A few days ago, I wrote about my characters and how they nag me. How they show up at odd times during the day, lean over my shoulder while I write, and insist I make changes or say, "you got that spot on, Sugah" ... anyway, it drew some attention. I received a few emails from other writers who experience the same thing.
I bet you think we're all a little crazy, huh?
You have to be a little crazy to be a writer. Especially a Southern writer. Not everybody who reads your work likes it, but it's fascinating reading nonetheless. Southern writers can go beyond the boundaries of Dixie, but they still have that deep, rich, prose or that plot that demands attention to the end and beyond.
Rummaging though stacks of old books in Reed's Bookstore in Birmingham, I stumbled upon an old trade paperback, GHOSTS WITH SOUTHERN ACCENTS AND EVIDENCE OF EXTRA SENSORY PERCEPTION. A book of short stories and experiences compiled by Flo Hampton Scott and published by Southern University Press in 1969. Stories like "Be Proud You Got A Body," "The Sheep-killer Ghost," "Many Folks Met The Ghosts of Evergreen," and "Mr. Tweeter And The Mean Haint." If you can find this book, buy it. It's a fun read this time of year. And, for me, an account of what Southerners believe and choose to pass on.
My point is ... Southerners believe in things beyond the limits of their five senses. First of all, we're all taught about faith from the time we start Sunday school classes. Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. From the Bible, we learn all kinds of stories and scriptures that support a world beyond what we know. We believe in the spiritual. We've seen evidence of angels and demons in many revival tents and tabernacles. Real or contrived, it makes no difference. "Southerners own their haints," or so my grandma used to say.
So as a writer, for my antagonist to talk to me in the middle of the night, I'm not alarmed at all. If I'm awake, I may go to the office and rewrite a little, but sometimes I just roll over and tell him "this can wait 'til mornin', get on out of here. Let me sleep a little, I'll talk to ya later." He generally leaves me alone. Until morning.
Are there such things as ghosts? I'm reading Jodi Picoult's SECOND GLANCE. It's a facinating story on a tribe of Indians in Vermont in which their burial grounds are being threatened by a land developer. I would think there's a good amount of truth in this novel. I've heard thousands of stories over my lifetime that are supposedly true. My own mama has had experiences that if it would've been anybody else, I never could believe it.
Writers are sensitive to words heard, whether they be audible or of the mind. It doesn't matter. We're recording all the time. And what I believe makes no difference. It's how I use my beliefs to make you believe that interests me. Ahh, the power of the writer ... no wonder we're visited often.
Blessings to you and yours.