I don’t control my writing ideas, which is great in a certain way. They aren’t synthetic or forced by any means. However, I can have a little trouble getting away from period pieces. I’m not drawn to a particular era…it’s just old ghosts in general. I’ve bounced around, having love affairs with the civil-war era, antebellum era, and birth of rock n’ roll. My latest victim? The WWII pin-up era…yum.
Jenna Lee Ravenel blew into my mind like the sultry apparition she is last night at about dusk. Her essence came out of the drunken breath that her now elderly lover was slurring his West Virginian drawl through. She’s a story too bittersweet to tell on her own tongue. I see her, but I don’t know her all the way yet. I have a feeling she’ll never completely know herself. I think this will be a tale more bitter than sweet, but the kind of bitter we love to keep tasting. Jenna Lee will be trouble for me, and for everyone who reads about her, and I can’t wait. She will be fleeting, hard to hold onto, and somehow will wind up buried in a lost era that can only be dug up again by her long-lost lover. He’s her only hope for her to ever be found again. That’s my premise so far…
I don’t mind I’m doing another period piece. The past is delicious to me. It is the home of scandals, and unfavorable truth. The past is where stories are born, the parent’s of the present. I love to dissect it, look at it from afar, and evaluate it. It teaches me who I am, who I was, and maybe who or what the future will be. The past is a completed tool we rarely use, because it’s a sharp tool. One is bound to get pricked when digging in, and must have the fortitude not to get sucked into the time-warping gyre. It is my job as a writer to go back into these tombs, and unlock the mysteries by finding artifacts of the human soul left in their natural habitats, while being careful not to lose myself there. One must be careful in findings so delicious. Ultimately one can only learn, but never truly go back. Nostalgia is a nasty parasite, and usually hides somewhere with the things that have been swept under rugs. The beautiful thing though, is that it’s all still there, but can no longer hurt anybody as long as they never try to relive it. Just learn from it, and do something great with it. Most, however, cannot.
I have a feeling my Jenna Lee will learn of dealing with the past the hard way, toeing all kinds of lines. I will just sit back, letting my hands do the work, getting lost in her fragrance, her struggle, her scandals, and most of all, her deliciousness that will make her a star. Then, maybe, she’ll make me one.