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Know Jack #429 Join the Crowd

“Writers aren’t people exactly. Or if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.”  ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

I’m not saying that I’m any good as a writer, but that being many people part is spot on. In a way, it’s true of most humans. We play different roles as needed. I find that this idea of playing many roles in life is skewed in writers. At least, I find this to be the case with me on two different levels.


First, there is my rather checkered background. While still in high school, I enlisted in the Air Force planning to stay for thirty years. That didn’t work out. I became a Christian, was called to the ministry, and gave up the Air Force. I didn’t take a vow of poverty, but I ended up living one. I decided to add nursing skills to my hospice ministry, but never worked in hospice a single day after getting my nursing license. Later, back surgery made me a full-time writer.


All of these people are still alive somewhere inside. They break out in my writing from time to time. Usually, they do so in subtle ways like stealing a scripture reference or lines from a book, a movie or military wit.


I am tempted here to say those people are real, but that might lead you to believe the others inside me are not. The characters I create are imaginary, yet they are also very real. They vie for attention, demand my time, and wake me up in the middle of the night with their ideas. They correct my writing and the storyline.


Characters sometimes say things I might be hesitant to say and do things I might not do. I read somewhere that dreams are the subconscious mind working out desires that we won’t otherwise express. Like Landry, I’d want to put a bullet in Magic Mike, even consider it the right thing to do. But in real life, would I act on that desire? I don’t know but doubt it. I do know that having Landry do it is a very real way of carrying it out.


Kit Mann and Vern Carson provide “safe” outlets. My stories rely heavily on dialog. Dialog amounts to little more than me talking to myself in different voices. And you thought Norman Bates was psycho for speaking his mother’s role.




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