Tag Archive | conflict

We Lust for Conflict

The_Apples_Fall_From_Grace_by_FlyinG__DutchmaNWhy don’t writers write novels, short stories or even blog posts about beautiful things? Why is the candy-coated story considered boring by most?

The answer lies in what makes writing worth reading. Conflict needs to be present in order to keep readers interested. The story has to have a problem a character needs to solve. Don’t we all like stories in which characters fall from grace, and then scratch and claw to reinvent themselves in order to get to the top again? We root for them; we cheer them on; we all want them to clear their name or we want them to win. I could make a long list of characters to demonstrate, but I think you know what I’m talking about.

Maybe the lack of conflict is the reason I don’t find poetry interesting. I appreciate its thought-provoking qualities, the vivid word images, and the cleverness of word usage, but when push comes to shove, I’d rather read a juicy novel about hardship and struggle than a book of poems from cover to cover.

Perhaps rooting for people who have fallen from a pedestal is why our news media has evolved as it has. Instead of reporting the facts, they have turned the industry upside down, making a news story entertainment. They do such a thing to increase ratings.

Seriously, do we really care if a politician is sexting or carrying on with a mistress? Politicians are powerful men and women, and I would bet if we took a poll, over 90% of them engage in such activities. So, why is such behavior news? I really don’t care who is screwing who. Why is such behavior a lede story, especially in a society where extra-marital affairs have become common, and we have accepted sex without marriage as okay.

The only reason for such reports seems to be our appetite for exposing famous people and to see them sweat. We enjoy their  fall from grace. We berate them, damn them, and then cheer them on to come back. It’s the conflict we love.

My simple life will never be put on a pedestal and that is just fine with me. The fall from grace provides a hard landing–all for the sake of conflict.

The Secret of Success=Balance


Balance. An important concept in all things from nature to personal health. Throw off the balance and there will be conflict and trouble.

Balance is a common device in literature, too. We call it conflict. We put our characters in situations where they have to choose a path, make a deeply personal decision, and eventually solve the dilemma–at least for awhile. It’s an essential element to the novel. Learning how the protagonist works his/her way through the situation keeps readers turning the pages, right?

Solving the dilemma through our characters is difficult. But put the element of balance in your own life, and well that’s a completely different animal. Keeping work, play and meditation balanced is a constant struggle. Like little children, individually they cry for  your attention. If one aspect gets too strong , it pulls on the others. And  ta-da! You’re in conflict. It makes for a good story, but in real life, being out of balance sucks.

Keeping a healthy balance equals SUCCESS to me. Unlike a lot of my contemporaries, who think success is a pile of money, big houses and expensive cars--although, I wouldn’t object to any of this–it might be fun to even money to get all the bills paid on time, success to me is a  healthy balance of work, play and meditation.

I’ve come to the conclusion in my middle-age life that in order to achieve success, I have to work at something  I enjoy; I have to play enough with friends, and I also have to have enough time alone to maintain a healthy spiritual life. If I can keep these three things even,  happiness and contentment follows.

My present challenge in keeping balance is struggling with my desire to have a vacation–to get away and not think of the challenges I have at home. I’m sure you’re thinking — so get on a plane, already. But here’s the conflict. I also have a strong need to keep my husband who suffers from MS safe and cared for properly. That responsibility and desire is pulling me away from the vacation I need just as strongly. I feel it would be selfish to just take off and leave him and my everyday life behind. I know I should go.I know I need to go, but so far, I haven’t figured out a way to have peace of mind knowing Ken would be all right while I’m gone. And until I do, I will be out of balance. And so it goes.

The moral to this tale: When you’re feeling angry or sad about something, look at the balance in your life. Is it out of whack like mine? If it is, try to pull it back and see what happens. I’ll bet you feel better if work, fun, and spirituality each have their equal piece of the pie. Go ahead, try it. I dare you!