Ma’am, step away from that ledge and put down that word processing program.

How near the edge does one have to live to be a writer? And for how long? Of the most valuable qualities a writer can possess, which are the most useful, the most worthy?

One must be open to experience, certainly. An inveterate experiencer of the peoples’ lives, probably. A career eavesdropper, possibly. A musician in the mind, without doubt. And here come the questions.

Who in his/her right mind would do this day after day? Who would sit for hours searching for the perfect way to describe a place that exists nowhere else but in our skulls?

Is reality an over-rated mental state for fiction writers? Do we really do better on the fringes of reality than in the thick of it? Do we cultivate our eccentricities–or do we come by them naturally?

Is the world of writers populated by marginal, borderline-Aspberger’s, deeply uncertain hobby-nutcases, are we saner for those flaws? Or are we just open wounds waiting to bleed?

If you’re a writer, do you see yourself here? And how do you cope? In a community of crazies, even the half-sane can be king.