Thursday, November 17, 2005
Virginia ANswers the Question : WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?
Actually woke up thinking it was Thanksgiving today. I'm often delusional!
All in all, I think I'm a pretty good writer, or I wouldn't keep doing it. HOWEVER, once in a long while I come across writing that is so superb, it fills me with awe. This happened on Sunday when I was perusing the New York Times Bestseller List where it allowed me to read the first chapter of MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA.
His writing is exquisite and makes me realize that I am only one rung above a hack!
I get reader mail that tells me I do archetypes well, especially the wise older woman.
Well, of course, that was my mother, Lil. She was the oldest of eight and born in a Lancashire slum called Spake Hazy (Irish pronunciation for Speak Easy). Poor doesn't describe their condition; they were poverty-stricken. She taught herself to read at four and became a voracious reader with an insatiable curiosity about everything on earth. She was the best-read person I ever met in my life and she could stand and quote Shakespeare, scene after scene. My favorite was The Battle Of Agincourt.
She was dominant, opinionated, shrewd, vivid, dramatic and passionate about everything in life. Sometimes when I was small, I was embarrassed to go out with her. I remember once we came across a Rag and Bone Man with a donkey cart. He was beating his donkey. Lil snatched the bloody whip from the old bugger and lashed him back and forth. Then she flung the whip away and said, "Now you know what it feels like!"
She was only 5 ft. tall and wore a size 4 shoe. (It has only been in the last few years that the family has been told the truth. Her mother, my grandmother, was born on the island of Bali to a Balinese woman. My grandma's name was Ada, but really it was Aida. Her father John Holt was a Liverpool shipbuilder who sailed the world. He had 3 wives and she was the youngest of 21 children. (God only knows if he was actually married to the woman from Bali)
Anyway, he brought the child home to Lancashire, but when he died, the other twenty made sure they got the money from the shipbuilding business and the runt of the litter ended up in the slums with more mouths than she could feed.
By the time I was born, the Irish in the mill town of Bolton, Lancashire had moved up a notch from poverty-stricken to Lace Curtain Irish. They still lived in little row houses, but instead of being drunken, idle swines, they had become RESPECTABLE. They overcompensated by mopping the flagstones on the pavement outside their houses and scrubbing their stone windowsills. Then they would rub it with a Donkey Stone to make it white. That's where the Rag and Bone Man comes in. He comes round the streets collecting rags and in return he gives you a Donkey Stone.
My mother was also a witch, an animal-healer, a psychic and people were a little afraid of her. She believed in past lives and reincarnation. She also believed that when you had been back enough times and learned enough lessons you would move on to a higher plane. People called her The Duchess. I now refer to her as The Oracle. However, lately I realize that I am taking over and becoming The Oracle.
I adored her. I was an only child and she loved me with a passion. She has been dead for 30 years and I speak to her every day, although part of me hopes she has moved on to that higher plane.
I did not start writing until after she died and my only regret is that she never knew I became a successful author. She would be proud that I write sexy stuff. That was one of the subjects that fascinated her (especially aberrant sex, Lol.)
I have her Tarot cards and do them often.
My husband's mother, by contrast, was a small-town Canadian lady who was extremely conventional with not much humor. When I got my first book published, naturally she bought it and read it. Referring to the sex scenes, she said to me, "Wherever do you get such notions?"
I replied, "From bloody frustration, not from practice!"
See y'all tomorrow.
Connie Brockway, 2:08 PM19 comments