell you what your plot is to them. You should ask them.

5:48 AM  
Blogger wifemotherme said...

"I do have a plot of sorts, but it's not the type of plot you'll find in any book sold in the grocery store"

But that is what makes you such a popular blogger! Your not plotless! The plot of your story is what we are all striving for - contentment. You have the best story being told! The story about what happens when you learn to give up "religious" and rely on the Lord, finding him in the day to day while living life as normal human being! That is a story to shout from he roof tops.

6:36 AM  
Blogger weorwe said...

My favorite books are the ones with interesting characters, real and multi-faceted, and with interesting relationships. While books with "plot" can be gripping reads, they usually end with that, "oh my, I was all intense and excited about what now?" feeling. I love your blog.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

my days are a lot like yours, just without kids that aren't my own! but reading your blog is like finding out that my life isn't so abnormal. in fact, it's normal and there are other moms out there doing what I do, too. You just have a knack for making it all sound so funny and interesting!!

7:30 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Character developement is your strong suit. It's what mother's do.

Keep developing those characters!

11:17 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

I am in adamant denial of your supposed "plotlessness."

I can think of many a blog that I have stumbled upon that are in dire need of plots.

But yours isn't one of them, my friend.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Feeble Knees said...

repeat after me: boring is GOOD, boring is NICE, we LIKE our boring lives!

Remember the original "show about nothing"? Yeah I'd say Seinfeld had a pretty good run ;)

I wonder if some people keep making bad decisions because they long for a plot, for the excitement of a page-turner?

This is undoubtably true. I think many, many people do this and don't even realize they're actively choosing to live that way.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Chelsea said...

I've always found your blog interesting. Perhaps plots are over rated.

7:05 PM  

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