Being a writer, I’ve had many people toss questions my way that range from the mundane, “How many words do you write in a day?” to the technical “What is your favorite format, e-book or paper, and why?” However, nothing has ever flummoxed me so much as to when someone asked me, “Doesn’t having all those ideas and voices talking in your head scare you?” And while I can understand where the person was coming from, it made me wonder just how much of a fruitcake she really thought I was! Of course, with my parting answer, “Not as much as when they stop!” I’m sure she thought I was even more beyond help than what she initially thought, which is fine with me since I didn’t ask for her opinion on my mental well-being to begin with.
There have only been a few times in my life where there wasn’t a story flowing through my head, a character forming the wings or being downright belligerent in trying to get their story told. That’s along with all the other interests and ideas that have occupied my grey matter throughout the years. Yes, my brain is a very busy, cramped, chaotic place, but I digress. While other authors tell you that writing is a great distraction tool, and that it is under the greatest of crisis that they are able to get so much writing done, I am the exact opposite. For instance, when one of my sons, along with my oldest grandson, was in the hospital due to a horrific car wreck, everything stopped. For two weeks, I managed to send out a few texts, stumble through emails to update people, and sift through information that I’d gathered from doctors/nurses/technicians/pamphlets. But there was a quietness within me that was like looking in a blackened cavern, with every thought and sound echoing back at me. The voices/stories/characters all stopped… all was quiet. That was when I realized that without those voices/scenes/imaginary people and places flowing and tap dancing through my head, I was truly on the edge of insanity. It’s not a nice feeling to be so close to the edge that, when looking down the chasm, you could kick a pebble in it and not hear it hit bottom. The very idea of being in free fall, even mentally, is more disturbing to me than having to tell one of my characters to, please leave me alone just long enough for me to finish my shower! – yes, I’ve done that before!
So, I’m thinking about having a set of t-shirts/book bags/coffee mugs made that I can instantly refer anyone to who, after finding out that I’m an author, may be concerned about my mental health. I believe it should say something like this: “Please leave your questions and/or concerns at the beep, the voices in my head will get back to you as soon as they can. Have a nice (No, a 6’4” body cannot fit in the trunk of a Corsair! Why? Because the trunk’s too small! What do you mean, “It’ll fit if I cut off his legs?!?” Why would you…?!?) Beeeeep!”
Now, if I can just remember what I did with my car keys…