There's a little bit of insanity that goes hand in hand when you are trying to write. Or, at least there is for me. Bachelor degree's, real world jobs, social lives, blogging and constantly searching for someone who will take my crazy and adore it, leaves little to no time to focus on a novel. Let alone a novel that for some reason I felt needed to be complicated in such ways that I wish I could go back in time and tell my fourth grade self, “Don't aspire to be a writer. It'll bring you nothing but headaches and an early onset of arthritis”. That, however, would create a paradox and if there is one thing I will take away from fictional characters experiences, it's that paradoxes never end well.
So, since I can't go back and change the mind of my little self, I'm forced to live this life. And when I say forced I do mean choose but you know, force just sounded like a more solid word choice.
One of the first things people seem to learn about me is that I'm writing a series. Oddly enough, I am never the one that shares this tidbit of information but I have a handful of friends and family members that point this out to almost every new person I meet as if this is a series that has some sort of discernible weight in the literary world. These same friends and family members are now going to point out that I just pointed all of this out to you in a blog post. And around and around we go.
Anyway... Eventually, these new people find out that what I am writing is more than just a dabble. The conversation usually goes something like this.
Strange New Person: “Oh, so what do you write?”
Me: “Umm... I'm just working on a small novel.”
Well Meaning Friend or Family Member: “Oh my Gosh! She is in the middle of writing her third book in a trilogy all about imagination and what it means for little kids and how we as adults react to it all and its really really good and I've already read it and it just blows my mind and she's being too modest. Have I mentioned its the third book?”
Strange New Person: “Wait... really? You've written three books?”
Me: “Well.... yeah...”
If you think I'm joking or exaggerating, I can give you the name of a dear friend who I am pretty much quoting verbatim right now. She'll have no problems probably saying this exact same spiel to you.
Now, after this is out of the way, people somehow coax out of me that this is a story that I've kind of been focusing on for, oh, about fifteen years give or take. Of course, I haven't been writing it this entire time. The idea started as something small when I was a child and then when I was older, it was one that I picked up again to write. It has grown beyond what I ever thought it would and now requires little self written note cards in order to keep straight the mythology I have created in this world. When, Strange New Person, finds this out, one inevitable question always arises.
“Do you feel like a crazy person?”
Yes. Yes and YES.
I would add a few expletives to that but family members are reading this and they still sometimes pictures me as a little girl. I do not want to change this perception too much seeing as it still works in my favor during the Christmas season.
But, I am, in fact, a cross between Topher (below) and that owl.
In short, writing makes you crazy. I didn't always feel like this. There was a time when I could write and I'd step away from my computer and switch to whatever else it was that I needed to do. Now, it's a very different story. When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about that world I've created. I'm thinking about those characters. When something new pops up in my life, I wonder how they would react to it. When a song comes on the radio, my ears tend to hear words that relate to scenes and moments that I have either written or have yet to write. Upon knowing book three is going to be the final book, I create blogs in order to distract myself from actually writing it because I know when I finish, these characters are done. When you live with a small set of characters for close to fifteen years, they become something beyond what you originally created. When you have to say goodbye to them.... well, I don't want to think about that quite yet.
Thus, the crazy person feeling.
I catch myself, sometimes. There are times when I've been sitting and talking about my story with friends and realize that I am talking about my characters as if they are real people. It's as if I should be able to call them up on the phone and invite them out for a drink. I know them well. Too well. I know what they eat, I know their biggest fears, I know who they love and who they think they love. I know how they react to death and sorrow and how they laugh and what their smile looks like. One character, in fact, is what I measure all potential guys to in my life. Which is probably why I'm single. The point is that I know these characters as well as I would my best friend. I don’t always agree with them (which makes for some interesting writing nights) and there are plenty of moments where I have to walk away from the computer because I am too angry or too upset to continue to write what they have to do or what they have to respond to.
Thankfully, I have understanding friends who when I start speaking as if these characters are real, they know I am simply slipping into writer me. If they were less understanding, they'd have me committed.
Writing is a process that drives me absolutely insane. I love it and I crave it and sometimes, when the night is late and my living room is lit only with the pale glow of my computer screen and a few small candles, I put my head down and have to breathe deeply as I mourn, laugh, and love along with these character. Sometimes, I think they are so entwined with my life that I forget where they end.
Would I change this? Well... yes. I already admitted in the beginning of the post that I would tell little me not to become older me. But, here's the thing about little me. She was a stubborn little thing. I doubt she'd listen.
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