Call me crazy. It’s okay, because guess what? I already know it. I embrace my crazy. I have no other choice—I am a fiction writer. And most fiction writers are slightly mad, a little cookoo, a little off their rocker, or a combination of all three. Many will admit it. There are those who won’t, but should (we can tell you’re nuts). To be a writer of fiction, you almost have to be.
When you tell another fiction writer that you “hear voices,” they nod, smile and say “me too.” Other fiction writers get it. They understand.
I try to explain it to non-writers and they shake their heads. “You’re weird.”
“Yeah, well buddy, I’M A WRITER. I’m supposed to be.”
I am crazy. I hear voices all the time—my characters voices. They ride upon my shoulders, pushing each other out of the way as they fight for my attention, and whisper in my ear. It happens while I wash dishes, fold laundry, drive kids to school or pick them up; most often though, they invade my thoughts as I am trying to fall asleep, nearly every night, just like clockwork.
They want their story told and they will not be satisfied until it is. These characters are pushy. They are demanding. Many times they will take my well constructed story and veer it right off course because they have other plans as to where it is they want their story line to go. It’s an interesting rollercoaster ride for sure.
“Wait a minute,” you say. “You’re the author. They’re your characters. You made them up, so just stop thinking about them. Just stop it.”
Oh, no. It doesn’t work that way. I have had various characters inside my head since I was in elementary school. Fifth grade—my first memory of getting the stories down on notebook paper. I don’t think I have ever lived without them and I am not sure that I would want to. The thought of that scares me.
Think of a pianist without a piano, or a painter without a brush, or a photographer without the use of a camera. Think of something you enjoy, a talent that you love, something that defines you—now imagine it gone.
When I no longer hear voices, then that can only mean one thing—I am no longer a writer. I shudder.
So as I have said before, I embrace my crazy. I will embrace it for as long as the crazy is there.
My current voice: “Sam” A twelve-year-old girl who unveils her tragic, yet inspiring story to me a little each day, a little at a time.