Tunnel-Visioned in Storyland
‘Did you feed the birds?’ my husband asks.
‘They’re in the refrigerator,’ I reply.
‘Are you hungry?’ he says.
‘I mailed them yesterday.’ I mumble.
I pour plain hot water from the mocha maker into my cup because I forgot to put in the coffee. Never
mind. I slap a teabag in the hot water and go back to the computer.
Spiders have taken residence in a number of nooks and crannies. Some of the webs, I’m sure could now be considered ancestral mansions. My arachnid friends know the odds that dusting will happen in the near future are slim, and the safety of their homes is pretty much guaranteed. I think they’ve gone to watching telly when I’m not looking, and they’ve misplaced the remote. At least they keep the sound down so I can work.
The laundry hasn’t been sorted. The flowerbeds haven’t been weeded, and I don’t know what’s at the bottom of the papers avalanching off the end of my worktable. So what’s the problem?
Tunnel Vision. Yep, it’s that time again. Everyone who knows me knows it happens periodically, and every writer can completely empathise. It’s a disease from which we all suffer. When it happens, I go underground. It’s like I’ve temporarily left the planet, and for all practical purposes, I have. When I’ve got tunnel vision, I’m sucked mercilessly into another dimension, the dimension of the story. The thing about the dimension of the story is that it’s a whole lot easier for me to go there than it is for me to come back. Short stories involve fairly brief stints in the land of Tunnel Vision. Five thousand words and I’m back home in time for a reality check. And the spiders tremble.
But these days I spend most of my time in the world of the novel, and whenever I go there, it’s hard to say when I’ll get back home again. Add to that the fact that the novel is full of love, sex, intrigue, populated with people I’d like to be living in places I want to go, and I’m very likely to linger as long as possible. In fact, I bet if you could go someplace similar right now, you would, wouldn’t you?
Come on, be honest! Everyone who’s ever read a good book gets the chance to follow the writer into that great world of Tunnel Vision. We all go there willingly and happily while the eight-leggers take up residence and the carpet crunches from lack of Hoovering. We’re disappointed when it’s not quite the world we’d hoped for. We’re equally disappointed when it’s more than we could have imagined. When that happens, we don’t want to leave. We want to stay with those characters we’ve grown so fond of and settle right in to that place which now feels like home. We’ve grown used to the excitement, the adventure, the sex, the love, the intrigue, and we’ve especially grown used to the opportunity to, for a little while, be someone else.
The land of Tunnel Vision is also the land of multiple personalities. In my novel, I get to be ALL of the characters. They all whisper in my ear and tell me their sordid secrets and their darkest fantasies. Then I, like an evil gossip columnist, splash their inner workings all over the written page for the world to see. Bwa ha ha ha ha! I get to do that because I’m the most powerful person in their world. In fact, in their world, I’m god. K D giveth and K D taketh away!
So, I’ve come back from the world of Tunnel Vision just long enough to grab a coffee, write a blog post and ignore the spiders. Consider this a postcard from The Mount in Rome, where the whole Mount Series started, and where Liza Calendar’s very sensitive nose is making Paulo Delacour very hot. It’s my way of saying ‘having a great time, wish you were here.’ I promise a detailed account this fall in the form of the latest book in the Mount Series, To Rome with Lust. But in the meantime, I’m out of here – back to Rome, back to Paulo and Liza, back to Martelli Fragrance’s secret formula for the best perfume ever! See you!