It was Memorial Day and I still had to work (the Census never stops), so I was a little bummed out. But, I only worked half a day so I decided to pay a little visit to a nice little German town called Helen, north of Atlanta (about 105 minutes).
It was a nice drive (except for the intermittent rain and for the torrential downpour on the way home that turned a two-hour trips into a 4.5-hour trip). Scenic. No traffic jams.
I got plenty of stares and not just because I was a black man so far from Atlanta. I had my Navy hat on and some people remembered the men and
[caption id="attachment_2653" align="alignright" width="150" caption="USS Blue Ridge (GO NAVY!)"][/caption]
women who made tremendous sacrifices so we can read this enchanting little blogs on Wicked Writers.
Anyway, I struck up several conversations with people and got some amazing reactions when I informed them that I was an author. It really is true that everyone is a writer, but most will never be published, though it was nice to hear their dreams.
I decided to write a few of them down (as I had naught but a pen and notepad with me) and share them with you (the names are not full to protect the innocent):
Steven B., Cornelia, GA: My idea for a story came from when I was the star pitcher for my little league team. I was pitching in my fifteenth game without allowing a runner of mine to score. I never thought about what kind of achievement that was until my own son broke my personal mark. Imagine that. All these years later. Like father, like son. I should have written it down for my kid. One of these days, I’ll get around to writing all of this down for my grandkids, I guess.
(Poignant story. And it was true. Except that, according to his wife, Steve was a relief pitcher who the coach brought in to face one or two batters. And, though he didn’t allow any of the guys he put on base to score, he let every inherited run cross the plate. Still, it was his memory, something he could share with his kid and why should a guy like me try to mess it up)
Jolie, Savannah, GA: No, she isn’t French. She was named after Angelina and just moved to Georgia from Oregon. She wants to be a cook like Rachel Ray and Paula Deen. She may have to expand her horizons, though. She was sure that she could make a cookbook of nothing but recipes using peaches. She had the most scrumptious idea for peach cobbler that she was sure would go over well. If only we hadn’t been in GEORGIA, home of the Peach Bowl, I could have imagined her name on Food Network.
Eddie Q: A most intriguing man. He hails from Jamaica and is thoroughly disgusted with how his government screwed up bringing drug kingpin Christopher Coke. But, he had a recommendation for my library once he heard that I wrote horror and science fiction:
My friend, you should really read Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction. Very funny stories. And many scary stories with ghosts. No, no, I would never write one myself. I get goosebumps just thinking of them. Take care, mon (sic).
Note: Alas, the book (full title: Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction, edited by Nalo Hopkinson ) is currently out of stock on Amazon, but I hope to get a copy soon. The description has me salivating
And finally, we have Cuke (yeah, something about liking cucumbers or something; don’t the nicknames your friends give you really suck sometimes?). I got his stuff recorded on my iPod, so these are really his words:
Cuke: Yeah, buddy. You really a writer? Hey, listen here. I got me a great story, much better’n(sic) what them sissy boys in Hollywood keep putting out. Jesus, hallelujah, what’n (sic) hell do people see in them “Sex and the City” gals? Ain’t got no bodies. They need to get on down here to Georgia, see ‘em some real women.
(There is actually a point to this whole thing. Bear with me)
Cuke: I got me this idea for a good book. Would make a helluva good movie, too. See, there’s this woman, she’s trying to hold down the farm ‘cuz her man is killed in a farming accident. Some other men come looking for her, trying to take the land for some big corporation, but she won’t sell. So, they try to force her only to realize that she ain’t no ordinary housewife. She is actually a secret agent whose memory was erased, but realizes who she is in time to save her family from the bad guys. She then goes after the evil corporation that wants her farm, only to discover they’re a bunch of terrorists let into the country by their pal Oba…eh, I mean Osama (apparently Cuke just realized I was black). She has to stop them singlehandedly from destroying the whole country.
I done based her on some of the best-looking women in my life. I imagine she’d be like Angelina Jolie, mixed with Cindy Rock and one of them Asian chicks. Y'know, from that movie with all the people getting beat up with karate or something. Think that’d sell in Hollywood?”
[caption id="attachment_2649" align="alignleft" width="140" caption="Angelina Jolie +"][/caption]
(I hated to disappoint Cuke by pointing out that: 1) the housewife sounds like Geena Davis in “Long Kiss Goodnight,” 2) that he probably meant Cynthia Rothrock and [ insert name of Asian "chick" ] and 3) that none of those women comes from Georgia. But, I didn’t because the conversation when the women in his life – his wife and teenage daughters – walked up. It was obviously that none of them
[caption id="attachment_2651" align="aligncenter" width="122" caption="Cynthia Rothrock +"][/caption]
was the basis for his housewife-cum-secret agent, but I didn’t rock the boat.
[caption id="attachment_2652" align="alignright" width="112" caption="Some Asian chicks = bad news for Cuke"][/caption]
Did not want to get hit by the blood when they landed on Cops.)
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All I could really say afterward was that, as writers, we should never run out of ideas. If we do, we can just ask the general public. They’re a goldmine of ideas -- well, most of the time.