Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, February 20, 2023

the first time (time, time, time...)- The Boy Who Fell From The Past Truant D. Memphis

A passage. 
This story is a passage. 
A chapter from my earliest adventures. 
A moment in time recounting the first time I traveled through time...or something like that. 


Published: November 2022

A passage. This story is a passage. A chapter from my earliest adventures. A moment in time recounting the first time I travelled through time...or something like that. I may have been dimension hopping. We're still not certain. Anyway, I share this with you because it was also the first time (time, time, time...) I met Ezekiel and Jacob Trate, or any other member of the Trate family. I share this with you because it was the first time I met Frank. I share this with you because the whole deal was a portal full of fun (you'll get this joke once you start reading).

Antihero Fatigue: The Good Guy Complexity Conundrum:

From Wolverine to John McClane to the Bride and all the murderous heroes in between, who doesn’t like reading or watching their favorite protagonist exercise a bloody rampage against evil? Kill. Kill. Kill for the sake of justice! For the sake of righteousness! For the sake of setting up a memorable, post murder smart-assed hero quip! “Gobble gobble, jive turkeys!”

I would be lying if I denied the fun we can have with a protagonist who has questionable morals. Because, let’s be honest, it’s a lot of possible fun. But, the proliferation of the antihero in our modern story telling zeitgeist, the overuse, and the often lazy characterizations, they leave me with stale cracker on my tongue. That’s a bland taste right there. Thus, I find myself not wanting to play with these characters anymore.

Now, a guest blog post isn’t the appropriate forum or word count for me to climb to the top of my soapbox to give a full sermon about a personal quibble I have with modern storytelling in an increasingly violent culture. So rather than drone on about repetitive, unoriginal, cheap and easy antihero protags, I want to focus on what I think is frequently the heart of these “insert name here” protagonists’ character flaws, which I have titled The Good Guy Complexity Conundrum.

Obviously as story tellers, more often than not our goal is to draw rich, complex characters. Granted, every once in a while, we’re just throwing stock characters into motion commedia dell’arte style, but generally speaking we want our main characters to show the complexities that come with being human. Even if the characters are alien, or gods, or whatever they may be, we give them human qualities, or the opposite of human qualities, or somewhere in between, because that’s what we know. We see everything through the human lens. Well, you guys do. I’m just visiting, but that conversation is for another day.

Anyway, early on in my “I’m gonna be a novelist!” journey, I found myself wanting to draw a starker contrast between good and evil in my stories. Again, with what felt like an ever-increasing amount of real world violence around us, I wanted to present bad guys that were really bad, and heroes that were really good. A different type of bad-ass hero. The “don’t mistake my kindness for weakness” type. They’re already out there, I know. It’s been done. It’s all been done, but I felt like these types of heroes were becoming the proverbial needles in the antihero haystacks.

The root, Truant, the root of the problem. Get there.

Right, right. The Good Guy Complexity Conundrum.

Humans like flaws. On many levels we accept flaws in others so we can accept the flaws in ourselves. But I don’t think this drives the “hero with character flaws” proliferation so much as the simple desire for a writer to create a complex character worthy of your time. I believe it’s this desire for complexity, for well-roundedness that often has us reaching like an automaton into a bag of ubiquitous lazy tricks. She’s a drunk. He’s a slut with a heart of gold. They’re a good them but with a dark past.

And yes, humans like the familiar. Our brains love being able to efficiently organize things, wasting as little time on analyzation as possible so we can move on to the next item to sort. But, and it’s a big ol’ stinky but, familiarity breeds contempt. And here I sit, ranting about stock characters.

My point is this: People are quirky. We’re silly and nuanced and emotional, and there’s a dagzillion number of traits you can give to your hero that make them a complex, well rounded character without having to resort to the overplayed classics. Don’t be afraid to make your protagonist truly good. Even a great person who’s never cheated on their loved one or been a substance abuser or been abused (to name only a few stock character issues…), even a person without these many familiar personal trials can have a reason for deeply seeded pain, a complex problem to overcome, and the “true hero” bad-assedness to knock a villain out without resorting to murder, glorious murder.

Rant over. My apologies.

About the author:
😀Truant Delighted Memphis is an author, actor, alter-ego, fictional character, adventurer, sloppy guitar player, martial artist, husband and father. He was born and raised in Texas. An orphan, at age 16 he wandered away from his foster home on foot in search of adventure. He is married to Daffodil Fields. They have two children: Daniel Trate (adopted), and a baby girl named Peaceful Dreaming Memphis (Sweet Pea for short).

Truant began his journey to save the Multiverse a little over 10 years ago. He is an agent for the all-knowing Bob, who we think is what other people call God, though we haven't confirmed that yet. Truant invites you to join him on his quest.

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CCAM said...

I enjoyed the GP -
My first reaction was "wait a moment, John McClane is not an antihero!" He was put in dire situations and I don't think it was his "choice" to "murder, murder, murder everyone". I've read several articles about how he is an anti-hero... I still believe he is not; but, first of all, we should make sure that we use the same criteria when analysing...

Then, I thought "Hmm, so you're a Superman fan as he is the epitome of the "heroes that were really good" or “don’t mistake my kindness for weakness” type.

Anyway, for me, one of the key points is that I want to discover good where apparently is only bad and that a (fundamentally) good person is capable to do "bad things" when necessary... what is the trigger and how long what it takes to reveal the "other side" of a person.

I will only add that you made me curious about your book, and that was what you wanted, isn't it?

PS - who is an antihero: Rick Grimes or Daryl Dixon? or Carol Peletier? or... But this "conversation is for another day".

Michael Law said...

Sounds like a great book

Michael Law said...

This looks like an excellent novel

Truant Memphis said...


Yeah, I was playing a little fast and loose with the meaning of "antihero" for the sake of fun. I was just looking at it through the lens of protagonists who do a lot of remorseless killing, which I don't consider to be a truly heroic quality.

I'm actually a Batman guy...have every one of the comics across all titles during my four years of high school. Tons of ass-kicking without the murder.

Regarding the Grimes, Dixon, Peletier comparison, I've never actually watched the Walking Dead! I know, I know...I should be ashamed but I'm terrible about watching long serieses!

Thanks again for being a part of my tour! I sincerely appreciate your help!

Truant Memphis said...

Thanks, Michael!

I hope you enjoy my story!

Audrey Stewart said...

Truant D. Memphis is a new author to me, but I want to thank this blog for the introduction. I look forward to reading this book.

Truant Memphis said...

Thanks, Audrey! I hope you enjoy my stories!!!