The Virtue Of The Virtual

Scientists In (Enter city name here) Discover Incredible Sleep Aid.

I saw this headline, and realized it kind of applied to me…in reverse. Years ago, I discovered a non-sleep aid: writing a book. Once I start, my mind rushes along at its own pace, sleeping or not. I suffer from middle-of-the-night bursts of creativity. My beloved life-mate has stopped worrying when she awakes at 2:00 AM to find a light on in the other room

“If one alien ate another, would it be cannibalistic?” “Wouldn’t it depend on whether they were the same kind of alien?”

“Can creatures from outer space be gay?”

“Why would a nine-foot-tall alien be interested in someone 3-1/2-feet-tall? (Besides as a night-time snack?)”

It isn’t just while I sleep. Some people put on eye makeup, or read the newspaper while they drive to work. I wrestle with my characters. We’re all a danger on the open road.

“I gotta get down on dat planet,” character, Thatchaya declares. “Dose Humans be ear-flapping crazy.”

“No, Thatchaya,” I argue, “You’re not supposed to leave your ship. Besides, your species has a hairball for a head. You don’t have ears.”

“Yeah. Ain’t dat a hoot?”

I’ve pretty much stopped having lunch with friends when I’m writing…for their sake. All too often, we’re right in the middle of a conversation when my mind takes off on a tangent only Freud could follow.

“How’s your salad?” one friend asked.

“I was wondering if a Torbian would eat something like this.”

“What’s a Torbian?”

“Oh, sorry,” I say while blushing. “I was thinking about my novel and…well…”

My friend just sighs. “Yeah, and I could be a tree stump.”

I do like real people. Really! I’m just possessed by the virtual people rattling around in my head.

There are those who live for their great adventure: sail the vast, untamable ocean; climb the highest peak; or jump from a plane thousands of feet in the air. I take another route: the deepest fringes of my psyche. It gets pretty wild in there sometimes. Life on the virtual edge can be just as thrilling as the real thing. You just have to let yourself go, believe the impossible is possible, and try not to scream out loud while you’re in a crowded elevator.

Clifford M. Scovell
Prison Earth – the series


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