Sometimes I feel like two different people as I maneuver through life. One is the human person who laughs and cries, who loves and hurts. I’ve been this person a lot lately. We’ve been in crisis at my house. My tiny, six-week-old nephew had open heart surgery. My best friend moved from the house next door. My own house is for sale—with few showings. And I want desperately to move to the city where my kids attend school and do all their activities.
And in the midst of all this humanness—in the midst of all the crisis and emotion—I find another person popping up. The writer person. The writer person is a fascinating creature. In the midst of one recent crisis, I found the writer in me analyzing my reactions, applying them to a character in one of my stories. This is how ____ would feel; this is how she would react. The writer in me noted emotions, physical movements and manifestations, even listened to the words coming out of my own mouth. It’s a strange feeling, that—to be in a situation and yet be detached from it. But as students of human nature, writers have that tendency.
I found myself last week noting how it felt to be in a hospital, watching doctors, nurses, other patients and their families. Tonight, I found myself staring at the empty house next door, reliving the years of next-door-neighboring as well as exploring the pain of separation. I don’t do it to be masochistic. In fact, when the writer person in me takes over, there is little pain.
It isn’t conjured up, this writer person in me. I don’t have to stop and say to myself “Hey, I should take note of this.” It just happens. The writer person wrests itself away from the wrung out, emotional me, takes over of its own volition. After all, the student of human nature never stops learning—even from itself.