Somewhat often, I take the people from my life and insert them into my stories. This is at times a characterization that is exact. It is also, at times, a characterization that is heightened, or not a precise depiction of that person’s real life self. But mostly, these characterizations are a mixture of both.
On one end, the genuine, seamless transfers from life to page are quite easily produced; and expected. We write what we know, remember? In these instances, for example, if I’m writing my brother into a story, I need only change his name. Perhaps even alter his sexual orientation.
On the other end, there are the more radical transformations. For example, I could take Jessica and make her a donkey. This donkey, however, still may be goofy and dance like an old white man. That would be my choice as a writer. That is, I would have the option of creating Jessica as someone that is similar to the real life version, as someone who is somewhat similar but is of a different species, or someone who is very different but has a few glimmering Jessica moments.
These are the choices. These are the options. To glean from those folks around us, to relish, to construct. And it is often I find that the more embellishing, enhancing, and heightening I do, the more these particular examples mean to me; the more I love them.
In one particular case in A Thousand Screaming Rabbits, I describe a scene that includes my mother, whom I love so deeply and dearly. Only in this example, the woman tragically, and somewhat satirically, dies.
Here it is:
Wiping the earth from my legs and wrapping the sheets into one big hobo satchel, I head to the front door to toss the loot. Outside, warm breezes pass and dance along with the fallen palm fronds. A baby, from a nearby apartment, cries without ceasing. A single mother, I think. The smell of fragrant, salty soil and the crying infant makes me think of my mom. It was just two years ago when she and that fucking bumblebee killed each other. Closing my eyes, I tell myself I can’t go there. Not ever again. Not like before. I tell myself, like the many thousands of times before, that she’s in a heavenly realm watching over me- a rhythmic chant as some sort of happy hallucinogen. With my eyes squinted, I think I can just make out an image of her tap dancing in the sun. She wears her round floppy hat and thinks she’s Gene Kelly. I open them but she’s not there. Just the warm breezes and that bawling infant.
Added another scene to the end of Chapter 6. To make it more revelatory, I think. Started Chapter 7. Alasdair is on the road, onto Flagstaff, with Shamus and Magdalena.