As most of you know I love to write. I can write nearly as fast as I can talk. The best thing about writing is that I get to go back and edit what I have written and hopefully make things sound just as I have intended. The bad thing about writing is that once it is printed it can be kept forever and there is no opportunity to explain further. The audience gets to interpret and make comments or decisions not only about the content but also about the writer. While a bad conversation can lose significance because there is no proof that it was actually uttered, a badly written document is there seemingly forever.
Most of us talk throughout the day and never think a thing about it but a writer must give some thought to the words that are committed to paper. Let me re-phrase that to say that a writer SHOULD give thought to the words that are committed to paper. Consider the recent news surrounding e-mails. They can be kept and they can be printed and they are waiting to condemn or acquit. Lots of verbosity surrounding the bits of paper but still they remain as part of someone’s story.
Stories are the fabric of life. Some are true, and some are not. Nearly everything that goes through my mind is processed as a story. For instance, when I sit at a stoplight I look around and see people and create mini-stories about them. It does not have to be a stoplight, it can be at a restaurant or church or a ball game. Wild things flit through my mind. I can start a crying jag just fleshing out my setting. Mysterious, fleeting thoughts buzz through all tangled up with hilarious dialogue. For the most part these gems pass right through the memory zone and don’t get recorded on paper.
Now and then an idea sticks and either makes its way to the paper trail or keeps me awake at nights. Lately I have been having a nagging fit to write a story about a Barfly. Not a barfly as in a buzzing, pesky fly that is swatted in a bar but rather the cloak and dagger stuff from yesteryear about the blonde dame who sits at the end of the bar and sees everything through a smoky haze.
Listen for the voice of the guy from the old TV show Dragnet telling the audience about the dame. The Barfly.
I can see her in my mind twizzling her drink and throwing back her head to laugh at something the bar tender says. Sultry is the word that comes to mind and I begin to think of the different ways I can paint her as a sultry dame with a smoky voice, sipping on a cool drink. In a bar of course.
Unfortunately, my personal story hasn’t got much background to inform my new fictional story. It makes sense that a blonde Barfly with a Beehive hairdo would want to sip on a drink. Perhaps something greenish with a twizzle stick of course. I don’t really see her sipping along on a dark brown, carbonated drink through a straw. Although she could lick the Dr. Pepper off the end of the straw now and then. I will have to work on that part of the story.
I don’t have many bar memories to draw from but two distinct bar episodes pop into my mind when I begin to flesh out this story. The first was an old bar out in the middle-of-nowhere New Mexico between Ruidoso and Plains, Texas. We were coming home from a trip to the mountains and I absolutely had to use the bathroom. On the dusty plain amidst the tumbleweeds sat a small shack with several motorcycles in front of it. I think a large yellowish Caterpillar was out to the back and one corner of the tin roof was flapping in the wind.
“There is a place to stop!” I screamed at hubby. He screeched to a halt and I vaulted into the bar. It was small and dark. I scared the guy behind the bar in my rush to find his bathroom. He nodded towards the back and I yanked open the door under the half-lit Coors sign. Relief at last.
The second bar was when we got lost on the way to a wedding up in Michigan. Same story. I had, had, had to go to the bathroom. We were lost on the backside of the wrong kind of neighborhood, but we found an old bar on the corner. We bumped across several potholes getting to the door and I rushed in towards the back, took care of business and rushed right back out, found the wedding, and had a great time.
Drawing on the VAST experience from my own story I offer the first line of a new story:
The honey-blonde batted her green eyes as she patiently waited for her drink. Her polyester Beehive was hanging on valiantly to the back of her upswept “do.” The room was quiet except for the soft scratching of a leather, pointy-toed boot upon a skinny shin bone. “What’s a dame gotta do to get a Dr. Peppa in a joint like this,” she whispers under her breath.
…To be Continued…