Friday, January 23, 2009

You might be a writer if....

I've spent too many hours revising. I admit it. I'm in "the zone". I am for all intents and purposes presently on hiatus in 19th century New Zealand.

That part's not so bad. Temporary breaks with reality can be a good thing, so long as you don't get too carried away. Right?

Anyway, what's got me worried is the fact that writing is taking over my life. By that, I don't mean I'm seeing, eating, dreaming, walking in the world of my book, I mean, writing is now the medium through which I experience the world.

How bad can it be, you wonder? So bad, I think writers deserve their own weekly case study. We do some strange things, you know.

Case in point: You might be a writer if, you edit dialogue, not character dialogue but the spontaneous, I'm-talking-to-other-people-in-the-real-world-right-now dialogue.

It's a common writer affliction with a long history. Case in point: Shakespeare. He totally admitted to it when he said: All the world's a stage, and the men and women merely players. Could it be any clearer? I bet he spent half his free time rewriting conversations he had.

You know, I wonder if he tried to make his wife speak to him in verse? Because that would explain why he got to live all by himself half the time in London. And why when he finally came back to Stratford-on-Avon to live in his family's house, he didn't write anymore, not the last three years of his life. I bet his wife told him, NO MORE VERSE, William, or else.

Why am I so sure? Well, I was having this conversation with my husband the other night. It went something like this:

Husband: I'm on call tomorrow night. Shoot me now.

Me: (Does he really want to say shoot me now? This is a character, I mean person, who is highly educated. Shouldn't he say something like, How regrettable? Well, that sounds sort of British. Hmmm....How about, It's so taxing. I need days to recover. Well, that sounds kind of melodramatic. How about -)

Husband: Didn't you hear what I said?

Me: Oh, yeah, I was, just thinking....(long pause)....that really sucks? (Do I want to say, sucks? I mean really. I'm a writer. Shouldn't I be able to come up with another adjective or phrase or something better than that, like: I'm sorry. I know it's really hard on you. Yes, much more supportive)

Husband: Are you even listening to me? Or are you thinking about your book again?

Me: (Avoid eye contact at all costs, even though I was not thinking about book, but am feeling guilty for trying to rewrite spontaneous conversation.) No. I was just thinking how much I'll miss you tomorrow night. (Ooh, quick, get a pen, write that down. That's a good comeback! No revising necessary at all.)

Husband: Yeah, right. You're secretly glad you have a night to write.

Me: (I never thought about that. He's right....)

Husband: See, you are!

Me: No, no really. I didn't....

Husband: You're an awful liar.

And so goes my life. I need to have more spontaneous, unedited conversations. I need to reenter the real world, but until this revisions stuff is done, I just hope I keep the internal editing of spontaneous dialogue to myself. Otherwise my husband may really send me packing. Then again, I really would get more writing done.....Oh Shakespeare, where are your words of wisdome now?????


adrienne said...

Oh, I can really relate to this. I struggle with that noise in my head, too.

Funny you should mention Shakespeare - my daughter is trying to decipher Romeo and Juliet, and we were just talking about it...

Stacy Nyikos said...

Shakespeare was really hard for me to read, but I totally appreciate him as an author. He had some incredibly great insight!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Very funny insight on the crazyness of writer minds--actually, almost any artist's mind!

Barrie said...

Oh, Stacy, I can hear your voice as I read this! it's like I'm in your kitchen with you, PJ, and Jenny. TOO Funny!!

Stacy Nyikos said...

I hope that's a good thing!