From the Back Nine: What to wear on a flying bear

Due to my current interest in writing poetry, I have not worked on a novel for well over a year.

That’s a colossal change for me, having created ten of them in the recent past.

My headful of characters is getting annoyed with me. Yes, a writer’s characters do feel free with their opinions, especially if you have murdered one somewhere along the way. The remaining dozens let you know their attitudes and can be quite vengeful. For instance, Will the fictional embalmer at a funeral home, knows I spared his life only because my Sis begged for it. He has some creative plans for my own demise when that time comes around. Moral: don’t peeve the person who has final say over how you look.

I guess this is some form of dissociation. You know how you can sometimes drive home (stone cold sober) but have no real memory of the trip until you pull in the driveway? That kind of dissociation. I appear to get through periods of conversations in my own head without letting the house burn down.

If not dissociation, this delight in making up stories is definitely a form of bearing false witness.

I really must reread that Ninth Commandment a time or two.

“Bearing false witness” made my character Bear growl at me. He is a retired curmudgeon crime solver. He’s never been truly happy since his mentor Andy Rooney died, and he had to settle for Bernie Sanders. He is clamoring for another book about the many crime bosses in his younger years.

The lovely Mrs. Monroe is worried I’ll tell what she really did for those three months she disappeared in San Francisco, just before the big fire. She need not worry … I don’t write X- rated books, nor do I know much about arson in the early nineteen hundreds.

Frankly, with ten years of made-up people in my head, I rarely need a real person to talk with.

That’s a truth about writers; we can look quite alarmingly dull just sitting there. And yet, we’re hard at work plotting heists or figuring out how to add details of Alaska prohibition into a tale about frontier teachers. We almost certainly are eavesdropping on your conversation in hopes of dialog to steal.

The old saw is to write what you know. Baloney. You don’t have to be a murderer, a bootlegger, or a pole dancer to write about murder, alcoholism, the arts. But you have to work at it, investigate, interview, be known at historical societies, spend countless evenings online. You can write about places you’ve never seen, actions you’ve never taken, events that will never come around again. Do the research, top it with imagination, and off you go.

Speaking of going, I must be on my way. My fantasy heroine wants something to wear other than T-shirts with bad slogans. What do you think a spirit should wear while riding her flying bear through the Pacific Northwest forest?

It’s always something.

Linda B. Myers is the author of 10 novels, including “Starting Over Far Away,” available at Port Book and News, Pacific Mist, and Amazon. You can reach her at