Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Special Guest, Lisa M. Campbell about: Schizophrenia and the Writer; or What's that pervert doing behind the tree?

Please welcome our Special Guest today, Lisa M. Campbell, who has a fascinating topic for us -

E.L. Doctorow once said, "Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." As a reader, I never understood. Now, as a writer, I agree with part of that quote, as I tend to live inside my head more often than not. I'm just not certain the way I go about the writing process is socially acceptable.

Merriam-Webster dictionary describes schizophrenia as "a psychotic disorder characterized by loss of contact with the environment, by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life."

In the beginning, I had a problem with Doctorow's assertion until I dissected this statement and realized his quote wasn't too far off the mark. After all, those of us who write fiction, and romance in particular, spend a lot of time shaping characters, situations, and places in our imagination, agonizing over their fictional lives for days, months and sometimes years.

Now, before you shake your head in complete denial, check your concentration level the next time you study a couple sharing a passionate kiss. Ask yourself this question. Were you a bit more interested in cataloguing hand and lip placement for the upcoming first kiss scene in your manuscript, rather than giving the couple a passing glance? Uh-huh, thought so. Now that I have your attention, ask yourself another question. Do you find yourself falling off chairs, or skulking around corners to eavesdrop on private conversations for the sake of character development? What interests you more, the topic of the discussion, or the emotions behind it? If you have answered at least one of these questions, you, my fellow writer, are completely uninvolved within your external environment. Mmm-hmm… shocking, is it not?

A solitary person, I shy away from such behaviors in my un-writing life, and yet, I have no problem indulging in these dubious traits for the sake of my story. Therefore, I can safely assume this is writer's schizophrenia taking over. Now what, you may ask? Well, the next step should be admitting there is a problem, and finding a solution to correct the behavior before you wind up in an arraignment hearing.

Unfortunately, it's difficult to pin down such inappropriate actions if you're unaware of them. Enlisting the aid of family and friends is a proactive first step, though I have to admit my own husband isn't always useful in certain circumstances. He's a great help positioning himself between my subjects and me when he sees I'm sidling closer to a group, notepad at the ready, to record outbursts and the like. However, he's more than eager to parse a few love scenes when I want to confirm positions or pacing. In this instance, he supports my schizophrenia one hundred percent---and in the end that is all any of us wants; one special someone who understands, accepts, and supports the schizophrenic side of a writer's life.

I've traveled the world, lived on two continents and in eleven cities.I've met my childhood hero, twice.I wore a uniform during wartime, though I never fired a shot.Thanks to my husband, I've flown an airplane.I'm a wife, and mother.I'm owned by two crazy cattle dogs, both of which I rescued from puppy prison.Right now I live in the beautiful Black Hills, the Oglala Sioux call Paha Sapa.I have a Celtic Connection with a Gaelic speaking friend.I write what I love to read.

The lush landscape of the Scottish Highlands holds great beauty, but also great peril. Therefore, when Lady Arabella Wyndmere is spirited away from her English home, she is right to fear for her heart and her welfare. Held to a deathbed vow, Laird Connal MacRae is honor-bound to deliver Lady Arabella unsullied, to his deposed older brother, as a prize to soothe his ego. Nevertheless, Connal cannot deny the burning ache the spirited beauty has awakened in him. However, something far more dangerous stalks from the shadows. And in a climate of treachery and betrayal; the greatest risk of all could be surrendering to the depth of feelings of unexpected love.
Buy Superstition's Desire Here

Please leave a comment to welcome Lisa - Thanks, Morgan Mandel


Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome to Make Mine Mystery, Lisa.
Have a good time here.

Morgan Mandel

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hey Lisa, I am in complete agreemetn with you. Lots of voices in my head. Thank goodness other people are willing to pay to learn about their exploits. Wishing you all the best.

Debra St. John said...

Great post, and oh so true. My characters become so very real to me when I'm writing about them. I find myself wondering what they would do in particular situations that occur around me. I constantly have voices in my head.

Anonymous said...

I can second the characters in your head thing. Great post!

Helen said...

As a writer, I do tend to lose myself in the world of my characters. I even help the process by closing my door so voices and sounds don't pull me back into the real world.

Straight From Hel

Lisa Campbell said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today Morgan!

Hi Maggie,

I agree, writing stories you love is a wonderful way to make a living. Thanks for the good wishes, and right back at you! :D

Hey Debra,

So glad you enjoyed it! I catch myself talking about my characters as if they were real people--my hubby just rolls his eyes. ;)

Hi Angel,

I think any writer worthy of the title, continually entertains a host of characters. Mine tend to get rowdy until I put them down on paper! :)

Hey Helen,

One of my feisty doggies dropped her empty water bowl on my foot the other day while I was at the computer---then gave me a look as if to say, "hey lady, this ain't a red tie I'm wearin', it's my tongue, gimme water." So, the chores do tend to go by the wayside---poor Annie. ;)

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Lisa,
I couldn't agree with you more. I used to wonder what what was wrong with me (other people did too,I guess),now I know. Thank you.
I love Scottish historicals. I have visited the Scottish Highlands, absolutely beautiful.

Lisa Campbell said...

Hi Margaret,

My husband and family are staunch supporters of my writing, but they could never understand the compulsion that drives me.

Once I began reaching out to other writers, it was such a comfort to discover I wasn't the only person out there with such a vivid interior life! :D