New York Times  Bestselling Author

Behind Closed Doors. . .

I was sitting on the porch this afternoon, planning the speech I’m giving tonight (If you’re near Cary, NC–stop by the Page Walker Arts and History Center at 7 pm), which got me thinking about my imagination. It’s overly active and always has been. I wonder if that’s true of all fiction writers?
When John and I were watching STRANGER THAN FICTION the other night (a movie in which the character in a novel is a real person who hears his life being narrated in his head), I admitted that I heard my life being narrated in my head when I was a kid. I shouldn’t have said anything, because he thought that was really, really scary, while I thought it was kind of normal. For example, at age 9 or 10, I might have gotten out of bed in the morning thinking “Diane stretched her arms over her head as she stood next to the bed. Through the window, she spotted the neighbor’s cat chasing a squirrel. Reluctantly, she tore herself away. It was time to get ready for school. . . ”  I think this simply came from being a voracious reader. I fear John thinks it came from mental illness.
I no longer narrate my life. I do however still possess a ridiculously active imagination. I can’t approach a closed door, whether to the laundry room in my house or the restroom at Starbucks, without something like the following flashing through my mind: Maybe there’s a body on the other side. I can’t pass a young woman standing at a bus stop without thinking something like: Maybe she’s waiting for her illicit lover to arrive. You get the idea.
So I’m curious. What are your imaginations like? Are you rooted in reality or constantly on the lookout for a dramatic twist of events? Oh, and just for fun, what’s your sign. I’m not a believer in astrology, but it might be interesting to see if there’s a correlation between astrological sign and imagination. I’m a Pisces.

19 Comments

  1. Ashley on March 22, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Hey Diane,
    I think i’m stuck in my imagination. After highschool it seemed that all the stupid soap opera story lines on TV had nothing on what my friends and I went through. And now, forcing myself through final exams, i can’t help but look twice at reality. Unfortunately, one of the horrific ‘possible realities’ around final exams is what if i forgot to set my alarm….
    I do have to admit though, when i was younger, it wasn’t that my life was so much narrated, but it did feel like someone was setting up the scene of what was to happen next.
    Anyway, back to studying (and by that i mean reading “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” between Research articles :P)… oh, and I’m a Libra

  2. Diane Chamberlain on March 22, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    >>it wasn’t that my life was so much narrated, but it did feel like someone was setting up the scene of what was to happen next.

  3. Margo on March 23, 2007 at 10:09 am

    I never thought about it before but I believe I think like you. It’s 1 of those things I just took for granted I quess. Now I wonder if there’s something wrong with me? I live in anticipation and imagination. I can be walking in a beautiful field of flowers wondering if I’ll come upon a bee’s nest, or I will be walking thru the woods and wonder if a deer is going to jump out. I look at the colors of the sky and see if there’s purple behind the blue, if there’s off white behind the white cloud…and I’ve always looked at color like that. When I was young I would look and touch the fur of a dog and wonder what darker color was behind the color in front. I would jump rope and wonder if I would trip and fall. I can sit in a restaurant and image what other people are talking about. But, I’m not a writer.
    I’m a Scorpio.

  4. Kathy Holmes on March 23, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    That’s interesting about the narration part. My main reaction to the movie was that it was difficult for me because it was being narrated in 3rd person and I’m a 1st person kinda gal. 🙂

  5. Brenda on March 23, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    My life has been a soap opera. Nothing in my imagination could surpass what I have lived through-those who know me well agree.
    I am Libra

  6. brenda on March 24, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    My other favorite author-I reread and reread her books-Barbara Delinsky…in fact after my daughter too about l000 books to library (not my classics, D. C., or BD…_ I reread some of Diane’s and Barbara’s. What did you think-if you have read the latest FAMILY TREE…-my least favorite…not because of the baby-but there was something missing…she is an awesome writer…

  7. Diane Chamberlain on March 24, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    margo, i think you think like the painter that you are!
    Kathy, that’s so funny–your reaction to third person in the movie. does that mean you couldn’t enjoy it?
    brenda–i enjoy barbara delinsky too, but haven’t read that latest. and you’re right–you’re life IS a soap opera.

  8. Betty Savage on March 25, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    I am a very creative person but let my imagination loose with fiber and thread and material. My outlook on life itself and its “narrative” seems to be a more realistic, take-what-life-throws-at-me attitude. I spent 35 years teaching high school English so I never seemed to find the time to do any creative writing of my own. I was busy reading and critiquing the writings of my students. I let the creative side flourish with some kind of needle or hook. I struggle to begin anything I write but then find that some “muse” inside me takes over and writes it for me. I am always shocked later when I reread something that I have finished writing. I can’t imagine the words came from me. I can’t see myself using those words or phrases. I am in awe of what I see on the paper. It is really very eerie. I have to be really pushed in a corner to get this kind of result. When I was in college, I would stay up late working on a paper that was due in the morning. Everything was horrid. I would go to sleep and get up at 4 AM, pick up the pen and the words flowed onto the paper. Often I did not have to change a word. Whole sentences, with a variety of sentences structures, would come to me in a rush. Strange, huh?
    It is much easier for me to create something beautiful with fiber, but again I often don’t know where I’m headed with it. I have an idea and just know that as I work it, I will know what to do next and how to do it.
    I am a Taurean.
    I just finished Delinsky’s new book and found it fascinating.

  9. Brenda on March 25, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Betty-I think the reason I could not get WITH THIS BOOK-I reread her books as I do Diane’s-I did not like the husband from the beginning…Sometimes that happens with me-I just don’t like a character and can’t get with the story. Some of my friends who have read the book agree with me but it seems we are definitely few-others love it.

  10. Brenda on March 25, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Girls-wouldn’t it be great to have been in the audience for D’s speech???
    Lucky people

  11. Brenda on March 25, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Change of topic but…Elizabeth Edwards-wife of senator…cancer back…(My mother died at age 60 of bone/breast, etc.etc. ) My heart goes out to this brave woman…Have you read her book SAVING GRACES????
    Diane-when you have a moment–:) You have to do your MEMOIRS…esp. with the RA…will help others.
    I am seriously considering doing one about the YEAR FROM H…1992…the cancer, divorce, etc.

  12. Margo on March 26, 2007 at 9:10 am

    I have B. Delinsky’s new book but it’s in my to-read stack…am currently rereading Mary Alice Monroe’s THE BEACH HOUSE since the sequal comes out this week and I wanted to refresh myself with the characters. Elizabeth Edwards is a very couragous woman and I’m in awe of the family…I must by her book.

  13. Krysia on March 26, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Well I have an active imagination but my dreams are what scare me. For instance, once way back oh close to 8 years ago I was a sophomore in college, for the first time, I had a dream my dad was in an accident (back then all over was flooded, fields, ditches, etc) and he had driven into a flooded ditch. Got a phone call the next morning, it had really happend. Thankfully he lived. Then a few weeks ago I had a dream the shelf above my desk fell. Well the next day it did, only I was sitting there when it happend, unlike laying in bed like in my dream. Scared the crap out of me and it hurt too. But at work I let my imagination run free. Since I am in contact with people all day long I just let my brain run. It’s fun sometimes. Let your imagination wander about who they are, type of person they are, what they are doing, etc.
    I am a cancer. What I’ve read about the “personalities” of a cancer, I fit it to a T.

  14. Diane Chamberlain on March 26, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Betty, I’d love to see some of your fiber creations some time!
    Brenda, I’m heartbroken for the Edwards family. Elizabeth’s strength is inspiriing.
    Margo, remind me of the name of Mary Alice’s new book?
    Krysia, wow, that’s spooky! I’ve never had one of my dreams come true to that extent. I’d be a little afraid to go to sleep.
    It looks like we’re all over the map with our astrological signs!

  15. Margo on March 26, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    Betty, I too would love to see your fiber work! Plz share! Diane, her new book is called SWIMMING LESSONS. She also has a children’s book coming out around the same time called TURTLE SUMMER, a journal for my daughter. I have to tell Krysia, I too have had dreams come true but usually not until years later and the only way I remember that I dreamed the event is because it wouold be so vivid and clear at the time. Since a child I continued to have a dream periodically that was always the same. I always wondered what it meant and then out of the blue, 1 day I saw the image on the cover of a book…I was flabergasted!

  16. Brenda on March 26, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Elizabeth Edwards is quite a woman to approach her cancer in the way she has done. After all, she has survived the worst a woman can-losing her son to death. She and her husband are good people…however, with all they have to face, it might not behoove them to continue on the campaign trail…I remember when Mother was diagnosed-and lived three months-I was in the hospital room 23 hours per day…and nothing else matter but sharing those last moments with her…In a world when materialism is NUMBER ONE-and I see a lot of this as a teacher-this couple touches my heart. What a tragedy.
    There’s a book there-Diane…and a story…I am contemplating it…
    P.S. Graduation for me (if I finish my last two writing classes) is the first Sat. in May-Master’s in Humanities…wow!!!
    My goals: raise my children…sell the business…Bachelor’s by 50 (did it) and Master’s by 60 (looks like I may make it) 🙂
    Thanks for your support

  17. Krysia on March 26, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    my only reaccuring dream was from when i was 5 to 7 or 8 and it was a dream that my parents and sister were trying to kill me with this big burnings marshmallow (mind you i’d just seen ghostbusters for the first time). I tend to freak people out, it’s kind of fun.

  18. Diane Chamberlain on March 27, 2007 at 12:05 am

    a big burning marshmallow, huh? LOL!
    yes, SWIMMING LESSONS. i couldn’t remember the title. such a WONDERFUL title it is, too. i wish mary alice huge success with it.

  19. Margo on March 27, 2007 at 8:19 am

    A little SCARY Krysia!

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