I’ve been reminded, recently, that most people have “issues” in their lives.

People are involved with drugs, alcohol abuse, dysfunctional family relationships, poverty, debt, disease, disability, unemployment, abusive relationships, violence, emotional breakups, anger management, teenage rebellion, clinical depression, theft, failure to meet familial or bureaucratic expectations, and so forth.

I’ve had none of these issues in my life. My family was always relatively peaceful, modest, and measured.

They should not tell you to avoid all these things. They should tell you to avoid most of them, and save at least a couple of them to shroud the future in a shimmering haze and provide something to overcome in life. A story without an antagonist makes the reader question the legitimacy of the story. Suddenly, the reader remembers his hands on the page, his surroundings, the time of day, and so on, until the spell is broken entirely.


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