Monday, April 25, 2016

Conversations With Myself

Do you talk to yourself?

I do.

A lot.

We all know the old joke, about needing expert advice.  But honestly, isolation drove me to it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

I lived on my own for about five years.  Many of my jobs have had an element of isolation to them as well. At the veneer plant, there were some nights I would be the only one working in my building.  As a receptionist and librarian, hours could pass without a patron.  As a bus driver, the time before picking up my first student and dropping off my last could be lengthy.

My first year at the print facility I was with the other employees, but once I was moved into the pre-press department hours could go by with my seeing another human being. Many times I would be alone in the building for a few hours, my only company the 'Indians' that haunted the place.

At the meat plant, even standing near each other, there wasn't always time for me to talk to my neighbor, especially when the meat was coming at us fast.  Once they moved me to the other side of the line, I was essentially by myself.  Oh, there were workers across from me, but it was terrible trying to talk to them, mostly due to the noise levels.

Dame Helen Mirren circa 2014
This hasn't always been a bad thing.  The isolation gave me a chances to 'think out loud' and verbalize dialogue in whichever novel I was working on at the time.  Which sometimes included hand waving as I was 'mentally' acting out the person's body language.  I know at the meat plant I caused more than a little bit of laughter.  And let me tell you something, trying to imitate Dame Helen Mirren as your character can be a little tough.  If Veronica were a few years older, Dame Helen would be the woman I'd want playing her in a movie.  Although Dame Helen certainly doesn't look her 70 years so I'd be willing to bet she'd be able to pull it off playing a character almost 30 years her junior.

But talking to myself isn't always a good thing either.  In my present job, there is no isolation except when I'm standing in my work area inspection the cabinet door and even then it is possible to turn my head one way or the other and talk to my nearest neighbor. But I still catch myself muttering when a door is giving me grief or the person in charge is irritating me or just when I'm brooding about something non-work related.

I'm a terrible brooder, even on the best of days.  Whether it's over something I've seen on Facebook, which really is a waste of time, or about a hiccup in my story.  I've had such trouble writing this third novel, and I'm not always sure why.  Some of it has been related to depression and lack of energy. My thyroid has been off again, my levels crept back up to 8+ by the time I had lab work done.  Some of it has just been missing pieces of the puzzle/plot that I only just realized were missing. I've ironed one out and have been working on the other.

One of the missing pieces was in fact the antagonist herself, Veronica as the Dragon Queen.  I just needed to add more of her earlier in the novel. Why have an antagonist that only shows up for her court scenes and the battle scene at the end? And of course, if I include more of the Dragon Queen, then that means I have to include at least one more Dragon Dream.  That revelation came from a conversation with my husband, which still amuses me because he doesn't read.  He was actually trying to sell my books to his coworkers and when they asked what it was about, which he only has a vague notion about from bits and pieces I've shared.  One of the things he said to them was that there was a dragon in it. And it hit me then that I needed to include more dragon sequences in the third novel.  It's opened the doors of creativity again.

Sometimes it pays to have a conversation with someone other than myself!

The contraption of death.
Especially when it's self encouragement like what I went through Sunday afternoon after I fell off my bike.  I have crappy balance anyway, so this bike riding project of my husband's is really challenging me.  I only fell off once, but afterwards my adrenaline is so high and I'm so shaky that it takes me several minutes before I can back on.  I refuse to give up after falling.  I just kept telling myself out loud that "I will get this. I will not walk my bike back to the truck. I will get back on and ride back." Mr Janney was a little amused.  And I did.  After one false start, I got back on and rode off. You can read more about my bike riding at the link I provided at the bottom of the post.

The latest posts are up at Broads of a Feather, both mine and C.P.'s...why don't you head on over and check them out?