It’s almost Mother’s Day — btw, have a wonderful day to those of you who are moms of human babies, fur babies or just feeling the earth mama vibe.
As I’m writing this book, it feels like another child struggling to come into being. I have the same “aaugh, what have I bitten off” nightmares, the same outsider sensation of watching a science experiment unfold, the same dreams — president vs. Pulitzer, good mother vs. good writer, monster vs. worst book EVER. The veterans who provide the heart and soul of my book are contrary little men (what the girls call them), who are cantankerous, and tight-lipped about much of their lives. I want them to feel the 21st century need to express their feelings.
When I began studying history, I would find out all the periphery information — so I could wallow in the experience. It would become so real that I would dream in vernacular, my sleep colored with whatever that century offered. For example, when I began studying WWII — I would sleep with my Dad’s flight jacket draped over me. He was on the flight line crew for the P-38 Mustangs, among others. He told me stories of English pilots who came over here to train, after we got in — they would fly in with telephone wires and tree branches caught in their wheels. They hadn’t learned how to land back home — they didn’t have time. So between his jacket, Glenn Miller and the stories I could conjure WWII.
Now, the stakes are higher — I don’t have the jacket and I want people to feel the passing of a generation. How was it for the Civil War soldier to know his story was ending? What did it mean to those attendants to have witnessed another age as they grew up into a new war? Chris tells me I’m trying to be too detailed — but I want the reader to feel that summer sun, to identify with the participants, both the old and the young — I want it to mean as much as it does to me…. now that sounds like a mom 🙂
Tonight, listen to the soundtrack to “Chocolat,” John Coltrane and Duke Ellington playing together, and throw in some “Oklahoma,” because you haven’t lived until you’ve watched your entire family dance to “the farmer and the cowman should be friends!”
“Do or do not. There is no try.” –> Yoda