Coming out of my cage and I've been doing just fine.
Gotta, gotta be down because I want it all.
It started out with a kiss; how did it end up like this?
It was only a kiss.
You should've seen how the guy in the black BMW convertible stared when he pulled up beside me at a red light yesterday and caught me pounding the steering wheel with my left hand and singing "Mr. Brightside" along with The Killers. I was on my way to the dentist and I was working in my SUV.
I had just switched off the radio and shoved a CD into the player. When The Killers started in on "Mr. Brightside" I cranked up the volume because I really dig that hard-driving bass line and the drums in that song. Brandon Flowers and I were starting to sound pretty good together* when I glanced over and saw Mr. Cooler-Than-You-Are-Because-I-Have-A-Beemer-Convertible shoot a disbelieving, disapproving look at me.
Hey, the classical station was playing a Bach fugue, I wanted to tell him. I do not like organ music, Bach's or anyone else's. I think organ music should be illegal. I am not going to listen to the classical station when they play that stuff; I am going to listen to The Killers.
But I'm straying from today's topic, which is how and why I was able to "work" while driving to the dentist's office.
First I should explain that while the characters in my stories aren't based on real people, they don't quite come out of thin air, either. I pinch little pieces of personality off people I've known and stick them all together until I've created a whole character. And don't tell anyone, but some of those little pieces actually come from me.
So there I was yesterday, listening to The Killers and wondering, not for the first time, if it wasn't a little odd for a middle-aged woman to still be having these visceral reactions to "that kind" of music. Shouldn't I have outgrown it by now? What's wrong with me that I can be so deeply moved by the music my husband is always telling our teenager to turn down? Am I abnornal?
I nipped that introspection in the bud rather than risk convincing myself to stop listening to The Killers. (What if I gave them up and their next CD turns out to be fantastic?) But I mulled over the "Is something wrong with me?" question because I thought I could use it for a character in the novel I'm working on.
See? I was working.
In my half-finished manuscript, the 29-year-old hero's family is telling him to "grow up"and stop engaging in a certain behavior (which is neither illegal nor immoral). But he feels driven to do what he does, and he's beginning to wonder why God made him such an oddball. So he's torn between acting "normal" to please his family and embracing his differentness.
And that's the mostly-true story of how I nailed my hero's internal conflict. I figured it out by listening to a CD and reflecting on my age and maturity level while driving to my dentist's office. By the time I got home my guy's character had jelled in my mind and I got busy writing.
*It's my blog, and I'll lie if I want.