Friday, September 11, 2009

Let Me Introduce You

I’ve written about how I receive or “catch” songs that seem to be traveling through the universe in search of a composer. I’d like to introduce you to some of the wonderful characters who appear and ask me to write their stories. My short stories and novellas are mostly character driven, the plots unfold as the individual shows me more of her/himself. Eventually, I’ll post snippets of my writing so you’ll have a sense of these folks in context of their stories. But for now, there’s:

Cory, who came to me in a vision of a small boy standing alone in front of a large mirror in the hallway of their family mansion. He’s wearing his sister, The Ice Queen’s, fuzzy pink slippers and a pair of flannel pajamas. Cory drapes long strands of shimmering, silver tinsel over his blonde hair and smiles at the reflection of the most beautiful little girl looking back at him from the mirror. Gotta love him, right? Who is this child? His story becomes one of a brave transgender woman in “Waltzing With the Azaleas,” available as an on-line read at

Then, there’s Jenny, who plaintively told me, “I hadn’t planned to kill anyone when I left the house that morning.” Her life took a major reroute in a split second, and kept unfolding from that point on. She is one of the characters in “Best Laid Plans,” (still in process).

In “The Three Muses,” Winnie is about to check out with an overdose of alcohol. Her life just isn’t working and she’s tired of the struggle, until three witches/muses/hallucinations/spirits/angels (?? I still haven’t figured out exactly what they are) step in. Gwynyth, a bag-lady like visage in a ragged housedress of faded indefinable print and a tattered musty sweater several sizes too large for her scrawny frame had aimed for Winnie’s porch, but missed and landed behind the Hoover attachments in the utility room. By way of introduction, she merely states, “I’ve been sent,” and that Winnie can consider her a guardian angel. Winnie, however, is a “big job” requiring the assistance of Gwynyth’s pals AfroDidee and Fate. These three loveable apparitions entertained me by their antics throughout the whole story.

Occasionally, I choose an event from my own life that I want to fictionalize. It’s almost like a cast call—when I form a loose idea, all of these amazing characters show up to audition for the parts. By who they are, they take over the story line and do with it as they will.

Paddle, a young girl pushing chili in a roadside café, meets Lucas Plumb, a new age hippie mystic who passes through Paddle’s life and introduces her to life beyond the bayous. Paddle hitchhikes to California where her life is turned around forever. Along the way, she meets Arizona Pancake and Kiowa Sue Lafner who sign up for the zany adventure of life in Berkeley and San Francisco. “Paddle” is one of the stories in a collection called Returning that is being circulated for publication.

The amazing thing about this story is that I started with the idea of writing about a cross-country trip from California to Colorado with my friend Gerry where she lost her wallet and we wound up staying in a mission overnight. Fortunately, the “cast” allowed me that little snippet within the larger story.

If you write, please let me know HOW you write. Are you disciplined? Is it anarchy? Who is in the driver’s seat? How much control do you exert over characters? Are you plot focused? Truly, I’m fascinated and would love to hear. My e-mail is if you can’t figure out how to leave a comment on this blog. Best to you…write on.


  1. Hi Jo,

    I don't write non-fiction - that's an art form that escapes me at this time. But for my blog, the inspiration comes from within - as though it flows through me from another dimension. Certainly I am typing on the keyboard - but who am I really? - Something else is doing the driving. My only discipline is that I try to write a little everyday with ideas formulating prior to writing - nothing magical tho... Thanks for your writing!!!!!!

  2. Hi Jo,
    I loved your thoughts, questions, and recollections on art. I, along with the old adage, believe "Art is in the Mind of the Beholder," whoever, or whatever, that may be. The touching part about maintaining friendships; well, that's in the mind of the beholder too, isn't it? That's what can makes them all so special...or so painful. Keep on writing...I so enjoy your journeys. Create Peace