Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger, the News, and Speculation

I hope Tiger Woods sticks to his guns. The press should not be camped out outside his house over a single car accident. I don't care why it happened. He does not owe the public an explanation - and even if he has nothing to hide at all, he should not give us one. He owes the public a good golf game, and that's it. (If it turns out he did something illegal, that's different, but it isn't a story until that info breaks.)

But as a fiction writer, I find it does pique one's imagination. Not to wonder what he did and why, but to wonder what could happen with a fictional character in a fictional universe. I can imagine a scenario like the scene in the original The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) in which a parent, a good citizen, is just walking in to the inspector's office to give a statement about a crime he witnessed, and he gets the news: his child has been kidnapped, and he can't say a word, not about the crime or the kidnapping or anything. And he has to see that his wife doesn't speak either.

Little puzzles are the stuff of drama. And it happens every day. Writers have long been looking at newspapers for inspiration, and newspapers are particularly rich right now. We live in ironic times - supposedly newspapers are dying, but right now, nearly all newspapers are also online, which means we can read not only our own home town paper and maybe some big city papers. We can browse through papers from Kalamazoo, Topeka or Provo. The Traverse City Record Eagle or the La Junta Tribune-Democrat.

So make use of these resources while we have them. Support them while you can, too.

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