Friday, November 21, 2008

Why I’m glad I threw my back out… kinda...

So, this week I’m at Starbucks, my favorite writing haunt, working out a particularly sticky plot situation for the book I’m working on. And it’s not happening. No matter how I try to look at the situation (or how many lattes I down), it’s not working for me. It’s like the solution is on the tip of my brain, but just out of reach. I decide I need some inspiration. Shopping break.

I pack up the laptop and jump in the car, pointing it toward the mall. Only, as I race down the freeway (at perfectly legal speeds, if any CHP are reading this…) it happens. That amazing moment where suddenly the fog lifts, everything is clear, and the characters start chattering in your brain. (Yes, I realize this sounds a little crazy, but bear with me…) It’s as if I can see a movie playing in my head, only the scenes aren’t in order, they’re all over the place. As I bounce from scene to scene, snippets of dialogue are thrown out, plot points magically appear, the entire book is almost all laid out before me in a sequence of pictures. It is the single coolest thing in the entire world.

Only I’m speeding down the freeway and can’t do anything about it.

So, I pull off at the next exit, screech into the parking lot, cutting off a perfectly lovely woman as I steal her parking place (Sorry, lady, but this is an emergency! My characters are talking!) and pull out my laptop. I’ve got minimal charge left. But I’m so using it. I slide my seat back as far as it will go, scrunch my laptop up against the steering wheel and start typing, getting down as much of the movie in my head as I can before it fades away.

Twenty pages and half an hour later, I am on a high that I’ve only seen chocolate martini’s rival. The plot works, the dialogue rocks, the characters are suddenly clear as day. I love it when books write themselves. In celebration I decide I will get out of the car and go buy something pretty at the store whose parking lot I’ve jut crashed. I set my laptop down, open the door, unfold myself from the front seat…

…and cry out in pain.

Shoving my body into the twisted, cramped space, I’ve totally thrown my back out. Change of plans, no shopping. I can hardly move, let alone walk into a store. Instead, I use a sweater to prop behind my back and carefully drive myself home without moving my upper torso. Then collapse spread eagle on my bed. And call the chiropractor.

That was three days ago. I’m just now able to sit at my desk again. But, despite the pain pills, chiropractor bills, and countless hours laying flat on my back counting ceiling tiles… it was totally worth it. I love this new book!


~Trigger Happy Halliday

16 comments:

Lucy said...

Sorry about the back but happy for you that it was for a good cause.

Keri Ford said...

Ouch! At least you had something to look forward to getting off your back. Rest up, don't make yourself get up until your body's ready

Gemma Halliday said...

Thanks ladies! I'm doing a bit better each day. And, yes, totally looking forward to getting back to that manuscript!

~Gemma

Tori Lennox said...

Ouch! *gentle hugs* on the thrown-out back. But awesome on the story writing itself!!!

And having characters chattering away in your head sounds perfectly normal to me. *g*

Virginia said...

It must be that time of the year because I threw my back out a couple of weeks ago. The only good I got out of it was I got to spend a few days on the coach reading. Oh and I had a few trip to the Chiropractor myself.

terrio said...

I haven't been to the chiropractor in years, but I remember how wonderful I felt when I did go. Did you at least get some of those good muscle relaxers? Who'd a thunk you could get a back injury from writing?!

Glad to hear your on the mend and the characters are cooperating. It's so lovely when they play along instead of against us. LOL!

Christie Craig said...

Gemma,

You are so right, those break throughs are worth a pain in the back. But I hope you feel better really soon!

CC

MsHellion said...

I'm sorry about the back, but happy about the book! (And you should totally start doing yoga!)

Estella said...

Glad your back is getting better!

Michele L. said...

Ooo...Gemma, I feel so sorry for you! I know how a back pain can hurt! I have done the same thing.

I wanted to let you know that I just read your last book, MAYHEM IN HIGH HEELS. It is fantastic! I sent you an e-mail about the book.

Congratulations on getting those 20 pages wrote so fast! Wow! Don't you love it when that happens!

Gemma Halliday said...

Ouch, Virginia! Hope you're feeling better!!

Gemma Halliday said...

Michele - Oh, yay!! So glad you enjoyed, MAYHEM! I'm really looking forward to the release - sort of Maddie's swan song. :)

catslady said...

Hope you're up and about soon!!

Wendy Roberts said...

Ouch!! Next time pack some Advil and pop a couple before twisting yourself behind the wheel ;)

Angie Fox said...

I love it! Spoken like a true writer. And is it bad that I'm wishing for the same thing, bad back and all? Because you're right - it is worth it. :)

Now go take care of yourself.

Kathy Bacus said...

The things writers will do to get the written word on the page...hugs on the back boo boo, Gemma.

Although I've never experienced back pain and have never been to a chiropractor in my life, my mum gave in and went to one several weeks back and is very happy with the results.

Speaking of when inspiration strikes, I once plowed into the corner of my deck while mowing with my brother's John Deere lawn tractor & crinkled the hood when I tried to jot down ideas on the ever present notepad that rode with me.
Not my best moment...

Feel better soon!!!!

~Bullet Hole~