Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Guest Post by author Mary Ruth Pursselley

This week I contacted my dear friend Mary about doing the guest post on writers' quirks. She has done a fabulous job! I hope you all enjoy it!!!

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Writers – Weird and Loving It

Anyone who’s a writer knows it. Anyone who knows a writer knows it. The fact is, writers are weird.

I’m sorry to have to put it so bluntly, but it’s the truth. Our brains just aren’t wired like everyone else’s. It has to be that way—it’s what allows us to do what we do—but it can still get tiresome and even stressful from time to time, and a lot of writers struggle with it. “Why can’t we just be normal?” they moan.

Well, the fact is, if you were ‘normal’, you wouldn’t be a writer. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles, and there’s nothing we can do about it. So my advice is to enjoy the humor that comes in the wake of your weirdness. Learn to laugh about it.

I know, laughing at yourself isn’t always easy—we writers do have our egos, after all—but if you can learn to do it, I think you’ll find that the writing life just got even more fun. And there’s rarely a shortage of hilarious writer moments to laugh about.

Not convinced? Let me give you a few examples of weird but hilarious moments from my own writing life.

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My brother once walked into the living room to find me hanging onto the top of a doorframe with my right hand while waving a sword with my left. After a moment of staring, he asked “Do I want to know?”

I smiled sheepishly and responded: “Choreography. For a fight scene while the character is handcuffed to the ceiling.”

He shook his head and walked off. “Wow, you’re weird.”

Another time, as I was working on story ideas while sitting in the car next to my mother (who was driving), I was suddenly struck by the horrible realization that two main characters from two completely unrelated story ideas had the same name. Horrors! Without thinking I gasped and said “Oh no!”.

Mom, who was driving through an intersection at the moment, gasped and looked around frantically, no doubt anticipating something along the lines of a dump truck smashing us. When she realized no such thing was happening, she turned to me and demanded “What is it?!”

My memory chose that woefully late moment to remind me that the characters didn’t actually have the same name, just similar ones: Nyah and Nira.

Unfortunately, Mom didn’t really appreciate the gravity of my almost-disaster, and was rather put out with me. In all fairness, though, I probably deserved it that time.

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On yet another occasion, while still writing my first novel, one of my very favorite characters died. I was home alone when I wrote his death scene, which was fortunate because I bawled my eyes out and it would have been embarrassing to do so in front of my family. Scarcely had I managed to dry my tears and pull myself together (more or less) when my brother returned home and offered to help me make supper. We were in the kitchen listening to Christmas music, and one of the songs on the CD featured a solo on the Spanish guitar. During said solo, my brother took it upon himself to perform his impression of traditional Spanish dancing (both the male and female roles).

Still emotionally fragile from my earlier meltdown, and watching him spin around the kitchen in an imaginary sombrero while waving imaginary skirts over his head, I lost it completely. Within seconds I was totally disabled, collapsed in the kitchen floor and laughing too hard to move or even breathe. My brother finished his impersonation, then stood by staring at me calmly while I pulled myself to a sitting position… and burst into tears again. (Yeah, it was a rough day.)

Pinned ImageI haven’t said all this just to show off my own peculiar case of writerly weirdness. (Remember what I said about a writer’s ego? Well, I’ve got one too, and some of this stuff is still embarrassing to me.) I’ve said it in the hope that it might encourage other writers—particularly young or new-to-the-field writers—who might be finding it hard to be ‘the weird one’. I know it’s hard. It’s extremely hard sometimes. But our weirdness is just one side of a fantastic gift: the ability to create and convey stories that thrill and enchant other people.

And remember, you are not alone. You’re not the only one who gets mad at imaginary people. You’re not the only one who can’t get people and events you created to cooperate. You’re not the only one who listens to music and tries to make every song fit into a character’s perspective or a story’s plot. You’re not the only one who carries on multi-sided conversations out loud with yourself to make sure characters’ dialogue sounds natural. Whatever it is you do and are sure you’re the only one who does it, however quirky and crazy it is, believe me there are others who do it. Call it a shared bond, if you will.

And, since we’ve all got it, can’t get rid of it, and, deep down, wouldn’t want to get rid of it if we could, we might as well learn to laugh and have some fun with it.

So here’s to weirdness. Write on!

Mary is a homeschool graduate with several works published. She's a dyed-in-the-wool Ozarks hillbilly girl who lives on a ranch in the beautiful Ozark Mountains along with her family, a pack of dogs, a swarm of chickens, a lazy horse, and a herd of cows. She comes from a devout Christian family. Her faith in Jesus Christ is everything to her. She's been making up stories in her head for as long as she can remember, and writing them down since she learned how to hold a pencil. The early ones, written almost nightly, were usually embellished versions of whatever imagination game she and her Yorkie Terrier Ezmerelda had played that day. Oddly enough, she was thirteen before she realized that she was actually going to be a writer when she grew up. But since then her writing has come a long way (now with the help of a new Yorkie Terrier sidekick named Cricket). She blogs at The Writer's Lair.

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P.S. This week, the Once Upon a Time... linkup will be for: forgiveness.
Come back Wednesday and check out all the links and add your own!!

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