#PseudoArguments and #EmoPseudonyms
People ask me where I get my ideas, and sometimes I like to play a game called “Shock the Tourist” and explain all my ideas come from the time my cousins locked me in an abandoned house and read Stephen King novels to me while I screamed. None of that ever happened, of course. Oh, there were plenty of abandoned buildings on the property we all grew up on, and we spent many a day exploring places I would never let my son go near, much less explore. When I read Stephen King, I was in first grade, it was voluntary, and the book was ‘Salem’s Lot, in case you were curious.
One building on the property is still the stuff of my nightmares to this day, and I did write a story about it, and that story was my first pro-rate sale. Other stories are inspired by everyday life. The house across the street that until recently sat vacant and the suppositions I made about why it wasn’t selling. In my mind it was because the house hadn’t picked its owners yet, and I still believe that to this day, however the more logical reason was that the former owners hadn’t cleaned up after their pets and the place smelled horrible, which scared away many potential owners.
And other stories, where do they come from? I’m not sure. All I know is one minute I’m asleep and the next minute James Glass is swishing ice and bourbon in a rocks glass next to the bed, or Xircon is tapping me on the forehead with a pen. I groggily reach for the lamp on the nightstand, then my glasses, notebook and pen, and scribble something onto the pages with a hand that doesn’t even feel like my own hand, in writing that doesn’t even look like my handwriting. Also, I’m not usually left-handed… but Xircon is.
One story woke me up ready to scream, and there sat Jim, lounging beside me and grinning as if to say, “My turn at bat?” When I was done scribbling notes, and after I had gotten my heartbeat under control, I looked next to me and there was no one there. Only a faint whiff of hand-rolled cigarettes from a long-gone era. The same kind of tobacco James Glass smokes.
More often than not these glimpses of my pseudonyms are leftovers of a dreamstate. In the same ways my characters haunt me, so too, do my pseudonyms. While I’m writing, I occasionally ask for input. A sort of “WWJG do?” and it’s helped to smooth out the rough spots, because Jim is suave and literary. If I need more grit, I nudge Xircon. And much the same way people argue with themselves about eating that slice of chocolate cake, I and my pseudonyms argue about passages of a story, or the plot, or the outcome. Creative types get lost in their heads, it’s true. And sometimes we’re lucky to have living breathing people on this side of our skulls to bring us back to earth. And other times, as in my case, it’s a three-way tug-of-war between living, breathing loved ones here in the solid world, story characters, and pseudonyms.
I started writing #PseudoArguments on my Twitter profile as a joke and a wink to other writers who have probably had the same arguments with their characters. You know what I mean, when you sit there and you’re about to write one thing and the main character leans over and says, “What the hell are you doing? I’d never do that.” Next thing you know, you’re arguing with the equivalent of an imaginary friend and if you’re like me, you end it by holding your finger over the delete button and saying, “Are we done? Because so help me, I will turn this train around and we’ll go right back to the station.” It doesn’t always work. Nemesis is a great one for calling that bluff, and I’ve deleted entire novels as a result.
#PseudoArguments is kind of like that argument with characters, except the character is a pseudonym who thinks they can write it better. And, well, yeah… they might be able to because that’s the whole reason they’re there in the first place, isn’t it? So the Twitter posts are a glimpse into some of the arguments I get into with James Glass and Xircon, usually about everyday stupid things like that time I ‘punished’ them by not eating dessert.
Almost as an added bonus, I’ve discovered that showing my human side and my humorous side (I do love to laugh, a lot) has gotten me more than a few readers in the process. I think I need to stop modeling my public image on Goth bands, maybe, but we’ll see what Jim and Xircon have to say about that….
Suzanne Madron was born in New York City and has lived up and down the east coast. Currently she resides on a house built over a Civil War battlefield in the wilds of Pennsylvania where she has been known to host some interesting Halloween parties. She has authored several novels and stories under various names including Suzi M, James Glass, and Xircon.