Community


This is the picture that I posted on my Facebook page yesterday to honor my Irish roots. It was all in fun, but it also served another purpose. You see, I've had a friend has been really sick for the last week with the onset of Guillan-Barre Syndrome. It's a disorder when the bodies immune system mistakenly attacks the nervous system. Today, my longtime friend Kert lost his battle. The worst part is that it wasn't his first battle with it. He fought it 18 years ago and made it. Somehow, we all expected that this time would be the same. But despite the hope, we lost a good friend.

So why the pic? Because this was exactly what he would have done or liked. He would have enjoyed the sheer idiocy of it. So for him, I'm keeping my pic the same for the rest of the month. And for him, I'm going to talk about Community in writing.

You see, I come from a very small fishing community. The place itself is part of a larger town, but like most parts of Maine it is broken into areas. Mine is Cundy's Harbor. Several years ago I attended a workshop given by Jennie Crusie regarding Community as Character in writing. This sounds odd, but really it's such a big part of what we do. We create fictional places, populate them with fictional people and bind them together with fictional bonds. But as writers we know that all of this comes from what we see around us. What we've experienced. Those things that live within us.

I was blessed to have the upbringing I had. I lived in a town that was one main road in and out. No street lights, few stop signs, and everyone eventually knew everything there was to know about you. Whether you wanted it known or not. I still consider it home even though I haven't physically lived there for over 20 years. It's my safety net and it's the place I retreat to when I feel threatened.

The people that make up these kinds of communities are good and bad, happy and sad and they experience joy and loss.  They are the lady that runs the restaurant, the minister and his wife, the guy who heads up the volunteer fire department, the lady that rarely speaks to anyone, only waves from her window. It's my grandmother who lived in the house beside the road and across the street from her brother and his wife. It's Sid who sold us penny candy out of the case when we were supposed to be on our way to Campfire Girls. It was long summer nights spent out until the moon was high in the sky. It was getting one of the local boys to give you a ride in his skiff and it was Halloween parties when you mother played the fortune teller.

These are the kind of rich details that make up a community. They are the kinds of details that make people like me want to share that world with others. People like Jennie Crusie and Deb Macomber understand this. They know that people identify with it and even if they've never lived in a harbor, they can identify with it.

I hope I'm a better person for it and I hope that I can do it justice. For my friend Kert... you will be missed. If I had a glass I'd raise it. But maybe I'll just immortalize you in fiction. You'd like that. Best wishes friend. Say hi to my mom and I'll see you on the other side.





A Cry for Help






I've been working hard on the revisions of Stealing Thunder and having a hard time with the ideology of the force that creates the backdrop for the storyline. My mind kept wandering back to an episode of Castle. The Scared To Death episode where he calls Wes Craven for help with a case. So far, I've replayed the clip multiple times and I think Mr. Craven just may help more than Castle get his butt out of this alive.



Enjoy!


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