Yes, I seem to be in 8th grade at a roller skating rink
I realized something today while I was out for my run. Beyond the usual OMG I need to get in better shape. And that is, I'm mentally stuck in 8th grade...at a roller rink...on the sidelines during couples skate.
How I realized is that, when I run, I listen to the radio. I just like to switch around stations and be surprised. There's currently this one oldies love song station on one of my presets.
It's sort of a new station here in Minneapolis, and I like it because they play Elton John and stuff like that. But I started noticing that a lot of times when I'd land on it, my mind kept being sucked back to this roller skating scenario. Me with my three 8th grade galpals, Robin, Sue, and Cheryl, at this roller rink we'd go to every weekend, our hair all pretty, hoping to meet boys, of course.
And we'd be skating in circles all night to the Eagles or Journey or whatever, but a few times a night they'd clear the rink and puts the lights low, and fire up the disco ball and play "Xanadu" by Olivia Newton John or "I Still Go Crazy" by Barry Manilow or something like that, and it would be couples skate, and a boy had to ask you to skate. And of course, no boys EVER asked me. I was a chubby, slobby brown haired girl. (FYI they always asked Cheryl.)
So, back to me out running. At first I blamed this all on this radio station, thinking, Wow, what's up with this station? They are playing all these old rollerskating couples-skate songs. WhatEV!! But then I realized, okay, maybe I haven't heard these songs for years, but it wasn't like I only ever heard them at the roller rink. But they only remind me of the roller rink. And I got the idea that I'm a bit fixated there. At that roller rink.
I do think people get fixated on places in time, on incidents that they go back to really easily. Sometimes these incidents are big and dramatic, like a violent death or a horrible fire, but I think most of the time, the place a person can't stop being drawn back to is more emblematic than dramatic. Emblematic and mundane.
Like being a wallflower at a roller rink. I'm stuck other places of course, but when I think about it hard, all the places I'm fixated relate to being unseen in some way, and not always on a romantic level, but that's all I'll say about that, because this isn't that kind of post.
It's a writerly post! As a writer, I find it easy to pin characters to a highly dramatic and formative experience, and less easy to get a sense of the quieter kind of experience that also shapes them, that emblematic yet mundane place that a character returns to. I can tell you what that place is for Justine Jones, but I need to think about it for Packard, and for the others. It would be a good thing for me to figure out.
Some of this thinking spins off from something I learned from that show, In Treatment. Do you know it? It's about this psychotherapist named Paul (played by Gabriel Byrne) and it takes place almost entirely in his sessions with people. Paul is like the Sherlock Holmes of people. He’ll talk to a person for 20 minutes, and at the end of the session, he knows all this secret stuff about them, and when he reveals it, it’s like this magic trick.
One of the coolest things I've learned from In Treatment is that the random anecdotes people tell over and over about their life aren't random at all. They are frequently like secret codes to important things about them. At first, I thought it was just a convention of the show, but then, I started listening to the recurring stories of people who I know well and I realized that they are startlingly revealing. It kind of blew my mind.
The roller rink thing is different than one of those anecdotes. Obviously I'm telling it here, but it's not a story, it's more an internal thing, but I think it's the sort of thing that can be a character signpost, much in the way a supposedly random anecdote or fiery formative experience can be. Hmm. A Saturday thought.
I am a RITA-winning author of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of love and adventure. I’ve been published by Random House and Samhain, and I presently go the indie route. I work a straight job as a marketing writer, I love to run and read in bed, I’m passionate about helping animals, and I make my home in Minnesota with my husband and two cats.