OK folks… hold on tight, because I don’t really know where this post is gonna go. I usually have a topic in mind when I start these posts, but the topic I’m starting with today is one that I really don’t think I have anything much to say about, and my mind is in a very strange place at this moment , so where I’ll wander off to is anybody’s guess. Needless to say I’ll understand if on this occasion you chicken out halfway through.
Today, as I’m sure you must know, is April Fool’s Day. Now, sarcasm has always been my drug of choice when it comes to humour. I was never much of a practical joker, possibly because I never much enjoyed being the victim of them. I was one of those irritating kids who was taught to treat others as you would have them treat you. Unfortunately, not everyone feels this way.
The realisation that not everyone feels the same way you do, is one of those turning points in a person’s life, and it’s a corner that most of us don’t even realised we’ve turned. I honestly think there are some people who never fully realise this, and I have to say I envy them.
As a writer, I think of it as part of my job to recognise that not everyone feels the same way. Most writers are people watchers; particularly fiction writers. It is difficult to write believable characters after all without being able to put yourself into a different mindset. I would say this is a writer’s curse but I suppose that assumes that all writers feel the same way, and if I start down that road I’m right back at beginning, so I’ll just assume they all feel differently and say instead that it is my curse. I mean, my sister is a writer (albeit a much more successful one) and I know for a fact that her mind does not work the same way that mine does. My girlfriend is a writer and, although it was our similarities that first led us to one another, there are some very distinct differences between the way she thinks and the way I do. It was one of these differences that led me to this point.
You see, I appreciate that not everyone thinks like I do, and frankly the world would be a pretty sorry place if they did, but as an observer of people I’m forced to always wonder what others are thinking. If that makes no sense to you, think of it this way: If you never realised that not everyone thinks like you do, you might end up being a fairly arrogant, possibly not very likeable, person but at least you should be content; happy in the thought that you know what people are thinking. They’re thinking the same thing that you are… right? On the other hand, if you’re perfectly aware of the differences between people and the way they think but you really don’t care to know one way or the other, you can quite happily go about your business without being affected by this nagging desire to know the other person’s mind.
Now, when I look at a person, I always wonder what’s going through their mind. I would never steal from someone, cheat on them, or stab them through the heart with a rusty ice-pick. I don’t go in for drugs, hitting on other men’s wives, or lap-dances from heavily tattooed women named Jill. However, I am very well aware that plenty of other people think and do these things. By the age of 38 I know very well exactly how I would behave in almost every situation, but there is no way to know how others will behave in every situation, regardless of how well you know them, and I’m becoming convinced that this is the reason I have never felt completely at home anywhere. I am always rather uncomfortable around people and, by extension, any surroundings that have people in them. I’ve tried to get past this but, short of being marooned on a deserted island, I’m unsure what I should do about it. My family and friends have often told me I think waay too much, and I think this post proves that, but maybe I shouldn’t be thinking about it at all.
See? I told you I didn’t know where that was going, and boy was I right about that. But, since most of you reading this will be writers yourselves, I would like to hear your thoughts. Do you suffer from the same crippling anxieties when surrounded by people? Has insecurity or isolation destroyed every relationship you’ve had, platonic or romantic? Is this the reason why so many fiction writers are insecure and socially awkward? Or, are these the things that make them such good fiction writers in the first place.
Please leave your depressing comments in the window below and pray like hell that next week’s post is chirpier than this one.
My darling Amki is over for a visit next weekend, but since she will be the very first person to tell me off if I fail to post, I will do my best to write one in advance.
For a much more interesting post on a similar subject, click here.
I’m going now.