Folks, it’s a jungle in there.
And I never remember to bring a machete.
The biggest thing people who have to deal with me should understand is that I’m not all there. I don’t mean in a mental disorder fashion (although that almost certainly comes into play – no creative person has their feet firmly on the ground). What I mean is, I am not fully present in your company. I’m only half with you. Another part of my brain is writing, writing, ceaselessly writing.
You and I might be sharing parenting angst, spousal angst, or any other kind of angst. (I’m angst-heavy, if you haven’t noticed.) I hear you. I’m in complete empathy. I’m truly devoted to what you’re saying. I care about how you feel.
I’m also in the middle of watching people fight, make out, and pull devious tricks on each other. While you and I are deliberating over whether or not the world is coming to an end, I’m also memorizing the details of my latest hero’s finely chiseled body. This is why I’m often caught smiling at inappropriate times. My story heroes are always finely chiseled, a side effect of writing erotica under another name. I’ve got a never-ending parade of abs, biceps, and pecs marching by me. It’s a terrible, terrible burden. Poor me.
Can’t you just feel my pain right now?
I do try to give you my full attention. I really do. I work hard to be present in the moment. Yet my squirrely gray matter, bent on creating nonstop, will not shut down. It’s examining plot issues, creating dialogue, and brainstorming exciting action sequences with those muscular men that run amok in my head.
It does not stop.
I wake up thinking about my latest project. I eat meals wrapped in a writing-induced fog. I exercise while worrying over a story problem I’ve gotten myself into. I drift in a neverending sea of plot twists while coaching my son through homework. I do this while trying to live in the real world with its problems and responsibilities. I exist in two places at once.
I’ve done this since I was a child. My fantasy world has always been rich and beckons me with endless possibilities. It sings a siren song which draws me helplessly into its embrace.
Welcome to my universe. It’s teeming with monsters and mayhem, tough heroines and dastardly villains. And chiseled men ... lots and lots of chiseled men.
It’s tough being a writer.