Fiction writers live in two vastly different worlds; the world of their imagination and the world of say, dirty diapers or full litter boxes. It’s a delicate dance sometimes – if a writer is not careful, hands could get…icky whilst daydreaming about a story.
I’ve never been much of a dancer, frankly. I make no secret of preferring the land of make-believe to anywhere else; however, my reality is I have a husband and two children and a cat who is overly fond of her litter box.
A bigger danger than the aforementioned icky hands is when reality refuses to wait at the side of the dance floor for its turn. Reality could be seen as an attention-starved brat who gets quite nasty when ignored. Reality cuts in, not with a polite tap on the shoulder, but with a resounding thwack on the back of the head.
Let’s just say I’ve woken up with a headache for the last few days. Reality wins; if it didn’t, I’d be carted off by some stern looking men in white jackets.
Because reality can be quite a bully sometimes, the writing inevitably suffers. Unless, of course, you’re Aaron Sorkin who commented during an interview recently that he didn’t have to live in the real world. Gee, that’s great for you Aaron. Congrats. I haven’t quite reached that level of wealth or arrogance. [Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Mr. Sorkin].
Some say writers should just write and damn anything that gets in the way! Well, ignoring reality might mean we end up homeless or sick or really, really thin – none of which will aid the writing in the long run. An author quoted in this month’s Poets & Writers said a full-time job, kids, and a life meant that writing takes a back seat at times. No other choice.
Dancing between two worlds can be done but I worry that I’m too much of a klutz to pull it off. I am comforted to know that everyone suffers the same bruised ankles and trodden on toes that I do. The dancing might have to go on without me for a while, the stories have to sit on the sidelines and rest their feet. They will be asked to dance again, never fear.