Thursday, December 11, 2008

In a Key West Hot Tub

Literary characters are a breed all their own. First of all, Maxine, who insisted on being called that name, appeared just as I had completed the first chapter of my 1928 California book. She talked to me and began telling me her story. Naturally I began writing it down, and Maxine and I are off on a little adventure, maybe even a big adventure involving drug lords, lost sisters, murder and mayhem and even a little romance.

Maxine is in Key West now, in June of 2008 and she's come to see a woman who can tell her about . . . well, never mind. Suffice it to say that these two need to have a little heart-to-heart. I could have done that scene with everything hunky dory, just sitting on the patio having this nice friendly chat, but that's not what writing is about. The chat is not friendly and there's a bottle of champagne and a hot tub and a lot of angst and unexpected happenings that move the plot forward.

Everything is subservient to the forward motion of the story. There are surprises and many aren't very pleasant. Maxine, and now Nicole, are both surprising me, and all I do is tell their stories.

God, it's weird.

And in the meantime, poor Carla Curby sits on that Santa Fe train heading to California and I sure hope that when Maxine and I are finished, Carla will be as eager to tell her story.

I'm making pumpkin tarts tomorrow and a very fancy iceberg lettuce salad, and our guest is bring not the bacon but the fish, a whole red snapper that will be baked with garlic and thyme and lemon.

The rain has been general over the South Shore and environs, and we are just glad it's not the white stuff, except for the kids, who crave the white stuff.

Iris is bereft and bawls all the time because her baby is gone. The herd of eleven has been culled to seven. Some old cows, some new. Mary Ann's baby is undoubtedly sad, too, as her playmate is gone. All summer and fall they were calves together and hung out and did calf stuff. So sad.

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