I was, tossing a load of wet socks from the washer into the dryer,
trying to figure out whether to set my next series in Texas or
Colorado, when the unanswerable laundry question stalled my
decision-making capabilities: “Where do those
missing ‘mates’ go?”
Yep. Out loud. Though I was
alone in the house. I’m the first to admit that it’s a weird habit,
born of the solitary nature of my job. Because even when there are
other people in the house, I work in solitude. (In my case, in the
longish part of the L that connects my office to the laundry room. But
When a plot question pops up, it
isn’t like I can toddle into a coworker’s cubicle and say, “Hey, I’m
having a brain freeze moment, and, uh . . . that thing with the
incentives program? How’d you deal with it when you wrote up your
report?” If something pertaining to character motivation niggles at me,
I can’t just call a writer pal in the middle of his work day (because I
hate it when he does it to me, and I’m trying to teach a subtle “lead
by example” lesson).
So I talk to myself:
Left Brain Me: “What
weapon is most believable in a Western?”
Brain Me: “Revolver?”
Brain Me: “Yeah, but it’s 1888. What kind was most popular
Brain Me: “That’s what Google is for.”
Brain Me: (After ten minutes of surfing the Net): “Cool.
Brain Me: “Holstered, or stuffed into a belt?”
Brain Me: “Oh, holstered. What self-respecting Texas
‘do’ the pants thing!”
Eager to get that image on the
page, I bang out the scene... until annoying Right Brain Me
interrupts. “How would a cowboy-type get the Peacemaker unholstered,
cocked, and aimed without falling out of the saddle, all while keeping
a ‘notice every move’ eye on Black Jack Ketchum?”
Then Right Brain Me straddles
the exercise ball. (I haven’t already bored you with the “I spend my
workdays balanced on this purple iridescent thing” story? Well, I
Brain Me scoffs.
“What,” says Right Brain Me,
“it’s more or less the width of a horse’s back.”
“Whatever.” Right Brain
Me assumes the position.
how do you describe the
noise the gun makes, sliding out of its leather sling?”
Enter (unbeknownst to Right
Brain Me or Left Brain Me) one retired husband, who
moves like a cat and, because he’s an avid hunter, considers himself
quite the authority on things that go BOOM. “It would go whoosh,”
Right Brain Me and Left Brain Me
let out a harmonious little squeal, then revert to silent mode:
Can fear really make you swallow
Is it possible for a heart to leap clean outta your mouth?
Has anyone ever literally leaped out of their shoes?
After stepping back into my
slide-on slippers, I vowed never again to allow Right Brain Me and Left
Brain Me to partake in any sort of audible discussion while other
people are in the house. (Because, holy exercise ball, what if it is
possible to swallow my tongue!) These days, if you sneak down the hall
that leads to my basement office, don’t be surprised if you hear crazed
whispering coming from the area surrounding my desk.
If you live with a writer, be
nice, will ya, and do your level best never ever
sneak up on ’em?