I am a pretty open guy, my Facebook profile is open to the public as is my Twitter, and as long as you are not a drooling lunatic or fake profile, I generally friend or follow back. Here’s the thing with me. I’m public to a point, and aside from this writer’s very public profile, there are things that remain private.
As you steal hours from your spare time to try and pound out a novel, life happens all around, and sadly so does death. And so we do what we can to climb the hills only to rest in the valleys where life springs eternal. For the record, I’m pretty sure I plagiarized that last part. For the writer who’s got a day job trying to get their work out there, time is a precious commodity. Time equals transforming your brain from the realities of life and going down that rabbit hole of creativity. Trust me, it’s an awesome place to be. Rock n Roll blasting in the headphones, the keyboard clacking in a cadence of thought. From the blank page words appear and become sentences, and paragraphs, and chapters, and from that, characters backdrops, emotions, anger, distrust, horror, and redemption!
When it’s happening you’re having the time of your life. The world outside that place is in another galaxy. You are in Pittsburgh with a cop suffering PTSD. You are in Bucharest where the assassins gather to take on the FBI. It’s crazy, amazing, funny, heartbreaking, and scary. It’s not a trance really, but like a waking dream when the muse starts kicking ass. Explaining it to you even brings back flashes in previous writing sessions where in my mind I see through the eyes of my characters and therefore hold their memories.
Life beyond the rabbit hole can take a toll on that state you need to get into. You can lose yourself for a while, sometimes you have to shift your priorities, and avoid the rabbit hole because life demands it. In my case, I didn’t really lose my muse, I just sort of left him sitting by the rabbit hole tapping his foot and looking at his watch. Meanwhile, life has its demands, and we give in to those demands because…life.
Because not only does life happen but so do global pandemics. The day after I did a pre-taped radio interview that was supposed to air the same day I was doing a big signing for Highwayman, it all got shut down. Poof! Then we were sequestered to our houses and I kept pinching myself to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming about one of the dystopian ” movies I loved from the ’70s. “Get your dirty hands off me you stinking ape!” Or “Soylent Green is people.” Every time we ventured out we were purposely avoiding others. Those first few weeks were especially creepy. Honestly, I don’t think anybody had any idea what they were doing. Life beyond the rabbit hole doesn’t give a hoot about your story or novel.
Welcome to the pandemic, and while we’re at it, here’s another big helping of life stew. And this is not just specific to me, this is every writer who has their own peaks and valleys to navigate. Sure, some are more comfortable, some don’t have a day job, and they write full time, sell books, some lots of books. But life doesn’t care if you’re an Indie writer or a NY Times bestselling author. Life doesn’t care.
The rabbit hole is still there when and if you choose to come back to it. After my peaks and valleys, and still in the global pandemic, I met my muse, bastard that he is, and down the rabbit hole we went. Through all of this, we keep coming up with something, and he whispers ideas in my head.
Things are moving now and there are characters revisited, and new ones introduced and as life rages on I’m in that other place. Stumbling through the wreckage of a car. Trying to find a lost FBI agent. Going to war. I hope I can pull it off and take it to the Max. For the time being I swiped the keys to the rabbit hole and life goes on.
Thanks for listening.