“I don’t like politics.”
How many times have I heard some a reasonable person, “I don’t like politics.”?
The word politics conjures up many images.
A cramped, windowless room, hidden in a back alley, filled with fat, sweaty, balding men smoking cigars like candy. They wear suspenders and count greasy stacks of money, boasting of who’s on the take. The unions. The police. The sanitation workers. The mayor.
A sterile corporate boardroom filled with attorneys in expensive suits, sipping imported bottled water and speaking the language of demographics, focus groups, percentiles, market shares and stock market index. The click of electronic devices. The hum of air-conditioning.
Fat talking heads on the Propaganda Channel with flashy graphics, sound bites, sitting around a coffee talking, pretending to be ordinary folk with their designer clothes and expensive jewelry, blaming the current administration for the weather, the war and the price of cheese.
“I don’t pay any attention to politics.”
Do you have pets? I have four cats. They practice feline politics. Sugar is the aging President. She’s the alpha feline, but her health is failing. Bella and Binks, opposing senators, jockey for position as the President-Elect. Duchess, the special needs cat, has the same seniority as Sugar but lacks intelligence and ambition to be President. Bella and Binks screech, scratch and chase each around the house. When Binks can’t harass Bella, he torments Duchess, eats her food, corners her in a room. The President intervenes between Senator Binks and Citizen Duchess, but Citizen Duchess often rebuffs the Sugar’s help. President Sugar doesn’t like to share the sofa or the bed with the other cats. She has a weakness for diary products, even though diary upsets her stomach. Bella likes to lay about and purr. She also urinate on beds, blankets, tables and other inconvenient spots.
That’s feline politics.
According to that hotbed of anarchy, The Oxford Dictionary, one definition of politics is The activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.
Let’s look at basic story structure.
My protagonist or individual wants via activity, debate or conflict to overcome an obstacle. The protagonist needs courage, knowledge – tools of power – to achieve this goal. The protagonist is governed by family, friends, self-awareness, ignorance, secret organization, school, a king, a queen, supernatural forces or a dystopian society.
“I don’t like politics.”
But vote for my book with your dollars.