What drugs were you on when you wrote this?

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Long ago, when I was a shy newbie writer with only a few short stories under my belt, I took the plunge and joined a writing critique group.  At the time, we were composed of two retired gentlemen who wrote westerns and science fiction, one teenaged poet, one published mystery novelist and me.  The first story I shared was a horror tale, about a death metal band with sinister intentions toward a young college student.  I read the requisite five pages, and waited for the group to comment.  The western writer laid my pages down, looked at me and said, “What drugs were you on when you wrote this?”

He wasn’t the last person to ask that question, either.  I’ve had coworkers, friends and relatives who couldn’t wrap their minds around the idea that a nice girl like me wanted to immerse herself in a world of things that couldn’t exist.  Surely that was for children, that kind of thinking.

What about those of us who are still children at heart?  No matter how old I grow, I can’t help hoping that I’ll turn a corner and find myself face to face with the Sidhe.  I watch the woods along the interstate when we’re travelling, certain that Robin Hood and his merry band will suddenly appear and take me on an adventure.   I build sand castles at the beach every year, on the off-chance that one might spring to full-size when I’m finished.  Real life is there all the time, every day when I open my eyes.  I don’t want to read about what I see around me, but about the layer underneath, the hidden mysteries that glitter at the corners of my vision.

When I started writing my own stories, that same desire remained, fueled by the possibility that I was, at last, crafting the magic myself.  Those early stories were clumsy and hollow, but with time, I’ve become adept at choosing the right words, lining them up in the right order, and making something special appear out of thin air.  The Sidhe are over there behind that bookcase.  Robin Hood is outside the window, peeking in at me.

No drugs, sir.  It was just me learning how to make my own magic.

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13 comments to What drugs were you on when you wrote this?

  • Michele Conti

    Maybe the comment was more geared towards the sinister thing the band wanted to do to the college student?

    When I write anything dark, and show it to my mother, she asks me what I was smoking when I wrote it. Which is really funny, considering, she knows I don’t smoke anything…except the occasional chocolate cigar.

    Real life sucks. Fairy tales have hardships but at least by the time you reach the end of the book, or series, there’s a happy ending. Or at least, something that can be construed as such. Real life happens and there’s no happy ending, just intermittent happy bits throughout the whole thing to make it worth your while.

    *looks at clock* Must begin the getting ready for work process now…

  • Wow, Michele. Pretty cynical view of the world. Not sure I agree. Real life can be pretty good, I think. And I think the ending, like the beginning and much of what comes in between, can be as happy as you make it.

    I’ve had similar reactions to my work, Misty. And actually I’ve found that the better people know me, the stranger they find it that I write the stuff I do. My brothers think it’s very weird — not to mention just a bit frightening — that I come up with these worlds and characters and plot lines. People who barely know me seem to take it in stride. Sounds to me like the person who said this to you has Suspension of Disbelief issues.

  • Brian

    I have hyper-suspension of disbelief issues

  • Actually, he asked me that question every time I read anything, so I’d be inclined to say David pegged it – that he had a problem suspending his disbelief.

    My dad loves historical novels, and if there’s the slightest hint of anything supernatural, he’ll put the book down and never return to it. But at least he does me the courtesy of respecting my choices.

    Which reminds me…have y’all ever noticed how often perfect strangers will see you reading in a waiting room, or on line at the bank, or in the pick-up area at your child’s school, and will come over to rescue you from reading? As if an inane conversation with someone I don’t know would be a better use of my time.

    Or does that just happen to me?

  • I get that too from time to time, because people see me smiling geekely witha cute innocent smile and then they read the pages about severed limbs and dead things not dead yet.

    Of course when I write the opposite I get labeled as gay and well I am kind of distraught at moments. Made mw onder through what will happen in I wrote about pink zombie rabbits. It’s a perfect blend of the two.

  • Ok. I am giggilng For several reasons, one being the pink zombie rabbits. I love it! They have lop ears and fangs, am I right? Too perfect!

    And Misty… Snort, snicker, and OMG!

    Can I tell? Can I can I can I? Huh huh huh?
    Love it!
    Faith

  • Hey Harry? You write a book about pink zombie bunnies, and I’ll buy a copy for everyone I know! That would be so fun!

    Faith, darling, spill all you want!

  • Ok!
    In my other alternate ego schizoid personality, I was that mystery writer. And the cowboy writer was a 60ish, big, rawboned, tough talking, cowboy hat and boots-wearing man who didn’t believe in much of anything. Bob, let’s call him. And Bob’s contribution to any critique was…Ah didn’ smell anything.

    OMG. He was such a hoot!

    And there he was with a group of writers who at one time or another included a gal writing about redncek vamps, another writing about faries or pirates, a guy writing about body-snatcher type mobsters from space, another writing about antimatter bombs, and me killing people off with amazing regularity and in a variety of horrid ways.

    And he’d say, “Ah don’ smell anything. You got to smell stuff.”

    Bob passed on a few years ago, after making his peace with life and the devine. I’d like to think he’s in heaven telling God to turn up the aromtherapy.
    Faith

  • I had a sneaking suspicion that the mystery writer was you, Faith. :)

    Misty, I get a sort of glassy eyed look from most people when I tell them what the book I’m currently writing is about.

    Me: Its about a 1/2 fey, 1/2 demon assassin for the mob who gets pulled into demon machinations to reassert themselves into the human world, auditions for a band and is oath bound to kill the angel who saved her from the abyss. Hijinx ensue.

    Other person: Um..sounds..um…what kind of book do you call that anyway?

    Me: Genre fiction, urban fantasy specifically.

    Other person: So, how’s your husband/family/dog/job????

    Loved this. Thank you.

  • *laughing*
    No idea what to call some of our stuff. Out of this writing group came *lots* of published writers, award winners, etc. including Miz Misty. It was amazing.

    Sadly, *Bob* never got published.

    The hubby has a torn shoulder tendon. (I think. We see MD Monday.) Pups are spoiled rotton. Job sucks. (Can we say that here?) Mom and family are the joys of my life!

    And the new (problematical) RV is ready for our first road trip. Still has problems, but the company can fix them all on Wednseday. See you guys on Tuesday!!!!
    I’m hitting the road!
    Faith

  • Michele Conti

    Pink Zombie Bunnies… I’m all for that, of course, I like anything pink.

    True true, it was a cynical statement. I was having a “one of those morning” mornings. It was fantastic (there’s the sarcasm everyone loves so much about me…erm…)

    Though, seriously, I do feel that we need negativity, in small doses, to appreciate positive aspects of our lives. I just don’t like the negativity when it happens…regardless of how useful it may be in the future.

  • You know I might write a horror/comical story on that topic. I have been tempted to try Bizzaro genre anyways.

    I see the irony here, because most people like a good scare and if that wasn’t so I bet Stephen King sold his books to the underworld to make that much, but in the end when people meet the individuals, behind the horror and still in the first steps, comments like: “You are too nice to write that.” or “Don’t write that, it’s twisted.” come up. Strange.

    Oh and Lisa I love your novel idea. I have never thought of a demon/fey hybrid before. I wonder whether it has special fairy dust that acts like acid?

  • I wonder whether it has special fairy dust that acts like acid?

    Hee! No, her voice is her big weapon, but that idea is awesome.