Lately, I've been spending a lot of time with a girl named Hedy Freedman. She's someone I made up and changed the name of several times (as well as changing the people and the stories that populate her world) since her conception. She's the protagonist of my first novel, which originally and currently held/hold the title Ordinary World but that may change as she and the story evolve more.
Spending time with her has meant revisiting parts of myself that I have been missing and parts of myself that I want to disappear. She's meant to be a complex character, but I'm still not sure she's coming across that way. She isn't me, though once upon a time and three names/plots/drafts ago, she technically was. Now she's not, but she does have certain qualities and obsessions that I, too, have (though she wouldn't be caught dead listening to some of the music I do). One of the main things about her – something I like but am concerned about, something that I share with her – is a preoccupation with music, books and film. These things are her life-blood, her creative inspiration, the things that stir her and make her who she is. But because of her tastes being extreme, being outside the mainstream for the most part (Andy Warhol films and Marianne Faithful music has been mentioned, among other things), she feels like an outsider – even though she has friends. In the book, that may not be coming across so well – it's one of my many issues – but it's one of the main struggles for her.
Which brings me to myself. It's self-absorbed as hell to write about this, but it's on my mind. I should say that I have some really wonderful friends who don't share all that many of my deepest passions and inclinations. I love them anyway, but my closest friend besides my girlfriend at the present is obsessed with American Idol-style pop, blockbuster horror flicks and doesn't even read books (or does so very rarely; he recently confided to me that the last book he finished was the biography of a member of N'Sync). Don't get me wrong – I have a total “guilty pleasure” love for Kelly Clarkson, but I guess that's just it. I refer to it as a “guilty pleasure.” So I guess to a degree, I am a snob. But also, I'm not. I don't hold it against anyone that they like boy bands or whatever, it's just not me.
On a side note that's semi-related, I do have this need that will not quit for a profound connection with people who “get” me, so to speak. Who get the things that matter to me, who don't just scoff and call them pretentious with a ring of distaste in their voice. I've had it very rarely in my life, in fits and spurts; I've had coffee-laden conversations in student lounges about poetry and writing, wine-fueled discussions about Beat poets and French New Wave directors, dark nights in goth clubs listening to synthpop covers of country songs and just feeling so alive. Moments and conversations that were about those things, the beautiful, the scary, the thought-provoking, the abstract. And I miss that, I really do. I don't actually know my point; I guess I'm just lamenting a time when inspiration wasn't so hard won and I had more creativity bursting at the seams of my surroundings. I loved that, more than I have the words to express. I had this one friend for awhile who was in the poetry circle I ran for about nine months or so. I would visit her and her boyfriend and she had a section of the bedroom set up as her “studio,” where she kept all her art stuff. We'd listen to music and write or paint in our art journals. It was a nice time. Memo to self: maybe too many young adult novels are making you over-nostalgic, Louise (as Molly Ringwald said to Annie Potts in Pretty In Pink, “you're going to O.D. on nostalgia”). I get all day-dreamy when I start writing about Hedy and the things that make her world similar to mine, but my world probably about seven or eight years ago.
I digress (as usual). For Hedy, I want to find a way to make it more apparent that, while she has connections to people and she has friends, she still feels isolated so much of the time. Why is it so hard for that to come across?
In other news, I signed up for the summer reading program at the library (reading John Updike right now, as well as a book on running for beginners), am hoping to launch a book blog in July and my sister may soon be coming for a visit. Oh, and tonight is the Glee season finale. So there is actually a lot to be excited about today, but I think this post is a little disjointed, anyway. That's nothing new.