Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Little More Info...

Just to clarify a bit on my last post, my main character is a woman – a straight woman.  The gay priest is her best friend, and the dead drag queen…well, that’s a bit harder to explain.

The novel asks the question that so many 20- and 30-somethings ask: “Who am I, really?”  That sounds cliché on the surface, but I hope that I am approaching it in a somewhat unique way.

I’m not going to write much about my main character, Ella, because it would give too much of the plot away for me to write anything about her yet, and I’m not ready to do that .  But I can tell you a little bit about these two supporting characters without giving too much away.

Scott is the gay priest.  He didn’t start out gay, but he did start out a priest.  He wandered over from another story I started, and changed his name as well.  Scott became gay for a lot of reasons.  First of all, he wandered into this story right around the time the Vatican started making noise about gay seminarians and priests.  It frustrated me because if priests are supposed to be living celibate lives anyway, what difference does it make if they are straight or gay?  Come to think of it, it shouldn’t make a difference even if they weren’t celibate.  But that’s a story for another time.

Anyhow, I made Scott gay because I was a little ticked off about the Powers that Be deciding they had the power to deny that someone had a calling to ordained ministry simply because he is gay (or female, or heterosexual and married…but again, story for another time).  And I made him gay because, despite the fact that he is firmly in the closet with everyone but Ella, he is remarkably self-actualized.  He knows who he is, Who created him, and he is comfortable and happy with that.  I needed someone like that to act as a confidant for Ella.

As for Uncle Betty…well, would you believe I literally dreamed him up?  I had an odd dream that I was buying a house in a planned, intentional community.  They had a huge green space, a communal garden, and they actually did things together in the evenings and on the weekends.  Anyway, the person who is selling the house is showing me around, and the most remarkable thing about the place is that there is a bathtub in every room except the kitchen and dining room.  When I remark on it, he told me that the house formerly belonged to a drag queen and his partner, and that he insisted on having a tub in every room.  In my dream that seemed perfectly normal.

So, when my mind was wandering during the sermon (it wandered a lot that day, actually, and spawned the entry I plan to write about Grace as well.  It was a really good Gospel, I guess), I realized that that drag queen and that house was exactly what I needed.  Except I couldn’t figure out how to tie that back to the main plot .  

So, as I was driving home from work one night, taking the long way to avoid the horrible Baton Rouge traffic (which will only be worse this weekend thanks to two LSU basketball games, baseball games, and Mardi Gras parades), it hit me that the drag queen needed to be a character.  The only problem with that was that he was dead.  So, what do you do with a dead drag queen (That could be the start to a horrible drinking song.)?

Well, all I’m going to say is that he isn’t a ghost, an angel, or other spiritual/paranormal manifestation.  I’m also going to say that he acts as a mentor figure for Ella.  Beyond that, well, you’re just going to have to buy the book in a few years.

Oh, and for the few of you who read this who know me, sorry if you disagree with anything I wrote.  Most people get more conservative as they get older.  I seem to have become more liberal.  I’m just a rebel, I suppose.

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