The Stepford Village Voice, April 19, 2010
Houston, we have a body. Or should I say, Miami, we have a body?
Yes, here in Stucco Stepfordville, a corpse has just washed up on the banks of my consciousness. All I know about this body is that it’s wearing electric-blue snakeskin gladiator sandals. And that its timing is completely inappropriate, because I’m doggedly working on a different project. A contracted manuscript with a fast-approaching due-date.
Which is, of course, why the body has appeared to intrigue me—because my inner child does not like to be on deadline. It chooses to play (often in traffic) when I’m on deadline. At issue is that whole doing-what-you’re-supposed-to-be-doing thing. By the way, aren’t you supposed to be doing something other than reading this blog? Huh?
So here I am, trying to ignore the dead body which is rising up at the edge of my mind to scream “Boo!” and get some attention. But it won’t go away. So I give it a great pair of shoes and five pages of stage time, during which two live characters join it. Then I tell all of them—the body and the other two–to come back when I have time to mess with them.
But creative types, suggests my bastard of an inner child, are not supposed to be disciplined or focused. We are supposed to be pill-popping, sex-crazed, blind-drunk manic-depressives with muses that lead us around by rings through our noses. Just ask anybody. Anybody who is NOT a contracted working writer or a regularly producing artist, that is.
They’ll tell you all about the stereotypes. And I’ll tell you that they aren’t true. Most of the authors I know, the ones who make a living from their work (or at least enough to pay their web designers and PR people) are extremely reliable. They try to produce pages on some kind of schedule whether it’s by daily page quota, like me, or by daily chapter or by writing as much as possible within a 2 or 4 or 8 hour time frame.
And yet . . . my muse and my inner child have tossed this dead body into my path and I can’t sweep it under the rug. Or roll it up in the rug and set fire to it. Or carry it out to the nearest Dumpster. Why? What am I supposed to do with the darn thing? Especially since I missed the talk at Mystery Writers by the guy from the morgue because I was giving a workshop myself on the same day.
“Go away,” I tell the corpse. “You don’t belong here in Stepfordville in the middle of my sexy romantic comedy. You are certainly not sexy, and you’re not in the least romantic. Comic? No, not that either—unless I give you a funny context and a plot.”
Oh, no . . . you’ve gotta be kidding me . . . remember those voices in my head that I told you about? The ones that are normal for a writer to entertain? Well, one of them now belongs to a dead body. It’s talking back to me. It’s telling me that I have to solve its murder. But it’s not giving me any clues.
Would you like to give me some? Please? Just contact me here, where I remain all yours,
KK the Stepford Village Voice