When I decided to write a series, about a college researcher who went out and found interesting people, the initial reason I decided to do that was because I got tired of reading the same old plot line, presented in the same old way. Namely, the cheating plot line.
I wanted to see if "cheating" could be approached in a way that was less destructive that real cheating usually is. "The Master's Project" was the result.
As usual, in the process of writing the series, I learned a lot, and the project (the real project) morphed into something I hadn't planned on.
I get mail asking me how I can understand something as well as I seem to. Adoption, for instance. I wrote about adoption in the Randy and Kathy episode of the series. I got mail from people who were adopted, and were touched by some of the things I wrote about. They assumed I must be adopted too.
It's been that way with other things. When I wrote "The Orphanage Blues", people asked if I was an oprhan. There have been many other questions like that.
I am not, in fact, the kind of person I usually write about. While I name the male protagonist "Bob" frequently, that's actually only because I'm lazy, and don't want to have to think up - and keep track of - different names for "the good guy", so to speak.
What you all are getting the benfit of isn't my personal experiences. It's the personal experiences of literally thousands of people I HAVE interviewed over a long history of work that required ... interviews.
Without going into details, let me just say that I have interviewed these thousands of people about every subject under the sun. We talked about their every day life, their hopes and dreams, their experiences and how those experiences caused things to happen. We talked about crimes and jobs and relatives and cars and vacations and a hundred other subjects.
Again, without going into details, most of the time, they weren't being interviewed because they wanted to be interviewed. For that reason, a lot of what I heard was suspect. I heard a lot of fantasies as they told me how they hoped I would believe it really was.
But you can't talk to that many people, about that many things, and on such an intimate level, without a lot of truth coming out too. And, more importantly, you can't talk to that many people, on such an intimate level, without some of their psyche seeping into your own.
I am - we all are, really - merely a compendium of all my/our own experiences, and a lot of the experiences (albeit vicariously) of all the people I've/we've come into contact with over fifty-odd (or however many) years.
When something happens to one person, ripples go out and affect other people. If those other people pay attention, they learn something ... without haveing to experience it themselves.
I know a little of what it is like to be an orphan, or adopted, or assaulted, or kissed, or successful, or important, or ignored, or traumatized, or gloriously happy or ... well, I could go on for pages.
It is that, that my stories benefit from. I don't always get it perfect. Sometimes I don't even get it mostly right.
But I ALWAYS get it close to what someone has experienced themselves. I don't do that on purpose. It's just a fact of nature that, with billions of people, experiencing billions of things, somewhere, somebody, has felt, or seen, or hoped what I write about.
In the Hebrew scriptures, Ecclesiastes 9 says it all:
"There is nothing new under the sun."
Ancient wisdom, for a modern age.