I live in between the spaces on the page. Illusion has to balance with what I am trying to say without force feeding you the reader. So I blend a careful recipe of what life has shown me to be true with a way of letting the reader hear a story. Ultimately, the hope is that the reader will take home some of what I have written to think about. There is no guarantee of that, of course, because as soon as the words leave me to travel on their way, readers see what they know in between the spaces. It makes for a great deal of excitement when the two views find each other again.
I knew a beautiful woman with bright blue eyes and a smile that never deserted her. She lived in Minnesota and was a librarian for a college of women. She never ran from learning, in fact she often ran towards it with a smile that increased by the second. Rikki Tikki Tavi was her role model and I’m not sure she ever met a snake that she didn’t understand. She had a singular motto, “What can I do for you today?” She was an unusual species of woman, more concerned for others than herself. She would be an excellent model for a character. Honor, loyalty, someone we all hope to meet someday. It’s the essence of a character that appeals to most of us. When someone like her appears in a story, we know something good will have to come out of it.
Then there is an antagonist who will do everything to undermine the stability of a life. Perhaps an old boss, or an abusive husband, or someone that lives in the shadows that is unpredictable and out of focus at the beginning. It could be written as a fairy tale character, or an insect. Notice I don’t list the villains I know, that would be imprudent. But a story can’t live without a conflict, the more unusual, the better.
Then there is the protagonist, use me. I’m a mom, living with my husband, a grown child, a couple of dogs, and a cat. I’m always running to get to the next thing that needs doing, and somehow I’m always late. Somehow the keys slip to the bottom of my purse. I forget presents for people who really could use them. I’ve been young and middle-aged. I’ve been able and unable. I was Super Woman, but that didn’t work out so well for me. School was never a place to be avoided, I knew everything at one point. Well, I thought I did. So, sometimes stories are me mixed with other traits. I find it amusing to torment my poor main characters. It’s only fair. I know how to torment them best.
I like to watch people and imagine meeting them. Would they interest me, hold that interest and pull me into their lives? The good ones might. Some of them might be predictable. I’d love to meet people like Bryce Harper, Mr. Werth, and others from the Nationals. I’m a big baseball fan. I’d love to meet the grounds people at the National Zoo. If a driver on one of the Metro trains that runs through DC ever started talking to me on his or her way to work, I’d listen. You never know where your story will find you.
I did find a story. In-between the spaces of my notes, an idea started forming. I saw it in a few of the poems I’ve written. I’ve been chasing it for ten months now, and it’s almost to the very end. Just like this blog.
See you soon,
Ann WJ White