Friday, April 3, 2009

Micro Story For A Friday Night

Camille's Fiance

Only in darkness did he feel at ease, sitting for hours just staring out the window. The cold quiet night soothed his growing apprehension. He only asked Camille to marry him because he thought she would say no. He’d been certain that she would refuse to be stuck with the likes of him for the rest of her life. But she hadn't said no. She'd said yes, yes, yes. Breathlessly. Miraculously.

He parked his car the next street over and entered his apartment building from the back alley, so that Camille wouldn’t spot him if she happened by. Cloaked in the dark room, drinking Patron straight out of the bottle, he hid from her. From his fiancé. God he wished that he hadn't rushed in. Just the thought of going through with the marriage made him feel like throwing up. Or maybe it was the tequila on an empty stomach. No matter, he could never back out now. Her mother and his mother had bonded over wedding plans. Checks had been written, deposits made.

If only he wasn’t a sucker for silky elbows and witty banter. If only Camille hadn’t decided to sing those intoxicating Cole Porter lyrics into his ear the night that he’d fallen to pieces: You'd be so nice to come home to, You'd be so nice by the fire. If only the girl wasn’t double jointed. If only he hadn’t fallen in love. If he was so in love, then why didn’t he want to follow through with the steps necessary to see to it that he would always be the one that Camille came home to? Good question. Maybe he was too plastered to come up with a suitable answer. As he thought of breaking it off with her his woozy mind raced to imagine what breaking it off would mean. If he didn’t marry her somebody else would. Another man would take his place. That dirty bastard would watch The Royal Tenenbaums over and over with her because it was Camille's hands-down favorite movie. He’d be the one to send for Chinese food delivery. He’d be the one to sit in Tomorrowland licking a lollipop she held shaped liked Mickey Mouse while listening to her critique the fashion choices of passing pedestrians. Camille’s fiancé nearly went half crazy imaging that other man making love to her. Drunk and uncertain about how to proceed, he passed out on the bed.

 His phone vibrated on the pillow next to his face sometime around two o’clock in the morning, waking him. “There you are,” Camille crooned into his ear. “Here I am,” he replied, “and I always will be.” 

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Correlating Professions

The relationship between interior design and fiction writing may strike you as incongruent, but closer scrutiny reveals multiple similarities.

I’ve been working on a project: transform a drab 80’s apartment into a usable, more modern space.

I begin each design task by immersing myself totally in all aspects of each project. I start with the client/clients. Who are they? What do they want? I explore their desires and expectations. I encourage them to assert their personality and vision. We use the interview process to discover the spark, a theme so to speak, the overall cohesive view. We embark on a journey together. I become the facilitator of my client’s hopes and dreams for the space. I become the overseer. A steward. And I take my job very seriously.

When I start a story (whether short fiction or a novel) I must follow similar steps. My characters must reveal their desires and expectations. I’ve got to perform a delicate balancing act, or they won’t change and evolve. In my opinion, characters that don’t change or evolve make lousy protagonists. I’ve got to build a world for them to navigate in. I’ve got to come up with a workable, believable, relevant theme. It’s paramount to see the thing through to the end—work through the problems, the mistakes, the frustration and conflicts—no matter what. I cannot quit. I become obsessed. I eat, drink, and sleep in their world, until I’m satisfied that I have delivered a good story.

I do the same with a design task. I eat, drink, and sleep with the project until I’m satisfied that my client’s desires and expectations have been met. I make other’s priorities my own. It’s a selfless act, in a way. I’m not choosing materials and floor plans and furniture to fit my taste and lifestyle, I’m channeling someone else’s.

As an author I have to bend to my character’s will, but I have to exercise control over them as well. I must maintain a delicate balance between being led and leading.

In the end, the outcome reflects my ability to bring into focus that which might of remained obscure. The outcome is the product of my imagination. And I often feel that there is something godlike in the mix, if I can be so bold to suggest.

***Please note: the photo pictured is meant to denote a modern living room and is not a photo of my project. I will be posting before and after shots when the apartment is finished and decorated.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Going Home

I'm returning home tomorrow. Ten days is a long time to be away from home without my husband. I miss him terribly. Being married to your best friend does have advantages, but if you leave both your spouse and your best friend for a prolonged period of time you will experience a double dog dose of longing. It's easy to take such a relationship for granted, once you've been in it for many years. Being separated for over a week drives the point home, there is no relationship that compares to a fine marriage. My, don't I sound Biblical?

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.