06-18 Sarah Raplee – WHY PSYCHIC AGENTS?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

It is the Struggle that Defines Us By Maggie Jaimeson

In Buddhist philosophy one learns that suffering is the normal human condition. The more humans try to control things, the more they suffer. We become angry or depressed when the world does not unfold as we wish, when people or events do not meet our expectations. We agonize when our dreams do not come true. The truth is we cannot fully control our life. However, we can control what we expect from life and how we react and move on in the face of suffering.

One of the reasons I write romantic suspense is that it puts that struggle in the forefront and it is undeniable. Romantic suspense requires characters to make difficult decisions quickly and to live by those decisions. Add in the romantic attraction at the worst time in ones life and it is definitely combustible.

It is easy to fall in love during a crisis, particularly when your life is at risk because it puts what is truly important in sharp relief. Of course, I choose to make falling in love its own struggle in my suspense novels because my experience has been that the way men and women handle life and death issues is often not the same and that existential difference can provide a seemingly impossible wedge in the romance.

For me it is more than good guys and bad guys, guns and murders and kick-butt heroes or heroines that save the day. It is equally as much about the people who participate in the war on evil and how they choose to assert themselves. It is also about the aftermath of whatever they choose to do. Even a hardened Marine feels bad when he or she kills someone. What does it do to you to take that in and live with it? Or, what does it do to a person who believes peace or love conquers all but is faced with someone who cannot be conquered?

As I discussed at the beginning, the struggle is all about expectations. Beliefs create expectations. When expectations are not met, what does that do to our beliefs?

My new series, Shadow Finders, is about three Marine Corp buddies who form an organization to help find those who have disappeared, are presumed dead, or perhaps never existed. The first book in the series, Expendable, sets up a retired Marine with PTSD who is confronted with a dead woman and a boy with no identity found in his backyard on Mt. Hood. It asks questions about biogenetics, medical experimentation, and how we allow not only individuals but entire groups of people to become expendable—whether that is by sending them to war, feeling overwhelmed by the incessant cry for help from those less fortunate, or justify harming others for some common good. It is the hero's experience in Expendable that causes him to set up the Shadow Finder organization.


Currently the series is planned as a trilogy—three Marine Corp buddies thus three books. However, the conceptual framework of the Shadow Finders organization would allow for more books if readers want them. Each book stands alone. There are no cliffhangers from one book to the next. The second book, Vanished, will be out in the Fall and the third book, Silenced will be out in December or January. You can find all of my books at http://maggielynch.com.

What do you do in the face of struggle? How do you handle a direct challenge to your beliefs and expectations?


Judith Ashley said...

Excellent questions, Maggie. I accept my beliefs are mine and are not necessarily the same as someone else. Easier to say than to always live by as I do find myself "dexifying" (defending, explaining, justifying) them to people who don't hold the same ones. I've grown as a person enough to recognize when I'm doing that and back off (sometimes not as soon as I'd like but then I also accept that there was a reason I didn't).
Expectations are something else. I was raised with the belief it is important to keep one's word not only to others but to oneself. Add that to being an "achiever" and the conflict is built in and almost entirely of my own making.
Taking a step back and assessing the expectation is my best choice (not always my first one).

Anonymous said...

Judith, I hear you about accepting beliefs as your own. I think that is important, and it takes a great deal of confidence. For me, keeping my expectations associated with me and not others is the struggle. I often fall into the trap of thinking everyone is like me and therefore should act like me. It is then that I'm disappointed and have to take a step back and remind myself that I can only be responsible for meeting my own expectations, not for others.

Diana McCollum said...

My problem is putting too much expectations on my family and being constantly disappointed. I'm trying to rein myself in, and only consider what I want and can achieve.

Judith Ashley said...

Maggie and Diana, I'm much better at stepping back and claiming my own piece and letting the rest go than I was even a few years ago but I am more likely to be angry at the other person than disappointed. It's still difficult to accept that some people seem to have little problem in not doing what they say they'll do when they say they'll do it.

What I'm finding as I grow older or grow wiser (I really like the myth of wisdom as we age), is what works best for me is to claim "me" and see how I can work with others without them having to become another "me". Of course the world would run more smoothly if they were all like me - lol, but then the diversity that I enjoy and that enriches my life would be gone and I'd not be satisfied with that either. Guess I'm just one of those hard to please people. :)

Sarah Raplee said...

Great post, Maggie! Lots of food for thought.

I've come to realize that most of the little things people do in daily life that disappoint me or annoy me have nothing to do with me. Someone cuts me off in traffic because they didn't see me, not because they want to cut me off. My husband doesn't fix the broken screen because he's overwhelmed by to many projects, not because he doesn't care if I get mosquito bites at night.

Most of what people do and don't do doesn't revolve around me, so I try not to take it personally.