A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend. He said I should write about my midlife crisis because then we could go on a book tour together and party. I have done things for less noble aims, and really many of my most important decisions in life has been made around parties, what parties I want to go to, what do I want to do when I get to said parties, and who will be at the parties. Similar to the line in Lawerence of Arabia:
Mr. Dryden: Lawrence, only two kinds of creature get fun in the desert: Bedouins and gods, and you’re neither. Take it from me, for ordinary men, it’s a burning, fiery furnace.
T.E. Lawrence: No, Dryden, it’s going to be fun.
Mr. Dryden: It is recognized that you have a funny sense of fun.
I have a particularly definition of fun… it does not align with the majority definition of fun. Most people would not want to go to my parties… and at this stage of my (mid) life crisis. I am really ok with that. I find that as a type of self selection that makes my life easier in determining and and with whom I want to spend my time.
Anyway … I pondered this notion of writing about my midlife crises and the subsequent book tour debauchery. My midlife crisis has gone internal somewhat because of covid, although bubbles up now and again and not terribly narratively exciting ways. But I was not super excited about the idea of writing about my midlife crisis.
At first friends sympathetically assumed that it was because it was too painful. But really it was because it was too boring. I mean I have lived through my midlife crisis. For me it is done. I was saying if I was writing something I want to live in some fantastic world of my imagination or beautiful poetry not in like reinterpreted realism. This to me is boring.
To which my friend said that I should write about my midlife crisis as a fantasy novel. I actually think this is brilliant and hilarious. Granted, probably the readership of fantasy novels (or perhaps sci fi novels) are not interested in reading about this … it is not without precedent. Woman on the Edge of Time by Margie Piercy although not really about a midlife crisis is about a woman in middlish age.
Anyway I love this idea. Rather than a roman a clef fantasy story which seems so common (and also so masculine), what would it look like if a fantasy novel was about someone in a midlife crisis. What if Gandalf turning from grey to white was about individuation. What about Voldemort? Was the mists of avalon about this – I read it so long ago I don’t remember.