If Only I Would Use My Superpower To Fight Evil

Posted at Dec 23, 2014 4:12 pm

HiResI’ve always written in my head. Since as far back as I can remember, my gray matter has been host to many a masterpiece-in-the-works. (Hey, you have to do something interesting to make barn work palatable!) I like to call it my superpower.

If you’re an author, you know what I’m talking about. You’re somewhere doing something (usually something boring) and someone or something catches your eye. Suddenly, without even thinking about it, you’re making up something in your head. (Now, this can be quite dangerous, especially if you’re driving your kids to school or shopping during Black Friday. I’ve had my share of narrow escapes with dump trucks and holiday bargain hunters.)

This tendency (weakness? affliction? fetish?) to write in my head has never bothered me, but it drives my family crazy. It’s one of the reasons my husband prefers not to go eat out with me. (The other is that he’s cheap and can’t understand why I can’t just make Grilled Bransino at home.) No matter if we’re at Chic-fil-A or Stoneground Kitchen, within minutes of sitting down, I’m off writing in my head. I can’t count the number of times he’s tapped my hand and said, “Hey, are you listening to me?”

“No, I’m not because I’m thinking that forty-something couple sitting in the booth by the big windows is fighting, and I’m coming up with different reasons why they’re angry with each other.” My husband’s response? “What does it matter? You don’t know them.” Ahh, but I do.

Right now, they’re the hero and heroine of the novel in my head. They’ve been married for twenty-five years, and the last of their seven children just entered kindergarten. Now Kim wants to go back to work part-time as a pharmaceutical rep, which is what she was doing when she met Jon at an anti-apartheid protest march in Salt Lake City. But Jon isn’t going for it. He’d rather she just stay at home. He suggested that if Kim is that bored, she could volunteer at a hospital or animal shelter. Of course, Jon forgot that his wife is allergic to latex and cat dander. That made Kim angry because he always forgets important stuff like that so she’s—

Of course, this is the point in the conversation where hubby shakes his head and waves his hands in the air. “Never mind… never mind!” he gasps, then orders another beer. Of course, this is the point in the conversation where I start writing a story about him… getting hit by a bus… while being chased by a bear… (Nah, I’m just kidding… about the bear.)

It’s amazing what can suddenly set me off into the land of make-believe. (Fellow authors, you know what I’m talking about, right?) Like that woman wearing the Chanel pantsuit and vintage Tiffany jewelry at the grocery store yesterday. (Margo DeSantovini… recent divorcee… had to fire household staff of six after fifth ex-husband stopping paying their salaries… now forced to do the shopping… needs help learning how to fry an egg… “The burner is on 350 degrees, now what?”)

Or that guy going through the security line at the airport and trying not to touch anything. (Kenneth Morgan… recently accepted into Yale’s doctoral program in psychology… once arrested for aggravated assault and battery after someone double dipped at a party… favorite TV show is Monk… “What do mean I can’t take my eight-ounce bottle of Purell sanitizer on the airplane?”)

So, what makes someone develop this superpower? Innate talent? Crappy home life? Bitten by a radioactive author spider? Who knows and who cares? All I know is that on any given day, I can come up with some real doozies.

Now, I bet you’re sitting there, reading this, wondering if I’ve ever looked at you and made up a story in my head.

Yes, I have. And let me tell you, it’s a doozy.


2 responses to “If Only I Would Use My Superpower To Fight Evil”

  1. Erica R. says:

    My 10-year-old does that constantly. She calls it “telling myself stories.” She walks around outside and makes them up out loud. So cute. I am a writer myself, so it’s especially fun for me to watch.

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