My daughter made me sit down and watch a movie with her recently. It was called “Stranger than Fiction” and starred Will Farrell and Emma Thompson, and it was about an ordinary man who starts hearing a voice in his head. The voice is narrating his life, and he gets really concerned when the author (Ms. Thompson) mentions his imminent (or is that emminent?!) death.
I know why she made me watch it. When the author is standing on a ledge above a busy street and spreads her hands, palms down, to feel the air, then starts to make that jump—but gets interrupted by her assistant, blinks, and is suddenly standing on her desk—well, the look on her face is the one my daughter says I get when I’m deep into a story.
While I watched the movie, I couldn’t help but giggle at how strange the author was. She visits a hospital and asks a nurse where the “really” dead people are. I remember going to a funeral home to learn about a mortician’s work and asked to see the incisions and the condition of a body when it comes directly from an autopsy. Now, I’m understanding the wierd look that crossed the funeral director’s face.
I thought my life was pretty normal until my daughter held up the mirror for me to look at myself. But I must admit I go to some extremes, including cyber-stalking rock climbers and search and rescue workers, stopping Memphis PD cops on the street to ask them about a day in their life, and visiting graveyards to gather atmosphere for a scene.