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This morning I sat across a coffee table from a man with a badge. His smile was warm. Charming. Endearing. He reminded me of my late grandpa, and I thought vaguely as we chatted that I hoped he had the pleasure of bouncing his own grandkids on his knees, unrestrained children's laughter pealing, like my papa does with Alpha and Betta.
Our conversation turned briefly dark when he alluded to his shadowy past. I nodded as if I understood completely and we moved on, but honestly it was really hard to overlap a malicious image onto the person he presented himself to be now.
In that moment I had to suspend my disbelief about one understanding of him I'd created in my head over the other.
I think we do this all the time. I mean, take his badge for example: it was just a piece of paper, but I had to suspend my disbelief in that to accord him the respect his position made due. Same with cash: it's just paper, but try ripping a $100 dollar bill in front of someone desperate for a meal. Rude.
The genre of the book I'm working on is fantasy, so I think about said suspension a lot. Not in so many words, of course, but as I'm formulating a story in my head I'm constantly thinking, "Okay, Deb, why are my readers going to believe X, Y, and Z?" and "How do I get this angel to fly?"
As for this blog: would you, could you, believe that I once very nearly killed a man?
Would you, could you, believe that I was very nearly hung by the neck from a basket ball rim?
Could you, would you, believe it on a train, with a goat, in the rain?
How do I get you to suspend your disbelief about things I chose to write about here…
All depends on the details I give you, right? The circumstances, the lead up, the come down. Who was involved, and what was our relationship? What's the history?
We all have history.
I love the French language.
“Oui?” you say.
“Oh mais oui, mon ami. C’est vrai.”
I’ve got a tincture of Norman blood in me, so when Gustave Flaubert says, “Sauter,” I say “How high?” When he says, “Faire et se taire,” I say nothing at all.
The silent-bit is not so hard for me. It’s the do-part I have a little more trouble with. You see, I’m a simple house-wife, a home-maker, a mama, and I’m not even sure I’m very good at the first two. What right have I to dream of being a well-known writer? And if I have no right, then why do? Why try?
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Some evenings when I sit down to write, nothing comes. Nothing, and it’s completely disheartening. Or I read what I’ve already done and it seems like drivel. Sometimes I ignore the pressure to write and lose myself into a movie instead, because I don’t want to fight the negative snithering inside my head. Blah. Honestly, it’s really hard to overlap a successful image of myself onto the person I feel like I am now.
In those moments where things work and flow, it’s because I’ve willingly suspended my disbelief about one reality over the other.
Do you do this too? Please say, “Mais oui, mon ami,” and then tell me how you get yourself to believe X, Y, and Z. How do you convince your angel to fly?
Moment of Magic today:
In case you haven't been introduced yet? It's my pleasure to present: Lisa Hannigan.