He’s short, pudgy, and has a snout like a green megaphone, or so his cousin Trance says. Virj Ofreesin (yes, it is pronounced like verge of reason) is the protagonist of my first book of the Life in the ‘Cosm series.
Virj and I have known each other since he started out as a doodle for me in the 90s. For some reason, he rarely smiled in my cartoons, and often found himself in awkward situations. I offset his broodiness with an über-cheerful houseplant named Sonny, and decided Virj should have a laid-back and maybe apathetic pet named Splot. (I thought of the cliche of My dog, Spot, and that’s how Splot got his name).
I admit, I was a bit cheeky while writing ‘Cosm. The story is set in another galaxy, but instead of my lead character standing as the dashing and tall genius who’s masterful at warring, technology, or science, we have Virj. Why? Frankly, my belief is that if life exists on other planets, there’s got to be some person who perhaps isn’t so attractive, is terrible at romance, hates their job, and self-medicates with cupcakes. Why should space fantasy be so beyond our reach? Maybe other galaxies are full of poor slobs like us.
Virj stayed where he was, with his face pressed against the glass, whimpering softly. The sweet treats continued to sail past, taunting him with their nearness, yet remaining so far out of reach. Pathetic, isn’t it? Yeah, there’s nothing worse than being cake-blocked.
~ Life in the ‘Cosm, Chapter 11
However, just because Virj isn’t an Adonis, it doesn’t mean he cannot have his own adventures. Even an everyman can be transformed by taking a risk and exiting his comfort zone. Virj’s imperfect self needs to learn a mountain (or a cliff) of life lessons in ‘Cosm—and he does.
“Don’t say another word! I’m fed up of being treated like a lovesick adolescent. I’m a man, I’m in love, I’m going to Zodra and no one will talk me out of it! You hear me? No one!”
A laser blast narrowly missed his head.
~ Life in the ‘Cosm, chapter 20
He’s not suave. He can’t fly a ship. Heck, he’s not even a really good dancer. And he can’t tell the different between drinks served in mason jars and a bottle of furniture polish. But I like Virj. He’s real. Especially the dessert-belly part. I’m with you there, bro!
Interested in discovering more about Virj’s microcosm? Life in the ‘Cosm is available in paperback and e-book (shameless plug). I’m told people can really relate to the characters and apparently it’s funny, too. One reader said she might have damaged some internal organs laughing. Maybe check with your doctor before reading this book. 😉
Because June triggers off Pride month in many places, I’m feeling sentimental and huggy towards my friends today. I even dedicated my spiritual blog entry, Love like Jesus in Got Grace, yet?, to my friends who identify as L, G, B, and/or T.
My upcoming book, Life in the ‘Cosm, is a complete work of fantasy fiction, with a stark silliness to it, but therein lies some truths as well. Like the protagonist, I’m straight, but my circle of friends has people from all walks of life, made in different ways, who are invaluable to me. Lifesavers, really, because they made me feel loved and welcomed at a time when I felt alone and rejected.
Only after I was quite into my first draft did I realize that this book is sort of a love note to those friends. My gratitude and appreciation for their kindness and kinship just poured out of my subconscious. They have been my wise owls, my partners in ludicrous behaviour, spiritual guides, virtual siblings and cousins, and fellow cupcake eaters. I cannot even imagine them not being in my life.
Several of them will also be my beta-readers. If they give me a good review, I’ll still love them. If not, they are all dead to me.
Look, I never said my love was unconditional.
Yes, I am kidding.
Thanks to all of you. You know who you are. Pride month means something to me, too, because I’m right proud to know all of you. ❤
Cait Gordon has been a senior technical writer in high tech and government organizations. She is currently a Web Developer consultant for Dynamic Canvas Inc., and assistant to the Executive Director at H’Art of Ottawa. She also enjoys her crafting business, Cait Cards.