Sometimes, being a fiction writer has its disadvantages. Too much imagination has led me into all sorts of trouble. It’s just too easy to imagine alternative endings to various stories, and you know, some people just don’t like that.
I got into trouble last night at a church event, in fact. We were discussing the oncoming Holy Week events and the reading of the Passion this Sunday. One of my friends will “play” Judas.
So, of course I had to open my mouth. I always felt sorry for Judas. I mean, here he was , sort of set up for doom, I said. If he hadn’t done what he did, poor Jesus would end up wandering around at age 50, thinking to himself, “there was something I was going to do, but what was it again?” (like many of us in our 50’s).
I was chastised for sacrilege. Probably fair enough. But still.
In my defence, I have to say there’s a part of me that is always questioning things. I feel sorry for Mary, for example. I mean, she gives birth to this magical kid, and honestly, how does she cope with it – the staring from the villagers, the toilet training, for heaven’s sake? Did Mary have to bribe him with the equivalent of Smarties? Was the young Lad a good kid, or was he a bit cheeky? All of these practicalities aren’t dealt with, and unfortunately, my mind fills in around the edges with scenes. I suppose , if I were good, I’d just leave it alone, but I don’t have that kind of mind.
The same thing happens in all sorts of settings. I go to the coffee shop and overhear part of a conversation and embroider a life around the speakers. I read about a famous person and want to know about the other parts of their lives.
I believe part of being a writer is being endlessly curious about people and things – why does water behave that way? How do you make material out of loose wool? Can you balance angels on the head of a pin? How many?
Often it’s purely mental play. Some people do crosswords. I make up stories.