Thursday, September 27, 2007

Abnormalities of a Writer

I've got a wooden sign on my office wall made by Josi that declares the following:

I will NOT live like a NORMAL person. I AM A WRITER!

Truer words were never spoken.

A few pieces of evidence that indicate that no, I am NOT normal:

-I carry a book with me. Everywhere.

-My list of "to be read" books grows exponentially faster than my "books I've read" list.

-I have shelves lined with 3-ring binders that include research ranging from the history of denim to colic in horses.

-My bookshelves also include many classics.

-Nearby are titles that are not exactly classics: books about poisons, fraud, weapons, forensic medicine, the criminal mind, and even one on Snoopy's word of wisdom on writing.

-I think semicolons rock.

-I hear news stories and start coming up with other "what if" scenarios, imagining characters and possible conflicts that could spin off from today's headlines. I imagine what it would be like to be there myself. Or even try to get into the bad guy's head and (to me, what's more interesting) wonder what the HECK was HE thinking?

-Some of my favorite people don't exist. And never have.

-I talk to these people, and they talk back.

-I read aloud to my kids or my husband and interrupt myself to go, "Wow. Now that's a cool image."

-I fall asleep at night thinking about storylines, conflicts, and lines of dialogue.

-I catch myself making weird facial expressions and gestures at the computer in an effort to explain them on paper.

-When something bad happens to me (like when I broke my nose recently), I pay special attention to the details because you never know what might be fodder for a book.

-I prefer typing to speaking. I can always go back and revise, erase, and edit words on the screen. Not so with words spoken--and all too often they come out wrong.

-I have a hard time reading books purely for the pleasure of it.

And my personal favorite from just yesterday:

My preschooler demonstrated why her copy of Watch Your Step, Mr. Rabbit! was in the kids' bathroom: She sat on the toilet, and with her pants around her ankles, which dangled in the air, she opened up the book, saying, "See? Now I'm like you, Mommy."

Yes, folks. I admit it. I read magazines in the bathroom. These include things like Writer's Digest, publications that I write for (or what to write for), and so on.

It's called multi-tasking, right?


Chillygator said...

History of denim. Really. Wow, random.

If the books don't work out, you could always try writing for the 100 Hour Board (o:

Karlene said...

Oh that's funny. I used to read in the bathroom as a kid. I'd get my blanket and curl up over the heater vent to read--it was the warmest place in the house.

Josi said...

What else do people do in the bathroom if they don't read?

I really don't get how any of this stuff is abnormal. Rest easy, it sounds like you're just as normal as I am, Annette :-)

Tamra Norton said...

But do you take your AlphaSmart into the bathroom with you? :)

Jenna said...

Loved this post! One of my favorite things to do at other people's houses is peruse their bookshelves. Sounds like you have quite a diverse collection! Maybe someday I'll come visit your, I mean you!

Amber said...

-I prefer typing to speaking. I can always go back and revise, erase, and edit words on the screen. Not so with words spoken--and all too often they come out wrong.-

AMEN! Although after reading most of your list I think I need to hang up my typing fingers. I don't know how to use semi colons appropriately 87% of the time. I think.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

What a great list. It is great to know there are others out there as un-normal as I am.

Luisa Perkins said...

Excellent. Those pre-schoolers are such truthsayers.

Becky Cheung said...

Haha. Hello all the way from Singapore ;)

Anonymous said...

I always have a book with me. It's like a sweater. I agree with this on so many levels though, the colic in horses.. i'm so not there!

Annette Lyon said...

Josi, glad to know I'm actually normal--for a writer. (And yeah, what DOES everyone else do in the bathroom?)

Tami, No way does the AlphaSmart come in--there's WATER in the bathroom. That could ruin the keyboard. Silly.

Jenna, If you end up traveling east sometime, be sure to visit my books. :D

Amber, don't hang up those typing fingers--it's just the punctuation freaks like me who care about such things.

Beracahvalley--greetings to you, too! Wow--Singapore!

Christina, I actually hate writing about horses, but when you do historical fiction and they didn't have CARS, it's impossible to get away from them. It's killing me that my WIP has a major horse subplot. Yeah, like THAT'S been fun to figure out . . .

Anna said...

I could relate to most of your post. I also fall asleep thinking of my story, dialouge, etc. I have made facial expressions to try and figure out how to explain them. Just got a root canal and my first speeding ticket on the same day, and thought maybe I could use them in some story. I also prefer writing to speaking. I am shy in groups of people and am known as the "quiet one". But get me around friends or on paper, and I have a LOT to say. :)


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