In the New Testament of the bible the apostle Peter writes, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2: 9, KJV). Christians are considered a peculiar people. Why? Because we don’t drink, smoke, gamble, dance, and any such thing, and the world finds that odd that we won’t do these things, even if we’d had done so before.
Writers are also considered a peculiar people, not for the same reasons above, but because they don’t view things the same way other people do. For example: to the world, someone who goes to the park and sees two children tossing a ball back and forth, observes it merely as children playing catch. To the writer, it could be two leaders deciding the fate of the planet when one misses the ball. We don’t always see things the same way and for that, we are sometimes labeled as odd or, just plain strange.
Normal is a Setting on a Dryer
No one should consider themselves as “normal” except from a psychiatric point of view. If you consider yourself a normal, average, run-of-the-mill person, I feel very sorry for you. The reason is, you are missing the point of life. One should embrace the desire to be different; to think outside the box because then you will stand out from the rest. Here’s a quote from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, circa 1900…
That proves you are unusual, returned the Scarecrow; and I am convinced the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones. For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.”
Back in 2008, I was doing research for my NaNoWriMo project called The Witch of Winthrop Village. One weekday afternoon, while waiting for my children to get out of school, I was standing in the main foyer, with other parents, and was reading a book on the Salem Witch Hunt. The cover of the book featured a noose.
As I stood there reading, a man came up to me and said, “Hello”. I responded in kind, knowing he was a fellow parent. He then asked me what I was reading and, without saying anything and trying to continue my reading, I showed him the cover of the book. Shortly thereafter, I looked up and found him standing on the opposite side of the room from me. Either he didn’t want to disturb my reading, or was disturbed by what I was reading. I mean, all I was doing was research and he might have thought that I was a member of Wicca and was looking to see where the Salem witches went wrong.
Honest Officer, I’m just an Author
If you go to the home of any Mystery Writer, you’ll likely see books on murder, death, poisons, weaponry and other things. If’ you’re not aware that they are a writer, you’d probably want to run screaming from the house, dial 911 to involve the police, because this guy over here is planning on murdering someone. Murder yes, but on paper and not in real life. We writers have this desire to collect books of a somewhat unusual nature for research purposes regardless of what we’re working on. I have a collection of books on poisons, forensics, and different books about mysteries but I’m known for writing Fantasy stories.
Why the other books? One, I might one day decide to write a mystery and Two, I am considering bring the concept of detectives to the world of Fantasy. Either way, I have the books on hand and ready to be used when the time comes. I even have a 31 volume encyclopedia set, called “Crime and Punishment”, which features all sorts of crimes through the centuries. All for a “just in case” situation should I get the desire to write crime stories.
So you see, writers view things differently as we see all things in the world as possible storylines, plot developers, or ways to get to the next chapter. We tend to speak aloud our ideas, as hearing them out loud helps us envision them. Just because we say, “This would make a great murder weapon” does not mean we are planning to kill our fellow man. We are just working out our next story idea, or plot point in a story. Be not afraid of us but, rather, slowly approach with a cup of coffee and some chocolate, and we might share some insight into our next story.
Have you had a situation where people threatened to call the cops or have you had people give you a wide berth for the books that your read or line your bookcases with? Share with me your experiences!