You don’t want to be friends with a writer

Or maybe you just don’t want to be friends with a writer like me.  Or maybe it’s just me.  You don’t want to be friends with me.

Even before I started down this writing-for-the-public path, it was a bit dangerous to be my friend, because I have two very bad traits that when combined can result in pure agony for my friends.  The first is that I am willing to talk about pretty much anything and somehow make my friends comfortable talking about anything, which means that I often end up knowing their deepest and darkest thoughts or am the one person that they’ve told about THAT.

The second is that I really don’t keep secrets well.  I warn people about this (you have all now been warned) all the time, but it doesn’t stop them from telling me things.  And if I’m talking to someone else who’s struggling, I’ll do the “you know I have a friend who went through something similar and….”  (Part of what makes talking to me helpful is that I share others’ experiences.  I can’t have been there and done all of that myself, you know.)

Of course, I sometimes also share things because they fascinate me.  So don’t ever tell me about your alternative lifestyle choice unless you’re ok with my one day saying, “You know, I have a friend who was poly during her entire first marriage….” and then proceeding to tell the very funny story of how I found that out.  (I had to restrain myself from using some FAR more entertaining examples right there that would really annoy a few folks if they ever stumbled across them.  See?  Sometimes I manage to hold back.  A little.)

So, anyway.  My friends have learned that they’re probably going to tell me things they didn’t mean to reveal and that I’m going to assimilate it and use it.  But now we’re entering a whole new realm of possibility when you add being a writer on top of that.  Because now all of that information is fodder not just for cocktail hour but for short stories or novels.  Good thing is that, at least as far as the writing side is concerned, it’ll go through the creative thought grinder so it’ll no longer be true to life, but it’ll still be there.

And you have to know that other writers are sucking up life experience from all around them, too.  If you have any writer friends you just have to assume that part of their mind is recording every moment for future use.  And it sounds great to be someone’s inspiration, but I’m not so sure.  Getting us back to that whole perception/perspective idea, I suspect most people view us very differently than we see ourselves.  And knowing that you were the inspiration behind a serial killer character in someone’s book can’t be a pleasant feeling.  So, be careful who your friends are.  And if someone tells you they’re a writer – RUN!

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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