Saturday, December 13, 2008

Goofin' Around

The Thin Man is gearing up to cause all manner of turmoil with his dark matter research and his new theory of space-time. (I've sussed out this much: Einstein was wrong and there are two dimensions of space. This may be his craziest theory yet.) Since I'm sure trouble is a'coming, for now I'm sticking with a light theme. The following is something actually prepared by SHE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED and is intended as a resource for all those who find themselves trapper with an author (based on her own personal experiences).

How do you know if your writer is an insane maniac likely to go off like a grenade at any moment? There are some simple warning signs. (Note: these warning signs taken from actual events, do not replicate at home without trained supervision.)

--72 hours (or more) without sleep
--The ability to survive on a steady diet of only one specific item for long periods of time. For example: rice every meal for a month. (Note: this is often a difficult symptom to identify, see below).
--The ability to survive on a diet of things not traditionally considered as 'food' such as candy, tree leaves, beef jerky, Taco Bell, rubbing alcohol and extreme amounts of soda or alcohol. Author may lapse into a completely liquid diet.
--No longer following what is traditionally considered a meal structure, much less a meal schedule. This period is marked by a phenomena known as 'spiking'. The author will ignore nourishment (often violently if it is forced upon him) until tremors of the hands and face prevent him from pursuing his current obsession. (Note: current obsession may or may not actually be a manuscript, depending on the progress of the condition. In its early stages, the obsession often manifests first in game playing, researching random topics, or learning new curse words in foreign languages before finally reaching the manuscript phase proper.) When the tremor condition occurs, the victim is then suddenly seized with a ravenous and indiscriminate hunger and will eat, sometimes quite literally, anything that does not outrun him until the hunger is sated. This may include the consumption of insects, ancient condiments from the refrigerator, dog food (especially those bacon treats), and scrap pieces of paper laying about. Spiking is usually followed by several other physical symptoms, see below.
--Ritual social ablutions are completely abandoned until action is forced, i.e. the Cheetos orange has built up on both fingers and keyboard until it is no longer possible to type. (Note: in extreme cases, the author has been know to replace the keyboard rather than stop writing.)
--The voiding of physical wastes is halted completely until some other, external event occurs (such as spiking) at which point, well, there had better be a clear path to the restroom.
--The need for physical rest seems to be suspended (see 72 hour rule above). This is actually a temporary illusion and may be followed by complete collapse (especially during the 'sugar crash' which follows spiking) or may result in short periods of unconsciousness. These short term collapses may be marked by a sudden occurrence of a series of the same letter within the manuscript for up to several pages like so: sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
--In addition to the above, there exist a whole host of lesser symptoms that vary considerably from victim to victim such as extreme swearing, breaking down a wall in the household with an eight pound sledgehammer in the interest of 'research', carrying family pets around by their tails, losing every damn thing ever owned just when it's needed, a total disintegration of spelling and grammatical abilities, using the writer's own skin and available wall surfaces as writing materials, an irrational fear of Emma Bull, and the simultaneous description of own work as "unadulterated crap" while insisting "but I'm a damn sight better than so-and-so and his puke on the page."
--The most common and universal symptom of this disorder is extreme irritability. For the duration of the fugue state, the universe consists of the writer and his obsession. Anything that interferes with pursuit of the obsession must be destroyed in the simplest, fastest manner available irrespective of its previous, or subsequent, value. Writers are, therefore, to be avoided at all cost.

Hopefully, this short guide will prevent long term injury while a cure for this malady is sought. Research is underway and donations are accepted (just send them to me). Currently, the best available treatment is a six-book contract with a fat advance and the liberal application of hooch.

1 comment:

Starbuck O'Shea said...

Not like I know ANYone like that. No authors... no assistants. None!