Friday, October 5, 2012

The Craziest Thing You've Ever Done

In one of those charming articles on true love in the Sunday Style section of the New York Times I read of a dating couple playing a question game where each got to ask the other a question. The boy asked, "What's the craziest thing you've ever done?" The girl confessed that she had gone to Assisi and worked with a wedding planner to concoct her dream wedding, without ever having met the right man. The relationship blossomed and the two were married the following year, in Assisi. (It was an article on true love, after all.)

The piece got me thinking. Could I answer such a question? No. I don't do crazy things. I do ill-advised things, but seldom impulsively. When disaster strikes I tend to freeze like a mouse under the gaze of a snake. I'm paralyzed until I understand what's happening. Sometimes this takes years.

Carina Nebula, the protagonist of Monkeystorm (the book I just finished), is, on the other hand, all impulse. She is so crazy that she had to break out of Trenton Psychiatric, and the craziest thing she ever did was whatever she just did two minutes before. It was interesting to write a character like that. I had to find her inside my stodgy self, where all of us find our characters, if we are writing honestly. But it took a long time. Carina could decide in a heartbeat to torch a building or cut herself on the hand, but I had to mull it over for days before I realized it was what she would do.

So what's the craziest thing you've ever done?

Kate Gallison

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