I was reading ‘Thief of Time’ by Terry Pratchett again, where the Auditors are discovering how many unconscious impulses come hard-wired with a human body and how difficult those impulses are to understand and control. I’m starting to see us each as a little self-contained disc-world, with trolls, dwarves and elves battling it out. Thieves, assassins, seamstresses plying their trades. Vetinari setting small fires to keep the big ones in check. Werewolves and vampires wreaking havok among the peasantry. Igors patching it back together any which way. Feegles butting heads and nicking sheep, or butting sheep and nicking heads. Anthropomorphic Personifications created out of our darkest fears, which only makes them slightly easier to live with…
Wizards opening doors and witches shutting them as they patrol the edges. Susan reluctantly straddling the threshhold, brandishing her poker against whatever tries to get past. Vimes and the Watch holding the center together with a few rusty pikes and a threadbare mantle of authority. Because someone has to.
We contain multitudes, and all too often, they’re rioting about something. But while it can be devastating, agonizing, frustrating, infuriating, exasperating, incoherent anarchy, it shouldn’t ever be *boring*. Not with all that going on, and the never-ending struggle to prevent things getting entirely out of hand and the overwhelming desire to shape some kind of sense out of it.
The trick, to me, seems to be determining a cohesive internal narrative. Get your story straight – who are you and what do you want? What are you willing to do to get it? What are you not? Determine your limits, your boundaries. Patrol them, guard them, brandish your poker. Know in your heart what is right, what is wrong – at least for you, if for no one else. Hold to this belief. Because willful disregard of what your heart knows is right — no matter what the thieves, elves and vampires may say — is committing a crime against yourself. And what would Vimes say to that?