The Writer’s Mind
I always know Chuck needs to write when he begins to tell complicated stories about the other drivers while we are on our way to Santa Fe. If a lady is traveling at 85 MPH in a 45 MPH zone, her daughter has just been brought to the hospital with a broken elbow and she is trying to get there as quickly as she can. If a young man forgets to use his blinker or his tail light is out, he has been handed down an American car and is in the process of learning about all the electrical problems American cars experience over time.
Having a poet’s mind, and not a fiction writer’s mind, I used to wonder why he wasted his time making things up. Didn’t he realize he was making assumptions? Couldn’t he see he could not possibly understand why another driver did what they did? Did he not know his job was to avoid their erratic behavior on the road and keep plenty of space between us and the other cars? Not sidle up to them and look at them in order to create characters in a new tale.
Then, one day at lunch in a small office cafe on Kirtland Air Force Base when we were both government contractors, I broached the question.
“What would you do if you could do anything?”
He chewed pastrami for a long moment.
“I would write books and movies.”
Now we were moving! I suddenly understood his motivation in making up all the stories about our daily lives. Chuck is a writer. He needs to make up stories about the situations we experience in even our most mundane moments because that is the way he is wired and the story is his primary communication tool.
Since then, he has delved ever more deeply into his craft and has revealed himself a fantastic storyteller. And he doesn’t bring his unwritten stories into our conversations nearly so often.
If you have a writer’s mind, how did you discover it? Did you compensate for your unwritten works in another area of life? We welcome your comments!