Monday, June 18, 2012

The Writerly Mind

I've been away with an unhappy tooth. However, if I ever had any doubt about being a writer, then it was quashed this week while sitting in the dentist's chair. During the whole experience my crazy mind turned to descriptions: the pain, the surgery, the fear. I could turn the experience into a horror story or a thriller about a psychopathic dentist. Not because the experience was that bad, but because my writerly mind turned in that direction and found story opportunities. Only a true writer could think those insane thoughts while getting a tooth drilled.

The experience even turned my thoughts to comparing root canal therapy with line edits. Yes, there are comparisons. For example, both can be painful, but both are necessary and everything will be a whole lot better once they are done.

It brought a smile to my sore mouth.

Do you have any amusing moments that reminded you that you've made the right choice about your profession?

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68 comments:

  1. I can think back on failed or awkward relationships and write them into a story. I can look back on them and laugh now. But at the time they were uncomfortable, but now they are fodder for conflict or even a comedy sketch.

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  2. This is actually brilliant! The idea of seeing a dentist is scary enough and whether the visit was bad or not, your mind is still kind of traumatized. It is good that you found how your writerly mind works.

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  3. I often have dialogue going through my head more than decription, especially when I'm angry. As I have arguments going through my head, I turn it into a script that eventually gets twisted so it can be added to my WIP. Strange how that happens. However, if you're looking to write a horror story that will scare, Dentists will always work - or even a dentist dressed as a clown (I'm surprised how many people I know who are scared of clowns...)

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    1. A dentist dressed as a clown!! So funny and yes!! Super scary! lol.

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  4. Gosh - writing is far from my mind while on the dentist's chair!! LOL! Oh but love your comparison! So so so so true!!

    Hope you are recovering ok! Take care
    x

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  5. I'm sorry about your tooth, but this made me laugh. I can imagine the agony... of not being able to write your ideas down at the time!

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  6. Root canal strikes fear into anyone's heart!
    Yes, this weekend I've been working hard on my next book and it's just begun to occupy my mind. I even went to church yesterday thinking about the next scene. (Hopefully God will forgive me for plotting a potential alien invasion while singing praise and worship!)

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    1. haha, yeah, I'll admit my mind has drifted to scene ideas during church too and I know for a fact that God forgives me because He is kinda awesome like that.

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  7. I fell asleep during both my root canals.
    But on to your question...
    I decided to give writing a go when Anne Tyler told me to go for it. After she read my first manuscript & signed her newest release 'To Terri, in the firm belief you will one day be signing a book for me' I decided Yup. This is what I want to do. :)

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    1. oh wow, that's fantastic encouragement!!
      And I have no idea how you managed to fall asleep during the dental procedure. No idea at all. ;)

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  8. I turned an audio book on and listened with headphones during my root canal. I was terrified and it was the only way I was going to survive. Hope you're feeling better!

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  9. I remember my dentist telling me on the last treatment of my root canal that he couldn't give me any pain relief, as he needed to seal off the nerves by finding where they ended. I just looked at him stunned, and I must of nodded as all I remember after that is the intense pain and an overwhelming feeling to punch him in the face as my hands intensely gripped the arms of the chair.

    Hope all is well now, I can definitely relate to your pain!

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    1. Oh my gosh!! I haven't had my last treatment yet... eek!

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  10. I always feel awkward looking up with two people staring back down at me, so I close my eyes and whenever I close my eyes I fall asleep in about ten seconds. I think I may have been snoring during my last dentists appointment.
    I had a moment of confirmation tonight. My hubby is off on another overseas trip for work in the area of environmental sciences and I'm always coming up with solutions 'outside the box' for him to put up in these meetings, tonights idea: 'Why not just make rabbits and foxes honorary Australian animals? Feral problem - solved.' I think once he sleeps on it he'll come to see how brilliant this idea is. The country really should be run by writers ;)

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    1. I wish I had that talent for falling asleep. Totally jealous!

      I'm in agreeance with you. The country SHOULD be run by writers! lol.

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  11. if you need horror moments from surgeries, just call me :) During my latest of the two surgeries which lasted for 5,5 hours, I felt 90% of everything that the surgeon did to me :)))

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    1. eeek! And you are still smiling? I'm impressed.

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    2. oh, I even laughed at the surgery table while the horror was going on :) The doctor thought I was crazy....

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    3. you laughed!?!! Wow!! I reckon you felt some serious pain.

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  12. been there done that--too many times--hope you are feeling okay now!!

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  13. I've done my best reading and writing from a dentist's chair...I think I've spent 1/16 of my life in that spot!

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  14. The writerly mind never shuts down. It's a good thing people can't see inside and know what I'm thinking when I should be paying attention. Now that would be embarrassing.

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    1. hahaha I think all writers can relate to that one. So funny.

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  15. My mind is always whirling with thoughts, at the strangest times, no matter what I'm doing or what I'm feeling.

    I do quite a bit of thinking on the dentist's chair.

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  16. Root canal = revision... I can identify with that.

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  17. oh ow ha ha!
    hope you are feeling better now!

    yes, just had a moment on my way home. i have no patience for absentminded drivers, i have places to go! a harried mom having a crash would be intriguing, but do i want to write that? hmmm, file.

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  18. LOL! This is too funny, Lynda...

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  19. Since I don't make money at writing (not yet anyway), my true profession is as a nurse. Those moments when I know I've chosen the right profession are when my patient's face lights up when they see me. That's worth more than the paycheck.

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    1. oh wow, that's so brilliant. It must be so heartening for you. It's a shame as writers we'd rarely see that kind of reaction when people read our books.

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  20. I really loved my job and had a ton of experiences that made me feel that way. Now that I'm retired, I have even more!

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  21. I work a day job, and I write. I hope my writing profession takes off. I know I've chosen the right profession when my hubby (this happened last night) is reading my WIP, and he says, "I haven't noticed any breaks or mistakes. You have a real book here. It's like - who is this author? My wife? Nah..." Hubby got consumed by the story. I couldn't have asked for more.

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    1. That's so cool! It's so great having that kind of genuine reaction from those who support us the most.

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  22. I've just been to the dentist too and had a similar experience.
    And I never forget Anne Lamott's words when it comes to teeth and the third draft or dental draft: "when you check every tooth, to see if it's loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy!"

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  23. Hope your mouth is feeling better.

    I do the same thing. What if that truck was carnivorous? Is that light blinking ominously? Yes, I think it is. That's not just a rabbit ... lol

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  24. oh the dentist!! then they ask you all those perky open ended ?s when you have all that stuff in your mouth!

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    1. Yeah exactly. Plus the dentist and her assistant were talking about something that was incorrect (geography) and it drove me nuts I couldn't correct them, lol.

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  25. I've been having these exact thoughts lately too... all these ideas just seem to seep from every pore, taking over my brain, and I find myself thinking: I must be a writer! I hope I can say it's my profession one day.

    I also tend to think "I can use this in my writing" when I'm going through hard times. Sometimes it's the only consolation!

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  26. Some days these moments come in rapid fire and it's hard to get it all down, and then I think I need more hours in the day to actually write about them. :)

    Hope you are feeling better soon!

    Take care,
    Karen

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  27. Love it! It always makes me excited, taking an annoying/horrible/frustrating situation and turning it into something for a story.

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  28. It is weird where your mind goes, how you want to mine every experience for your writing.

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  29. *Shaking hands with a kindred soul* I did the very same thing during my root canal!!

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  30. I'm usually extremely uncomfortable and self-conscious at dinner parties & other social situations until someone says something particularly interesting & suddenly I'm in "research for a potential story" mode. Last week I happened to meet someone who knew about tribal tattoos. BAM! A fiddly little detail in my WIP materialized. Sure, it's just a half-sentence description, but it feels so good to know it :)

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    1. Ha! That's awesome the way that happens. And it sounds like it was good timing for you too :)

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  31. Oh, you can definitely compare root canal with line edits!

    Riya

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  32. After spending some unwanted time in the dentist chair,I say it's good you could spin some writing thoughts during it to take your mind off it! Hope it's done!

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    1. Alas, no. I have go see a specialist in a couple weeks time. :(

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  33. I know exactly what you mean. :))

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  34. Hope your tooth is better and your dental journey complete. I write about murder, so I've had a thought or two while sitting in the dentist's chair, too :)

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  35. Aww..Lynda. You could actually think of a story while awaiting your dental treatment? I would be too petrified to think.

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  36. 'because my writerly mind turned in that direction and found story opportunities.'

    I so get this! Lynnie, I liked the post a lot and I thought the pic to go with was a lovely, nuanced choice.

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    1. I forgot to explain that I took that photo while on board the cruise ship as it sailed out of Sydney. It's the windows of the Sydney Opera House.

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  37. Oh man! Sorry to hear you had to deal with a sore tooth and a root canal. No fun. :(

    On the plus side, you've got fodder for a horror or a thriller. :) I do the same thing. One time, I was in the playground waiting for my kid to come out from school. No one else was out there (just me and my little boy), and I began imagining that something went wrong inside the school. Anyway, it quickly turned into a horror scene (zombies or some such nonsense) and I had to shake off the images until the bell rang. :-S

    Btw, I have a blog award for you. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for the Booker Award!

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  38. Isn't psychopathic dentist redundant?

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  39. Yeah, I think that proves you are a true writer! If awkward or embarrassing things in particular happen to me I always start turning them into stories in my mind. Then it's as if they didn't really happen or happened to someone else, haha.

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  40. Love it! It's funny how our minds just go in certain directions when we're doing things completely unrelated to writing. :)

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  41. Yep, I've had those moments. I'm telling you, anyone and anything is fodder for a story. No one is safe around a writer, not even a sore tooth. Hope you're feeling better. :)

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  42. LOL! That's an awesome story! I look forward to reading about one of your characters having his/her teeth drilled. :D Ahh, I don't know. I think my confirmation comes whenever I take too much of a writing break and I start feeling miserable. Have to keep those lines of creativity going! Hope you're back to 100 percent very soon~ <3

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    1. Ha! Yeah! It's funny how our writing has such an impact on our mood.

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  43. Oh, I'm so sorry to read you've had to deal with the dreaded root canal. Ugh! Awful! I hope you're feeling better. But it sounds like you made the best of a bad situation.
    I do try make note of bad experiences to use somewhere, somehow in my writing. At least then, the unpleasantness has a purpose.

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  44. Oh yes. Sometimes I think that is the only way to get through some situations. ;)

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  45. Hilarious. At least you can laugh about your dental angst. How do you think they got the idea for "Little Shop of Horrors?" The sadistic dentist is so believeable!

    Play off the Page

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    1. oh yeah! I'd totally forgotten about Little Shop of Horrors! LoL!

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  46. I had a long conversation with a friend in which we spoke about many different topics. At the beginning of the conversation my friend complained about a recent paper-cut. 30 minutes later she got a particle of dirt under her eyelid and needed to borrow my eye drops. I came away from that with my mind brewing a story about paper-cuts on eyelids. I tell this story when people ask me how I can come up with such amazing story ideas. They all agree that I am a bit 'different' in the head. LOL!
    I think this dentist horror story has some serious potential.

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  47. Sorry to hear about your tooth.
    I got a story idea from a silly AFV episode once. Does that count? :)

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