Yesterday, I had one of those weird moments when I suddenly realized how much my characters are a part of me.
A long time ago, I wrote a story (never published) about a man who had been kidnapped as a child. At one point, he'd been tied up with a piece of green nylon rope. He was soon freed and grew up to be a very normal and successful man, but whenever he saw a piece of green nylon rope, he'd come completely unglued.
When I was writing this story, I became very sensitive to pieces of green nylon rope and couldn't believe how and where they kept turning up in my life. The freakiest was a piece in the back seat of my own car, which literally had me screaming in the garage. (My husband had stuck it there for some dumb reason I can't remember now.)
Well, a lot has happened since I wrote that story, but yesterday, which was the last day of school (YAY!) I was cleaning our room with a colleague, and since I am tall, she asked me to pull down something green she had just noticed on top of a black cabinet (where I have kept my stuff all year, by the way.)
I reached up and pulled down a piece of green nylon rope.
I yelped and dropped it to the floor as though it had bitten me. She freaked out, thinking I thought it was a snake. It took me a moment to get my head together -- no, I had not kidnapped as a child, and I have never been tied up by a piece of green nylon rope -- but for an instant, it really felt like I had. Then I was faced with trying to explain to a non-writer what had just happened. She looked at me as though I had two heads.
I very casually threw away the piece of rope and went back to sorting out our room. But the incident really made me realize how my characters have influenced my life. And that writers have problems no one else does.