My name is S. O’Duinn Magee, and I’m a writer.
Even though I’m not a hugely famous writer at this point in time, I’m — what? What’d you say?
Okay, okay, you’re right. At this point in time I’m not famous at all, much less hugely. But I’m working on it. I mean, Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? And I sure don’t want to lose my confidence and end up like John Kennedy Toole, do I? Of course not.
Starting again: People are fascinated by writers, by how they get their ideas. So even though no one has been plying me with questions about how I get my ideas, I figure I’ll talk about the concept anyway. Here goes.
I’ve been thinking a lot about balls.
I mean, if you live in the American South and you’ve moved from Summer into Fall you can’t escape football, right? Of course, if you live anywhere else on the planet you can’t escape futball or fútbol either, which is what I’m talking about. It’s all about balls.
So being as I’m a writer I think a lot, and I was thinking about human beings and how they’re always doing things with balls: golf, tennis, baseball, cricket, ping pong, volleyball, pinball (on machines), racquetball, basketball, kickball, water polo, tether ball, bowling, pinball, squash, skee ball (machines again), rugby, billiards, ki-o-rahi.
Ki-o-rahi? Sure thing. It’s a Maori game that’s played on a circular field where teams score points touching the pou (the boundary markers) and hitting a central tupu (a target). Sounds a little like quidditch, actually, except the players run around instead of flying on brooms, which is good for the ki-o-rahi players because they don’t have so far to fall before they hit the ground after they touch the pou or hit the tupu. And can’t you just hear the cheerleaders?
Pou! Pou! Touch the Pou! HIT that tupu! TOUCH that pou! Ya-a-a-ay!
Anyway there I was, thinking about football and futball and worrying about all the concussions and PTSDs that the players get because of their passion for knocking heads (football) or head-bumping the ball (futball), and that’s when I started wondering why we don’t have a global mania for bowling.
Here’s the thing: the only way you can get a concussion during a bowling match is if somebody tosses a ball at your head, which is not likely because those balls are heavy. Even the lighter balls, the ones for kids and geezers, weigh nine or ten pounds.
Besides that, in the game of bowling it’s the pins that get all cracked up, not the bowlers, which is why bowlers don’t have to wear helmets and mouth guards and knee pads. Plus if you’re a spectator you get to drink beer and cheer for your team during the tournaments, just like at a football game.
I even studied the physics of bowling so I could talk about it in my novel The Genius House (which isn’t published yet). It’s true. About physics and bowling being related, I mean, because it’s all about the ball and the lane and the interaction thereof.
So to answer your Frequently Asked Question (not), I get my ideas because I think a lot and I’m not afraid to suggest that we might want to do some serious thinking about the games we play.
My name is S. O’Duinn Magee, but I’ll love it if you call me Mags and toss me a question about writing.