I can be whomever you want me to be

On those days I spend writing, I apportion time toward the end of the day to read to Rob. Most days, I just read; but sometimes, we talk for a while about the arc of my story.

Last night, when my story arced into a character who began talking about his involvement in S&M, Rob sat up and, clearly, wanted to help. First, he wanted me to know that my use of “S&M” — in the context of the story — was misplaced. Apparently, “dom/sub” was what I was describing. (FYI: dominant/submissive.) Also, as to my use of the word “fetish,” which I deemed a perfectly clear descriptor, he suggested “kink.”

So, two things are happening in my mind during our discussion:

#1) I’m concerned I don’t know enough about this, and

#2) I’m concerned Rob knows too much about this.

(I decide to credit his wide knowledge base to the stories he hears from the clients he sees in therapy and move on.)

The “kinky” character, Bobby, is Mitch’s client. Mitch knows a little about this sub-culture, but — like his creator — maybe not enough. As the story is told from Mitch’s point of view, everything the reader learns is through Mitch’s conversations, eyes, and experiences. For Mitch to better understand this world of kinky sex, he’s going to have to listen when Bobby speaks, do some research, and maybe get some leather handcuffs, a riding crop, and a new friend.

The beauty of writing fiction is that Mitch’s understanding of all of this will unfold at roughly (no pun intended) the same pace as mine.

Rob will share what he knows, I’ll poke around online, and maybe I’ll go shopping  . . .

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Post script: Last night, my kinky character was “Matthew.” In homage to Rob, his name’s been changed to “Bobby.”

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