~ By Melina Kantor
You know how new doctors say that they don’t feel like real doctors until they hear themselves being paged? Or how new teachers say that they don’t feel like real teachers until kids call them Mrs. / Mr.?
When I started writing, I desperately searched for something to make me feel like a real writer. I knew publishing wouldn’t happen over night, but there had to be something else.
Then, it came to me, thanks to this episode of Will Write for Wine (best podcast ever – listen ASAP).
Writer Crazy. I needed to experience it for myself.
My writer crazy started innocently enough. My first documented episode of the crazies was getting onto a bus, MetroCard in hand, and forgetting to swipe it. See, my characters were in the middle of an intense discussion, and seeing as they were hanging out in my head, instead of a bar or other perhaps more appropriate venue, I was eavesdropping. I mean really, I had every right.
It was around that time that I started taking pride in the tufts of dog hair floating across my floor. What? Writers have time to sweep?
But those things just weren’t enough. I wanted a true story of crazy to wear like a badge of honor, along the lines of Kristan Higgins making out with her hand, that showed my deep dedication to my craft.
And then. . .
Okay, this is going to sound odd, but stay with me. I’m known for my love of goats (and sheep, “and stuff”). Yes, cute goat videos are all the rage these days, but my obsession goes back a long way, and I’ve got photographic evidence to prove that I’m a trendsetter.
See, I’ve got family in southern Crete. So I kind of know about goats (and sheep, “and stuff”).
Right before I wrote my first book, I was on vacation in a Cretan village called Loutro. In this tiny paradise accessible only by boat, goats were everywhere. A few even came to say hi to me when I was relaxing on my beach chair, and yes, I always said hello back. I’d float in the sea, look up at the mountains and watch them while listening to the beautiful sounds of their bells.
Those experiences seeped into my story.
Not long after, I found out that a colleague had spent his spring break on a goat farm to help with kidding season. Once I realized what “kidding” meant (I’m slow, especially after a long day of teaching), I got really excited because there’s a scene in my first book wherein the hero and heroine help a goat deliver her twins. One of the babies is breech.
So I bombarded him with all sorts of questions, and when he mentioned a breech birth, I spat out, “Oh yeah, I saw something like that when I was watching goat births on YouTube!!!!!”
At which point, he took a giant step backwards. Oops.
I never did get a chance to explain the reason for my research.
As soon as I got home, I made a page of “goat notes” based on what he’d told me. (Please note the sparkly pink ink. Yes, I cave into the demands of my muses.)
Well? What do you think? Does this earn me my crazy badge?
I live in Jerusalem now, only a few blocks away from a school that, for some reason, has a yard full of goats. My dog doesn’t care about them, and may even be a little jealous, but I drag him there often to check on my crew. Um, I mean do research.
See how cute?
Goats have been prominently featured in each of my books, which take place in Crete. My friends fill my Facebook timeline with goat related fun (for which I thank them).
Here’s the thing though. I need to move on from goats, so my current WIP focuses more on donkeys. But fear not. It has a few goats wandering around too.
We’ll see where the donkey thing leads.
So, writer friends. Now that I’ve confessed my deepest, darkest, writer crazy, why don’t you do the same? That’s what the comments are for. 🙂
Melina writes contemporary romance with a pinch of oregano and a dash of chutzpah. She loves to travel, especially to her family’s village in Crete, and turn her adventures into research for her novels. In July of 2012, she moved to Jerusalem with her adorable but sneaky cocker spaniel. You can hear more about her writer crazy at http://melinakantor.com.