which isn’t a bad thing. I think.
Here’s the situation. My son needed a ride to a friend’s house on a weekend morning, and like every weekend morning, I like to lounge around (after writing…I’m up early on weekends too out of sheer habit). 9:30 rolled by, and my son appeared out of nowhere to inform me, “It’s time to go.” I was dressed in a pair of shorts, a sweatshirt and Birkenstocks (no socks). Without donning a jacket, I dutifully jumped in the car and drove him. I didn’t plan to get out of the car, so why would I need a jacket or shoes? On the drive home, my brain started to come up with SCENARIOS, and NONE of them ended well for a man dressed in shorts, a flimsy sweatshirt and sandals, on a 25 degree morning.
I spend six months at a time (longer for my first book, The Jakarta Pandemic), researching, creating and “playing out” one worst case SCENARIO after another. Not surprisingly, it has left an indelible mark on my thought processes and awareness.
We had our first “sticking” snow this morning, and after a brief, “I love winter” sentiment, my mind went somewhere else. “Do we have enough food to last the winter, if the power failed right now and didn’t return?” That’s a product of The Jakarta Pandemic. The protagonist had to endure a Maine winter without power or the prospect of replenishing their food stockpile, while everyone was trying to take what they had. Which reminds me, “better check the ammo supply to0…what time does Cabelas open?” Eventually, I settle back into “these SCENARIOS are one in a million,” no need to run out today and fill up the grocery cart with canned goods, dried foods, medicine…”where’s my list again?” See what happens?
Right now, I’m living in Alex Fletcher’s new world, imagining what it would be like to navigate the unfamiliar jigsaw puzzle streets of Boston, in a city on the verge of violent, ugly collapse. He’ll get back to Maine, eventually, but the state will never be the same—for either of us. When I look around, I catch glimpses of the post-apocalyptic Maine brought to life in The Perseid Collapse. I can live with that…at least I’m not writing about zombies. I can’t imagine running around with that in my head.
Is this a writer’s curse? An occupational hazard for sure, but I think it better describes a writer’s GENESIS. The SCENARIOS didn’t start when I decided to write a novel. The novels came when I finally decided to write about the SCENARIOS. At some point, everyone asks at what point I decided to write a novel? It’s hard to answer, since I’ve been creating them for years.
I just finally decided to put one of them on paper. Now I can’t stop.
Maybe my paranoia made the writing!