Never too stupid to write.

I’m not always the sharpest knife in the drawer. There are days when I’m so distracted, I’m surprised I’m able to dress myself, let alone operate a car, or perform duties I actually deserve to get paid for. But don’t call me stupid. I’m not stupid.

I may be unobservant, blissfully ignorant, probably delusional, and quite often distracted…Wait, I did a whole paragraph on that already, didn’t I? Well, there ya go then.

One of the great things about choosing to write is I get to learn tons of stuff I would normally have no interest in if it wasn’t required to flesh out a story.

Like the toxicity of plants: Can’t concoct poisons without knowing where they come from, what components make them poisonous, how they affect their intended victims, or how or if they can be detected in an autopsy.

Or SuperPacs: Previously, political ideologies and special interest groups were just abstract representations of those annoying talking heads that I had to tolerate during campaign seasons. Then I included them in a story, and suddenly I am enlightened (still not impressed, but enlightened).

Writing this series, I’ve learned all sorts of things about my home state that I would’ve never known otherwise: Like that Big Manitou Falls in Pattison State Park is almost at tall as Niagara Falls (just much, much skinnier). Or that, according the to constitution, our state attorney general is not required to have any court experience to hold office. Or that the way Northwest Wisconsin looks now (though very pretty) is actually the result of an environmental disaster perpetuated by the Lumber Barons between the Civil War and the Great Depression.

I don’t like learning new things unless I have a useful application for what I’m learning. Creating a story with thought-provoking problems that revolve around crime and mayhem gives me permission to delve into information that I would normally consider myself “too stupid” to comprehend with any satisfaction.

Writing a story with corporate espionage and the infamous Tesla conspiracies? Guess I’ll have to learn about that. Working the trucking industry into a story about human trafficking? Guess what? Now I have to research long-haul trucking. Getting scared/injured people lost in hundreds of acres of swamps? Now I need to become familiar with that environment.

He’s going to get sick of me repeating this story, but my husband was reading one of my books recently (he’s more into user manuals and less into romantic suspense, so I’m thrilled he’s reading my work at all), and he made the passing comment that amounted to: “When did you learn all that stuff you wrote about? I didn’t realize you’re so smart.” That makes me smile every time.

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