“Writers aren’t exactly people…they’re a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
I couldn’t agree more. I am currently working on my ninth book, so by my count, I have roughly two dozen people running around in my head at any given time. Usually, that is not a big deal. Those who are part of the current effort stay pretty close to my day-to-day thoughts and those who are waiting their turn play cards, or maybe go to the beach; truthfully, I don’t know.
The point is, the little group of people in my mind behave themselves, usually.
I have written before about arguing with Terri, from “The Ghost in the Mini Skirt” over our differences of opinion in story content and, in fact, the sub-title of the book. (Word to the wise, don’t mess with retired dancers).
I’ve owned up to the fact I ate sushi on the demand of Nate, who wanted to impress his wife.
In each of these instances, I think my invisible friends and I handled the point of contention like adults. I admit, there were some who passed by and offered me looks Elwood P. Dowd would be familiar with. You remember him, the guy with a six-foot-tall rabbit, named Harvey, for a friend no one else could see. Jimmy Stewart played the guy in the move.
Come to think of it, Mister Stewart was comfortable with friends, only he could see. He ran around with that Clarence fellow in Bedford Falls. He made a pretty good living having invisible friends, maybe there’s something to this.
Anyway, let me get back to the topic. Invisible friends are great to have, but sometimes, by their very nature, they are frustrating. Take Clare, Nate’s wife in “The Tenth Nail,” and holding her own in book two, “Dead Men Walking.” Clare is smart, attractive, the mother of two, secure in who she is, and a red head.
I have always had a thing for red heads. Maybe it was growing up watching I Love Lucy, or more likely Ginger, on Gilligan’s Island. Man, I wanted to rescue her. The rest could stay on the island, but Ginger was another matter. In my adolescent mind, I was her hero. Whatever the reason, red heads have an extra quirky gene and most of them know how and when to allow it to run free.
Such is the case with Clare. In book 2, Clare is bigger part of the story. She has some issues, shall we say, to work out with Nate. She also returns to college to finish her degree, and I’m in favor of all this. She should know I support her.
The other day, I was sitting in a coffee shop, and talking with another writer, about the possibilities of developing The Law of Moses into a screen play.
For the purpose and time frame of the meeting, Sam, Laura, the kids, Abernathy, Pickles, Tigress, and all the other characters in that trilogy are called to the front of the brain. Everyone else, from all my other books, are expected to go sit by the pool. I mean, there are rules and the rules are in place, primarily, to keep me from looking like a fool.
So, I’m drinking my soda, and explaining the plot of Moses to a screenwriter and he is into it. He’s nodding his head and muttering things like, “that could work, and Oh yeah, good plot twist.” I’m at the point of my presentation where I’m jumping from book one (The Law of Moses) to book two (A Higher Calling) and I happen to look over his shoulder and across the room.
Sitting, alone at a table, books and a computer spread before her was a woman doing school assignments. She’s attractive, thirty-something, and completely focused on her work. Don’t ask me how I know she was doing school work, I just know. I guess she could have been balancing account books, or even writing an email to her mother, but she wasn’t. She was sitting in a coffee shop, not too far from the Missouri State campus and she was doing school work. She raised her head, and saw me looking, staring, gaping, at her. Our eyes met and locked. I felt a moment of fear where I worried I was about to be hit with pepper spray, or possibly tazed. She didn’t do that, she smiled, sipped from her cup, and lowered her gaze back to her computer.
Did I mention she was a red head? She had her hair tied back to keep it from her eyes; her green eyes, that I swear had the shade of meadow in them. She wore a dark blue, cable-knit sweater that came to the base of her neck, but there was a dusting of freckles over her nose, cheeks and jaw line. I have no idea how far south the freckles trailed.
“That’s Clare,” I said in my talking in church voice, and the guy across from me said, “What?”
“That’s Clare,” I repeated and of course, he peppered me with questions. The spell was broken and I tried to explain how one of my imaginary friends had gotten loose. I’m not sure he bought it and I had a feeling I needed to find another screenwriter.
Working with talent is preferred; working with crazy is time consuming.
I watched as the woman packed her computer and slipped her books into a shoulder bag. She shrugged the cases onto her shoulder and headed for the door. As she passed the table where I sat, she, again, smiled, and slipped on a pair of glasses. I heard Clare say, “See, I’d look good in glasses. I want to wear glasses.”
“No,” I said, “no glasses.”
My appointment made his excuses and stood to go. It seemed he was suddenly booked for the next several months.
I heard Clare, “I really want to have glasses. I think I’d look good in glasses.”
“You’re not wearing glasses,” I said.
“I don’t wear glasses,” the screenwriter said, and gave me that look, again.
Clare said, “You can have me wear glasses. They would make me look smarter.”
I closed my eyes, sipped my soda, whispered, “We’ll see.”
When I opened my eyes, the screenwriter was gone.
I am angry at Clare and I’m petty enough not to let her have her glasses, because, well, just because…
I leave it up to those brave souls, who follow my ramblings. Should I let Clare have her glasses? Post and let me know your thoughts.