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."


Jeanna said…
i love your perspectives!! Funny how opposites attract and attack...I'm an Interior Designer/Writer and I married a civil engineer. He does keep me grounded and I keep him humble with my imagination! Ha ! Jeanna
Yes, I almost put that title as "Why A Writer Should(n't) Marry an Aerospace Engineer," but thought that might be a little too postmodern. It's also hilarious, because in our house we have two huge white boards. His is covered in all kinds of esoteric symbols, and mine is covered in plot points and admonitions for my novel. We used to try to share one, and that became impossible, which is why we got the second one. And now that we both primarily work at home, well, let's just say things get interesting . . .
Joy said…
That is a wonderful piece of writing. It takes a truly special gift to be able to appreciate the artistry in the mundane. And I have to agree with you...that was some weird mojo...definitely inspirational for future (or current) use!
See! I thought it was weird mojo! But you and I will be the only ones who believe it. ;)
Joy said…
When things like that happen to me or I get a fantastic impression about something that I KNOW will fit into a story somewhere, I jot it all down and eventually all my snippets frind a home in a story. :-D

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