I used to lie every now and then, like at show-and-tell. Because what I did in my mind over the weekend was a lot more interesting than sharing what I watched Johnny Quest do on Saturday mornings.
So this lying thing comes naturally. If no one gets hurt. And I believe it in my heart.
Okay. That’s stupid.
I’m very content with life right now so I don’t feel the need to lie — even about age. But if I’m tagged by another blogger, why not rise to the challenge?
What was the falsehood in my last post on why I haven’t been blogging?
True. I have been writing on my WIP. I figure it takes me 90 minutes to write 500 words. Three hours for 1000. I hate that there is only so much creative time and energy the good Lord provides me with every 24 hours.It still is my goal to post at least once a week — and set aside time to read other bloggers. But I’ve fallen short of late. I do miss the community of blogging and I’ll be back.
Between the other two, becoming a yoga instructor or falconer — seems most folks think I’m on the road to certifiable yoga.
Not that I am not enjoying the flush of new love with yoga. I just have no interest in leading anybody anywhere.
I check my responsibilities at the door. Lie on my mat and leave the driving to Mary or Shawn or Grace — or Elise. I’ll get to your class someday.
Anyone. But me.
Yesterday, during savasana after Mary’s intense Vinyasa class, I fell asleep. I can’t do that if I’m making sure everyone else relaxes. Or massaging their temples like Shawn, or singing like Grace.
I want to exert and check out mentally. Yeah, I know. Concentrate on my breath, keep my heart higher than my hips, try not to fall on my neighbor during anything . . . but
A girl’s got to know her limitations.
I would not be a good caring yoga facilitator.
I’m selfish with my yoga.
On the other hand, the thought of spending hours on end with a hawk, a dead rodent and traipsing in the woods excites me.
A girl’s got to know her limitations. I know.
The eagle has always been my favorite animal on those stupid personality quizzes, except age 14 — 18 when I went through a dolphin is my favorite animal phase.
I know Auburn’s mascot is a Golden Eagle. War Eagle VII is named Nova. There is no reason on God’s green SEC turf that I would know that (or post a photo on my blog) except that I love, love birds of prey. And he’s the George Clooney of birds of prey. Gorgeous.
Writer, blogger, photographer — all around great person and friend Julia Munroe Martin challenged me to a two truths and a lie blog post after completing the same. I met Julia online many years ago. Happening upon her blog, I became spellbound by her weekly video reports from a perch overlooking a beautiful bay in Maine. Through sun, wind, snow and freezing cold, I got to know her along with her legion of writing friends and fans. I’ve read advance copies of her novels and cried when she lost her dear black lab, Abby. She’s completed novels and keeps a WIP forever on her laptop. Be sure to check out her blog and follow her photos on Instagram. Someday I will make it to Maine, to the coffee shop where she writes. We can peck away on our laptops while sipping our favorite hot beverage (what is yours Julia?) and my standard — coffee, black.
Two truths and a lie why I haven’t been blogging.
1. I’ve fallen in love. With yoga. Finally, a way to stretch out the knots and kinks three decades of running inflicted on my muscles and tendons.
I love it so much that I’ve decided to become a certified yoga instructor. When I informed John of my desires, my plan, he rolled his eyes and said, “Another endeavor of yours that will take lots time and money and result in little or no income to our household. Go for it!” I’ve been able to work on my novel by dictating while on the drive to my classes. The mental toughness acquired by twisting my arms into a pretzel hath unleashed abilities to multitask that for most of my life remained dormant. As I concentrate on the higher mental and emotional aspects of warrioring and downward-dogging, my mind relaxes and my creativity expands.
2. Thenthere’s theever-looming WIP. As I inch toward a finished first draft. School started August 1. You’d think I’d have gotten more done, but finding time to sit and write has been scarce. Other than the dictating I’ve done on my way to yoga, nothing much has found it’s way out of my brain. I have the story’s end wrapped up in my head and it needs to get out on paper. Trying to make that happen by Labor Day.
I did have a productive word count stint with my writing group on Friday. Now to leave the dishes undone and the beds unmade and find consistent, disciplined butt-in-chair, fingers-on-keyboard time in the next two weeks. Once the first draft is done, I’ll set it aside for a month or so and start ruminating and outlining novel number two. Because that’s what would be novelists do to take up lots of time and effort and result in little or no income to their households.
3. And there’s my bird thing. Blogging has taken a backseat to my desire to be a falconer. Okay that’s a teensy untruth in this truth. I’m not allowing myself to go full throttle on the falconry gig till I complete the first novel. Notice I didn’t say until I get the first novel published. Unlike my new passion of becoming a yogi, my falconer evolution requires a daily commitment of seven years. On the short end. Yes, 365 days times seven.
And no, I don’t mean I’ll actually transition into a falcon. Why does it take seven years of mentoring to become a person to whom a majestic bird of prey trusts to return to for food? Guess it’s not like getting a dear parakeet to light on your finger. A hungry hawk might decide to take the finger off. Falconry is another massive project that will take resources that I haven’t earned and time that I don’t have and result in no income to the household.
My husband is behind this falconry thing one hundred and ten percent. That’s not a lie. It’s sarcasm.
Which one is the lie?
And . . . I challenge Kenya Johnson to try her hand at Two Truths and a Lie. I’ve been reading Kenya’s blog for many years and I love her no nonsense humorous look at her life. Her book, The Christopher Chronicles, written about her son and his unique look on life, brings me smiles every time I pick it up. Soooo, let’s see if she’s game to try and fool us. I’ll post my follow-up reveal-the-lie post in the next few days and link to Kenya’s blog. And Kenya, you need to select the next blogger to carry on with their two truths and lie.
In her memorable debut novel, My Sweet Vidalia, Deborah Mantella explores the supernatural symbiotic cord tethering mother and daughter.
Above is the first sentence to my Goodreads review of My Sweet Vidalia. For me it sums up my friend’s first published novel.
I used it to start this post. No use spending a half hour trying to come up with a better sentence.
Because writing — writing what you want to say, struggling over the best way to present an idea — is hard work.
That’s why I’m so proud of Deborah Mantella and the success of her baby, her novel My Sweet Vidalia. And thrilled with the boatload of literary recognition it has received. Set in 1955 rural Georgia, Mantella’s story has spirit-born child, Cieli Mae, narrate the turbulent life of her young mother, Vidalia Lee Kandal.
Mantella graciously agreed to answer some questions to inspire writers and hopeful novelists such as myself. A look into a writer’s mind for anyone who loves the crafted written word.
You’ve lived so many places and been exposed to lots, how did you decide on writing this story? And in the Southern gothic style?
Mantella: This story, or a version of this story, has been with me for some time. I’ve always been fascinated by the intense nature of mother-daughter relationships, be they good or bad. Water rarely runs lukewarm when it comes to anything parent-child, particularly of the mother-daughter variety. Most folks don’t seem to notice how often the child is called upon to raise the parent. This was the scenario I’d wanted to examine from an omniscient and otherworldly point of view.
As well, I grew up in the Northeast. Attended a catholic elementary school where we didn’t know what segregated meant. Where the effects of what was going on in the world outside of our own didn’t affect our interactions. We just were. My friends, my best friends, were of every hue. I was as traumatized by news of the Sixteenth Street Church bombing in Alabama, the assassinations of those four little girls, as I was by the murder of JFK. Maybe even more so because of what they represented. They were me, or as my character Ruby Pearl says of her relationship with Vidalia, “a different wrapper is all.” They were my besties. Someday, in some way, I will pay homage to them. Thus seeds of another fascination took hold for this strange era, that tragic moment in time.
As to the voice of Cieli Mae? Once I decided upon message and that the story could be best conveyed via this particular style, spirit child Cieli Mae’s voice with her impractical yet pragmatic presence and her no-nonsense approach to what it means to be human, just came to me. Organically. As for the rest, I opened my mind further and the voices poured in. Or would it be out…?
Having lived in the Atlanta area for several years, I’d already become enamored of all things southern, particularly those stories which appear simple on the surface but lend nicely to larger messages.
I’m a first-born, and a practicalist. And a bit of a skeptic. I believe in common sense and common courtesy. I also believe a story well told has the potential to change another person’s POV.
Did you find that you write a first draft quickly, then take time with subsequent drafts or do you labor intensively on that first draft?
Mantella: I labor over every draft. I liken it to my inability to leave a room where a picture hangs crooked. If I am inviting a reader into a world of my making, my creation, I am responsible for that readers experience. I need to get it right. Which may go back to that oldest child thing. I work hard so that, hopefully, my reader won’t have to.
Domestic violence and poverty are the only life Vidalia knows. How did these difficult subjects help the theme (themes) unfold?
Mantella: We are the sum total of the choices we make in this life. Coming by way of a relatively sheltered, middle-class, supportive, and fairly stable family, and the protections that combination enabled I took much for granted. Working with at-risk-youth as a college co-ed shed a different light on the value of my privilege. I saw first hand the effects of some type of support, be it from a family member, a teacher, a religious person, a neighbor—just the belief that someone, somewhere, has your best interests at heart, really is that important. It is something Vidalia never had before the nature of Cieli Mae entered her life, soon followed by Ruby Pearl Banks with her own enlightened version of advocacy and comfort. And common sense. Sometimes all that is needed to free inherent strengths long-denied is a prompt from a proper source.
That some women tolerate domestic abuse, endure endemic poverty, unaware of their choices was as foreign a concept for me as it was for spirit child, Cieli Mae, and in need of further consideration and exploration.
A favorite Harper Lee quote is posted over my writing desk, “You never really know a person until you consider things from his point of view.” I consider crawling around in someone else’s skin an author’s biggest perk. That we get to be that other person. As a writer yourself you know that process, that getting to know your characters, giving up all pretense of self, immersing in another’s psyche, one with a different background, different innate personality traits, different life experiences, is as intense an experience as parenting, as giving birth, as anything I’ve come to know. In many ways, even more so.
Any current projects?
Mantella: Well this whole social media thing is a game changer so I am working on that as well as making myself more available for presentations and local book clubs. As far as current writing projects, I am working on a collection of short stories and a new novel, another mother-daughter saga though the relationship involved is very different, quite manipulative, and far less loving, than those portrayed in My Sweet Vidalia!
Thanks so much Deborah. Excited for you and the well-deserved success of My Sweet Vidalia. Can’t wait to hear more about future works-in-progress.
Mantella: Thank you Jamie.
My Sweet Vidalia is available from your favorite bookstore or online retailer. In metro-Atlanta, the book is stocked at FoxTale Book Shoppe, Eagle Eye Book Shop, and many Barnes & Noble stores– including Northpoint, GA Tech, and The Forum.
Well Jamie, if you’d give us something to read, maybe we’d stop by more often.
Oh yeah. Sorry about that.
But I have been writing. On that first draft of that first novel. We won’t call the 50,000 words I worked on about five years ago a novel. Nope.
My daily writing goal is 500 words per day hopefully stretching it to 1000+ words like I did a few days last week. *Fist bump* Those days make up for the days I can’t write at all.
My revised deadline for first draft is Labor Day. Right now Scrivener says I have 86,257 words.
The perfect length for a novel. Only problem is those are 86, 257 first draft words.
Words I will slash, wring my hands and shake my head at how bad some of those 86,257 words are. Some of those 86,257 — big clumps and clusters — will be removed because they don’t fit how the story ended up.
Plan is to add another 40,000 to 50,000 words by September 5th and have a complete and utterly riveting first draft.
Can of corn.
I’ll have completed the first step. Of how many, only the Lord knows.
Is that like 12 in dog years? Or 12 human years that seem to last as long as whatever 12 x 7 is?
It does happen though.
The published novel. <insert angelic choir voices>
It’s happened to many of my friends.
Like author Deborah Mantella. My next post features an interview on her writing journey and debut novel My Sweet Vidalia. She’s racking up well-deserved literary praise for her story of Vidalia Lee Kandal’s becoming. Her awakening into a woman who refused to accept a life of abuse and poverty in 1955 rural Georgia.
An exert of Mantella’s words from my question: You’ve lived so many places and been exposed to lots, how did you decide on writing this story? And in the Southern gothic style?
This story, or a version of this story, has been with me for some time. I’ve always been fascinated by the intense nature of mother-daughter relationships, be they good or bad. Water rarely runs lukewarm when it comes to anything parent-child, particularly of the mother-daughter variety. Most folks don’t seem to notice how often the child is called upon to raise the parent. This was the scenario I’d wanted to examine from an omniscient and otherworldly point of view.
Good stuff, right?
So check back later in the week and I’ll have the complete interview.
Yes. Deborah did it. Woo! Her way with words comes by divine gift —
that and while in her mama’s womb, her dang chromosomes for readin’ and writin’ must have linked up darn near straight perfect.
Deborah applied that talent and worked hard. For years. Turning each sentence, each phrase, twice maybe three times, (and knowing her a fourth and a fifth twist) to find the best expression of what she wanted to say.
I’m not there yet. Not where her talent is . . . cause all us writing birds are cloaked in different feathers.
But most importantly, I’m not to the second edit. Or the third or the fourth revision. Just please not 12 years worth of revisons.
So ta ta for now. Hope head out to the porch and peck out a few words in on the WIP.
Can’t remember if it was the $10,000 college tuition check or a $100 insurance refund — but I vowed never to let a piece of mail go in the trash un-opened.
Well . . .
* * *
I don’t watch much television except HGTV. The Property Bros, Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, Beachfront Bargain. I’m all idiot savant about it.
The one exception being PBS’ Antiques Roadshow. I know. The show that’s been on since Jesus walked the earth. I hadn’t watched it for years, but for some reason — maybe because I’m now antique status — we started watching it again a few years ago.
Monday nights, 8 pm. Sacred.
“We need to go,” I said to my husband last summer. Looking on the PBS site, I learned that you don’t just show up with your grandmother’s faux shark tooth bracelet. No ma’am. In January, you select from the cities scheduled for the next season and enter a lottery. Winners to be notified in May.
Fastforward to this May.
The email said I was a WINNER. And that two tickets would arrive by mail.
Except the arriving by mail part.
You’d think with my sketchy history of tossing away life savings in unopened mail, my guard would be up.
* * *
Last weekend, I reread the email and noticed the tickets should arrive two weeks prior to the event. Which meant, I should have seen them by now. Uh oh.
New Jamie didn’t panic. She waited for the mail to come on Monday. Surely it would be there.
No mail delivered to our basket on Monday.
No mail delivered on Tuesday. At this point, I did something I’d never done. Went down to our post office to ask if they were holding our mail. Had my mail basket finally been condemned by the postal service? It is pretty beat up.
“No. There was nothing back there for you,” the clerk replied with a smile.
New Jamie didn’t panic. She went outside to the trash and rifled through five large bags and a few smaller grocery bags on our driveway. No luck.
Surely it will be in Wednesday’s mail.
That’s when I knew.
I’d thrown it away unopened.
You know the saying I turned my house upside down looking for . . . . I did that and shook it sideways too.
Nothing. Well, a lot of cr@p like bills but no tickets.
In tears, I was so angry.
Here’s the irony.
I don’t really care about antiques. Well, except my husband. I don’t have anything of value to take. If I hadn’t been selected for tickets in the first place, I’d have been a tad disappointed but thought we’ll get it one of these years.
It was that my unfocused, mindless shuffling of paper mistake cost me a weekend away with John. A weekend staying at one of my favorite hotels. It cost me the possibility of meeting a Keno.
For the love of Primitive Windsor Chairs Painted with the Alaskan Flag in Gold Relief!
This called for OYKP. On Your Knees Prayer.
Bending down on the carpet, I clasped hands with fingers entwined.
Dear God. People are in heartbreakingly courageous battles with cancer and others have seemingly insurmountable financial woes. All so very worthy of your power and might. But dear Jesus, if those tickets have not left this property in a garbage truck and aren’t sitting in the Morgan County landfill — please help me.
Search the garbage again.
I got up, headed outside and went through the trash.
First was a small bag containing Chick-Fil-A wrappers. Second bag was bigger. Some mail was on top. Took out a nondescript envelope with a odd stamp. Junk.
Then I saw station call letters as the return address. Opening the envelope, seeing a clock and old stuff —
I thought — cr@p — a letter advertising one of those foreclosure sales on mountain property.
Then I turned it over.
God hears our prayers.
Even those that seem to be taking a bit long to answer.
As far as the Roadshow, I don’t really have anything of value to take, but I’ve got tickets.
I’ve been silent here for a while and nothing like the potential catastrophe of tectonic dinner plates smashing together to draw me to my blog dashboard.
Granted I planted late this year.
But it was so cool till mid April.
Only to turn so very hot.
Eight out of 10 of my Clemson Spineless plants coded.
A prime example pictured above. Alright, a miracle might happen but it is on life-support.
This is very, very bad.
A quick, non-scientific google of my blog post library revealed I’ve blogged on okra more than any other vegetable.
I guess you don’t know how much you love someone till they are gone or continue to shrivel up in spite of all attempts to help them thrive.
In 2014 it was yellow squash. Usually squash sprouts forth like Legos on the floor of a 7-year-old’s bedroom but in 2014 — nothing. The first sentence of that blog post read: Don’t ask me to choose between going all summer without sex or without a squash casserole.
This year the squash potential looks good. So I’ll need to come up with another excuse about the other.
But a summer without roasted okra for lunch? No fried okra for dinner? A pain to fix but something I endure because the kids love fried okra so very, very, very much. (Did I say how much the children love to eat fried okra?)
We’ve had a very hot, dry two weeks. But I’ve watered every night. And yesterday it became apparent, only three okra plants might make it.
Three okra plants in summer does not a happy Jamie make.
So I put on my old, crumpled farmer’s hat and thought . . . Gryffindokra.
No silly. I thought . . . seed.
Maybe a seed cracking open, pushing its roots down into that clay, lapping up my water, growing bit by bit, stretching its leaves, unfurling those yellow flowers. Maybe with seed the odds of having more plants mature would be in my favor. And less expensive.
For those wondering, Clemson Spineless has been around since 1939. Genetically engineered at Clemson, logic infers that Tiger scientists thought spineless was moniker of pride.
With okra it is. As for a football team not so sure.
While buying these pictured seeds today, I mentioned to the woman ringing up the purchase.
“Every okra plant I’ve planted this year has shriveled up. Burnt to a crisp. Anyone else having problems? Any idea why?”
“Soil’s too hot,” came from a tall bespectacled fellow standing beside her, behind the counter.
“I’m going to plant seed hoping it will do better,” I offered in a hopeful chirp.
Silence from the tall fellow in the baseball cap. Well, silence and then he walked away.
Sometimes you get sucked into being the city-slicker-with-faux-dirt-painted-underneath-her-fingernails-in-the-farmer’s-store asking questions looking like the city-slicker-with-faux-dirt-painted-underneath-her-fingernails-in-the-farmer’s-store asking questions —
but I’ve done this a while and realize he’s probably right.
It has been too hot. Too early. But it’s worth a shot.
For pity’s sake, I found a recipe for okra casserole that I’ve got to try.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
Forty-four years ago in Mrs. Brown’s 4th grade reading class, the homework was to create a poem using each letter of your first name to start a line.
When class started, Mrs. Brown called on her pets to read their poems aloud.
I was not one of them. Which was fine and expected.
Then the unexpected happened.
After everyone handed in their work and we were busy at our desks, Mrs. Brown graded the stack of poems at the back of the class.
“Tracy?” Mrs. Brown’s brown eyes looked up and she called my name.
“Did you write this?” she asked.
“Yes,” said fourth grade me who-went-by-my-middle-name-Tracy.
“It’s really very good,” said Mrs. Brown with the lovely brown hair and intense brown eyes.
* * *
I had chosen Time as the subject of my work because Tracy, my middle name, started with T.
I only remember one line of my ditty. The verse starting with the letter C.
Can time be made to rule us?
The question I’ve wrestled my entire life.
When I saw the Finish the Sentence Friday prompt this week:
If I only had . . .
popped into my head faster than the next second clicked on my Fitbit.
More time to clean house.
More time to get to the pool for a swim.
More time to shop for groceries and more time to prepare the greens from the garden for dinner.
More time to sleep.
More time to read.
More time to talk and laugh with friends.
More time to practice that darn backbend for yoga. It’s a backbend for pity’s sake. Forty years ago I could sidle my way to school in a backbend. Attempting one now makes my head spin like I’ve had too much tequila. Half a bottle too much.
More time to slow down.
More time to write.
The irony is if I really had more time, I would spend more minutes puttering around Walmart and Ingles staring at the ibotta app. Do more laundry. Stress more about how I am stressing out. Sign my children up for more activities to fill more time. Lie awake at night more wondering why my body is doing this or doing that. Wondering what the next 20 years hold for my children. Resenting not being able to spend the more time I’ve been given — doing what I want to do.
Time frustrates the hell out of me.
In 4th grade, we measured things by the length of an episode of Gilligan’s Island or how long the wait was for Space Mountain.
Today we measure life in exacting increments.
I slept 5 hours and 0 minutes the other night.
Yes. I scratched out my weight because I’m a coward. Who never has enough time.
I burned 108 calories in a 21 minute, 21 second walk of the dog.
Yesterday took me 3 hours to write two sentences on my novel.
No. The last one is untrue. I wrote at least two paragraphs.
Can time be made to rule us?
I’ve certainly let it lord over me most of my life.
At least I got a good grade on my poem that moment in time 44 years ago.
Looking over this past week, I’m embarrassed to admit what first pops to mind are the things that didn’t happen.
Mainly the lack of writing.
Poor, poor me.
My head screams what a silly ungrateful woman. So many great things happened.
Why does the lack of writing time hang as fog on my positive mojo?
I have quite the powerful inner Eeyore.
Pooh on that. Time to link up with the Ten Things of Thankful crew.
Ten Thankful Things for the week that was.
10. This dog.
A selfie with a dog is a little more difficult than first imagined. Even the world’s best dog.
9. This day.
As you can tell from this photo, it is amazing out on the porch today.
8. This time of year. When everything blooms.
Driving the children to school, walking the dog, any daily task is an opportunity to take in the beauty.
7. Birds still build nests.
This one is in a smilax screen right over my left shoulder. A mockingbird’s work. Haven’t heard any babies yet but she darts in and out every so often.
And yes, that is a Christmas light. I wanted the new mama to have peaceful amibient lighting should she need to feed her babies after the sun goes down.
Or it was impossible to remove 12 strands I stuck in there last December without tearing out the entire hedge.
6. I earned $16.00 yesterday with the ibotta app.
A huge payday for me. Equal to about three decades of ad revenue from my Blogher ads.
I took a 8 mile run yesterday in preparation for a half marathon next Saturday.
This coupled with a Power Yoga class on Friday and my glutes are screaming — as well as the part on the front of your body where your arms attach.
I didn’t even know that was a part. Both left and right of said nameless parts are very angry with me right now.
4. Spell check.
Ibuprophen. (that’s how I first spelled number 5.) An emotional speller, I vagually picture a word and attempt a shot at it. Or I vaguely picture a word and attempt a shot it. With ibuprofen, even spell check couldn’t figure out my first attempt so I had to google it.
My poor spelling analytical ability probably costs me 200 hours of productive scrolling through Facebook or Twitter a year.
Monday mornings since the time change kick my posterior.
There was so much I wanted to accomplish this morning but I got up late — pressing snooze on the alarm for an hour. All morning I felt two, three steps behind. Sluggishly making my bed, a mental flog-fest ruminated in my brain.
How could I start another week feeling down-in-the-mouth and mind?
Then from whence it came from I don’t know . . . the strains of “you’re gonna make it after all” began muscling away at my negatives thoughts.
You know — any of you born early enough to appreciate 1970s network television.
Mary Richards and her hip apartment in Minneapolis. Her job at WJM-TV. Something always going wrong and Mr. Grant getting mad. But not really mad. Rhoda her bestie.
With goofiness and gumption, everything always worked out for Mary.
Have you ever seen this?
I’ve never loved Oprah any more than this clip of her talking about her adoration of Mary Tyler Moore. Watch till she is surprised by Mary around 2:40.
You can’t be a little girl who grew up watching Mary Richards and not love this.
Or be a midlife woman and not have a listing Monday suddenly righted.
New Year’s Day 2015, I resolved to clean out the attic.
This week I made that happen. BAM. One year and three months after my resolution.
We’ve lived in this house 15 years and that’s a lot of time to stuff things into an attic. A recovering pack rat, I tend to hang on to baby clothes, law school textbooks, 1975 televisions and my children’s third grade, third semester report cards because . . . you never know.
I hired the services of a great organizing, cleaner friend and we set to work. After a half-day’s aggressive, ruthless purging, the job was done.
Dust makes a jolly good showing in flash photography. The weight of two carloads to Goodwill, a carload to storage and two and a half trips to the dump lifted off our shoulders (and above our heads).
You know what also caught my eye in the above photo?
These doors. Filthy. They’ve been there covering gaps in the attic flooring since we bought the house. At one time, someone toted them up to the attic but no doubt they’ve been in this house since construction — approximately 125 years.
You wonder what they would look like without 125 years worth of dirt and paint?
When we built a garage apartment a few years ago, we pulled two forlorn doors out of the attic and had them restored.
Pretty amazing that beautiful wood is under all that cr@p. If only the human flesh held up as well.
I’ve been writing as well. Trying to place myself in rural 1940s Georgia.
If only I could go up to an attic and pull a 15-year-old girl from 1948 and ask her what was school like? Follow her to around and see white folk and black folk interacting. What was a segregated society in the Jim Crow South? Water fountains marked Whites Only, and the like.
The old writing adage is write what you know. But what if you want to link the past — or the future — with what you know?
I guess you research as best you can and then put your characters and your creativity in the setting.
My husband loves the Godfather. I doubt anyone would say those films weren’t completely immersed in the mob culture of the time. A brilliant film generated from Mario Puzo’s novel generated from Puzo’s imagination.
That’s why as a writer, I found this quote so inspiring.
“‘I’m ashamed to admit that I wrote The Godfather entirely from research. I never met a real honest-to-God gangster. I knew the gambling world pretty good, but that’s all.’ Who then served as the model for the Don Corleone Marlon Brando played? Puzo looked closer to home. ‘Whenever the godfather opened his mouth, in my own mind I heard the voice of my mother. My mother was a wonderful, handsome woman, but a fairly ruthless person.'” pg. 103, Modern Library Writer’s Workshop
Don Corleone’s personality based on Mario Puzo’s mother? Creative people rejoice!