Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm not Evil...

… I’m a writer.  At least I hope to be.

I often have ideas pop into my head that would make the average person cringe at the thought of them.  The opening credits to the TV show Castle feature the main character saying, “There are two types of people that sit around all day thinking of ways to kill people: psychopaths, and mystery writers.”  Personally, I’m not so sure it involves all that much sitting around and thinking to come up with the actual killing.  It’s the getting away with it that takes all the time.

When I say that the ideas pop into my head I mean it.  There are times that I’ll start talking to someone and form some elaborate demise as I’m talking, but have no idea where it’s going.  I’m thinking about five words ahead of what I’m saying, and when I finally get to the end, I get That Look.

Now, I would never actually do the things I think of.  Even the plausible ones, but I enjoy the planning.  We have an apple tree in the back yard.  I’ve talked with an organic chemist about how a novice might extract the cyanide from the seeds and asked for a basic yes or no answer about my method for getting to it.  He said the basic idea was sound.

It turns out that there are very few legitimate things you can do with a plausible idea for murder.  Still, some part of me wants to show people just how clever I can be.  That means I can tell them and get The Look again, or I can craft it into a story of some sort.

That’s something that I think gets lost on a lot of people.  There is a difference between the creator of something and the creation itself.  I once read an interview with someone talking about Lucille Ball.  She’s remembered as one of the greatest comedic actors of all time, but the person giving the interview said that while could be funny, she didn’t think funny.

The way I interpret that was that if you were to run into her at a party and expect a laugh riot every time she spoke, you’d be disappointed.  I think it’s the same way with a lot of other people at the top of their game. 

Stephen King is known for his horror writing, but I’ve read articles he’s written that were really funny.  Vincent Price was the face of horror in films for years.  It’s hard to imagine him doing anything other than some Gothic horror film written by Edgar Allan Poe, but by most accounts, the real man was a kind and generous person with a warm personality.

I do much of my writing at work.  Nearly all of it in fact.  I’ve got a job where there is a four hour block of time where my only required duty is being awake on the off chance anything happens.  Sometimes stuff does, but normally, I don’t see another person, even briefly, from midnight to five AM.

On those occasions when someone does come down from a room and sees me typing away, they might ask what I’m working on.  I look too old to be in school, but I’m clearly typing away with a purpose.  I’ll tell them that I pass the time by writing.  If they want details, they’ll ask.  Few ever want details.  When it does happen, I’ll explain the basic idea I’m working on, then I see The Look.

It’s as if they suddenly realize that the person that minds the building while they sleep has actually just stuffed a murder victim into the locked U-Haul trailer they are taking back to Vermont…

Oh, I actually like that one.  I may use that sometime.

Anyway, the point is that while I don’t always choose to think the way I do, I do have some measure of control over how those thoughts are used.  Sometimes I’ll sit down and work out an idea.  Other times one will just hit me.  Either way, it doesn’t mean that I’m an evil person.

An evil person would actually do the things I think of.

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