Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Damn Lazy Criminals

They’re stealing ideas from my Canadian book, before it’s even published.

Okay, okay. So I can’t take the credit. When I wrote that one, it was inspired by two true stories and a weird convergence that occurred from listening to Copperhead Road and Five Dollar Bill too much that summer.

I mean, it’s all been done before. And what worked in prohibition might work now…Right?

Not likely.

You have to be original. If you want to be a successful criminal, you have to show a little bit of imagination. Which is why my book involves smuggling with a twist.

And that’s sort of a secondary plot, anyway.

I’ve always had a very scattered mind, in that it’s thinking ten steps ahead on some things and sideways on others and there are several trains coming and going from the station simultaneously. Drives evilkev mad when we talk, because I’ll just suddenly pick up something that was part of the discussion an hour earlier, or that we haven’t been talking about at all.

I used to be even better at simultaneous processing. The good ol’ days of youth, when I could have the tv on, music on the stereo, a phone stuck between my shoulder and ear and be reading or writing or doing homework as well. Damn, I miss that. How did it all make sense?

Now, I can’t even talk on the phone and type emails. Occasionally, I manage to wash dishes, but only when evilkev isn’t home, or he distracts me.

The funny thing was, when I wrote Suspicious Circumstances, I listened to the radio while I was writing. Hence the weird convergence of too much Copperhead Road and Five Dollar Bill. And this music, bouncing around in the back of my brain, clicked into place. It helped spark an idea.

Now, I can hardly even listen to music while I’m dealing with email. Which is kind of sad, because I officially have a very cool addition to my electronic gadget collection. Which is really evilkev’s electronic gadget collection, but when he says he’s buying it for me, it eases his guilt.

And I’ve learned to just lay claim to it anyway, since he said he was buying it for me.

What is this I’ve acquired? Cordless headphones.

Of course, evilkev was only too quick to point out that on my upcoming trip to the US – because I get to go everywhere while he stays at home and does nothing - that I can show off my cool headphones.

To which I say, “Are you an idiot? People get knifed just to steal an ipod, never mind blue tooth cordless headphones that show off you’ve got an ipod. They’re staying at home.”

Which, you see, has brought me right back to what I started this post with: crime.

And somehow it all makes sense in my brain.

I suppose this is one of the merits of being an organic writer. Perhaps one of the advantages. You think about things sideways and let them connect in ways that people don’t necessarily expect. If you can make it convincing and believable in your fiction, you’ve got a real edge, because the way your brain processes and connects seemingly random things is probably fairly unique, and therefore it isn’t as easy for someone else to guess how it will piece together.

Well, you hope, anyway.

This is why I have a hard time with questions about where I got an idea, or how the idea for the book started. Whatever started it is probably so peripheral to what becomes the main story that people would be baffled if they’d already read the book.

I suppose this is why, for me, writing something new ends up feeling like an adventure.

So, am I a freak? Or do you guys find this happens to you as well?

Side note

I was going to write about something else today, but it was depressing. Ever notice how one thing happens that bums you out, and suddenly everything seems bleak? We lost one of our dogs on the weekend, and I’m off to take Skittles to the vet right now. So, I haven’t been feeling very chipper the past few days, but it’s getting better.

JT Ellison sent me a link to a very funny joke.

I must admit JT, we’ve established I don’t listen very well. LOL! Evilkev would say that’s not exactly a news flash…


JamesO said...

I'm sorry to hear about your dog, Sandra, and I hope Skittles is all right. Animals can be such a worry at time, it makes me glad I don't have children;}#

Sandra Ruttan said...

I'm sure Skittles will be fine - I have to pick him up in a few hours. Fingers crossed.

I know what you mean about kids!

angie said...

Sorry about your dog. That totally sucks. The last time Zuzu took off I totally freaked - fortunately the little be-yatch only likes to take off for a few hours. Okay, a 75 pound husky/malamut/wolf mix isn't exactly little. Here's hoping your puppy gets its furry butt home soon & with a minimum of skunk & rolled-in-nasty-dead-shit damage.

Anonymous said...

Yes. I mean yes, that, "Whatever started it is probably so peripheral to what becomes the main story."

It's why I now write in terms of theme instead of plot. The plot's all over the place but the theme holds it together. Or is supposed to.

John McFetridge

Sandra Ruttan said...

Angie, sorry to be cryptic. My dog died.

John, I can totally see that with your work. And I hear you're kicking ass on your upcoming panel! I'm really looking forward to that!

JT Ellison said...

Sandra, it's the days that are poopy that make us appreciate the good ones. I'm soory about the puppy, and thrilled Skittles is going to be okay.
And cut yourself some slack, okay? Everyone has the right to get down.
On a better note -- organic writers unite.

angie said...

Oh crap. I'm so sorry. That completely and utterly sucks ass. I wish I had something pithy and helpful to say, but that just sucks.

DesLily said...

sorry to hear about your dog.. loosing pets is depressing.. I hope you feel better soon..

Sandra Ruttan said...

Indeed JT, organic writers unite.

If only you'd cut me some slack to slack off!

Angie, DesLily, thanks. It's never easy to lose a pet. I must admit when the vet called this morning I was freaking out, because usually they never call.

anne frasier said...

aw, so sorry about your dog, sandra. :(

but i'm glad to hear skittles is coming along fine.

and yes, i know what you mean about the cluster effect of bleaknosity.
not sure about the spelling. ;)

Unknown said...

Sandra I'm so sorry about your dog! That sucks. :(

Sandra Ruttan said...

Bleaknosity - great word Anne!

Although, as Kevin says, you can't stay sad for long when you have kittens.

Thanks Andrea. We do get so attached to our pets.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Oh man, sorry to hear about your dog. I'd feel pretty damned bleak too.

Good to hear that Skittles is cool, though.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks Daniel. And Skittles seems to be doing quite well, which is a relief.

anne frasier said...

i just got a nifty thing for my ipod i might have to share in a few days -- once i test it a bit.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Anne, you tease!