Friday, October 19, 2012

Fantasies, dreams and European princesses

Let me start at the very beginning, it’s the very best place to start.  I’ve always wanted to write a book, and I wrote a novella when I was twelve.  That should be a sign that many more are to follow, but alas, the characters in Elise and Alycia are long since dead.  And even if they were still alive, it’s unlikely that two published writers, with their two Pekingese sailing across the Atlantic to Europe would want to be the star characters in another one of my melodramas.  Oh, I’ve loads of characters, it’s just that none of them want to do anything but sit on the page.  There was that one woman, what was her name?  I don’t even remember, but that’s not the issue.  She was a very likely candidate for a best seller, but then she went and offed herself in an expensive hotel with champagne and lobster at the side of her bed.  She was passionate, inventive and posh to the end.  But the end did come and her sap of a husband doesn’t interest me enough to write about him.

I moved to New Mexico, romantically, I might add.  (I know you are expecting a torrid love affair, but you are going to have to wait a long time for that to happen.)  No, my romance was with the landscape, the desert, the mountains, the beautiful Turquoise Trail, it all captured my imagination and I had visions of writing Pulitzer Prize winning novels, or at least a Pushcart Prize.  I have the talent, I know I do…so many people have told me so, let’s see, my first grade teacher, even at age 6, I had a powerful imagination.   I told story after story about the European princess who was whisked away by gypsies and sold to an unsuspecting couple, (who happened to have the same last name as my parents!)  I remember when I first read the Princess and the Pea, I knew I was royalty, because my body is sensitive to the least little uncomfortableness.  Even then, fantasizing a different life.  Then there was my 2nd grade teacher, and my 3rd and well, you get the idea.  The most “acclaim” I got was when I was a junior in high school and Mrs. Scott urged me to join the writer’s club at school and I published my first poems in the little publication that we put out and sold for a quarter.  She was a beautiful woman, in more ways than one, gentle and very committed to her students.  For a while, I considered being in love with her, in fact, I used to walk along the street where she lived in the hopes that she would walk out and say, “Linda, darling!  I’ve been waiting for you to come by.  I’ve decided I’m in love with you and I am going to leave my husband and children.  We are going to move to New York and write novels together.”  But that fantasy quickly died when I fell in love with my science teacher, Mr. Tate.  Now that was REAL love.  He was amazing.  Oh, yes, he was nearly bald, but that only endeared him to me.  He was tall, thin, balding, and old, ever so old  (probably 36!)  I didn’t do as well in that fantasy, we did have a little fling, but he ended up falling in love with the music teacher, Ms. Brown, who happened to be in love with the gym teacher, Ms. Ford.   Now this was the 60s so none of this was on the outside, but if you lived in the school 8 hrs a day, you pick up on things.

I all but quit writing after school because I was too busy having babies.  It seems that all my creative energy was put into making them, then birthing them, then taking care of them.  Them and the house, the house demanded lots of attention, too.  Sweeping and mopping and vacuuming, washing clothes, and oh, the cooking. Day after day, another meal, another opportunity to use the French Chef’s cookbook and make daring main dishes and posh desserts, which the hubby then said tasted terrible and why couldn’t I stick to steak and potatoes?  None of the chauteaubriand, or the baked Alaska.  He wanted chocolate cake with the worst possible icing you can imagine, but it was what his mama made and that is what he wanted.