by Toni L.P. Kelner/Leigh Perry
I love the Harry Potter books, and dip into them often when I need cheering up or distraction. (And I've needed a lot of cheering up and distraction this past week.) During dark times, I enjoy watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, and The Flash. I crave comic book heroes like Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Batman, and Superman. I need to see these heroes kick butt and take names, and cheer them as they fight for what's right.
At night, when nobody else is around, I might even fantasize about being Buffy, or Barry Allen, or Captain Picard, or Squirrel Girl. But it's only fantasy--I know I am not going to be that kind of hero. I'm too old, too out of shape, too afraid... Too something.But that's okay. Very few of us are going to be that kind of hero. Heck, even in the most heroic of tales, the majority of characters aren't that kind of hero. Look at the myriad of characters in the Potter books who aren't Harry, the rest of Star Fleet, the Scoobies, even Alfred the Butler. They do their parts, too, often things that the heroes can't do. (Does Captain Kirk know how to use a tricorder?) I think one reason I like writing and reading about amateur sleuths is that the Miss Marples, the Aurora Teagardens, and the Emma Fieldings don't go out to change the world. They're just trying to deal with their own small parts of the world. That's a goal I can imagine myself achieving.
So when I'm trying to think of what it is I can do to improve the world, while I may admire the heroes, but what I aspire to be is something more modest. I may not be able to kill a demon, but I could research for Buffy. I can't command a starship, but I could clean some dilithium crystals. I can fly or beat up criminals, but I can call for help when help is needed. And maybe if I keep writing, I can inspire other non-heroes, or at least cheer them up a bit.