I’ve had first hand experience with a lot of crazy people. Family, of course, was first. Everyone’s got a few crazies in the bloodline. Best a person can hope for is that you’ve been spared. Sometimes crazy doesn’t hit you until you get older. That’s scary. I think I’d rather be a long-term crazy than to suddenly snap one day and lose it. “She’s always been that way.” just sounds better to me than, “One day she just went nuts.” I dated a crazy person for awhile. Not sure what it says about me if I add it took me a good number of years to realize this. Everyone else seemed to notice. Maybe they were crazy not to have given me a little but of a nudge. “Hey, Pam, you know, he’s crazy,” may just have been the push I needed. But, love can be pretty darn blind (deaf and mute, too) and I probably wouldn’t have listened to them anyway.
I’ve been called crazy. Who hasn’t? I’ve heard it a lot but I think the sort of crazy I am comes from being creative. The Muse can get some pretty funky ideas when she’s on a roll. All my life I’ve been able to visualize things in my head. I close my eyes and things start to happen. People I’ve never met start to show me places I’ve never been and tell me about themselves. They introduce me to their family, friends and enemies. Never a dull moment. The voices in my head assure me I’m sane and will remain so as long as I tell their stories. Once their stories are told, they move on. It’s a lot like ghost hunting, I suppose. They haunt me, poke me, and keep me awake at night until I figure out what it is they want and tell someone.
The problem(?) is as soon as I get one story told, another one appears. More times than not they overlap and I have to pick who to give my attention to. The most powerful voice wins out. The best I can do is write down what they tell me as quickly possible, hope it comes out making sense to anyone else who might read it and to do so in a way that is entertaining and satisfying. I told someone once to sit down and watch a movie they have never seen before with a pad of paper and a pencil and try and write down everything that happens; dialog, action, scenery. That’s what it’s like for me. Sometimes it’s really hard to keep up!
The most common question a writer hears is “Where do you get your ideas from?” From speaking with other writers and reading interviews of those more famous than I, we all have the same spin on it. On some level the story is already there. The blank page to a writer is like the block of wood to a sculptor. Ideas are everywhere. You may overhear a conversation in a coffee shop that sets the Muse to muttering. She does that a lot, by the way. A dream may do it. The other day I was wandering around my favorite local new and used bookstore and something leaped out at me and gave me an awesome title as a springboard. Thank God for a title. I’m over a third of the way through writing my second murder mystery and I’m still not happy with the title. The darn thing has already had three!! Titles, they are all part of the craziness.
Edgar Allen Poe said, “I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.” I think I get where he was coming from there. In order to keep my sanity, that part of me that functions day to day, the one who gets up every morning and stumbles around until coffee has been ingested, who goes to work and pays the bills, that every day me everyone sees, I have to listen to the voices in my head. I have to do what they tell me and write down all they show me of their own lives. I’ve enjoyed those voices all my life. They’ve made me who I am. I’ve always been this way. I hope I always am.