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Monday, December 1, 2008

Writing a Book is a Weird Experience

I know, you are probably thinking it's boring and I'm sure that if someone put a camera on me and filmed the actual action of me writing a book, it would only barely rival Warhol's epic movie about a man sleeping.

But hey, it's what goes on inside that's weird. I've written stories before and I've worked on this book for over a year but up until recently, it's only been one day a week. In a massive gesture of faith and love for me, my wife suggested that I make a sprint to the finish of sorts and try to wrap this thing up by the New Year.

At least I think it was a massive gesture of faith and love... it could be that she just wanted the TV to herself to watch that John and Kate show. Either way though, I find myself well over 200 pages and 65,000 words into something that originally started out being nothing more than a five to ten page short story about a graveyard. I'm probably at the halfway point now and what's weird about this can be summed up in two sentences.

1. I'm living other people's lives in my head.

2. I've kind of enjoyed killing some of them.

Seriously. On both counts this is supremely weird for me, but it's true. I find myself creating backstories in my head that never make it to paper. They don't need to. They just need to help me better define the characters I'm writing about. I also find myself trying to relate to people I'm inherently not like. For instance an 80 year old single woman or a 28-year-old hispanic drug dealer. In ways, it's opened up a part of me that was formerly adverse to empathy.

But then, there's that second statement which is also very true. Killing some of these folks... even some of the innocent ones, has been incredibly fun. The more weird and wicked the better in most cases. The real carnage in the story is still to come and I'm wondering if I'll get to a point when I look in the mirror and ask myself, "Is it normal to think these things?"

I suspect I won't. There's a big part of me that is able to separate the real world from the world in my head where anything is possible. I just have a feeling that it's just going to be hard to convince folks who read this later that the grey matter in my skull is just like theirs.

In the end though, I don't guess it will matter much. They'll either like it or they won't but I'll have still written the book I wanted to write and that's all I care about.

Time to go write some more now. You enjoy avoiding work or whatever it is you're doing while you waste time reading this. I'm going to go knock off a convenience store clerk... in my head.