Thursday, March 25, 2010

Guest Blogger - Lisa Campbell

Schizophrenia and the Writer
What's that pervert doing behind the tree?

By Lisa Campbell

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.

Superstition's Desire:
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.

Bio: Lisa M. Campbell
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.


bevp said...

Loved your post, Lisa. Scary but true. I find myself watching people a lot, then rushing to jot down my observations. My family thinks I'm daydreaming...

Kelly Boyce said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lisa! It was great having you. I'm always being told by my significant other if I get too quiet that 'You're up in my head again'. Like that's a bad thing...?

Lisa M. Campbell said...

Hi bevp,

Thanks so much! Well, if you ask me, I think you have to be a bit of a daydreamer to write, that's half the fun. :)

Hi Kelly,

Thanks for hosting me. :D

Sometimes, I find being in your own head the more interesting prospect---especially with all the interesting characters roaming around up there! lol

Michelle Helliwell said...

Great post! There are times when I'm kissing my husband now I'm thinking...okay, what does this feel like? How would I describe this?? Is that schizophrenia or having an out of body experience??? Who'da thunk it.

Julia Smith said...

Hi Lisa - and I will readily admit that if it wasn't for writing, I'd be worried about the voices in my head. That's why my monthly writers' meetings are such a joy. Everyone there knows what I mean when I talk about the madness.

Lisa M. Campbell said...

Hi Michelle,

Well, I'd have to say it depends on how well your husband does the kissing! lol :D

Hi Julia,

My monthly group is an eclectic mix of authors. We have mystery, erotica, inspirational, chicklit, mainstream you name it--and when we start fleshing out our characters it gets rowdy with opinions! ;)

Lilly Cain said...

I saw a great t-shirt for writers recently - it stated "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel." :)

I think it's only fair warning. Perhaps the RWA should send us all one as part of our members package. :)


Lisa M. Campbell said...

I love it Lilly---I say we start a petition right now!!