Happy New Year

It’s 2013 and I am still on hiatus from writing.  For those of you who are just tuning in, I decided to take a break from writing fiction a year and a half ago to go back to school so I may get a better job to support me and my family, thus enabling me to write again.  So, to all of you who hoped I’d be posting more writing-related stuff on here this year, I’m afraid you must prepare to be disappointed.  I can’t say that I won’t post something here and there, but I don’t see a sudden year-long flurry in my writing-related posts when I don’t have the writing to talk about.

It it helps, you’re not the only ones waiting.

There is a memory device known as the method of loci.  It’s been around since ancient Greek and Roman times, but it still shows up today in pop culture, from Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris to the BBC incarnation of Sherlock.  Method of loci is sometimes called the “palace of the mind”, as it involves the mental construction of a visual environment in which the thinker may store memories by linking them to a physical, even imagined, location.  This is particularly well-described by Harris as Hannibal Lecter’s mental palace is an elaborate, decorated structure in tune with everything we know about the fictional serial killer.

I’m not so talented as Hannibal Lecter with his sprawling mental palace.  I have a mental diner.  It’s where the characters from my stories hang out when they’re not being called to duty in my fiction.

A young man sits at a table by the window.  A tattoo in the shape of a sword hilt is barely visible on his chest above the open top of his white shirt.  A beautiful dark-haired woman clings to his arm, occasionally casting wary glances at the demon sitting at the bar who stares at her with a immovable grin.

A few stools down from the demon, a man in all-black attire types away at a laptop and pointedly ignores the caped figure in the corner booth, giving an interview to several adoring reporters in the corner booth.

An older man sits near the door.  His leathery face matches his worn cowboy boots and he absently rubs his Colt revolver with one hand and the silver cross tied around his neck with the other.  The shot of tequila in front of him is untouched.

Another older man sits in the back of the diner.  Propped up next to him is a large box wrapped in thick chains.  Occasionally, something inside causes the box to rock violently and the man looks upon it with tear-filled eyes.

A young girl sits at a table by another window.  She sings quietly to herself while a dozen or so bees swirl around her head.

Near the door to the kitchen, a wizard sits staring at a picture of his terminally-ill mother as electricity crackles between his fingers.

An elf sits at the end of the bar.  His head rests on the worn, polished wood and he snores too loudly for someone so small.  A half-finished glass of milk rests in front of him next to police badge.

Finally, Santa Claus sits in the middle of the room.  His hands shake as he pops a couple of Xanax and lights a cigarette.  A highball glass and a bottle of Maker’s Mark sit in front of him and he jerks violently in surprise at the smallest noise.

Other characters come and go, but these are the regulars.  They are they stalwarts—the ideas that are strong enough that they just won’t leave my head, even when I know I won’t be able to work on them for some time.  They sit and dine and drink, sometimes watching the news on the television above the bar.  Occasionally, one will take a restroom break or make a phone call to someone on the outside.

And, like you, they wait.

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About Lee Smiley

I write things. Maybe you'll read them.
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