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Writing about Migraines, Method-acting, Writing

Possessed by my CHaracters

Séance Characters

I spent the entire weekend battling a migraine the size of a tsunami, and now my faculties are returning, one by one, like washed-up debris on a devastated shore.

I think one of the major reasons I had such a walloping attack could be because some of my characters are taking over, and I have been expressing ( or struggling not to express) primarily their reactions, not mine, to any given stimulus.

A writer friend called this method-acting– I had not thought of this in those terms before. I’m currently inhabited by an uber-successful closet-lesbian writer whose daughter is making a rash marriage, a self-pitying ego-maniacal cleaner who is worried about how fat he is, and a woman who lost her pregnancy years ago and is still coming to terms with it.

All three took me over from time to time during last week, and made it impossible for  me to push through my real self, and behave as Me, not my characters. Meditation helps, but the effects are not long-lasting, because I’m not  a good monk, I suppose.

This kind of inner chaos is why I think I’ll never take up writing full-time.

I have too much imagination, and not enough good sense, which makes me an easy victim for my characters, who take my head over like ghosts are reported to take over mediums at seances.

If this is true, and not another of my imaginative hypotheses, it bears think about a little.

Write, stop writing?

Especially after I held in my hands a printed book which had my name printed inside it, above a story I’d written some time ago. The book would be available shortly in local bookstores, and it would be a strange thing to walk in and see it on the shelves.

I should probably push the answering of my write/ stop writing question under the house carpet till then. Perhaps by stamping on it repeatedly as I walk around, I’ll be able to get rid of it altogether.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Damyanti says:

    Thanks, Indigo…I guess we keep track of each other on FB, so blogs readings get left behind. Yeah, I’m glad I’m better too!

  • indigobunting says:

    Glad to see you back. I am so far behind on my reading. This post is fascinating. Glad you are feeling better.

  • My advice is to stop thinking and let it flow. Edit afterwards. The characters may take over the story but they are not your life unless you choose to let them be. Maybe you could try something creatively active, rather than meditation to relax between writing sessions? (I do realise a master of meditation is able to rise above the mind but clearly your characters have become like demons invading your precious moments.) I’m not saying to drop meditation but rather not to seek it as a means of getting away from your characters. Perhaps writing an occasional poem about that which is uplifting will also help balance your daily diet of work?

    • Damyanti says:

      I know what you mean, Gladys. Have bought myself a few extra fish for my aquarium, and am having fun watching their antics whenever the noise in my head gets too loud.

      I’ve discovered that the only way to really pipe down the noise is get writing!

  • DarcKnyt says:

    Lesbians, cleaners and weepers, OH MY!

    Sounds like a lot of activity for one person to carry around in their head. I can’t say I wouldn’t have gotten a headache too. 🙂

    Get better, dear.

    • Damyanti says:

      I’m feeling better, thanks Darc. Yeah, quite a cast of characters, aren’t they? They all want to go ahead with their own story and my head is now like a storm of loud dinner-table conversation. The lesbian (uh, bi-sexual, actually) writer is having her say on paper today. 🙂

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