A wise man once told me that the key to having a good life was stepping back and taking the mile high view. When you’re in the midst of an experience—any experience—you are too close to have a productive perspective. This gentleman, a professor at a major university who happens to have a moderate case of Tourette Syndrome, said that putting distance between himself and problems enabled him to be calm in the middle of a storm. Colleagues often found him infuriating, but they also relied on him to fix problems and rise above the fray. His attitude tempered his symptoms and, more to the point, lessened the impact that TS has on his day-to-day life.
His ‘mile high’ perspective advice came in an email exchange a couple of years ago about New Year’s resolutions and the kind of year-end summaries that crop every December. For me, the last couple or years were roller coasters. Really good and really bad, mixed in a stew that is hard to step back from.
Writing mystery fiction means putting my characters in extraordinary circumstances. I have to dance back-and-forth between the omniscient ‘mile high’ perspective and the too-close-for-comfort internal experiences of the characters. I put them under duress and then climb inside their skin. It can be exhausting. My friend the professor has a Zen point-of-view, but he’s a teacher NOT a mystery writer so I anticipate another roller coaster in 2016 on and off the page!
This is the last Monster Meditation of 2015.