Since as long as I can remember, I’ve had an overactive imagination. My husband would call it obsessive worrying. The TV show Parenthood so eloquently called it “catastrophizing.” But you, as a writer, will understand. Tell me right now you’ve never heard a bump in the night and started imagining what it could be. A burglar? The creepy neighbor next door who, you’re pretty sure, hates you because you turned off your lights last Halloween instead of handing out candy and in turn, you both got egged? Or maybe a wild bunch of Javelina (I live a wooded area) who have been eyeing your beloved Spot for the last month and are finally here to drag him off to Animal Farm for good. (Where was he that afternoon last month, anyway?)
Say you’ve never done that with a straight face. I dare you.
I use my powers for good too. I remember a time about seven years ago when I heard a colleague of mine was getting a divorce after years together and I felt so sad for him that I began to imagine a story where they were forced to spend time together, face their troubled marriage, and fall in love with each other all over again. Or the time when my friend finally got out of an abusive relationship and while I watched her heal, I thought of all the scenarios where she would meet the most amazing man who would appreciate her and show her what real love meant. (I’m happy to say that story came true.)
It’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t writing stories. Even if it wasn’t with my laptop. Even if it wasn’t with a pen. Even if it wasn’t with that ridiculous old typewriter I stole from my aunt. Always, in my mind, I loved to tell a story.
For any true writer, it’s a romance that never ends and, somehow, never really begins. It seems to have been there all along–that way we look at the world, the way we process it, the way we look toward the future. It isn’t always the easiest gift to bare. We are known for our drinking problems and being slightly…how does my husband put it?…crazy.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way. The passion I feel when my characters come to life, and when a plot hole magically fills itself in, and when all the puzzle pieces lock into place, is what makes me feel alive. Storytelling has been there for me in the good times and the bad. I can picture myself now, old and gray, penning out the stories of my life to leave behind me when I go. At times, I hit barriers with my writing but I know at some point, things will always turn back around.
Can you imagine a love any more true than that?