Friday, October 1, 2010

emily

Emily smoked cigarettes and ran marathons.

Although she could give you entire stories including dialogue about when we worked together fifteen years ago, the statement above as well as a couple of other things stand out to me about Emily. I forgot the rest. My opinion is that you reach a certain point in life where you start automatically filtering information for your own movie. This, I think, is because you reach a certain time when if one thing enters the brain then you must assume something is going to leave. The infinite knowledge of youth becomes one damn calculus problem of the aged.

I know plot is important.

Scene, pace, conflict.

but

I am character driven. A writer need only introduce me to those humans in their head to get me hooked. And I must admit to my admiration for those characters slightly twisted. Just slightly, mind you. Maybe something about them is uncompromising, they threw out at least one rule in the rule book in an effort to say I see what you're saying but I'm gonna do it like this.

I chalk this whole love of characters thing up to the fact my life has been filled with some of the most wonderful, beautiful, slightly twisted humans.

Emily didn't just smoke cigarettes. She smoked about two packs a day following her morning run. Her hair was a beautiful red, and her body was dotted with freckles. There was a certain style about her, very fashion oriented and she wore it well. Everything you needed to know was in her eyes and her smile. She was passionate and insecure all in one breath.

Maxine had an affinity for all things shiny, sparkly and over the top in a small, rural Mississippi town. She simultaneously had two lovers who were brothers, which didn't seem all that odd.

Betty Sue and Lambert didn't talk for twenty years, although they did stay married and never gave up on cohabitation. Then, I guess, one day they said hello and for the last years of Lambert's life they laughed and made plans together.

Billy drove an Oldsmobile and called it The Silver Streak. He had the perfect face with deep grooves caused by all that smiling. He and his brothers had been heart throbs. Boys with not much money but the looks to get them where they wanted to go. If you don't count his mama, siblings, children or grandchildren, I think it would be safe to say he fell madly in love with only one woman and for the longest time that seemed like a sin to me.

BW still thinks the whole world went to hell in a handbasket when women got the right to vote. Before then they were property. I used to think he'd say shit like that just to stir my pot because he knew what was coming. Hindsight says that guy was serious. I can't help, it seems, but to love him and still warn any woman coming within arms reach of him.

Vondale knitted and quilted and lived as far out in the country as anyone else, although you would think whenever she left the house she was prepared for the paparazzi. She just never seemed to be from around those parts, like maybe she hailed from New York or California right off some movie set. Her husband always appeared to be acting as her personal assistant.

I learned at ten years old what a friend was by watching Roger Rich not be a friend to Mokey Raspberry.

Anita was pissed about her disability and was the one person I would say that genius got in her way.

There are others.

Many.

I have to pick.

Pick them and then write as they travel down dirt roads, past open fields from land so flat you yearn for a speed bump. To red clay banks. Down to where the Gulf of Mexico meets the land and people rebuild lives cleansed by an ocean. Where you can't help but just bow to the power of the sea.



Sweet gratitude + music = Friday.


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