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Working the Machine Writing 

Deviating From Expectations

Over the past twenty-four hours, I’ve had two very interesting conversations. One, is in an online forum. The other was with my wife. Both are about expectations and completely unrelated.

Online Forum
I’m talking with someone I met from Twitter. I really respect his opinion because his discussions are well thought out.

Yesterday, he said he hates when authors manipulate readers. He was referring to when authors kill characters for what seems like no reason at all.

My Wife
Background information: I have very strong opinions about our society. If you’re married, you know that having strong opinions can lead to an argument. As a guy, I often know that if I’ve said something that she disagrees with, it’s best that I stop talking or a pointless discussion will carry on for hours. However, when I feel very passionate about something, I don’t stop talking.

Last night, my wife spoke about how amazing Helen Keller was. I disagreed.

*Gasp* You’re shocked? At least let me explain why.

Helen Keller would be amazing, in my opinion, if society didn’t look at her as a “special case”. Helen Keller isn’t amazing because she learned to communicate through a disability, she’s amazing because of her charitable work and the way she motivated others. My wife agrees with this. She thinks Helen Keller is amazing for many reasons.

I refuse to believe that because you have a disability that you must receive some handout. African Americans don’t need scholarships to get out of the hood. Latinos don’t need schools and organizations to have bilingual workers. Adults don’t need cell phones. Children don’t need an education. These are conveniences.

In my opinion, <–see how I’m warning you, I believe that if you want something in life, you’ll go get it.

America wants to breed a country full of weak and worthless citizens that are incapable of defying the status quo. They’ll provide us with everything we need in order to stay at the bottom. Don’t believe me?

Read the list of names. Then, answer the question:

Ray Charles
Stevie Wonder
Now, name the first famous blind rap artist. Nothing? Okay. I’ll give you another chance.

Helen Keller
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harriet Tubman (What? You didn’t know she had vision impairment?)
Name the most recent visually impaired leader in America.

Mozart – Manic Depressive
Beethoven – Went deaf
Name someone famous with a disability today. You better say Charlie Sheen. But here’s the deal, everyone famous nowadays is depressed. Jim Carrey, J.K. Rowling, Drew Carey, and the list goes on. Sadly, the older these individuals get, the less capable they seem.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Malcolm X
Marcus Garvey
Name an African American that still speaks out against injustices and puts their neck on the line for what they believe in. Your local pastor? No. I could name others, but they were around during the civil rights era.

Why aren’t there as many people who defy their struggle anymore? My opinion: Society offers them the assistance they need to just get by in life. Instead of encouraging “the disabled”, “the impoverished”, or “the minority” to pursue their dreams, we provide each other with an easy button.

I don’t know if you’ve ever taught a student, but giving them the answer to each question will not help them learn how to think critically or excel.

Back to the topic at hand

Expectations are killing us.

Readers expect novels to end in certain ways. Movie watches expect movies to conclude with a happy ending. Employees expect to have the same ole crap at work today. Students expect to learn something new and old at the same time. We expect life to unravel in a pattern and anything that deviates from this is bad.

I don’t blame the guy in the forum for not wanting to read about death after getting attached to a character. In many instances, I agree with him. There’s enough heartbreak in the world as is.

To each their own.

But happy endings can’t be our only option. Some authors write about their life experiences and what they know. If that’s death, that’s what you’re going to get.

I personally grew up around a lot of death. I also write about my experiences. Not to mention, I hate composing stories that are predictable. I don’t want a reader to know what’s happening next. Sure, it makes them feel intelligent, but my goal isn’t to stroke your ego. I’m writing because I love the trade.

How should I end this?

Break your expectations if you want to go new places and learn about new things. Go out and get life. Don’t sit around waiting for another day. Hold life tightly in your hands and never let go. Do not–I repeat–do not let your circumstance define your future. If you want it, get it!

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