My characters are quite aggressive. They often argue with me long after a writing session is over, and, at least on one occasion, took over my blog. Well, here comes another character who feels a need to speak out. I’m only going to interrupt her with a few questions:
I’m Veronica Stevens and, so far anyway, Lynn’s leading female character. I’ve got a lot of things on my mind and I can’t seem to get Lynn to put all my concerns on the page.
For one thing, I’m a recent widow. My beloved husband Matt succumbed to cancer about three months ago. No, I know the date, it was EXACTLY three months ago. After clearing out the bills, dealing with the will, and getting the funeral taken care of, I was just
a rag with no motivation at all. Someone suggested that I move somewhere more exciting to put my copy editing career into high gear. (Matt had always subsidized my job, which didn’t pull in a living wage.) So I went through all my business cards and saw that most of my clients were from the Chicago area. And those who weren’t, well, the Internet makes that not a problem I decided that a short hop from my old home in Milwaukee to a high-rise in Chicago’s Loop would definitely change my life—and I hoped in a positive way.
Well, now I’m in my classy South Loop apartment and was shelving books. I started getting sad become some of the volumes were ones that Matt and I loved to read together. Now he was no longer there to listen to my vision of “The Lord of the Ring’s” Rivendell or hear a sweet re-reading of parts of “The Princess Bride.” To keep from crying I bent over to pick up an extremely boring physics book to reshelf and out of it fell an x-ray and medical report. It showed that Matt was dealing with more than cancer. There was another condition that could kill him. When he went into remission, he insisted on taking things slow and easy, and now I see why. Because Matt was on the road to recovery near the end. The chemo had done wonders and all the numbers were going in the right direction. Then, almost in a flash, they were summoning me to his bedside. We had about ten seconds to hold hands and say “I love you,” Then he was gone.
My friends back in Milwaukee think I should show this report and ask them if this other medical condition caused Matt’s demise, And then, I think, what does it matter? He’s still gone.
LYNN: Veronica, what do you want to do to get one with your life? Do you have any hobbies?
You know, someone at a Starbucks asked me about that when we were chatting, and I said I was going to miss Milwaukee because I couldn’t garden here. A girl behind the counter jumped up and said, “No, that’s not true. Chicago has community gardens.” I found out that by going out of my congested neighborhood to an area with park land, I could rent a plot where I could grow anything I would like. This really has me excited and I’m going to go to the Park District offices right away and find out about a plot of my own.
LYNN: You better just call, the Park District office is too intimidating in person. Veronica, what about making friends? What do you plan to do about being alone in the city?
Well, it’s daunting, but I thought I’d try to sign up for some of those field trips the park district offers. And dance lessons! There have to be some people who like to dance and be chatty too.
I’m not looking for men, mind you. I’m much too raw for that.
Although I had a disturbing dream in Milwaukee that I was an Egyptian priestess and a lower-ranked priest came up to talk to me. The attraction was instant and I felt I had met my soul mate. When I woke up, I felt a little guilty this happened so close to Matt’s death. But, damn, I’d like to meet that Egyptian man.
LYNN: Would you know him if you saw him—in this life?
Of course. And he’d be attracted to me. I’m taller than I was in my dream. I’m actually 5-foot-7, and I’m a pretty young-looking 35. I think I’d have no trouble attracting him.
LYNN: So, you are thinking about meeting men!
I’d be a liar if I didn’t say yes. Let’s just say I’m not looking too hard.
LYNN: What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?