15 December 2011

Naughty or Nice

by Deborah Elliott-Upton

I'm baking my grandma's recipe for cookies we only enjoy during the holidays. The scent brings me back to memories when I eagerly awaited a personal visit from St. Nick. All the while I hoped I had been good enough during the year to get exactly what I wanted from the jolly old elf, I remained a bit worried.

I'm wrapping gifts picked out for each person on my own list without checking to see if they were naughty or nice.

I'm listening to the GLEE Christmas CD and loving the idea, if not the reality of a Norman Rockwell gathering to look forward to this season.

I'm counting my blessings and having one heck of a time trying to think of a crime or imagine a criminal mind doing heinous things in the midst of feeling so blessed.

I know this a rampant time of year for burglars, grinches and car jackers to strike unexpected into our lives. I know that greed and commercialism is making louder statements in the world every day. I know that sometimes I am a bit naive about how the real world acts.

Last spring I was taken to task on Facebook when I said I wished the good guys could win on "Survivor." One of my friends scolded me online about it being a "game." A game, yes. I have to agree. I was gently reminded that when Colby did the right thing (in my mind), he lost the game and the million dollar prize. Last season I was once again disappointed and did not watch this season though I'd been a loyal viewer since the first episode.

This is my problem: I'm trying to be a nice girl in a naughty world. I try to play fair and then sneak off and write stories others may consider disturbing. Because I'm having fun playing both naughty and nice, do I need to see a therapist?

That's an interesting question I pose to myself often in the middle of writing a not-so-nice character. I feel a lot like Dexter. We share trying to live two highly different sides of our personalities in one lifetime. I think my "other life" as a writer isn't as dark as Dexter's as a detective/serial killer, but wouldn't he justify his choices, too? He's ridding the world of really, really bad people.

Do we all here share a naughty side? Do you enjoy the same sickness of loving to read about serial killers, tracking murderers and solving atrocious crimes we dare not undertake ourselves though we just may be able to get away with it if we tried?

Well, then, sit down. Have a cookie and I'll pour you a cup of coffee. We're going to be great pals. Wait until you hear what I'm planning to write next year. It's deliciously awful! I think you just may like the taste of a 2012 murder or two. I plan to write them more often than I bake Grandma's cookies.

6 comments:

Leigh Lundin said...

Imaginative post, Deborah, and I love the old Santa.

I think of our 'dark side' as sort of a safety valve. Also, it's my way of trying to comprehend true evil.

In any case, I think you are a good person.

Except I'll say no to the coffee.

And I'll pass on the cookies, thanks all the same.

Cindy Kerschner said...

I can relate to how you see things. I love going to Murder Mystery Weekends,but trying to explain what they're about to someone who has never been to one makes me sound a little morbid.

Fran Rizer said...

Deborah, unlike Leigh, I'd gladly accept the coffee and the cookies, along with a good lady to lady discussion of crimes and murder! I enjoyed this column tremendously and think I'll bake some of my family's favorite cookies tonight.

R.T. Lawton said...

There is a certain attraction to the dark side. Those in prison rationalized the decisions that ended up putting them there. Those in law enforcement get to reach out and touch the beast, yet be the good guys by putting the criminals away, except for the few cops who give into temptation and go over to the other side, which puts us back to rationalizing one's actions. And, writers get to have it all by putting it down on paper.
I got to go find some cookies for my morning coffee. Talking philosophy makes me hungry.

Kate Irving said...

Evil doers don't think they are evil or doing evil. They are merely doing what needs to be done (in their own mind's at least). End justifies the means...I will justify eating some of those cookies. It is Christmas afterall, I'm pretty sure I'm on the Nice list. If on the naughty, I take them on the sly while plotting a delectable murder of my own.

John Floyd said...

As for evil vs. good and the "attraction to the dark side," an interviewer once asked Lee Marvin how awful it must be, always playing bad people. He said, "I don't play bad people. I play people struggling to get through their day, doing the best they can with what life's given them." I think portraying (and writing about) the dark side is/would be way more fun than the alternative.