Oh, well, she's always fun to have around!
Heidi Rice Outs Herself…
I have a secret passion, which I’m going to confess to here, even though it makes me seem very sad and extremely dull… I’m a jigsaw puzzle junkie.
There, I’ve said it, and I’ve probably lost a few billion cool points in the process — especially if you knew some of the puzzles I’ve got hooked into doing by my mum. Yup, she’s a fellow addict. In fact I blame her for my affliction as I believe it may be hereditary — all three of my sisters being afflicted with the same puzzle-junkie gene. Anyway, my mum plays a lot of golf, and she buys most of the puzzles — get the picture? Pretty damn scary, eh? Have you any idea how boring a puzzle of a golf course can be to look at for several hours at a time?
But you see I can’t stop myself. It’s a compulsion. I see all those squiggly shaped pieces lying before me and I just have to fit them together or die trying. And there’s a very specific process to be followed to do it.
First I’ll judge the colour and texture of each section of puzzle. Next I’ll group all the relevant pieces (of which there has to be at least a thousand – anything less is for wimps, folks). Then I’ll put together the easy bits (any part of the picture with writing on or people is usually a good place to start). My mum meanwhile always does all the edge bits (we do make a pretty good team actually, despite her golf issues). And then, as things start to hot up, there’s the long hours staring at individual sections, visualising in my mind what each missing piece would look like and then piddling about endlessly sticking the wrong bit in the wrong hole till you finally get one of the little bastards to fit. Of course there are some highs if you manage to pop a piece into place at a glance that your mum and/or your sisters have been agonizing over for hours. (NB I never puzzle alone, because that would make me a dotty old dear). And to finish off there’s always that huge expanse of sky (puzzle makers always stick it in there, because they’re sadists) which all looks exactly the same and drives you totally nuts.
Have I bored you into a coma yet? Excellent! So now that I’ve got you begging for mercy, I’m finally going to get to the point of this blog post. And what is the point?
Well, originally I had this fab analogy planned about how the desire to fix a puzzle is the same desire I have when I build a story. First I have to create my characters, then work out their conflict and their backstory – which is like that initial sorting exercise - and then when I start writing it all out it’s a matter of slotting everything into place. Figuring out where each emotional development, each turning point, each character revelation, each line of dialogue goes in your story. And not giving up when you get the wrong piece in the wrong hole and have to start over….And sometimes you may need some help with that from your editor or your critique partner … And …
But actually, after I thought about it, I realised that analogy was pretty lame. So this is actually just a blog post about Heidi’s sad obsession with sticking little bits of squiggly shaped cardboard together! Sorry.
So do any of you guys have sad obsessive hobbies that you want to share? I’ve outed myself, now you can too.
And to give you an added incentive to ‘fess up (and so I don’t look like the only dotty old dear here), I’ll pick a comment at random to receive a free copy of my latest book, Public Affair, Secretly Expecting, which is the second in the Brody Brothers duo (and not due out in the States until next March). It features bad boy Irish movie star Mac Brody, shy London dress shop manager Juno Delamare…. And not a puzzle in sight. Honest.
Visit Heidi at www.heidi-rice.com