Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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I think I've tapped my creative self again. (And probably along with this, Emily the Irish maid -my alter-ego- is starting to want a life story, which means that I have to research 1870's-1908 San Jose thoroughly. ;-) Part of that might be a tribute to my late friend Lia, since Emily is so interwoven with her best buddy Mary Rose, as once played by Lia. Mary Rose was supposed to die in the 1868 smallpox epidemic, devastating Emily, who would take flowers to her grave every Sunday for years. Amazing how characters one plays can take over...)

But the other books keep demanding work. ;-) I've done several pages on "Enderby," the past few days. I sometimes wonder exactly how much period trivia really is crammed into my "crowded attic" brain. Enough that I can pull up things like references to Mr. Eastlake's painting "The Brigand Protected by his Wife" and use it for ironic comments by my heroine. Which then play into puns, and... When I created Flora (originally named Susan), I didn't realize that she had such a wicked sense of irony and humor. For a while, I was looking for her voice, and what happened was that it appeared when I changed her name. What's in a name? (Would the original Pansy O'Hara be as memorable as Scarlett?) But my editors have always commented that my historical fiction gives the feeling of someone who has BEEN there. Well, yeah. Unless I can live and breath the period in minute detail, and it really LIVES for me, I don't bother. But now, I've hit that critical mass of information with a couple of books simultaneously. I can walk into 1814 Margate with its half-built sea wall and the smell of new paint on the summer cottages. I can see 1824 London going dark in a cloud of yellow-grey fog with a sulfuous smell, where little drops of dirt condense on people's faces, and hat-plumes turn soiled and damp as the people wandering through the soup cough repeatedly in the haze. I have been to see the merman exhibited in Picadilly, and the latest hackneyed play at the Theatre de Vaudeville... And of course, I see the rotting manor of Enderby in a detail that surprises me, from the ivy making sport of the falling walls of the stables, to the wood beetles in the filthy back hall, to the neat rows of cabbages in the kitchen garden. I have arrived at Reality, and everyone takes over from there. From this point on, I am just the Chronicler. The stories will tell themselves.

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