Not too long ago, Mark and I rented the Will Ferrell movie Stranger Than Fiction. In it, a washed-out novelist unknowingly casts an actual, live person in her latest book. As she writes, the main character, an anal retentive IRS agent, begins to hear the author’s narration. No one else can hear the “voice”, and although he fears he may be going crazy, the IRS agent sets out to find the writer. His quest becomes ever more desperate when he hears the narrator say, “Little did he know that his death was imminent.”
After the movie, I admitted for the first time to my husband that I on occasion have a narrator in my head. Generally, my narrator is the voice of worry. You know: Mark calls to say that he’s gotten an earlier flight and the narrator says, “Little did they know that this change of flight plans would bring tragedy to their lives.” Then my mind wanders to the tragic point of the novel in my head where the plane that he wasn’t supposed to even be on crashes.
Lately, my narrator has been commenting on the pool and all of the potential dangers that come with it. And so we’ve armed the doors with loud, obnoxious alarms that, coupled with the beep that the original security system guys installed, ought to alert the neighborhood if one of my children walks out the door without permission. I also take every opportunity to preach to the kids about pool safety and never, ever going out without Mom or Dad.
Although I’m a pessimist by nature (I prefer to use the term realist), I do try to make a concerted effort to offset the negativity of my narrator. You know, change the series of events by making a few changes in the plot: “Little did they know that he saved his life by getting on an earlier flight” or ”Little did they know that this pool would become a great source of joy and quality family time.”
Well, I try at least. Mark? He still just looks at me like I’m crazy. Maybe I am a little crazy, but don’t other people have a narrator too? Come on, admit it!