You want to know how to get over all the crazy shit that has happened in your life?
Become a writer.
Not because writing is therapy – well, maybe it is, I’m undecided on that one today – but because when you’re a writer, everything in your life essentially becomes material, and crazy shit just stops phasing you.
DISCLAIMER: I say “you” like I know “you,” but I don’t, and really I’m saying “you” like you’re me. Because I’m talking about me. I have no idea what kind of writer you are, so let’s keep talking about me because this is my blog, and maybe you’ll be all like, “yeah, me too!”
ANOTHER DISCLAIMER: Also, I work in the arts where crazy shit is normal shit, so…
Like one day, you’ll get onto a bus in Glasgow to go into city centre to meet with a friend, and a couple minutes after sitting down, you’ll notice that everyone has sort of moved away from you. But then you realize it’s not you they’ve moved away from, but the crazy woman sitting directly behind you. And you’ll realize this when she starts to hold onto your shoulders and tell you her life story through a haze of alcohol and drugs. And you try to move, but she’s totally gripping onto you, smelling of cheap drink, sweat, and sick, and she’s telling you how beautiful you are, and how you need to stay with her forever because she’s lost, etc., etc.
And then she follows you off the bus and you try to say goodbye, but she’s holding your arms, pulling you in, trying to kiss you, screaming at you, begging you not to leave, and nobody’s helping you because she’s clearly off her tree and who wants to get involved with that? But you manage to pry her hands off yours, and you manage to say goodbye (with a gentle, but firm shove to the chest) and make your way across the street, down the block, and to your meeting spot.
And you would be shaken (okay, you’re a little shaken), but you’re too busy going, now THAT is a CHARACTER! And writing down the details in a notebook, on a napkin at the bar, whatever.
Or one day, you’re working at a bookstore and a woman in her late 50s comes up to your till with her pile of harlequin romance novellas,* and she puts them down on the counter with a loud THUMP and just stares at you. Glowers. And you try not to pay too much attention to her obnoxiously floral blouse and her dry, crumbling, yet LOUD purple (yes, purple) lipstick, because she already seems unimpressed and staring back at her probably won’t help. And only after you’ve scanned her last book does she open her mouth and say, “that offends me,” motioning to the tattoo on your neck. And then she just continues to stare. No, glower. And even though you could be worrying about being fired over your tattoo, because the store’s dress code is specifically against visible tattoos (but you’ve stood your ground and the general manager has let it slide), you find yourself stifling a laugh and saying, “I’m so sorry to hear that!” because all you can think is that this broad’s whole appearance offends you, and she’s totally gonna show up in something you write one day.
SIDENOTE: Turns out someone already stole her away for their own thing, because I shit you not, this is exactly what she looked like:
Or you’ll walk into a bathroom at work one day and find a trio of half-naked men halfway through the process of getting into drag, and rather than squeak shyly and run away, you’ll be like, “what’s up?” and go pee anyway because they’re in the ladies washroom and a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
Or the whole Batman PJs thing, which, it turns out, has been a very popular story for the last 48 hours. My love life’s a joke. You’re welcome!
I don’t know, maybe it’s a dangerous thing to become desensitized in a way, but I kind of love seeing a story in everything that happens to me. It sure makes life more exciting, and it means I’ve always got something to talk and/or write about.
*No judgement. Okay, some judgement, but only because she was a jerk. If she were a nice person, I’d support her desire to read whatever the hell she wanted.