Another lovely 3 ayemer in which I spent the dark hours plucking notes out of the air and laying them onto tape. Character arcs. Plot points. Twitches and quirks. In seeming to enjoy this process, I’m not being ironic: I actually went to bed at an indecently early hour in order to chase a headache and hope that such noteworthy (literally) thoughts would take its place.

These notes: Where do they all come from?

Do we gather them from observation of the outside world—or from our own psychology?

Not an original idea. Hasn’t been—not for way many more years than I’ve been on this planet. One might easily argue that there is no outside observation…that everything is filtered through the sum of our experiences. We may convince ourselves that we have been lifelong observers—indeed, that need/inclination/desire may well be one of the most significant reasons we became writerly-types in the first place.

Yes, there are a number of uber-aware moments in which we draw deliberately and consciously from our own psychologies (and Spiritkeeper is, tellingly, filled with them, distributed through pretty much every character in the book save one.) In the specific case of emotional points, this plundering of our pysches often requires as much brutal honesty as one can manage—or, at least, as much honesty as any of us can manage in the self-delusory state that is the daily human condition. The rest of the observations are made up of what we tell ourselves is true. Illuminated by that inner light, not even a tree is a tree is a tree.

I’m answering my own question as I ask it. I’m countering my own argument as I pose it. These are matters for a higher discussion of philosophy, I think. I know this: that as of this morning, I know what’s on the main character’s nightstand. I know exactly what is out of place in his apartment. I’m beginning to know what he is. And what he isn’t.

And I know this, too: Even after so many years of writing (I started at the age of seven), it is a discovery that it still fascinating to me…to be staring through someone else’s eyes as I look through my own.