Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How Writing Ruined My Wife—No Longer Normal

by Kirk Melson

I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty normal guy. I mean, I’m an engineer, nothing odd about that. and just for the record, in my mind being NORMAL was a good thing!

But early in my wife’s writing career, I noticed that she and other writers referred to being normal in a very odd context. I tried to ignore the overtones of derision, but it became harder as life went on.

Truthfully, when Edie and her friends mentioned normal, I didn’t understand why they found our behavior so funny. To me, not hearing voices seemed a lot more reasonable than hearing them…and admitting it. And going on to assign those voices to imaginary people gets even weirder. Then to finally argue out loud with those made up characters made me think they had all gone a little nuts.

And they seemed, at least with the terms they used, to agree with me. After all they refer to the rest of us as NORMAL. But the word was always used as if it was some kind of a joke…one that I just couldn’t understand.

Then it began to happen.

My wife and her friends began to rub off on me.

I found myself taking part in serious conversations about imaginary people—and how to make them behave.

And if that weren’t bad enough, I developed the habit of looking at every experience Edie had as a possible article topic. And even worse, I picked up her habit of looking at a situation and commenting, “There’s a devotion in that.”

Admit it, those of you who have spent any time at all around her, can hear her voice even now.

So I ask you, how has this odd writing sort of life invaded your definition of normal?


  1. LOVE the picture, Kirk! Okay, as far as odd things that invaded my life: As a young adult, I became an RN because I cared about people, wanted to help them recover and move on successfully in their lives.

    After becoming a writer, I was constantly trying to kill them.

    My characters, not my patients.

  2. How about dreaming but thought I was living through a civil war escape scene in the middle of the night while camping on the Suwannee River? Seriously.

  3. To me, time about is fair play - if my husband can turn anything into a sermon illustration (even if it means I come out looking like a ding-dong) then I can surely use anything as story fodder!
    Still loving these hubby-perspective posts!

  4. My characters have surprised me (and not always in a good way.) I've cried over my own scenes even though they're fiction. I killed off a character that I didn't really know very well. In real life I don't like conflict so it's hard to write a good argument but at the same time fun to see the tension between two characters. Last week i read on Facebook that my friend's dog died and i exclaimed, "Oh no, Jack died." I then had to quickly clarify that i wasn't talking about my brother or fictional character.

  5. I think my husband can relate to your comment of seeing everything as a possible writing topic. He recently told me I should write the biography of a Liberian man who has been staying with us for a few weeks. ;-)

    Although I won't tackle that job, his encouragement helps me continue in the writing world. He's my number one supporter and fan.

    Barb Winters

  6. Hahaha, I will never forget when I went to my first MBT retreat and finally got to encounter others who thought and talked about their imaginary characters as I did mine. I felt wonderfully connected.

    Another fun post, Kirk and Edie. :)

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