Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reality Doesn't Bite

The Tune Inn

One of my college profs told me to "write what you know." That's why, when I was invited by a fellow blogger to become part of an "experiment in fiction" last summer, I only knew one way to turn.

I don't do fantasy. I don't do kid-lit, sci-fi, treatises of the confessional variety. I'm a non-fiction devotee.

While Steinbeck, Fitzgerald (more Zelda, than F. Scott, if you want to know the truth) and Salinger were the stalwarts of my youth, I didn't gravitate much beyond their realistic fiction. Truman Capote is my muse. Julia Alvarez and her colorful Mariposas give me a reason to carry on. I'd rather read reality trash like Roseanne's autobiography than anything JK Rowling has ever penned.

I'm not about make-believe. I'm about believing in something. In my world, reality doesn't bite.

To tell the truth, I've never wanted to be a novelist. But Tara R.'s writing project was something I could latch on to. I liked the idea of each one of us writing a chapter. I was so into the fact that we'd be published "instantly," since this project was produced as a Wordpress blog. The immediacy of the whole shebang drew me in.

"and what happens then..." was born on August 3. I got in on the ground floor, as they say, as the author of Chapter 2. And I created a character grounded more in the real world than not. Rosie's a "career gal," of sorts, trying to climb that ever-lovin' DC ladder.

But Rosie's not a "player." She's a person. She hangs out at the Tune Inn, a Capitol Hill dive I know quite well. We "tune up," from time to time, at the Tune Inn, the establishment where Rosie also meets and greets. She works for the elite, but certainly is not of the elite. Nor, I hope, will she ever be.

I've known young women just like Rosie, who came to the "big city" from smallish Midwest burgs, all about changing the system. All about helping people. These young folks find out, soon enough, that there is more than one DC. And Rosie is part of the Capital City that doesn't get much footage on the nightly news.

"and what happens then..." evolved over the summer, and then the fall. Twenty-one bloggers are set to contribute. And I'm debuting today ~ once again~ this time as the author of Chapter 14. Writing about what I know. Trying to stay true to my roots, to my history, to myself.

I haven't "tuned up" at the Tune Inn in recent months. I hear Guy Fieri, of Food Network fame, has his eye on this iconic dive, which holds the oldest liquor license in DC, is known for its grease-infused burgers served in cramped, old-fashioned booths and the deer heads ~ and butts ~ mounted on the walls. The Tune, allegedly, will be featured on TFN's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." Well, I hope Rosie, and her friends, get a piece of the publicity, too. And that the Tune Inn doesn't change its crusty ambiance, just because a network yahoo with bleached-blond hair deigns to "dine" there.

Photo courtesy of The Prince of Petworth.


Susie said...

What a neat way to bring bloggers together!

Julie M. said...

This is such a neat idea! I can already tell I'm going to love your chapters. I'll be checking them out tonight.

How was your Halloween? I hope everyone on your end is doing well!

Cheryl said...

That tidbit about your love of non-fiction took me by surprise. I've always imagined you on the OBX reading a trashy novel, not a memoir.

Jeanie said...

I like reality in a character and in a story also. I will look forward to reading this.

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

Thanks for the links. I shall be certain to visit asap.

Big hugs!

B xx

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm the complete opposite. I avoid reality! :)

Krystal said...

This sounds interesting, I must go peruse it :)

Dishesdone said...

Sounds like a very cool project as does the Tune Inn, I love a grease infused place :)

Reality is fine by me, but a little trashy or silly also fine by me!

K-Ped said...

where is your coverage of los gigantes?? :(

Jenners said...

What a neat project!!!

And I'm shocked at your choice of non-fiction over Harry Potter!! I love nonfiction as much as the next reader but Harry Potter is a modern classic!

Tara R. said...

I am so very pleased you joined in my little project. I have had such fun with it and i think a lot of the writers stepped out of their comfort zone when writing fiction.

If your readers haven't checked out your contributions to the story, they need to come by and read your chapters.

Melissa B, is most definitely a Superior Scribbler.

Lucy said...

I prefer Reality too, even in my non-fiction. Meaning, it has to smack of Reality. I have trouble with 'suspending my disbelief' too much. I read your Chapter 2 and now I must get over there again!

Allyson said...

I am so intrigued by this. I think group writing is amazing and the characters take such involved twists and turns. It's thrilling to see how everything works out. I've bookmarked "and what happens then..." so that I can go and read all the way through. I'm assuming the entire thing takes place in D.C. though since, as I was scrolling through, it seemed like D.C. was mentioned a couple of times. I hope to read it in the next few days, though, as we are at Ft. Lee, VA until the 12th for Neal's pre-deployment training exercises. While I'm not sure he will make it into the city, I have to go because I have my niece's Flat Self with me and she has requested a photo in front of The White House. It would be nice to have some other interesting info heading into it. And I completely agree on writing what you know. It's all I have ever done and it has never steered me wrong. Ever.


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