May 13, 2007
I thought of telephoning my daughter on Mother's Day, because she's one of my favorite mothers, but, daunted by the possibility of overloaded phone lines as well as the incongruity of the idea, I've decided not to, at least for now. She tells me I always said that Mother's Day was a contrived, commercial holiday anyhow. Of all my motherly instructions, I don't remember saying that.
I'll visit my own mother in the nursing home this evening, as I do almost every evening, and help her get through her dinner. I plan to remind her of the Mother's Day when she requested plastic pipe for her garden as a present, and got it. She probably won't remember that, but I always liked the memory of it as a particularly unique and unsentimental request, and how very like her it was.
I am being urged from all quarters to consider writing a novel set in Fairhope, and I'm pretty sure I'll do it.
As a matter of fact, I do have a novel on a floppy disk, or 50 pages or so of one, with Fairhope characters in it and a backdrop of the town as it was in the 1950's when I was growing up. It deals with a relationship between two women who grew up together in a town that was begun as a Single Tax Colony. I started writing Trav'lin' Light in a desperate mode when my lifelong friend Jerry Newell died. She had been very ill for a year and I hadn't known. I had to find some way to pay tribute to this extraordinary woman, whom I had seen blossom from dirt-poor beginnings to a life of sophistication and polish, who was the wittiest and one of the most creative people I have ever known; who was complex and confounding, at times merry and fun-loving, and yet capable of the greatest depths of depression a person could know. I wanted her back, and I wrote her back as best I could.
I'll get back to that book, which has been hatching for ten years, after I write the novel set around the turn of the 20th Century in Fairhope, the novel that has Marietta Johnson as a principle character and deals with the unique aspects of the little village that Fairhope once was. This one is in and embryonic stage in my mind, but it has a premise and a galaxy of characters begging to be born. I feel sure they will beat their way out of my brain and that one day soon the book begin to take shape.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if my Fairhope novel turns out to be a trilogy, if only I could find a story I could love in today's Fairhope. Hmmm...does one set out to write a trilogy if one hasn't even completed a novel? No wonder it's hard to make a start!
Then there are my blogs. I don't contribute to them every day, but more often than this one, I find myself having a good time on my food blog. You really should visit it sometime.
When I added "all that jazz" to my title above, I was speaking literally. All that jazz music is surrounding me as I write this, the old vinyl records I am transferring song by song from album to hard drive. I have about 300 songs selected so far, ranging from Daddy's Duke Ellington bands of the 1930's -- themselves transferred from the old 78 rpm's in the 1950's, to a song by Doris Day accompanied by Andre Previn, a tune or two from the old Nat King Cole Trio, and one from Teddy Wilson, another from Count Basie, and on and on. I'll pick up an album and say, "Here's Sinatra doing 'Nice Work If You Can Get It,' I'll want that one," or "Got to have Carmen McRae one 'Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most,'" and pretty soon the day is gone.
The novel/trilogy project will have to wait. In the meantime, I've printed out a copy of When We Had the Sky and donated it to the Marietta Johnson Museum. The Museum promises to make it available to the public. In the meantime, Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree is getting dusty on shelves at Page & Palette and Martin Lanaux Bookseller. Check out the link to Finding Fairhope on this page.