I talk a lot about being a writer and I sometimes mention living with a writer is probably not everyone’s cup of tea… but how different is it? Let me give you some insights.
I have a chemistry minor and it helps with my serial killer novels, but sometimes, that knowledge isn’t enough. The other day, I’m starting a house fire, in my mind of course, and trying to get it up to around 2000 degrees using something other than jet fuel. Some chemicals burn really hot and I know this. My SO is watching TV and I don’t remember what it was, but I suddenly turn it down, look at him and ask this question:
If you wanted to get a house fire to 2,000 degrees, would you use xylene or something else? And what does burning xylene smell like?
His first response: Why am I trying to get a house to burn at 2,000 degrees?
My response: To cremate a body.
His response: I have no idea what to use to make a house fire that hot. I don’t use xylene and I have never set it on fire.
My response: Would you have a problem with me setting a small cup of it on fire in the yard and measuring the temperature because I’ve googled it and couldn’t find the answer?
His response: Yes, I would, could you turn the TV back up now and go about killing people without my help, it kind of disturbs me when you start talking about cremating bodies in house fires and skinning people alive.
My response: That was five or six books ago, we’ve had jaguars eating people and mad bombers and The Butcher since then. If you really want to be disturbed, here’s the plot to Summoned Dreams…
His response: That’s twisted.
My response: I know.
He doesn’t read my books. I can’t really say I blame him. For my readers, who aren’t sleeping next to me in bed, it’s entertainment. But he deals with me every day, when he’s at his most vulnerable (sleeping, showering, eating my cooking) and when we fight… Well, it’s kind of legendary with our families… So, I can certainly see why it would bother him. When we argue, I occasionally wonder if he stops just because he’s remembered that I have nine serial killers currently waiting to star in their own novel…
And it isn’t just the serial killers. I ask him weird things all the time. I talk about weird things. One night, I was staring at my computer screen, not typing, and he asked what I was doing. I told him I was trying to decide whether it was scarier to be attacked by an armadillo or a raccoon – neither rabid. He once came home to find me having a heated debate, with myself, about whether to write in another character just to have someone to kill off later in the book. Yes, when I am alone, I talk to myself, out loud and answer myself, out loud. Sometimes, when I’m knee-deep in something intense, I start speaking what I’m writing or argue with myself and he will be home, staring at me… probably wondering if I’m crazy.
Let me get trapped in a car and I forget that there’s another person there and start working out scenes in my head… including dialogue. I have three and four and five minute conversations between characters before realizing that he is driving and listening to me.
There isn’t a switch to shut it off, the words flow regardless… and if there’s no paper, a lot of the times, it’s an out loud flow… I write notes to myself all the time and leave them laying around the house. Recently one said “pull gun out and hold to head because of sage.” He handed it to me and said don’t explain. Okie dokie.
It must be very surreal to live with a writer.