Monday 23 August 2010
My Brother: Ying, Yang and Some Other Stuff
My brother has a thirst for obscure knowledge that is thoroughly unAfrican. He knows why Cleopatra was incestuous, he knows where the dead sea scrolls were found, he knows why 1066 is significant to the English, in short, he loves useless facts.
It's strange because my brother also works in a place where money is mystically doubled and trebled. There, he is all facts and stocks and bonds and APRs and ARMs and LEGs and money lingo. Every time I see him over an extended period of time, I wonder how one so esoteric can be that practical?
Yet, despite my brother's stock of high cultural references and his very pragmatic job, he is also a big fan of video games and fantasy books. Whenever I see him carrying the latest copy of the Dragon Elves series or the newest FIFA soccer, again I wonder how all these people can be the same person.
From a writing perspective, it's useful to have characters like my brother in a book. These kind of characters don't shift the plot or drive you to your conclusion but they make the narrative more interesting. They have Ying Yang layers and oddities that one can slowly unpeel and examine and ask why and come up with concrete reasons or no reason other than just because.
So to add a little flavour to my writing, I reach for the Y.Y.A.S.O.S characters.
Is it just me or is that acronym never going to catch on...