Saturday, December 7, 2019
It’s Research. I swear! ~ by KR Brorman
Sylvia Plath said, “Everything is writable about.” There’s more touchy-feely inspirational mumbo jumbo in the full quote. However, as we are saturated, especially in America, with the “Holiday Season,” there is no lack of writeable material.
Store clerks who like to share EVERYTHING.
That relative who brings a new significant other they met on Tinder.
Cousin Eddy rolling up in his tenement on wheels, “sh***er’s full.”
The drunk HR director copping a feel over the cocktail weenies.
From Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Year’s, we average what, a dozen or more events with family, friends, work, church, civic or professional organizations? Do you live in a small Texas panhandle town? I do. Congratulations! You can probably add in three basketball tournaments and possibly football playoffs. Actually, I’ve done my time in high school sports mom purgatory and get to enjoy it from the warmth and safety of social media cheap seats sipping white wine spritzers and watching Hallmark Christmas movies on the 24/7 cycle. Don’t judge, it’s all research!
Back to the gatherings. “They,” the marketing and media savvy gurus, warn us to steer clear of the third rails of politics and religion. The same advice is often given for family gatherings. We may be able to avoid one, but let’s face it, there are a HUGE elephant and donkey in the room, and they have both tracked crap all over the proverbial carpets. And for some families, it’s a study in primal human behavior. For others, it’s an exercise in tolerance and acceptance. Which do you think makes for better stories?
“How was Thanksgiving?”
“Oh, you know, my raging atheist Aunt Marge and my Evangelical street preacher cousin Jim sat and cheered on the Dallas Cowboys. Nothing brings people together like football.” Zzzzzzzzzzzz
“But Kristine,” you say. “What about the fun stuff?” Comedian Jeff Foxworthy has a bit about traveling to see relatives just for the comedy fodder. It’s all fuel. My great-granny Picket would have pumpkin pie with “the pink stuff” and a slice of ham chaser for dessert to “cut the sweet.” Marathon games of Phase 10, Uno, Domino Trash Train, and my all-time favorite moment…my husband holding the most offensive Cards Against Humanity card for my dad to read. Read and laugh until I thought he was going to pass out. All research!
Does your GPS operate in adventure mode? Mine does. I swear I’ve been through every seedy neighborhood, side street, or back alley to get to an airport, especially if there was an easier direct highway route. True story. While traveling through Ireland and Scotland with my besties, who also happen to be my creative sounding board, graphics department, proofreader, and development team, the sat nav was neck deep into adventure mode. So much so, we began referring to it as “Barry, the travel agent.” On the surface, this is not wet your pants hilarity. After 2 weeks, a few hundred miles, and countless sleep-deprived hours and multiple, I say multiple, “not today death” experiences on single-lane UK roads, and when the National Weather Service goes and names the first hurricane to threaten a US coast “Barry” …you can see how the name must weave its way into our collective lingo and new romance series – hint hint wink wink. Everything is research.
In his book, Anatomy of a Premise Line, Jeff Lyons writes, “The function of storytelling to teach ourselves about what it means to be human.” As we don our ugly sweaters and gorge on pudding and roast beast, if we happen to get lost over the river or through the woods, remember these aren’t obligations to family, employers, or community. They are connections. They are humanity. They are us in all our unvarnished glory. These are the writeables.
And if anybody asks why you’re doing (insert silly thing here), you can say, “It’s research. I swear!”
KR Brorman’s Award-winning debut novel Eden’s Fall and sequel Winter’s Thaw, co-author CC Cedras, with SA Young, are available at your favorite bookseller.
She lives on a farm in the Texas Panhandle with her husband. She currently serves on the Texas High Plains Writers Board of Directors. KR’s first independently written novel, a contemporary Texas romantic suspense, is slated for 2020.
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Listen to KR Brorman's podcast episode here.