He looks like me, I’m told, but has a different, vague accent. He is creative, always plotting and building characters like pyramids of flesh and blood and words. He absorbs the world and spurts out creativity like it’s Mountain Dew and he’s just eaten asparagus.
Every writer has such a duality, another side to himself. Mine is much more serious, more suave, and a bit crazier. Antsy and energetic, he wakes me while I’m trying to fall asleep. We must live with each other, work with each other, and write with each other. He spits out craziness that becomes words, also giving me interesting ideas at 2 in the morning. But I’m in charge of working it all out, publishing the works he produces to haphazardly. Also, I’m absolutely sure he doesn’t know how to spell or use proper grammar because when I proofread his work, it is usually riddled with mistakes.
But to work together, we have to talk, which is why we talk regularly.
We sit across a table, eyeing each other, discussing things. He exists for a very important reason. Writers sometimes seek to separate themselves from their work. Not that we’re embarrassed by our work, but at times what we obsess over writing comes to interfere with our own lives. For example, while writing a graphic story about a serial killer, I’d often ponder how I might kill one person or another. Not the healthiest habit. Recently, I finished a chapter in my current work-in-progress about a boy’s addiction to meth. I asked someone, “Did you know they sometimes put nail polish in meth? All sorts of acidic things, and that’s why your teeth fall out.”
Often, I encounter the problem of differentiating between what I believe and what the writer believes, for if he writes something, it should be true, right? Or is that something the character believes? The writer must be me, correct, if he lives inside of me. Which he may not. He may be an evil, jovial spirit who occasionally enjoys hanging out in my body and pounding madly on a keyboard until I sweat coffee all over my notes.Well, I tend to write very dark fiction and yet very fun, light poetry. At the best of times, what I
produces falls in between these two extremes, being both comical and emotionally relate-able. But sometimes, I can’t simply be known as the writer, can’t live in writing mode 24/7 which is why I’ve split myself. I’ve created a double-persona: myself and my writer-self.
He sits across the table from me, holding steady discourse. He is a ghost whispering in my ear.
The idea of separating your writing from your personal life is rather obvious. While, yes, I love meeting and spending time with writers, I cannot allow my life to completely revolve around writing. Would Stephen King
still be sane if all he did every day was wonder whether a killer clown was stalking to him or the teenager would set him on fire with her mind? No, he’d go crazy and lock himself in a padded room.
Conversations with my writer self certainly keep things interesting. When I’m performing poetry, I also morph into this other self. Maybe I’m more confident, a little more mind-cluttered. But together, we work like gears. We’re a team.
How do you approach yourself as a writer versus yourself as a person?