A Writer's Brain Never Sleeps

One of the most frequent discussions I have with my students when I assign a creative writing piece is “I don’t know what to write”. As someone who lives immersed in the literary world, that’s always a bit hard for me to comprehend. My problem is usually the opposite–which story should get to fall out of the jumble in my brain and land on paper? There are so many different kinds of intelligence in this world, and what I find fascinating is how the brain operates for each. My husband, for example, is mechanically inclined. When he can’t sleep, it’s because his brain is busy telling him 18,489 different configurations he should try with one of our vehicles. Me, on the other hand, well…a writer’s brain never sleeps. Need proof?

Yesterday, as I was teaching Act Two of Julius Caesar to my sophomores, we were talking about anachronisms. An anachronism occurs when something is included in a work that’s not chronologically appropriate to the time period (such as when the characters direct us to pay attention to the chiming of the clock, a thing that simply didn’t exist in that way in ancient Rome).

To help give my students examples of this in modern times, we talked about two examples of anachronisms I’ve seen in various Western movies. In one case, a costumer (or actor) forgot to remove a very modern-day watch. Anachronism! In another, an extra, set designer, or some other such person was captured in the background of the movie on a–gasp!–cell phone.

After that conversation happened five times, it was pretty ingrained in my brain.

Then, right before bed, I settled down with my Kindle to play a few rounds of various puzzle games. I really believe in keeping your brain active, and while I don’t really enjoy the social aspect of most games, I do enjoy solving the puzzles. Usually. When they aren’t impossible. Candy Crush, I want a divorce.

But I digress.

No, last night before bed, I played my requisite five lives of Bubble Witch Saga 3,  a matching game from King (https://king.com/game/bubblewitch3). The level that just insisted on frustrating me was a “free the ghost” level, where you shoot the bubbles so the ghost can rise up the screen.

Bear with me here. Some of you are confused and don’t see a story. I didn’t either, that is, until about 2 AM, when my mind dreamed up this concoction:

I found myself walking through the streets of Tombstone, complete with the dress with the big poofy skirt and delicately swaying white silk handbag on a wrist. We were moving into the sheriff’s house, it seemed, and it was the day of our arrival. But, things in Tombstone weren’t all that they seemed.

The sky shifted and turned dark. We ran–cowboys, marshals, citizens all–to the end of the dirt-paved street to find a body sprawled in the swirling dust. A light descended from the heavens, and the sheriff that had been killed was hovering over the dead body, tugging and pulling on the soul that refused to leave the body behind.

He looked up at us, this blue-and-white apparition, and I realized his problem was that he was essentially a head and torso with no arms or legs. He told us we needed to go back to his house and free him so he could properly finish his job and then rise up to the heavens.

We faithfully trouped back across town, where Morgan and Louisa Earp were just coming down the steps of the house, which was pulsating with–wait. Were those electric Christmas ornament lights (bubble style)? ANACHRONISM, my brain screamed!

A little girl ran forward and touched one out of curiosity, and just like on the game, it popped, releasing a little yellow fairy who settled on her cheek and set off a flood of giggles.

The sheriff was hovering over the house now, a smile on his face, thanking the Earps for coming to town and setting things aright…and then my alarm went off.

Who knows what would have happened next? I guess I’ll have to go back to sleep and figure it out.  What do you dream of?



Don’t Ask Me to Leave is available for preorder now at Amazon.com! Follow this link or search “Micki Clark” on Amazon.

Newlywed Rachel Miller has everything she could want from life—the perfect husband, her dream job, and a cute little house in the country—but the daydream is shattered when her husband is killed in a tragic accident. Her mother-in-law, Nadine, takes her in as she tries to pick up the pieces, and their handsome neighbor Beau is willing to help…if Rachel will let him. Does she dare open her heart for a second chance at love?

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