Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Hate to Confess, but . . . by Jane Myers Perrine

I’ve always considered myself to be flexible, a person open to new opportunities, unafraid of change. Imagine my surprise to discover this isn’t true.

The first hint of this was when I discovered it was impossible for me to read the LIFE section of the newspaper “out of order”: the advice column first, then the comics on the right page before those on the left. As soon as I recognized this, I tried to read the funnies on the left side first. I felt incredibly uncomfortable.

Oh, I could have done that, but it didn’t feel right. Why put oneself under stress when reading the comics?

The second was when I realized I couldn’t fall asleep if I lay on the “passenger” side of the bed. The last strike was yesterday as I wrapped a package to mail. I used one of those envelopes that has a handy tab to tear open. However, I never trust the postal service, an unfounded lack of trust I know, but I’m certain anything I send will burst open and the contents will litter the conveyor belt. For that reason, I use several feet—sometimes yards--of tape to make sure that won’t happen. Sadly, it makes the package difficult for the recipient to open. This time, I even taped over that handy little tab. I’m not even going into my problem with sliced bread.

For all these reasons, I have to admit, I’m not adaptable in certain situations, more of them than I like to confess.

What about you? Do you have ways you have to do things? Won’t you share them with us? Does this bother you or those you live with? Can you laugh at yourself about these?

What I’ve learned as a writer is that these odd traits make our characters more interesting in novels. Perhaps—to take the heat off yourself—you might want to mention a character in a novel or movie that had an unforgettable compulsion.

It will make me feel much better.


Loretta C. Rogers said...

Jane, you and I must have been separated at birth. I couldn't stop laughing as I read your post. Truly, I suffer from the same "tape the envelope shut" as you. I'm in a rut, and "help" I can't get out. I'm the female counterpart to Monk. Yikes!
Excellent article--one that I'm sure many of us can relate to.

Linda Warren said...

I'm laughing, too. I do the same thing taping the envelope closed until I'm sure it almost takes a bomb to get it open. LOL

I have to sleep on the right side of the bed, always.

I'm a neat freak, too. LOL. But you wouldn't know that by the looks of my office. But I know where everything is. I think.
Great post.

Vicky said...

LOL. I have to admit Linda Warren's post really made me chuckle "...I know where everything is - I think." I so relate. As to characters, the hero in the book I recently sold is a type A personality. A couple of my colleagues are type As and they tend to be so full of energy, they show it physically. So my type A hero is forever tapping his thumb or the toe of his boot. :-)

monika_schulze said...

"Just get 'er done!" is a foreign concept for me. Everything must be done in order! How in the world do people vacuum before dusting? I mean, the dust falls to the floor, People! And why dust the window sills when the windows haven't been cleaned in weeks? The windows must be cleaned first so when you clean the windowsills, you'll catch the dust and bits of paper towels. Isn't this obvious and logical as heck?
Needless to say, I have to start a book at the beginning and write all the way to the end. And if I revise something? Yes, I must change the whole book before I can move on.
The envelope? I'm sure it'll be fine!
Fun post, Jane!

Anonymous said...

I don't have any characters with quirks like this, but, believe me, I have them and they drive my husband a little nuts. Maybe I'll have to have a chracter have them and drive the other protagonist nuts, too.

Jane Myers Perrine said...

Loretta and Linda--thanks for your comments. Back when we used to be able to use string on packages, I not only wrapped string around the box, I tied knots where the strings intersected. Thank goodness we can't do that anymore. And I'm so glad to know I'm not alone!

Jane Myers Perrine said...

Vicky--great to see you! What great physical cues for your hero's personality. To all--Vicky just signed a 3-book historical contract (Vick--help me--with St. Martin's? Avon?--everyone's dream story with it going to auction.

Jane Myers Perrine said...

Monika--thanks for stoppping by! I've never imagined which comes first--dusting or vacuuming. I'm just surprised if I do either--obviously, we are all compulsive in our own ways.

Jane Myers Perrine said...

Laurie Alice--good to see you, also. I always tell my husband my quirks just make me more adorable. He does NOT agree with this! You're right--this would be fun to use in a book.

Kerrelyn Sparks said...

Great blog, Jane! I confess to being another of the "extra tape on the envelope" ladies. Here's a weird one--For some reason, I have to step onto an escalator with my right foot and hold on with my right hand (even though I'm left-handed). If I don't, it feels all wrong, like I'm going to somehow fall off the escalator.


Jane Myers Perrine said...

Kerrelyn--you just had to bring up the escalator! Now I'm going to be wondering about this every time I get on one! I do believe--although also left handed--I get on right foot first. Another example of compulsive behavior I wasn't aware of.

Elisabeth Rose said...

Good heavens!! I'm surrounded by maniacs. LOL

Jane Myers Perrine said...

Elisabeth--we do seem to be a little nuts, dont' we? Do you mean to say you don't have any of odd compulsions?

Elisabeth Rose said...

Not that I know about. I certainly don't have any worries about vacuuming then dusting LOL -- I think it's a good day if any housework gets done.