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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Smoke, Rain, & a Crown Vic with Peeling Paint

I'm still amazed at how wrapped up I can get when I'm writing. And at how limitless writing a story can be.

As I was writing a few days ago, I noticed both these things. My character has a brief encounter with someone who has a much bigger effect than they realize; in telling one story, I have to tell another.

And after I stared writing the person who is just "passing through", I wanted to just jot down a few things about her story, who she is, how she came to be that way. Twenty minutes later, I realized that I had forgotten about dinner, (burnt), my kids, (covered in milk from purposely spraying each other with it), and the fact that I was just writing a basic outline for a minor character. Her story just wrapped my up and spirited me away. There I was, sitting next to her in an old, second-hand Crown Victoria, smelling that old car smell, watching the rain hit the glass, the road ahead of us...I could smell her cheap ciggarette, which she chain smokes, and see the bug bites on her skinny knees. I noticed the way she constantly kept shifting her eyes to the rear-view mirror, like she was worried someone was following us; even though the idea was ludacris, I began to look at the rear-view more than was neccessary.

I became so wrapped up in her story that I forgot MY story...the one I was writing, until she came along and took over things in her quiet, intense way. Which is actually fitting, considering who she is: a quiet, intense, occasionally scary person, full of holes that once were full of sun and life, holes she tries to fill with too many ciggarettes, and a jaded outlook that somehow doesn't seem to fit her young face and her skinny knees.

Once again, dinner and my children are waiting, but now I'm itching to get back to where we left off....a lonely highway, a sky like old parchment, niether sunny nor cloudy, simply greyish-white and blindingly bright...the rain keeps falling, and the tempo of the windsheild wipers matches the tempo of her tapping foot....most of the smoke pouring out of a crack in her window, but enough of it staying in the old car to make it a little hazy, a little unreal seeming...and her story, spoken in her harsh voice, her old eyes staring out of her young face, making and being unmade at the same time...


Sweet Caroline said...

FINALLY. I feel like I was able to breath starting to read your words again. I needed a fix like an addict needs their addiction!

So, I became completely engrossed in this person. So much, that I have to actually ask if this is a real person or did you create this person? Because I got so into this chick that I had to adjust my reading and understand that this is a character. Right?

Yeah...maybe I am getting dazed and confused.

But, did what any good author would do: STOPPED.


Allison said...

She is just a character, not a real person...but I think that it is impossible to completely pull a character out of nothing; we all relate different things from our subconcsious, whether we want to or not. The car is one I used to drive, but the girl...she started as a little speck on the horizon of my main character, and almost immediately after she got in the car, already lighting another ciggarette, she refused to stay a speck, and turned into something much more.

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you're doing well! I want to hear what happens with YOU after your appointment, and be reassured that everything is okay, okay?