the peril(s) of being a writer, part 1

so, apologies, friends, for this empty, sad blog for the last couple weeks. see, i’ve been dealing with a family emergency, and simply have not had time to sit down and get something out for you.

anyway! i do have an embarrassing story to share, though. because, embarrassing stories are always best shared as to head off any inadvertant reveals that will cause even worse humiliation, right?

i had to fly up to oregon last week so i could be with my family while my father went into heart surgery. it was scheduled for early morning, which meant he had to go into prep even earlier. so there i was, in his hospital room, groggy from being up since 4am, when somebody comes in with one of those rolling beds to take him down to get prepped–and, i kid you not, friends, but i did a double take and then a triple as i took this guy in.

okay, yes. he was ridiculously good looking. dark hair, bright blue eyes. tan. shaggy hair. but the point here is that he was the exact doppelgänger of the twins from my upcoming book a matter of fate. i kid you not. it was like jonah whitecomb (or kellan whitecomb, depending on the situation, i suppose) had literally stepped out of my head right into my dad’s hospital room.

writers are funny creatures. our characters are very real to us. we know their quirks, their histories, and exactly what they look like. they’re our friends (or enemies, i suppose, depending on the situation) and as insane as it sounds, we know them. sometimes we look to celebrities to pick out facimilies of our characters. go to any author blog (at least in YA) and you’ll most likely see a wish list of actors who represent characters. on youtube there are buckets of videos that show-off dream casts. there’s even a great website that does a wishful casting call for books read. but sometimes it’s difficult to find people who really look like the one that’s roving around your imagination. jonah and kellan whitecomb have been notoriously difficult for me to find proper representation for. i’ve found bits and pieces of these identical twins in various actors, but none really seemed to match who i saw while writing.

until, of course, he was in my dad’s hospital room.

it was pretty embarrassing, peeps. i stared. like hard. i kind of didn’t know what to say. so i just managed to stare and wonder how it was possible that this guy who i thought only existed in my head and on paper was real. but then he wheeled my dad out, and i thought things were done, or that i’d possibly imagined it. until my mother said, “that guy was ridiculously good looking.”

since it was my mom, i told her what i just told you.

“you should ask him for a picture for your character file,” she said as we headed to the cafeteria.

“GOD, NO, MOM! why would i do that?” i mean, honestly. who does that, other than stalkers and insane folk?

then, as luck would have it, this guy was in the cafeteria, too. much to my horror, my mother instantly approached him. i, on the other hand, went to the other side of the cafeteria to look at food possibilities and to feel instantly like a teenager again. which was humiliating in itself, because i am at a distance from my teens–but isn’t that an amazing trick by parents, especially mothers? how they manage to take all of your years of maturity and whittle them away within mere seconds?

sure enough, my mother called out, “heather, come over here! i told him about your book! you can take his picture! he’s a model!”

GOOD GOD. now i was officially the humiliated teenager. i slunk over to where they were standing, her grinning like the cheshire cat, him looking pleasant but befuddled.

i should note i was wearing a bright red coat, and my cheeks matched it perfectly.

“you have a book and i’m in it?” he asked kindly. my mother took off at this point, coward.

“yes, a book. no–not you, i mean, there’s this guy, i mean these twins…” i was rambling and fully aware of it. and i think it was less because he was pretty much my characters physically but more because my mother had just sold me down the river in spectacular fashion. or so i’d like to think. i ended with a pathetic, “you look like them.”

i restrained myself from telling him he’s pretty much the carbon copy i’ve been seeing for two years now.

“being a twin would be cool,” he offered. again, kindly, i believe.

“yes, well,” i said, because somehow i managed to start all of my sentences around him with yes, which made me sound like the worst hack of a writer possible. and then after the minimal uncomfortable chit-chat, a picture was taken (because how does one gracefully say, “just kidding about the picture” after some woman came up and demanded that her daughter want one, whether or not it was the case?), and then i met back up with my mother to say, once more, “GOD, MOM.”

she cackled.

ah, embarrassment. but my mom was right. i at least do have a photo for my character profiles.

5 Comments on “the peril(s) of being a writer, part 1”

  1. heather

    @hostile17 – ha! that makes sense, no? i will try to add it soon. 🙂

    @pupplylove & @keiko – thanks! she is a character, that is for sure.

    @James – oh, i’m sure they can be. 😉

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