owl in winter

owl in winter

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ah, the Reticent One

Here I sit, staring at my computer screen, with my cup of coffee, on a bitterly cold morning in the Ozarks. The sun is just topping over my roof causing the field across the street to glisten. There is brown lentil and sausage soup in the crock pot (if the recipe is successful I'll share it with you) and I am struggling with the MIP. Well, rather, struggling with one of my characters in the MIP. I want to draw her out, coax her to join the party, but she is reticent. She just doesn't want to talk to me. Yet.

I envision her, leaning back in her big chair, in her tidy, sun-lit office, on some street in a quiet section of Philadelphia and she is tapping the end of her pen on her desk, procrastinating, not ready to face the stack of papers in front of her. Her hair is light blond, her features are patrician, she is neither tall nor short, heavy or thin, but somewhere in between. She is a successful woman, although not a glamorous one. Middle-aged. And she is thinking about how she would like to change her life and whether or not she has the guts to just let go and do it. She is thinking about what it might take and what she might have to give up and what she might have to reveal, if only to herself.

I know some things about her, such as, her father committed suicide when she was a teenager and her mother dealt with that reality with a bottle. I know she drove herself to excel all through college and graduated with honors. Her choice was success. Her drive caused her to remain alone.

She will join the party pretty soon, I am confident of that. Our characters cannot help themselves in the end, after all. They like being the center of attention. In the meantime, I need to go out to the store and pick up some items I forgot last night and while I am at it, I'll be searching faces for that set of eyes that could be hers or taking a second look at a house that could be the house she would live in. That's what writers do. We observe. We take it all in and then we strip the meat off the bone and put it into words.

Maybe when I return home, she will be ready to tell me all about it. I would just about bet she will.

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