You know, even when I'm not typing or scribbling, I'm writing. Often I write in my head about the actual story, but I also just think out different issues. I consider that writing. I've been thinking about character identity the last several days.
See, I knew who the character was in one of my (long) short stories. He knew who he was, for the most part. But as I thought of him and myself, I realized that I'd shortchanged his complexity.
Part of his background was his military career. In that regard, he belonged to corporate militaries most of his life. Corporations had taken over much in some aspects of the future, but it's as complex or more complex as today's situation. The corporations weren't necessarily evil but they had the money to buy and colonize planets, and to be a citizen in their planet meant you had to be a good corporate citizen and yield your basic human rights to the corporation. They would then exercise your rights as a person under their rights as a corporation to make everything better for everyone.
What's good for the corporation is good for the people. A profitable corporation meant a happy corporation, and a happy corporation means happy citizens. It's just logical - right?
Anyone, to help further the corporations' means and enforce their will, they also had their own military. If you don't have anything else to recommend you and your future prospects, you could always join the military, even if it was corporate owned and operated.
So my character did. He spent a long life in the corporate military, enough that he was killed and resuscitated 99 times, which is the max a soldier is permitted to be killed.
That was the corporation's nod to the soldier's underlying humanity.
(It's science fiction. Guess I should clarify that, in case, you know, you're a slow reader.)
Besides that nod to humanity, the corporations learned that each death depleted people a little. Number 100 has the cumulative potential to do a number of bad things to people. See, oddly, they could address a number of factors about being killed and brought back to life, but not everything.
Boy, this is getting long.
Since my hero was part of a corporate military most of his life, his memories contained corporate secrets, proprietary information that, in the corporation's judgement, could be detrimental or cause loss of profit or other tangible and intangible damages to the corporation. However, the courts had ruled that everyone has the right to keep their memories and knowledge; therefore, all the corporations could do is to block people's access to their memories, although they can tell people that those memories have been erased.
It's so much fun thinking about this stuff.
Back to me. As I've aged, I realized that my self-image hasn't aged. I still see myself as somewhere in my mid-twenties -- until I look in a mirror. Then I'm surprised. Who's that aging man looking back at me? How the hell did he get in my mirror?
What is this on my part? Self-preservation? Delusion? Normal, healthy, un-healthy?
I don't know. I'm not a shrink.
But I realized that my character, with access to memories, has much of the same problem reconciling who he is and who he looks like. That inability and its growth as he struggles to reconcile his existence with what happens, fuels his character's changes, and causes the situation to change.
It's so much fun to think of these things, and write like crazy. Is it write like crazy or write like mad?
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com