Friday, July 28, 2006


Last night friend and I had a discussion - which superpower would you most like to have? She said 'the ability to know what others are thinking' and I said invisibility. Imagine being able to creep around unseen and watch other people's habits. It would be terrible but fascinating. She suggested they're really the same thing, and she might be about right. We're constantly trying to gauge people's thoughts by observing their actions. By reading them.

The Superpower of Knowing Others.

And thinking on it, this is the superpower you are aiming for when you're trying to write. Watching your characters, trying to gauge what's going through their head. Second guessing. Worst-Case-Scenario envisaging. Exaggerating. Extrapolating. Fighting the forces of Ambiguity and the Seven Demons of Cliche. We spend a lot of time in other people's heads.

Now, is this why we're all so damn paranoid? I think writers need an extra superpower. I think we need a poster-boy for our delicate egos. (Especially us fragile lady writers). I'm proposing Insolent Boy. Not sure exactly what his superpowers are, but he sounds cool. The ability to Zap! Captain Sensitive and his side kick, Disheartenment. Amazing healing powers to restore bruised feelings. Above all, the ability to see what other people are thinking, and really, really not take it personally.

So the next time you feel a bad review coming on - don't despair! Summon Insolent Boy, give the world the fingers, and hie thee to a keyboard to batter out your revenge the best way you know. By writing more.

PS I get a feeling I'm practically tempting fate here. A panning is probably imminent. This calls for Relentless Optimist-Woman and her Anti-Paranoia Gun. SPLAT!!!

1 comment:

Sluggy said...

I think you and your friend are both right. Invisibility is attractive because it allows us privileged access to the dirty secrets that go on in people's lives. Knowing everyone's thoughts does the same but it informs whats going on inside their heads. Probably a bit more scary! However imagine if you had both superpowers but were unable to discriminate which was which.
I think they call that paraniod psychosis. Sometomes what our culture calls mental illness is treated as having a super power, but more oftem it's treated as possession by evil demons who need to be cast out.