There is a skittering in my pulse, its source the mental gnaw that my editor must think me quite odd. She, however, is a professional. If my two-word pitch, “Tammy Unplugged,” for the April blog caused her concern, she said nothing. Beyond my formidable accumulation of verbs and nouns, she knows my heart. And perhaps, after this series, you will as well.
While many writers seek solace in the development of a “persona,” I am of the “runs naked through the sprinkler” set. Few redactions and minimal edits. I am who I am. I have committed myself to paper, and I draw from both the heady ephemera and the toxic abyss of my personality when creating characters. I write “who” I know. If there isn’t some real element of my characters to me, how can I as writer expect my reader to believe any element of my story? This is my method.
Over the next two installments, you will meet the last of my foundational personalities, the bits and pieces of me that make me whole and enable me to draw from them when building characters who will carry a bit of me through the stories I write. I hope you enjoy and are inspired to “unplug” those elemental people running through the sprinkler in your mind.
Week Three: Adulting is Hard
**The Witch: We call her Grendel's Mother when she isn't listening. She was born as an adult in 1995 after I quit the third consecutive nightmare job. Grendel's mom doesn't take any resistance from anyone. She is a perfectionist, demanding everything from fully executed tasks at work to a spotless room at home. She is intolerant, abrasive, quick to fire off a barrage of insults when her standards are not met (which is just about all the time). She has a lead foot in traffic and a short temper at home. She freakin' hates whiners, and she's really not fond of happy people either. In fact, Grendel's mom doesn't "do" people. She'd rather manage numbers and spreadsheets and paper. She makes the rest of us tired. We hate her—but without her we aren't disciplined enough to meet the demands of our current job. She often sneaks into the blog page; a sentence or two here and there, a note of sarcasm... but she is the one who kicks TL's butt when TL threatens to wipe the hard drive. Grendel's mom believes in the law of averages. Eventually, if we push hard enough, success will happen. The Witch believes God helps those who help themselves, so all of us need to put our big girl panties on and MOVE. Her motto is "Do something. Even if it's wrong." Grendel's mom is the dominant personality and has been for most of the year.
**The Banshee - the banshee seethes, under my skin. I have kept her shackled for far too long. She is my release, my falling down, my inevitable humanity. She likes beer cold, but prefers bourbon and tequila. She can and will use the F word in conversation. She is the keeper of every insult, every abuse, every lie I have ever endured at the hands of someone who was supposed to love me. She has absorbed so much darkness, she is a black hole. My primal scream, the banshee is a hater of epic proportions. If I let her go, for one moment, something or someone would be broken. I know this as truth because I have seen her in action. She is incapable of love, only survival at any cost. She is my vengeance, my rage, and she has done damage to my children. The Banshee is fully capable of killing small animals that annoy her, and would derive a certain sick satisfaction from it. If focused, perhaps she could be helpful, but I don't know how to focus her. So I lock her crazy arse up in the back of the head. If she and Lyric ever partnered up, we'd be passed out in a ditch, or dead, and we'd take a people with us along the way. I don't entertain that thought much, because the Banshee thinks writing is a waste of time and paper. She thinks we'd all be better off if we turned it over to Grendel's mother. At least we'd get something accomplished before we die. The Banshee not only knows there is God but she also is adamant about the fact that He hates her. She is unable to separate actions from the person. Since the advent of age-related hormonal symptoms, the banshee is making a chilly resurgence.
TL - Writer. TL has only been with us since October of 2004. While I used to give free rein to many of the people in my head, TL has become the controller of the expressive pen. She is the "novelist"—organized, dedicated, committed to completion. While she draws from the other personalities to develop characters, she endeavors to "write for God" and for others. She pretty much frustrates the crap out of us because no one is allowed to just write for self. The Banshee is banned from any form of free expression and is severely censored. TL, if she had her way, would make us choose between Mara, Grendel's mom, and the Banshee and exorcise the two losers from the brain. Lyric is allowed only to explore light, no darkness—so she isn't writing at all. She tolerates Bo only because he is good fodder for male character sketches, and she keeps hammering me to reconcile with Bug, my inner child. TL is the enforcer and the one who pushes the idea of a publishing company. She is always focused on the "next level, and the next step." While TL is positive, she is also pragmatic. She does not believe Myth has the skill set to illustrate books, and therefore Myth should remain dormant until the kids are grown and there is more time for "hobbies." TL would take acid to the hard drive and start over if she were given permission because the other writers in the brain are self-absorbed babies. Until the summer of 2017, she and Grendel's mom were in a knock down drag out for dominance of the brain.
Next time, we'll discover the final portions of myself.