As a dreamer and growing up a single child until the age of nine, I was fortunate to develop a creative imagination that would help me form imaginary worlds. Without knowing it at the time, these were the building blocks to writing my very first short story, many years later when I was told that I should write down the stuff I come up with.
What is the book all about?
As the book is a collection of random short stories I wrote, collectively, they don’t form a single journey, but they do gravitate around a central theme, psychology. Or more specifically, the effort to put the reader in the same headspace of people we would call weird or crazy. I want the reader to realize that we all think we’re normal, but from the perspective of others, we’re not. By trying to journey in the shoes of insanity, we will stop judging others out of compassion.
What inspired you to write the book?
I’ve been accused of being emotionless many times. That I have no compassion for others. All my life I focused on developing both the right and left sides of my brain, making sure that I calm the creative beast inside while thinking critically, I realized that emotions are a byproduct that doesn’t solve any problems and society frown upon that.
I desperately wanted to change that by understanding people better, so a raging interest in psychology flamed up from somewhere deep inside. Every short story is about an unusual character placed in an unusual situation. Some of the stories were my thought process for a movie script I wrote, panning out some of the details while others are parts of a Noval I’m working on. The story is still too advanced for me to bring it to justice, but someday I’ll get there.
What is your target audience for the book?
At first glance, people who enjoy my wildly abnormal level of fantasy/ fiction might be a select few, but through my website, https://jurgensmith23js.wixsite.com/illusionofnormal, I gave a breakdown of each short story. The purpose of the website is to read alongside the book so that readers can grasp the larger, as well as the finer detail and symbolism that makes for an educational story. In time, hopefully, the book will morph into a journey where weird people, like me, will find an entertaining way to understand the behaviour of others that doesn’t make sense to us.
What do you hope readers could get out from your book?
My mission is to help psychologists to break the stigma about mental illness in my talented way. Since I’m not a licensed psychologist, and not planning to be one, I don’t prescribe treatment or pretend to be an expert, even after vigorously reading every psychology textbook I can get my hands on. I try to understand unusual social behaviour. I want my readers to do the same in their lives by trying to understand unusual behaviour before judging others. Everyone’s lives are on separate journeys and we all have different life challenges. It makes life interesting, but it also makes us very different. We’re in a boiling pot of indifference and we can choose whether our emotions are going to dictate our behaviour by instantly judging others, or are we going to take the time to understand another point of view.
What are your future goals/plans for the book?
I’m done with this book as I realise that it will take time for its potential to make a difference in the lives of the impatient. I enjoyed writing it, but my journey in creating stories didn’t stop here.
As my life goes on, I continue to explore abnormal social behaviour and through short stories and movie scripts, document my journey for a second edition. Not all stories are educational though. Some are merely for the mind to relax in a weird world and have fun. Fun should always be a core factor. The book is available on Smashwords, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Paperback and TakeAlot print on demand, but I’m sure that Authors’ Lounge will help enthusiastic readers find a journey leading to Illusion of Normal, where weird adventures await in short stories.
And something more about yourself.
I enjoy reading Stephen King at the moment and learn from his style of writing. Every writing course will teach you about tentpoles and ways to plan your story, while the “King” dismissed all that junk. Like him, I believe that it forces a story into a predetermined direction that could impede where it naturally wants to go.
I’m fully aware that his experience is light years ahead of mine and that one should first learn the rules before one can break them. Before reading Stephen King’s books, I researched why the prescribed formula for writing a good story wasn’t working for me. I didn’t like the idea that a movie script is predictable. It spoiled many movies for me where I could, with fairly good accuracy, predict when the protagonist’s efforts will find resistance. The formula can make you predict within a few minutes when something will happen without any knowledge of the movie. I didn’t like that.
I like to know my characters very well, with their acquaintances who won’t feature in the story and develop a fictional world, based on actual theories where the laws of nature are different from ours. Like the reader, I explore the world.
Lewis Caroll wrote, “Have I gone mad?’ ‘I am afraid so, you are entirely bonkers. but I will tell you a secret… all the best people are.”
I’m also aware that some fantasies are merely fantasies, but I’d like the reader to realize that a small possibility of truth in an unfavourable fact, makes the favourable situation factually flawed. Anything is possible.