The other day I met a girl who had read my novel, Nature Girl. She wanted to know all kinds of things. How long did it take me to write the book? Why did I name the dog Arp? Is Trail Blaze Betty really a person? Then she asked me a question I had never thought about. What's it like to look at the world with a writer's eyes?
At the time, my answer wasn't very interesting. I think I said writers observe whatever they need to describe. For example, I spent a lot of time watching how little white dogs trot along a path. But I kept thinking about her question.
How does Jane the writer look at the world?
I never let things go. I remember all the remarks any sensible person would ignore. If something bad happens to me, I dwell on it. I bear grudges. I'm moody because I have to think about things until somehow or other I make sense of them.
Actually I don't make sense. I make a story. Even when I was a child, no matter what terrible thing happened to me, I would always say, well at least that will make a good story.
When I was 9, my enemy shot spit balls at me on the school bus until I finally flung one back at her. Naturally the bus driver punished me for shooting a spit ball. I was humiliated and miserable, but after I thought about it enough, I knew this irony could make an amusing story.
An oyster protects itself from a bit of dirt by covering it with layers of nacre. Without that irritation and without those layers, there would never be a pearl.
So that's how I view the world -- as a source of both the irritating bits and the beauty.