My comfort zone is one of routine. I function best in conditions of familiarity and habit. That isn’t to say I dislike a change of pace or scene, but I think it safe to say that Vacation Ken, for example, is less efficient and sharp than Comfort Zone Ken.
My Beautiful Wife and I are selling our condo. This entails disruption of routine. MBW and I have entered a transitional period. We’re putting belongings in storage. Dealing with unfamiliar processes. Searching for temporary housing. House hunting. Performing household tasks without certain belongings that we’ve put in storage. Most familiarity remains, but habit is on shaky footing.
And all this is, of course, the basis of all fiction. This is what I put my characters through, in essence, if not in degree. Let’s face it, my life isn’t in danger and everyone I’ve dealt with so far has been human. But that’s what a story is: moving characters off of the frame that is the comfort zone, through the painting that is the transitional zone, with the goal of reaching the other side, back onto the frame.
That happy ending doesn’t always occur in fiction. Frodo, for example, is unable to reoccupy his position, comfortably ensconced in Bag End. His passage through the transition zone proved too traumatic to allow the return. Unlike Bilbo, who made it There and Back Again. I can think of characters of mine who’ve not made it either. But Bilbo’s voyage is the model, and Bilbo is the model voyager.
Perhaps that’s how I should approach these next few weeks and months. A lesson in applied fiction. Get a small taste of the crap I put my characters through. Serves me right.