Monday, August 19, 2013

Attacked On All Sides

I. Am. Exhausted. As of this this writing, I have worked every day of the past 11 days, and I still have 2 more to go before I get a day off. And these are not light, 4 to 6 hour shifts, either. My Tuesday shifts have spanned noon to 9:30 pm, and both of the previous Fridays, I worked noon to 11:30 pm. I got home well after midnight only to get up again the next morning at 8 and go back to work for 9 hours. For about 5 days there I had a virus, but I think I am over it now. 

After almost falling asleep in the middle of a card game last week at Game Night, I opted to stay home this Sunday to relax and work on writing. I've been so busy with my jobs that I've barely had time to write. A couple of times I brought my big red notebook with me to work, and once I packed my laptop, but there is so little accomplished in 20 minutes that must also be used for eating and using the restroom. 

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When I don't write for a while, I become severely depressed. Life ceases to have meaning. I experience the world through the lens of writing. Eugene Ionesco said, "For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing." And it's 100% true. With every new experience, I think of how I can use it in a story. Every person I meet influences future characters in my head. I like to try new things so that I can write about them later. Even my other hobbies, like sewing and crocheting, feature into character creation, or are funneled into hobbies for my characters. I love touring houses and looking up floor plans so I can place characters in those homes later. 

If we are friends, or have been, and you are wondering if I plan to use you as a character someday, the answer is that I probably already have. Not necessarily verbatim - this has only happened maybe once or twice - but some fragment has been combined with other fragments. Maybe you said something I liked and I had a character quote you. Or a particular personality quirk will pop up in someone I've written. Sometimes I steal names or name-concepts, looking up the meaning of a person's name, then searching for other names with that same meaning and using that for a character. 

I've had one friend refuse to read a story (one that has won two awards and been published) because she knew it was based on real events and people she knew; because it creeped her out and she was afraid of learning what I thought of people. That isn't what I do, though. My characters are my characters. They live in my head and I in theirs. I can't get into other people's heads, so I take what I see and make something new. 

At the moment I am still trying to cut 200 words from one story and add 10,000 bare minimum to another. I am hoping to submit them soon for publication. This requires time. Alone time. Lots of it. I just hope September is much kinder to me than August. (Even if the extra money is going to be very helpful. I might just cut a bitch.)

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