where the writers are
Ping Pong

Watching ping pong is an interesting, sometimes boring pastime.  On the face of it, back and forth the ball goes, with that signature sound the game makes.  Skillful players can play faster games, directing their shots to manipulate their opponent.  They add spin that causes the ball's dynamics to change.   That increases the interest level. 

Watching people - or being a person - and writing is like playing ping pong games.  Most of us play straightforward games.  The ball comes, we hit it back and try to keep it on the table.  Reading...and people...interest me because of the diversity offered.  I can see other games of ping pong progess in people's thinking and actions.  The world and universe interests me for the same reason.

Many frustrations arise from the differences.  I don't understand how some people think, and how they conclude what they fear, what they love, and what they hate.  Why do they do what they do?

When I write and deal with the characters, I'm often trying to understand someone who isn't me.  If they were me or like me, they would act like me and that would be boring.  It would not be boring because I'm a boring guy but because the cause and effect would be too predictable.

Nature and nations play ping pong, too.  Their games are often more deadly.    

I consider myself a straightforward person but I love complexity. While I complain about mechanical and electrical problems that happen, I like learning about the systems and finding fixes.  What I most dislike about these issues is that I can't schedule when they happen.  They become interruptions to my plans. That's my source of annoyance although I'm sometimes vexed that they're not easily fixed, or that they aren't fixed as I want them to be.  When I'm writing, I try to be a better ping pong player, adding spin to send the the plot and behavior in unexpected directions.

In all of this, it's all about being a human and individual, and finding the human elements. 

A friend and coworker committed suicide a day ago.  The news rippled out from family to friends to work, to those of us who fall in that circle that are friends and co-workers.  I learned of it today through Facebook.  We're asking the same questions always asked and ponder the rhythm of their thoughts, searching for the pattern.    

It's harder, delving into the darker side of people, where they reside as killers or in despair.  Many times there are several games of ping pong going on in people's heads.  We can't see all the games and are even ignorant to the games' existences.  We often don't know the outcomes.  When they lie, cheat or murder and get caught afterwad, we try to understand the games taking place in their heads.  We ask quetions and present evidence.

But a suicide is so different.  We can speculate about the games and wonder. But when someone was so talented and special, friendly, charismatic, when they seemed so happy, all we can do is gape and cry, and whisper platitudes that begin, "I wish...."

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My deepest sympathies,

My deepest sympathies, Michael.   I am so sorry....