Writing and Schizophrenia

"Writing is the only socially acceptable form of schizophrenia."

~E. L. Doctorow

I saw this quote sometime ago, when I was searching for something else, and it stuck with me. At the time, it brought to mind my sister, who has been working on a fiction novel for years, and knows the characters in her book better then the members of her family. It brought to mind the ability to understand another person thoroughly, and to act as that person would, in order to write about them. However, as I have taken up writing, I am finding another side to this puzzle.

Due to my name being extremely rare, I chose a pen name to write under, and after being published repeatedly in certain markets, I began to feel confined. Trapped. I wrote on many topics, but the ones that got attention were all informative. Technical. Useful, but lacking humor. I found my pen name to be very maternal, and a bit prudish, or maybe I should say, very proper. My pen name rarely gets bent out of shape. She is down to earth and practical. She can handle a crisis, and even enjoy it. I like her... but as she has a reputation to protect, her free, people loving, adventure seeking side, must remain mostly hidden. Every remark left on-line is filtered through the thought process of "If I were an employer, would I hire someone who made this remark? What if my mother-in-law saw this -- how would it reflect on my husband?".

Victorian Parasol Girl
Victorian Parasol Girl
Butterfly Tattoo
Butterfly Tattoo

Hence, I found myself here, at Hubpages, testing new waters and trying new styles and topics. I signed up with a name that I love, found a picture that I identified with, and began listing titles. Slowly the first articles came to life, and with them, so did Ivorwen.

Ivorwen follows certain rules too, just as my other pen name does, but they are different rules. Ivorwen is more passionate and free. She is bright-eyed with wonder. She has faults. Faults that she recognizes and works toward improving... but being perfect is not what consumes her thoughts.

Ivorwen is just another side of me. She is the side that runs through the rain, splashing in every puddle she can find -- with a friend in tow. She is the side that has many friends, held loosely. The kind of friends that come and go. She is the free side of me -- the side with the blue butterfly tattoo.

My other pen name has a few close friends, with which she can share anything... but would hesitate to take puddle jumping. They are the friends with whom I enjoy a glass of wine with and exchange recipes.

Ivorwen, 2010.

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Comments 24 comments

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

What a lovely, original, insightful well-written and revealing hub!

Thank you, Ivorwen.

I remember that "schizophrenic" quote, too. If I learn who said it, I will let you know.

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Thank you drbj.

I had not thought to look up who said that before, but a search found a name. :)

Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

I enjoyed this, Ivorwen, and I love the quote!

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Thank you Rose West. I am glad it hit the spot.

VAMPGYRL420 profile image

VAMPGYRL420 6 years ago from The Eastern Shore of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, U.S.A.

Beautiful!!! :) :)

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Thank you!!!!

Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 6 years ago from USA or America

Hey Ivorwen, since I know your other pen name and somewhat learned more about this one, it gives a great insight to you as a person. I can see why you have a loving husband, simply because of your unique view and personality are winners. :) It was a great read. Thank you for sharing. :)

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Thank you! :)

Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago

Nice Hub. I enjoyed it very much.

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Thanks Cathi!

LiftedUp profile image

LiftedUp 6 years ago from Plains of Colorado


Do you not find that different people bring out different things in you? Perhaps it has partly to do with their preconceived notions of you, and themselves, or maybe it has to do with the fact that there are various characters hiding inside each of us, characters who respond to different calls. These different characters play different roles. For example, I loved participating in homeschool conferences when I was at that stage with my children, but a little later, I found out that I could delight just as much in a good demolition derby, and could picture myself joining just a bit in the general beer-drinking camaraderie going on all about me. (I never did join in, I knew that was not really me, but the thought was there.)

When I got to know these two diverse parts of myself, plus others, the knowledge allowed me to enjoy myself more in every setting, and give more freely to the people about me.

Thanks for opening up some great discussion, and for giving us a lovely look at yourself.

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

I do find that different company allows for different expressions of myself, just as different locations do. I mean, you act differently in the mountains, when hiking, that you do in the mall, shopping.

My children induce me to laugh about things I wouldn't find funny by anyone else, but that is part of enjoying who they are.

Of course, there are times, like now, when I roll my eyes and wonder when they are going to grow up... as #3 is running around with a waste basket on his head, calling himself 'Trash Head'. This behavior has inspired a 'Bucket Head' and a couple of 'Sack Heads'.

As to funny, this morning my baby was telling me about some dream he had had: "The monster scare me. Aaaaah! And I run. *little feet kicking* And the monster bite my toes. Aaaaaah! And I kick him. *little feet kicking* And the monster cry. Waaaaaaahhhh! *lots of little giggles, and kisses for mommy*"

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TattoGuy 6 years ago

I can so relate to this hub ; )

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

I bet you do! :)

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

How charming, intriguing and lucid.. and what an excellent title. Look forward to the next step :-)

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Thanks De Greek.

Literature Fairy profile image

Literature Fairy 6 years ago from England, UK.

Beautiful Hub! I have never thought about the idiosyncrasies of my pen name before! And I love the quote. :) x

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Literature Fairy, I bet your pen name has a number of idiosyncrasies that would surprise you, as well as enjoying things like flitting from book to book. Thank you for stopping by!

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

I also have an alter ego. She is the fun loving outgoing and artistic side. My other side you do not want to know very well because she can be quite dark. Better go take my medicine.

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

LOL Elayne! A dark side and a fun side. Sounds like the moon. :)

Faybe Bay profile image

Faybe Bay 6 years ago from Florida

Oh Ivorwen, we must have a conference! I have been writing fiction for over 30 years, but never been published because I was afraid of what the real people I know in life would think of my cast or characters. Sadly I gave up on actually trying to sort it out in my head. They all had their own lives, and a mind of their own. I was afraid I was crazy.

Then I went to a writer's conference and I found out that we all have a cast of characters living in our heads. They are the people who help us have our say in real life when we are confronted with a situation outside of our comfort zone, you know like the one who answers the phone when a salesman calls. The people who don't have these extra back-up characters are the ones with the problem... Or so all of the legalized schizophrenics at the writer's conference told me. :)

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Faybe Bay, I have not written much fiction, but would love to improve my abilities in that area. The real people in my life know I am crazy and perfectly sane. Seems most in my family are dreamers and writes. :)

The run away character seems to be a common complaint amongst writers. I have one character, she was renamed from my sisters story, to share an antidote, who has now taken off in her own direction. I really do need to write about her. The last time I checked on her, she was in a bazaar in South America, trying to blend in.

Here is a little something I learned, when some characters ran away: http://hubpages.com/health/Angells-Herbs

bladesofgrass profile image

bladesofgrass 6 years ago from The Fields of Iowa

Absolutely a great hub and to think I was the only one that did that! lol Stunning..I will be reading more of your work. Thanks for sharing.

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Bladesofgrass, I find it amazing how often we feel alone, in the things we do as writers. Things we are afraid to share with 'normal' people, who just don't get it. :)

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