Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Piece by Piece, Only Way to Make a Work of Art..." - Stephen Sondheim

I don't presume to know how my novel will turn out, so I don't embrace that "work of art" part of the lyric by Stephen Sondheim (one of my heroes) entirely, but I fully embrace the meaning. That is the only way to do it. Today, I got a little more insight into my main character, who starts off my novel, specifically his childhood, which is most important, since his father divorced his mother when he was very young. I'm not yet sure why, but I know that's part of what makes him who he is. He didn't know why his father left, but he sensed that he had to step up and help out as best he can, young as he was. He feels like responsibility always weighs heavily on him, but accepts it at the start of this novel because that's all he knows.

Then at Target in Golden Valley--part of yet another long Sunday of errands that I don't mind so much now because I need to look around at the world to gather material for this novel--I found a journal that I'm going to use to keep track of my novel, with character details, places, possible lines for my characters, idle thoughts relating to all of it, and more.

It's a hardcover journal, and the front is a cluster of houses, one with a clock embedded in the triangular roof, and the front house has only the upstairs as a possible residence. Downstairs is a bakery with a "Bakery" sign hanging in front of a window that has a long loaf of bread, and baguettes and french breads in three baskets, and rolls next to that loaf of bread. A long two-seater bicycle sits in front of the shop. Next to, and slightly behind, the bakery is a three-tiered water fountain with dots of sky-blue water shooting out the top. The back cover is a lone blue house, tall, thin, with a red door at its left.

It's such a comfortable scene, and when I saw it, I knew I was going to buy it because it makes me think a lot about where I'm going to put my two main characters. They're going to travel, one ahead of the other, but I'm not sure yet of the route. It won't be by plane. This will be a road trip, but different because each one is solo.

On the inside cover of the journal is three tall houses side by side with the left-side house a dark blue, the middle house with the clock a somber orange, and the right-side house an aqua color. Above the right-side house, slightly diagonal is the sun. Below all three houses is the word "hello" in cursive. It's appropriate since I've only just begun working on and writing this novel five days ago. On the first page after the inside cover are three blank lines, and that two-seater bicycle (which I've just learned from Wikipedia is called a "tandem bicycle") a few inches below it. On those three blank lines, one beneath the other, all equal length, I wrote, "For a journey with two of the most interesting characters I will know."

After finding the journal, I went to the book section, and in the main aisle where the latest books are, I saw a woman in a white dress that had a fruit pattern all over. I don't know yet if my main female character would wear a dress, but I think she would wear a pattern like that. I've also found out that she loves doing paper art, but I'm not sure if she's an origami type. And in Walmart Supercenter after Target, finding copies of the Summer 2012 issue of Flea Market Style, I remembered that I bought a copy at Pavilions out of curiosity, and felt a spark at Walmart from looking at that issue. This is her lifestyle. She loves flea markets. She loves to buy disparate items and fit them into her own kind of pattern. She's not unique for the sake of being unique. She's always been this way. Fearless, but missing something.

It has been a really good day because of all of this. Later I'll flip through Flea Market Style and see if anything in it is part of her life. I want to go back to developing him as well, but it's her turn now.


  1. I have abandonment issues, just in case you need someone to tell you how it feels. Over and over again.


    1. For my main male character, it's not so overarching to him. He has a fairly decent life as an artist, but since he seemed to have had to grow up fast when his father left him and his mother when he was so young, he feels like he's missing a familial connection that he wants to find. I'm not sure what his mother is like yet, though certainly her husband's leaving affected her deeply. I still have to work on that aspect of his character, how that affected him, seeing her react to it and try to live through it in the weeks and months that followed. It's something that informs his work, gives him focus, but he still feels like he's missing something and he has a lot of unanswered questions, which aren't easy to find answers to because he thinks there's no one that can answer them, and even if they could be answered, well, there's no true answer, is there?