These are the types of odd topics that come up when writers are around.
Two normal looking people sit at a table in a coffee shop and sip at their choice of caffeinated beverages, whether its Chai or Black Coffee. Nobody pays them any mind till they begin the conversation.
Coffee Drinker: “So how long would it take to dig a six foot hole? Could it be done by one person overnight? Is it better to dig up an old grave so the casket would be easier to break into and you won’t have to drag it out of the ground?”
Chai Drinker: “I would think it would take about two or three hours for one person with a good shovel. You know modern graves are only four feet deep and with a good sharp shovel or axe, you might be able to break open a newer coffin just as easy.”
At this point everyone around them is either staring open mouthed or moved out of earshot. Are these two people grave robbers? Possibly, but more likely they’re writers. This was a dramatic version of a similar conversation on Twitter earlier today between two writers.
Two men standing in line at a fast food place, one wearing a uniform or a correctional officer (also known as a prison guard), the other in jean shorts, sandals and a raggedy t-shirt that says “I kill people in my head.”
Officer looks at man and says, “Nice shirt.”
Shorts guy, “Thanks, nice uniform. Are you a security guard?”
Officer: “Correctional Officer.”
Shorts guy: “What is that exactly?”
Officer: “I work in a prison.”
Shorts guy: “Ah ok, cool. So if I was trying to escape from your prison, how would I do that? Start a riot? Dig a hole in the wall? Or grab a gun?”
Officer: “We don’t carry guns in the prison for that reason. Riot is your best bet unless you want to dig for twenty years.” At this point officer is staring at the shorts guy funny.
Shorts guy: “You ever been Tasered?”
Officer: “You have to be, to get certified to carry one.”
Shorts guy: “Cool, what did it feel like? Did you poop yourself? Did you cry?”
Officer: “What? What is wrong with you man?”
Shorts guy: “I’m a writer. I’m writing a prison break in my story.”
Officer: “Oh, so do I get royalties when you publish this?”
Shorts guy: “Uh, how about I buy your meal and we sit and talk.”
This was a conversation I had once.
Moral of the story is when talking to a writer is like walking a mental minefield, especially if you don’t realize you’re talking to one. Just like talking to a psychologist, we are analyzing everything in the conversation and storing it away for later use and asking questions a lot of people wouldn't normally ask. Unlike a psychologist, what I’ve learned is that people are more willing to spill their guts when I finally tell them I’m a writer, but there are still many times I get that crazy eyes look and someone just walks away before I can tell them I’m not a weirdo, I’m a writer. There really is a difference.
Tell me your writer conversation stories that could never happen with just two normal people. I'll add some more if they come to me.