Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Feeding the Beast

Being a writer is an interesting way of existing.  To me.  Not to you, the non-writer.  For someone on the outside, I would be as fascinating as a blank sheet of paper.  I like to tell people I could double as a throw rug.  That’s how boring I am. 

Yes, for the most part I am a quiet, unassuming gal.  I like to sit in the background.  If I think of something to contribute to a conversation, I do so.  I might even crack a joke or two.  Most days I get up in the morning, send the kid off to school, exercise, sit at a desk to work, clean the house, and try to resist seconds at meals.  I shop way too much.  I surf the ‘net.  I take the boy to his games or swim lessons.  I watch TV. 


No one looking at this middle-aged near-hermit of a woman would ever guess the monster that lives inside me.  I’m so very bland.  How could you know about the inner beast that eternally growls to be fed?

Because I’m a writer, I live a large part of life in my head.  Most of the time, it’s not my own life.  I’m dreaming of my characters and the situations they get themselves into.  I’m always writing, even if it’s only in my thoughts.  Stories cook and marinate in my brain soup almost every second of the day.  They come from an overactive imagination, which I have affectionately named the Beast.

The Beast doesn’t run on nothing.  The Beast continually wants experiences to feed on, to add and enrich the stories it conjures up.  It gobbles up everything in its path:  my childhood experiences, my friends, the places I’ve been, the friends and enemies I’ve made.  It watches the world I inhabit, snatching at everything.  Devouring everything.

If we meet, the Beast is eyeing you, wondering how you taste.  Do I find you riveting?  Ridiculous?  Amusing?  The Beast will add you to the brain soup and make you a part of the next tasty tale it spins.  Have I visited your house?  Perhaps it will meet the setting the Beast needs for a scene of murder, a party, or a lover’s tryst.  Did you show me your quirky hobby?  Guess what – the Beast has just decided my newest heroine has that or a similar pastime.

My friends, family, foes...many have shown up in my books.  I have too.  The Beast is a cannibal in its neverending frenzy of gathering people, places, and experiences.  When it runs low on outside ingredients, it turns to me.  It is never sated. 

I am forever watching all that is around me, making note of everything and paying attention.  So when I’m standing apart from the rest of you, watching quietly, don’t write me off as a wallflower.  Don’t think I’m being aloof or anti-social.  I’m very engaged, in fact.  Unlike me, you are fascinating.  You are the perfect food for the Beast.

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