How Did We Get Here?

Still technically morning,as it’s ten minutes to Skye’s treat (aka noon) so, technically, I am posting on time. Besides posting on the scheduled days, I’m giving myself the added goal of posting in the morning, when my brain is the freshest. If, that is, any brain can be fresh during a streak of humid, hot weather. I was not made for summer. Whatever whichever distant biological ancestor of mine did, back in merry olde England or Ireland (my birth mother’s last name puts her ancestry at southwest England or County Cork, most likely, and that name is very common in a part of Virginia where convicts were transported, so I think drawing conclusions is not that much of a stretch) to get booted from the British Isles to American shores (and the south, no less) I hope it was worth it.  Not that they likely had any say in the matter, unless it was a choice between transportation or hanging.

Maybe I’m reading it wrong. Maybe they worked hard, bought a ticket to a new life and were happy to make the change. Maybe it was a long haul of indentured servitude before they got freedom, a change of clothes and a mule. (Yay, colonial research, I use you yet again.) Who can tell? Since I was adopted at birth and don’t know any of my biological relatives, I’m probably not going to know, so I can fill in the blanks at my leisure. To this day, I remember the lovely white-haired Virginian gal at our church back in the old country, throwing her head back and laughing when I told her the name of the hospital on my birth certificate. “Oh, honey, that’s redneck country. You’re white trash.”  Lovely gal was part of an adoption triad of her own, and we had a long, illuminating conversation that day about what it was like to be where the other one was, searching and not searching, and coming to terms with some questions not having answers. I laughed, too, not because any group of people are intrinsically funny (except for comedians; they kind of have to be) but because that answer felt right.

It’s not a concrete answer, not a specific, but it’s close enough. I’ll take it. Going from rural Virginia to a one bedroom apartment in Manhattan at the age of three days must have given me a taste for adventure at a very early age. Moving, at the age of nine months, (okay, my parents were the ones who actually did the moving; I pretty much lay there the whole time) to a town steeped in colonial and Revolutionary history (oldest Catholic church in NY state, oldest burial ground, British burned the town to the ground but for one lone house, stone walls built by Dutch settlers and still in use, thankyouverymuch, library that was where John Jay’s kids went to school, etc) must have imprinted a love of the eighteenth century in me, so I’m not surprised that it’s turning out to be my default setting when writing fiction these days. I can live with that.

Ugh. Brain drifting, which is normal in August humidity, but I kind of need my brain for all that writing stuff. Putting a book together requires brain cells. It also requires notebooks and legal pads and Spotify and inhaling other books and period dramas, and the occasional ice cream soda (replace with hot cocoa in winter, thanks) and a mountain of gummi bears (Swedish fish also acceptable and possibly more conducive if writing a Viking story. I am not currently writing a Viking story, but that would be really cool someday.) Add in a thousand other things, as I am a magpie, and collect various bits of shiny to add to my stash until it all comes together in something that actually looks storyish.

The last couple of days, I inhaled the realm of possibility (sic) by David Levithan. and am nursing a serious book hangover. The depth of emotion, the brilliant beauty of language, the voices of twenty different students at the same school, telling one cohesive story that asks the readers to do some filling in of blanks – :happy sigh: I want to hit the snooze alarm on this one, spend five more minuteshoursdaysyearscenturiesmillenia there, and see what I can take away and put into my own work. It will be something different when put through my own filters, but that’s what it’s meant to do.

I was going to say something here about writing being a sort of alchemy, but then my brain drifted off, and my time for blogging today is done so I am going to leave it at that. My characters need me, and it’s really not in my best interests to leave them unattended on days like this.

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2 thoughts on “How Did We Get Here?

  1. Your adoption description caught my eye. As the father (my wife was the mother) of four adoptees (and none the old-fashioned way) I always wonder what it was like on the other side. Being the mid-sixties when we started, we requested a racial mix and ended up with two Koreans, one American Indian, and one zebra (real blond mother, black athlete father). They all seem to think they are WASPs.
    My suspicion now is that our naive attempt to better the world may have been a little misguided, but they are all functioning adults and, unlike some of your family (possibly) have never been in prison.
    I look forward to checking your work, not yet having run into your name on a cover.

    Mike

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