I find it a lovely thought to think that each of us is destined to do some particular thing. To be a particular something. Some people are fascinated by the body and they become doctors. Some people are obsessed with justice and fairness. They become lawyers or cops or other law enforcement personnel (and probably often become very disillusioned, but that’s not part of my point). Based on this idea, everybody should show signs of that thing they’re meant to do, and if they pay attention to the signs, such as they are, they’ll figure out what that thing is that they’re supposed to do.

Well, either I am meant to be a crime/mystery fiction writer or I’m really screwed up in the head.

This morning as I am going through my brief exercise routine, barely conscious, a commercial for metal detectors comes on TV. I blinked blearily at the screen and the first thought that pops into my head is Wow, what a way to find a body. The thing detects a ring and there’s a hand still attached.

So while drinking my tea this morning, I wrote up exactly that, which will, I think, be making an appearance for Blurb File Friday this week.

This sort of thought is not an uncommon occurrence.

Periodically I will see a random shoe in the road. Not like a wader boot (as sometimes guys will turn them upside down and stuff the legs through the gap between the back of the cab and the bed of their trucks) that might have fallen. A flip flop. Or once a dress shoe. And immediately I wonder whether someone was snatched as they were walking down the road. Who were they? Why were they taken?

A couple years ago, my hubby and I went camping over Fall Break over in Cheaha in Alabama. We arrived on a Saturday when it was crowded, but by Sunday night we had the park to ourselves. I woke up needing to answer the call of nature, so I grabbed the flashlight and started hiking up the trail to the bathhouse. Well after being scared to freaking death by a buck that walked out of the mist, I did my business and was hurrying back to the tent. Now Cheaha, like many state and national parks, has lots of those enormous stone picnic tables. Being out in the weather they were all lichen encrusted and ancient looking. And the thing that crosses my mind as the wind howled through the trees at the top of the mountain What a great place to find a body. It’s like an alter.


On a previous vacation up to Gatlinburg, we rented a cabin in Wears Valley. Nice little place that felt more out of the way than it really was. It was January and not too busy. And the thing that crosses my mind? What if somebody killed somebody and hid the body in the hot tub at the end of the season? What would it look like by the time somebody found it?

I choose to believe that these musings are not the product of a deranged psychotic killer in the making, but rather someone who is meant to write mysteries. I see the sinister in the ordinary. Which is odd, really, when you consider that typically I’m a very optimistic sort of person. But it’s really ever so useful when plotting out my next tale to figure out the who, the where, the how, and the why of murder.

What about you? Are there signs that you were meant to write whatever it is you write?

3 thoughts on “Signs

  1. Um, the hot tub thing? Ew. Actually, if I went of vacation with my in-laws, I’d probably have more specific thoughts about bodies being found in hot tubs.

    Anyway, you’re cracking me up because that is so you. Please come back to the Smokies and we can spend all kinds of time looking for neat places to hide bodies!

    Um, are there signs? I don’t know. You might say there are, because while you’re looking for places to find bodies, I guess I tend to hear about a person and try to hook them up with a fictional lifemate. Oh, so and so’s going on vacation? Hmm. What if she meets this guy, and they really seem to hit it off because this has happened to him, which she really relates to because of blah blah, so it’s like he’s the guy who finally gets her. But then it turns out he’s escaped from whoeverwhere and he’s on the run, and blahdiblahblahblah. Or my friend the physics grad student had some sort of computer catastrophe in the lab and was afraid of reprisals by an angry postdoc. And rather than think about how postdoc was going to hide her body, I made up some hot guy who was going to rescue her from the psychotic postdoc and help her figure out why the postdoc was so protective of the computer stuff anyway, and what was really behind the system failure, etc.

    But I usually consider those hazards of too much reading.

  2. Hahaha! Is it any wonder we’re such a good complement to each other? I come up with the sick twisted stuff, you fill in the romance. Voila! We really must collaborate on something one of these days…

  3. This was neat. Yes, I can say the word neat if I want to. 😛

    I’m a quiet person which usually means I get to listen A LOT. (whether I want to or not) I find myself playing with off handed remarks like: I could rip her face off! I’m so mad at so-and-so right now, I could stab her in her sleep.

    I wonder…really? Could this person do this thing? What would it look/feel/sound like? Could ‘I’ do this thing? And then off I go into a story idea or a bit of dialog.

    As I read through your blog, I think I’m getting a crush on Susan. She’s a riot. I might have to plow through her blog next. And you weren’t lying about prolific. Holy crap, girl!

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