Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bye-bye Button: And How I Relate That to Writing

Photo courtesy of the fact that I figured people wouldn't want to see a picture of a mole in their blog feed today...and Google images.

Now for the meat and potatoes of our blog post.
So I have a Button,
though, literally speaking, it is a birthmark.
Or...OK...a mole.
But I've always called it a birthmark...
And I've always referred to it as my Button.
(More on this later.)
Her is a picture of said Button:

As you can see by the picture, my Button is larger than a pencil eraser, which means it is far more susceptible to becoming cancerous than any average mole, and so must at last be removed. You might even be able to see, if you look towards the top left of the button, that it is what they call "bleeding," which means it's color is spreading into other parts of my skin, which is, technically speaking, a medical ruh-roh.
So my Button is going bye-bye. For good.
"Now," says my internal, imaginary therapist, "How does this make you feel?"
Well, to be honest, I don't like it. Not one bit.
And this has very little to do with the surgery itself. Ever since I had a fainting spell from watching a gory scene in a movie in school, which is another story on its own, I've noticed I've been a bit more squeamish with blood-stuff, but I generally take pain pretty well, especially when I know it's coming.
No, I'm not happy about this because, well, I like my Button.
It's a part of me. It's not too ugly. It doesn't complain about being stuck to me all the time...
But then again, a mole of this category is, medically speaking, at risk for melanoma, and as much as I like my Button, I don't like it that much.
So bye-bye Button. You will be missed, but, unfortunately, you're execution is necessary.

Like many things in my life, a little reflection on this allowed me to relate it to writing.
How so?
Well, I've lately been doing some thought on character.
On a slight side note--but I guess not really that much of a side note, I've found that when I have a problem with plot I can look to character development to perhaps help me out a little.
For example, this Button of mine, I will tell you how it came to be called my Button.
When I was a little girl I had a Button. It was small and brown and round, and, somehow perfectly, it was the size of a pointer finger.
Now, when you are a little girl
and you have a birthmark that is perfectly the size of a pointer finger
and you have a mother who loves to make you giggle in the bathtub,
you're mother will likely press her pointer finger to your birthmark and call it your Button
because it is, somehow, just too perfect of a phenomenon to pass up,
and it makes your two year old self giggle
a lot.
But when the Button is pressed...what must happen then?
Surely, it is a Button, so something must happen.
Somehow your two year old self decides that this means you must stick out your tongue. So every time your mother presses your Button with her pointer finger, you stick your tongue out and you giggle like crazy.
Or let me rephrase that.
Your mother sits on the edge of the bathtub, tucked away between sunshine yellow tiles. She's wearing her fluffy green bathrobe, the one you always take when its cold in the winter because you can't find your own because your room is still too messy. She leans over with a scrunchy smile and pokes your Button with her pointer finger. Her standard dark red nail polish on her long, rounded fingernails is slightly chipped cause she rubs her fingernails over each other when she thinks her husband's not looking. "Bad habit," he would always say.
She pokes your Button and you jut out your chin, squint your eyes, and stick out your tongue. She releases your Button and your tongue slides back in.
But now the game has begun.
Poke, poke, poke!
Goes your mother.
Thrice you stick out your tongue in rapid fire, not missing a beat.
One long, drawn out poke from your mother this time.
You hold your tongue out and pull it back in, just in time.
You both erupt in giggles.
You get so excited you start to splash.
You mother shrieks, but still she's laughing...

And then you realize that the sight of the birthmark on your left leg, the one you're so used to living with it's almost as if it's not there sometimes, just made you think of all that, just that little old mole.

We all have our own "Buttons," whether they're a part of our body or not, and so should our characters. And who knows, you might create a "Button" for your own character that opens up a possibility in plot you hadn't thought of.
And if you're not sure where to start, look to you're own "Button" first. If you can't find it, look for it. It's there. Discovering that about ourselves can only make us better writers at the end of the day.

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