Here is my belated guest post with Jeannine Garsee, author of Say the Word!
I definitely have a Good Side and an Evil Side—and, yes, like my character Shawna, a ‘pathetic’ side as well. I’m a perfect example of the kind of person who thinks of something terribly witty and biting to say about five minutes after someone really ticks me off. Then I agonize for hours over the fact that I didn’t say what I could have said when I had the perfect chance.
I believe everyone has a Good (if not perfect) and Evil side. Working with the public as I do, I’m pretty good at maintaining that Good exterior. As a psychiatric nurse, I deal with some extremely difficult people, not only patients, but their families as well. Add to that the fact that the population I work with are mostly inner city people who not only are actively mentally ill—some to the point of being homicidal—but have minimal education and almost no social skills to speak of. Many are ex-convicts. Most have family members who are as mentally ill as themselves. Needless to say, it’s difficult to remain calm and professional when people are screaming at you and calling you every name under the sun, and threatening to kill you, your family, and every generation to follow. These are not idle threats; these patients sincerely mean what they say.
Luckily (for the most part) I’m able to maintain my Good Side when dealing with these people. It’s not always easy. In my average, everyday, non-working life I’d never let anyone talk to me like that. Evil Jeannine would spring out and demand to know who they think they’re talking to, that I don’t appreciate being verbally abused. At work I do confront patients who are verbally abusive, but it’s always in the back of my mind that these people are truly sick and not always completely in control. However, if someone is rude to me in a check out like at the grocery store, they’re most certainly going to hear about it from me.
When my Evil Side does pop out, it’s usually because I’m already stressed from the multiple demands made upon me, or from lack of sleep, or because I’m not feeling well, or—more than anything—because I’m working on the computer, either writing or blogging, and I’m constantly interrupted by forces beyond my control. When I write, I need long uninterrupted periods of time—and if I am interrupted for whatever reason, I tend to snap. I am not a ‘shouter’ but I do get very snotty and tend to snarl at people. This is one of the reasons I do the majority of my writing away from home. No ringing telephones, no one demanding my attention or asking me questions or calling me to the phone. It’s easier on everyone—certainly on my family, and of course on me.
So, like Shawna, I do have 3 personalities. Shawna’s sides, I believe, are a direct result of the way she was brought up—particularly her evil side, the occasional release of her pent-up anger and her frustration at her own relentless perfectionism. My evil side, I believe, stems simply from impatience when my creative process is interrupted, either intentionally or not. Writers are an extremely self-absorbed lot, a result of living in our heads too much. I liken it to snatching a bowl of food away from an aggressive dog—don’t try it with a writer, because we may bite your hand off!
Copywrite 2009 Jeannine Garsee
Thank you Jeannine!