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.