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Okay, so what’s a writer on deadline – self-induced or one set by an editor – supposed to do when life interrupts? I’m not talking about the gotta-take-the-kid-to-a-play-date kind of life interruption. Or even the dinner’s-gotta-be-made type. You’re kind of up a creek in those situations, I think, because not doing them involves a screaming kid or a family coup. Sometimes both.

No, I’m talking about the this-should-be-really-fun kind of life interruption.

Back in January, Hubby announced that Hugh Laurie (Star of TV’s HOUSE) was coming to town. He plays piano and guitar, and sings in a jazz band. Did I want to go? Sure, I wanted to go!

Hugh Laurie in concert!

Back in January.

Before I got the “not a rejection” e-mail from an editor. (See previous post.)

Before the request for a “revise and resubmit” with a three week deadline.

Two days before the concert, I had to be reminded. (Are you out of your mind? I can’t go! I’m on DEADLINE!) And, I’m not ashamed to say, I actually tried to see if someone else could go in my place. Yeah, pathetic, huh? After “gentle persuasion” – let’s just call it that, shall we? – I decided it would be okay to not write for one evening. Ah, yes, there is a reason I married the guy. 🙂

But really, who was I kidding? I’m a writer. Writers write. And to not write, to not work on story, particularly at the slotted time (I know, I know! – I’m a bit OCD), would be pure torture. Still, I’d committed to going, although I’d secretly hoped for a cough or some other minor ailment that would relegate me to the computer . . . umm . . . bed. Relegate me to bed.

D-Day came, and I stared longingly at my laptop. Too bad my evening bag wasn’t big enough to stash it in, although I kinda suspected Hubby would notice if I’d spent the entire performance in the Ladies room.

So I did what I usually do when without a means to immediately torture my characters. I thought about them. While I dressed, I wondered if the plot was strong enough to really mess with my heroine. On the drive over, I wondered if the hero was the sort of guy who would really let some girl drive his Porsche, no matter how hot she was. And while we waited in line for the doors to open, I wondered what in the world possessed me to write a story with a seven-year-old in it! Not that I don’t like kids. They’re cute and all (a survival strategy, I’m sure), but I don’t have any, am not around any, and, contrary to my CP, Meredith Clark’s proclamation, I don’t plan on babysitting one anytime soon. (Sorry, Mer!)

We found our seats, and before the lights dimmed, I casually watched the others who’d gathered for the evening’s entertainment. Fodder for my writer’s brain.

For instance, why was that woman two rows in front of us all alone? Maybe her husband/boyfriend/lover stood her up? Maybe they had a huge blow-up before the show and he left her. Maybe she’d caught the jerk in an affair and was spying on him and his slut!

Or maybe, “he” was there. That special someone she shouldn’t be involved with, and they couldn’t risk being seen together. Maybe the plan was to meet up for “coffee” later. Was it maybe that bearded guy a row ahead and to the right? You know, the balding one who kept turning around and looking her direction?

Or maybe she was an assassin, casing the theater, planning a hit. Maybe the mark was a city official who had season tickets to the venue’s performances. Maybe he was involved with the mob, and maybe she’d even make her move tonight!

By the time the show started, I had a dozen scenarios for the poor woman. Let’s face it, good or bad, this writer’s imagination never stops. … So if you ever catch me looking at you funny, just know that my writer’s brain has made up something it considers far more entertaining than whatever it is we’re doing at that moment. 😀

As for the show, Hugh Laurie and the band were fantastic! With a wide range of Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Gospel, and Soul – they sang and played beautifully for almost a full two hours. And, yes, I did have to make up a couple of stories about them!

So, what’s the most interesting story you’ve ever made up about someone? For my writer friends, did it spark an idea for a book? Or did you make up something only to discover there was an element of truth in it? (Wouldn’t that be interesting!)

Happy people-watching,
Melia

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