Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dragonfly

Creativity doesn't wait.

Just because I'm in the middle of final edits (I hope!) on one manuscript doesn't mean that other ideas and plot lines don't tug at me. Usually they do so at the most inconvenient times. Like small children, story ideas can interrupt conversations, distract you from work, and demand your attention while eating or in the shower. And also like small children, they can dazzle you with their brilliance, bowl you over with pride as they develop, and humble you because you know they are a gift from God and not of yourself.

The latest child, ahem, story clamoring for love and feeding is called, Dragonfly. It's set in the Midwest in the 1930s and focuses on the unexpected life changes facing an unmarried, middle-aged woman caring for her aging relatives. I hesitate to call the protagonist a spinster, because she is far from what that image conjures up, and that label may not apply by the end of the story. I haven't added it to my story tabs at the top of the blog yet because it's not fleshed out enough. But I know there will be haiku, dragonflies, and family secrets involved! I have started a Pinterest board for it if you want a sneak peak (just click on the pretty pictures on the right).

One reason for my excitement over Dragonfly is because I'm dipping into my own family history. Relying on half-remembered stories from grandparents about their grandparents' families, I'm filling in the gaps with historical research and imagination. Currently, it's so far removed from the actual facts that I don't dare call it "based" on a true story. It's even a step or two away from "inspired by."

But then again, a recent trip to my grandparents and subsequent poking around in a trunk full of ancient family pictures and old laundry lists revealed a few gems (including photos of a Hollywood estate in the 1920s!) that suggest that the story evolving in my head is closer to the truth than I had thought. In fact, I'm discovering that the story behind this branch of my family tree is stranger than fiction. Cliched, I know, but nonetheless true.

Often, the unvarnished, eye-catching truths are the best way to begin telling a story.

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