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This morning I sat across a coffee table from a man with a badge. His smile was warm. Charming. Endearing. He reminded me of my late grandpa, and I thought vaguely as we chatted that I hoped he had the pleasure of bouncing his own grandkids on his knees, unrestrained children's laughter pealing, like my papa does with Alpha and Betta.
Our conversation turned briefly dark when he alluded to his shadowy past. I nodded as if I understood completely and we moved on, but honestly it was really hard to overlap a malicious image onto the person he presented himself to be now.
In that moment I had to suspend my disbelief about one understanding of him I'd created in my head over the other.
I think we do this all the time. I mean, take his badge for example: it was just a piece of paper, but I had to suspend my disbelief in that to accord him the respect his position made due. Same with cash: it's just paper, but try ripping a $100 dollar bill in front of someone desperate for a meal. Rude.
The genre of the book I'm working on is fantasy, so I think about said suspension a lot. Not in so many words, of course, but as I'm formulating a story in my head I'm constantly thinking, "Okay, Deb, why are my readers going to believe X, Y, and Z?" and "How do I get this angel to fly?"
As for this blog: would you, could you, believe that I once very nearly killed a man?
Would you, could you, believe that I was very nearly hung by the neck from a basket ball rim?
Could you, would you, believe it on a train, with a goat, in the rain?
How do I get you to suspend your disbelief about things I chose to write about here…
All depends on the details I give you, right? The circumstances, the lead up, the come down. Who was involved, and what was our relationship? What's the history?
We all have history.
I love the French language.
“Oui?” you say.
“Oh mais oui, mon ami. C’est vrai.”
I’ve got a tincture of Norman blood in me, so when Gustave Flaubert says, “Sauter,” I say “How high?” When he says, “Faire et se taire,” I say nothing at all.
The silent-bit is not so hard for me. It’s the do-part I have a little more trouble with. You see, I’m a simple house-wife, a home-maker, a mama, and I’m not even sure I’m very good at the first two. What right have I to dream of being a well-known writer? And if I have no right, then why do? Why try?
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Some evenings when I sit down to write, nothing comes. Nothing, and it’s completely disheartening. Or I read what I’ve already done and it seems like drivel. Sometimes I ignore the pressure to write and lose myself into a movie instead, because I don’t want to fight the negative snithering inside my head. Blah. Honestly, it’s really hard to overlap a successful image of myself onto the person I feel like I am now.
In those moments where things work and flow, it’s because I’ve willingly suspended my disbelief about one reality over the other.
Do you do this too? Please say, “Mais oui, mon ami,” and then tell me how you get yourself to believe X, Y, and Z. How do you convince your angel to fly?
Moment of Magic today:
In case you haven't been introduced yet? It's my pleasure to present: Lisa Hannigan.
I don't really have the answers, but for real Deb, you are a superhero. You can do anything. In 2008 I was almost 28 years old and I had never in my life (except here and there on television) seen an adult climb a tree. It was such simple insanity that it was awesome. Shit needed to get done, and you got it done. Since then you have been one of my personal heroes.ReplyDelete
Oh DR, you just made me laugh harder than I have in a long time. Yes, that was an awesome memory. Thanks for bringing it back to me. You've helped me look at this whole situation very much from a better/different angle -- very much what I needed.Delete
Mais oui, mon ami.ReplyDelete
And when the words refuse to come, when the words that have come before seem to me utter nonsense, I walk away for an hour, for the night, and curl up under the indulgent blanket of self-doubt until tomorrow when I shake myself out of its synthetic-fiber grip.
The keywords here for me are "synthetic-fiber." I'm not sure if you did that on purpose, or not, but those words were magical to me. It makes the whole picture come somewhat more into focus. Thank you.Delete
When I doubt myself I send my writings to my mom, who unfailingly and enthusiastically reassures me that I am awesome. Or I go check out some current YA literature, which reminds me that they publish people worse than me all the time, ha ha.ReplyDelete
Heh. True dat. You're stuff is definitely better than a lot of current YA lit, but I don't know if I can say so much for mine ;)Delete
Suspend your disbelief, put on the rose tinted glasses. We believe the unbelievable on a daily basis, we remember things to be nicer than they actually were all the time. I think, like you say, it is the build up, it is the additional information you are presented with; if one thing doesn't seem to fit that overall image of a person or thing it is our nature to forget or gloss over it allowing our mind to process it all so we don't end up mad!ReplyDelete
How do I convince my angel to fly? I don't, no matter what I do I cannot reconcile the image of myself and what I would like that image to be. I rely on my friends to attempt to convince me otherwise and coax my wings to unfurl (remember the free to fly poem on my blog). I very rarely let that happen, I just cannot see what other people see in me. There are only two people in this world who have gotten anywhere close to getting me off the ground, even then only for short periods of time before I remember what I kept me on the ground before and plummet back to earth.
One of those people I have never even met before (yes you!). You are an amazing person and writer rose tinted glasses or not, you made me remember that fairies do exist, you can do anything! The only thing standing in our way is self confidence, a belief that we can be what ever we want to be! I hope from time to time I am one of your people that lifts you off the ground even for just a little while, if you need me to I can push you off a cliff, you would have to fly then!!! Maybe one day I will be able to join you!
Sorry for the long comment, you always managed to touch my heart and allow the words to flow, Thank You!
Your long comment is perfect. I love your reference to rose tinted glasses, because it brings up a few positive memories that I cherish.Delete
And I love what you say about the angel-flying-stuff. I think you understand exactly what I mean, and that alone helps me feel less hopeless. I admire you and what you do, so if you can do it...so can I?
Thank you Sleepy Joe, for understanding, for sharing, for being there (albeit thousands of miles away, heh).
PS Loved the song, what a beautiful voice :-)ReplyDelete
I know, right? *sigh* I think in my next life I'll definitely request the gift of a lovely singing voice.Delete
Very stimulating post, not sure I have anything too great to add to it, but I got a lot out of it. Fantasy is definitely tricky, both the writing of it and the reading. Your feelings about life and writing are shared by every writer, I believe. And every homemaker. LOLReplyDelete
The suspension of disbelief... soemthing meaty for chewing, thank you!! XO
Good to be reminded that we're all experiencing similar feelings about life and writing. Just nice to know we're not alone, right? As for the chewy meat...t'was my pleasure to put it out on the table :) Thanks for enjoying it.Delete
I completely understand what you're talking about. It's never blaring and neon-bright for me. ("YOU SUCK" in flashing lights.) It's those small moments when you think, how can I ever truly make it? And, that's when you go to a writing group and they tell you how brilliant you are. Or you post on your blog and your friends say, 'Are you kidding me? I wish I had your talent.' Those are the things I'm saying to you now.ReplyDelete
So, kick that naysaying imp to the curb and forget about whether your readers will believe. I've struggled with that and I figure if we could believe in Wizards that live among us or talking trees, then you just tell me how that angel flies. I'll believe.
Here, here! Amazing that in the mini essay, this is the points that I didn't manage to get across eloquently. Thanks Jewels ;-)Delete
Naysaying imp? Exactly. I'm headed upstairs to fetch my kicking boots out from the back of my closet. Perhaps putting them on will become part of my writing ritual :) Thanks for your encouragement, Jewels. Very much appreciate how much you help me smile.Delete