Bridgng the Worlds

I can’t speak for writers of other genres — or even for other fantasy writers — but sometimes I truly understand what it’s like to walk between the worlds.  I live in so many of them, especially when I’m writing.  (And I’m always writing.)

There is the world of home:  housework to avoid, laundry to do, hobbies, etc.

There is the public world: writing groups, shopping, errands to run — anything that requires that I put on a bra and something other than baggy sweat pants.

There is the world of work.  I’m a nurse at a jail and my job requires a completely different mindset than the “outside.”  More security conscious, disciplined, alert, focused, deadlines/time frames, dealing with people, setting and enforcing boundaries and rules.

And then there are the worlds of whatever I am writing.  Those worlds become as real and vivid to me as my apartment and the jail and the road between the two.  (And I have been known to have three of them sharing space in my head at any given time.)

I have a long drive:  roughly an hour each way, most of it on a four lane highway.   This could be considered lost time, but it isn’t:  I use it for writing.

My journey begins and ends with bridges.  I cross the Allegheny River as I start off on my way to work: shortly thereafter I am on a four-lane highway, and except for a construction zone (or two or three or four – this is Pennsylvania and it is summer…) my drive becomes fairly mindless and home reality drifts away and novel reality takes over.

Until I cross the Allegheny River again and have to bring myself back to the reality of the city and of work.

I do a lot of “writing” while driving:
planning novels
working out plot issues
talking to my characters
working through scenes that play out in my head like a movie superimposed on the reality of the road

But even with the bridges as boundaries it can be hard to switch from one reality – one frame of mind – to another.  The world of work is the hardest one for me to break free of.  It is stressful and frustrating and draining, and a large part of my drive home is spent trying to wind down, to step out of that world and into the one of home.

Writing helps form a bridge between the two.  It’s hard to get out of the jail mentality and the worlds of my novels help.  I can’t stay in them as well on the way home as I do on the way to work – work is more intrusive than home – but they do help me switch gears.

Writing is not just my passion, it is also my escape from jail.

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