Being a writer is tough. Our minds work in a such a way that mere laypeople do not understand. Every outing is a character study, while every news story is a possible plot. A simple word from a stranger can trigger a storyboard.
When I talk to people I am fascinated with the smallest details and ask lots of questions. Hey, this is research for free and beats looking things up on Google. And I’m just naturally curious, I think most writers are. The problem is my conversations usually last longer then necessary. This recently happened during a trip to a computer store. I was looking for ink cartridges for my printer and was getting help. Somehow the conversation turned to the latest technology for spyware. Before I knew it I was surrounded by 3 guys dressed in their blue polo shirts and khaki pants all sharing their thoughts on the subject. I was fascinated, sadly my three children were not. Nor were the 5 people standing around needing help and shooting me dirty looks. I quickly thanked the young men, grabbed my ink and shooed my kids past the angry onlookers.
We also have to watch what we say. One day I was in the grocery store with my kids and I was in a very melancholy mood. I told the girls we needed to buy chocolate and lots of it. As we were loading up the cart my oldest asked, “Mom, the only time we buy this much chocolate is when you are sad. What's wrong?” Without thinking I told her “Well, tonight I’m going to have to kill someone.” My oldest didn’t blink an eye. She knows her mom regularly kills people off in her stories. Unfortunately, the lady with the fur wrap buying her Ghirardelli bars did not. Not to worry, I finally caught up with her in the frozen food aisle and explained I was a writer. Guess what? Her cousin did some writing too and we had a nice long conversation.
The most hazardous part can come when you live and breath your characters. They never seem to leave you alone even when you are sleeping. Sometimes you replay scenes in your head. Like maybe a scene in which your hero is about to drown in a raging river and you scream his name. Only to realize you REALLY did scream his name and your husband is already on his feet beside the bed looking dazed.
“Did you just scream James?”, hubby rubs his eyes.
“Um, well maybe.” I say shaking the fog from my head.
“I think I was dreaming.” I mumble as I start to pull the covers up to my shoulders.
Hubs narrows his eyes. “You were dreaming about James?”
“Yes, you know the character in my book.” I now have the sheet over my head trying to shield myself from his piercing stare.
“No, I don’t know.” I cringe as he climbs back into bed, then I hear him sigh.
I relax and start to giggle, “Sorry.”
“It’s alright”, he says as he snuggles closer.
I knew he would understand. It can be tough being married to a writer, but he’s a sweetheart.
“Just so you know”, he whispers in my ear, “I’m writing a story too. Just wanted you to know, in case I scream the name Trixi in my sleep.”
If you are a writer, what do you find is the most hazardous thing about our profession?