Friday, 8 August 2014

Flexible Author Deadlines and Mining My Friend's Memory Banks for Gold

People in my writing group cried and stomped their feet and got their way this time- our deadline has been extended beyond today! However, I've already made plans to be busy this weekend, so I might just keep the original deadline and turn it in tonight. It kind of makes my eye twitch when I think about working on it some more. I really hope everyone likes it!

I interviewed a friend of mine this week to find out her typical middle-class upbringing as a member of Generation X and a daughter of two Baby Boomers. Some things were parallel to my upbringing, others the sort of thing I'd see on TV and wonder if people really acted that way.

I did this to get some backstory for Jane, since she's got an English name and looks and the writer of this story is slightly more ethnic.

The first question I asked to her and a car full of kids (her own, plus a niece and two nephews) was: what did/do your parents call you?

I got these answers: Sugar britches, pumpkin, honey, girly-girl, princess, and stretch.

But the best part was when they'd say your full name when you were in trouble. However, you have to have a short name in order for this to roll off the tongue. They'd call you Jennifer Anne, or Anne Marie, or Melinda Sue, or whatever your name was.

They never went on regular vacations, but did travel to visit family. They couldn't afford hotels or airfare so dad would drive straight through and they'd stop at roadside rests. I wonder how typical this is to children of Boomers because I can count our family vacations on two fingers and my parents are also power-drivers. How many times have I heard, "I want to get home to my own bed"? Clearly, they've never stayed at the Hampton Inn!

Mom sewed and made matching outfits for the kids. BOTH of us were subjected to this. That, in addition to catholic school uniforms, has resulted in PERMANENT SCARS. Just kidding. It's really cool to have a mother who sews, don't get me wrong. It's the matching outfits that are the killer.

Some of her stories were not so funny:
-a broken elbow (ouch!)
-a cactus needle in her eye (double-ouch!)
-a move to another state when one cat disappeared and the goldfish died before they got to their new house (so sad)

My favorite answer was when I asked her about her mom's fascination with Dolly Parton. Seriously, who doesn't love Dolly? Between the great songs and the sparkly clothes and the huge hair and the crazy heels, she's every woman. I found out that my friend listened to a lot of Dolly Parton and John Denver as a kid because, when I told her that her birthday was the same day as George Harrison's, she asked me who George Harrison was. Needless to say, I was kerfuffled, so I asked her that if she didn't know much about the Beatles (and how had she managed that?), whose music she heard most growing up? The answer was Dolly and Denver.

It turns out that she and her sister had a dance routine to Dolly's famous duet with Kenny Rogers, "Islands in the Stream." Naturally, I told her that we need to come up with a dance routine on our next girls getaway. We might need a few daiquiris first, but it sounds fun!

Jane/author lady

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