My alter-ego shows up in strange ways. Have you ever felt your everyday situation slip into life and death for no apparent reason? For instance, I become defensive when I think that my private life is being put on display…. Till I realize that my ego is being challenged, and not my privacy. Sometimes my need to appear in control really gets me in trouble. I leave out the moments of my life experience that are meaningful just to appear in control!
For instance: I published my novel, Telly Bobbitt, yesterday on Kindle. Years of preparation. Years of struggle, months of editing and re-writing. Finally, a contest to raise awareness of the book. Then, in a very anti-climactic stroke, I put the thing on Amazon. The plot goes something like this:
What would happen if our technology achieved human immortality today? What if a woman made it all possible? What forces would try to stop her?
At that point in the story the book morphed into a genre-bending blend of politics and science fiction, which I found to be very exciting. The possibilities of Silicon Valley research, and what is being accomplished today are already (as we read this) within the realm of Sci-Fi. What if I tweak it a little? What fun would that be?
We had no publisher. No book tour, just Gary and I sitting in our living room plotting word for word what the thing would look like, and how best to tell a story of the next ten minutes. I thought about the struggle to bring it to life… That’s when the mood swings began in earnest. The two women inside my head began to tear things apart.
“What in the world are you doing? Stop this and get a better job. You are wasting your time, and no one will care about your little story. The plot is already ridiculous, and on the way to laughable, Mary. Grow up.”
And then opposing counsel: “Wow! This could really be something. If you tell this story just right, if you string the words together in a way that tantalizes… you could really have something. Don’t stop. Don’t go to work tomorrow. Quit your job! Sell your car. Do whatever needs to be done in order to write for hours and hours on end…. Yes…. Yes….My Precious…. “
After a session like this, I usually sit down, bleary-eyed, and decide to drink a lot of red wine. I get that my ego is involved. I feel the emotions of a thirteen year-old. I decide not to care. I decide to write the next book in the series, regardless of the mood swings. The thrill of creation, of learning, trumps the fear of failure.
Is it fair to always think that our little problems are not important? Is it important to constantly minimize ourselves, as the world’s priorities become ours? I think it’s an heroic act to be ourselves, our real selves, in the face of a world which wants us to be someone else. A world which wants us to fit a notion or perception of who we are, and not who we actually are. This leads to many cases of mistaken identity, as we become what the world wants us to be, totally losing sight of who we are.
Which leads me to think: We are what we allow ourselves to be. Holding back the tide of creative output is really easy when one chooses to ignore it. But, I have found that when I deny my subconscious its audience, I invariably lose something important within myself. If I do not write down the tiny whispered clues and notions of my inner muse, it becomes a path not taken, never to be seen or heard from again. Part of me remains unknown to myself, which is a death I cannot bear. This is why I write.
Next Week: The Emergence of a Character