“If you want to understand someone else’s perspective, walk a mile in his shoes.”
Typically, I’m the reliable one others turn to for getting things done, getting them done promptly, and getting them done well. I pride myself on it. My current career depends on it. So you can understand that for the longest time, I couldn’t quite fathom how creative people managed to operate on a daily basis let alone feed themselves regularly.
How could they?
Artists, writers, actors, dancers and the like are total flakes living in their own dreamy, self-absorbed world. They’re constantly late to appointments, never seem to pay bills on time or meet deadlines.
These people are completely unreliable sops put here on this earth to drive the rest of us who are living in the real world, batty.
No wonder these people need managers, I’d sniff.
Spoiler alert: freshly baked crow coming up!
Then I decided to devote a block of uninterrupted time to my novel and walk several miles in the artist’s shoes. Boy, have I discovered a few things!
First, the creative muse has no interest in respecting personal boundaries. Meaning, at any time and place, a brilliant flash of insight could strike, leaving me mumbling incoherently while scrabbling for a piece of paper, pen, pencil, even blood to capture the idea before it disappears.
Second, in order to really get inside my characters, I have to live inside my head–not in the real world. Character personalities, plot twists, witty repartee–I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve ignored passing neighbors because I was so lost in thought.
My long-suffering better half now understands that when I suddenly stop talking to him and stare off into space, I’m not annoyed, I’m just thinking about why Character X drove one way when taking another route makes so much more sense.
Third, mundane tasks like returning library books on time or paying bills promptly–well, I simply can’t be bothered when my character’s struggling to stay conscious after suffering contusions, a broken leg, a mild concussion and the loss of several fingernails. The character’s fighting for her life and you want me to stop everything to pay the rent? Good God, man, where are your priorities?
And let’s not talk about what’s for dinner, either. Dinner’s whatever’s still scrounge-able in the cupboards.
Yes, it’s true. I’ve morphed into all I once looked down upon…and I’ve missed out on SO MUCH FUN! These creative types are on to something and I’m gonna get me some more of it.
Although I suppose I should make a grocery run one of these days. Maybe even pay the utility bill, too.