I hate to admit it, but I did some crazy things when I was writing. Here are my two biggies:
Crazy thing #1:
I HAD AN AFFAIR WITH A BOTTLE OF IRISH MIST.
Affair is probably an overstatement. Let's just say I had occasional...liaisons with it. Now, I know that sounds horrible, but just hear me out. While reading about writing, I came across a comment that writers tend to imbibe a bit more than a normal person. I thought this was asinine...until I had my first bout with writer's block. I'd sit at the screen and stare. For hours. Night after night. I could almost see the little birdies flying around my empty head. After almost a week of this, I thought my writing days were over. I went into mourning. My book was dead. Having nothing to lose, I broke open the bottle of Irish Mist my family bought me for Christmas. An hour and one modest snifter later, my computer keyboard was on fire! I couldn't move my fingers fast enough to keep up with the thoughts that were flying through my head. Every now and then I'd come up with something fantastic and yell out loud BETTE, YOU ARE A FREAKING GENIUS! It was pitiful, but, I was writing. My daughter, once again, thought I was crazy. Eventually, the liaisons subsided. Of course, it was probably my frugality that eventually brought it to an end. After all, Irish Mist wasn't cheap...and I was.
Crazy thing #2:
I BECAME A STALKER.
Now, don't get me wrong. I didn't go around following a certain person, per se, but I did do a bit of research on the computer. Since my inspiration for THE TIP TOP CAFE' was a certain man whom I hadn't heard from in over thirty years, and since I wanted to get some specific details about our relationship correct, like the make and model of his chocolate brown pickup and the color of his eyes (I really don't know why I felt that way--I was writing FICTION, after all), I tried finding him online. I began my search at the last place I knew he lived--a certain small town in California. I typed his name in on whitepages.com, and within a second, his name and address appeared on the screen. Holy crap! He still lived there! My heart went into overdrive. I thought seriously about going out to buy another bottle of Irish Mist, but I didn't. Instead, I did a people search on Yahoo to come up with the names of relatives living with him. Then I went on google maps streetview, and started going up his road, thinking, I'm gonna see his pickup. Right. He had that pickup back in 1976. There was no way he would still have it. Still, after a couple of weeks, I was desperate to find out the make and model of that pickup and the color of his eyes. It was driving me crazy that I couldn't remember. I had to know. So, I did the craziest thing of all. I contacted his son on facebook. I reasoned in my head that with his son being in education, like me, and if I explained to him that I was writing a book, he would understand my boldness in contacting him. So, I did it. He couldn't have been nicer or more cooperative. He answered those questions (Ford F-150 and brown eyes, BTW), plus the one question I always wondered about: Why did he stay out there? I found out the old man he worked for on the ranch became ill, and he couldn't bring himself to leave. Eventually, he married and had two kids.
Long story short, the son and I are still friends on facebook, even after two years. He eventually told his father about THE TIP TOP CAFE', and even sent me a pic of a receipt from the cafe' his dad had kept all these years. I can't help but think that he kept that because of me.
Hmmm....I think it's time for a little Irish Mist...