That’s what the back of my business card reads. It’s true, for I write fiction. Who knew that the fecund imagination I was burdened with as a child would eventually carve out a career path for me? I still chuckle at the wonder of it all.
It takes imagination and discipline to create such canards. A one-armed widower who fights to save his dying town. A fallen angel who loves a prostitute. A former opera star, now mute, who love a single mother from afar. The patriarch of one of the first families of sport puts everything on the line to see his dream come true. A time-traveling hitman on a quest to find his true identity. A travel agent who has never left her small island. A gamer who fights to save her lover’s life. A woman who becomes a modern-day Medusa. These are the stories, the people I’ve made up. These are the lies that I’ve told…
…and yet to me, they are as real, as truthful as the stark light of a winter’s day. G. and I were working on a series earlier this year, and as we were writing episode 2, his mother came into town. We had an important deadline to meet, so we spent some evenings hashing the script out. His mother watched quietly, as we worked. We sat at the desk, then we stood and walked around, talking, musing. We’d wear the character’s skins; we’d argue as them… then rush to record the little gem that we may have found. We talked about their lives – not what was on the page, but what went on before, or during absent moments. The secrets they held inside. “It’s as if this people are real!” G’s mother exclaimed at one moment. “That’s because they are real,” I said. “To us.”
Thankfully, she understood. No men in white coats rushed in to haul me away. Still haven’t. Not yet.
Even when a project is completed, I think of my characters. I fret over them, I worry about the paths they might take. I wish that they are warm and dry, not unlike mothers do after their children have left the nest to live their own lives. Writing is a very specialized form of insanity.
Of course, all this imagination, this knowledge does not go wasted. I was meeting with a gent the other day; he was telling me about a man he knew who was in the motorcycle industry. “But you wouldn’t know about any of that,” he said.
“What motorcycle?” I asked him.
“One of the fastest on the planet,” he said.
“The Tomahawk?” I asked, impressed.
He sized me up. “What do you know about the Tomahawk?” he countered.
“Oh, my. Over 400 mph. 500 horsepower, 5600 RPMs… that is one mean machine.” I replied.
He looked at his assistant. “I like her,” he said.
Two years ago, I wouldn’t have known one thing. But now, thanks to spending the last 10 months researching things that go fast with G, I know a lot. I have an adventure/reality show; I have a glorious pilot. And, I got to do this. 178 mph:
Which is all a rather long-winded and boisterous way of saying in order to write lies well, you need to be willing to seek the truth.
Now, go write.
HRH, Princess Scribe