Suspicious Person in Small-Town Texas: Or Why A Writer Shouldn't Marry An Aerospace Engineer
I've always joked with my friends that Mark and I are a lot like the couple on Medium. He's the algorithm-wielding logical thinker, and I'm that strange person with the sixth sense. While I've never actually seen a ghost, I do get "intuitions," and while my book isn't horror per se, there are some downright creepy things in it. Tonight, after working on it for a while, I needed to go for a walk to clear my head. Since it was dark, I decided to stick to the blocks closest to mine, and be careful to avoid my neighbors' barking dogs.
A block or so from my house, I was standing at a crossroads, trying to decide whether to go on. Just when I decided to, all the streetlights on that block went out, then all the lights in the houses on the block, then the floodlights in a neighboring yard. Being me and not Mark, my immediate thought was "There's some weird mojo on this street." But because I was intrigued, I decided to keep on walking. I know, I know. I won't do it again. Especially not after what happened next.
I continued down the dark, leafy street and saw a strange, red light spilling out from inside a barn-shaped shed. Definitely weird mojo. As I walked on, staring at it, a dog began barking, and a car turned on its headlights and started up behind me. Now thoroughly creeped out, I turned and started running in the other direction. Just as I was passing the house with the red light, a white shape came slowly out on to the porch. It could have been a woman nine months pregnant, but I was not about to stay around and find out. I started running, bad back and all, and, looking over my shoulder, saw someone with a flashlight chasing. I ran the rest of the way home, noticing that as soon as I turned the corner, all the lights came back on. I came inside, breathless, and told Mark about this "bad mojo," and his reaction was "so?"
Me: But what are the odds of all of those lights going off at the same time??
Him: They're on a timer.
Me: And the ones in the yard outside the house???
Him: They have a motion sensor.
Me: All five houses at once? And what about the red light? You have to admit there is something really weird about that red light.
Him: It's unusual. But there's nothing illegal about having a red light.
Me: No, but it's really freaky!
"Freaky" was apparently my word of the evening. I don't think I convinced him, but it did remind me of some advice given to me by one of my professors at UH: to embrace the mixed genre of my novel, and to tune into the eeriness of everyday events. Maybe I took that advice too far, but that's the way our writing affects us, isn't it? It doesn't stay on paper. Living with a novel world changes the way we live and think in the real world, and vice versa.
And in the town newspaper tomorrow, you can bet there will be a new line on the police beat: "Suspicious person reported. Be wary."