Do you like to explore the unknown landscape of the imagination?
January 8, 2018
Do you like to read or write about the familiar things in life, or do you prefer times, past or future, where you must venture into the unfamiliar?
When I sit down to write, I prefer closing the door on the present and walking down that long, dark hallway to the past. I have a feeling that readers are as tired of the present as I am. I believe they want something different. Of course, I’ve been wrong before.
I am intrigued by the unknown. As a writer, I am always beckoned by the unfamiliar.
When you write about the past or the future or fantasy island, your hero and heroine has to get by on guts, gumption, guile, and guns. There is no easy way out, and so many great books have been built on the premise that there is no easy way out.
In a scene from Back Side of a Blue Moon, Doc Bannister is a con man who promised to find oil, and now he’s run off to Shreveport with the investor’s money. Eudora, the beautiful widow who had captured his heart, grabs a shotgun and jumps into a locomotive’s boxcar to chase him down, riding with Kenneth, the boy who’s Doc’s sidekick.
It happened in 1930. Times were hard. Money was scarce. Roads were scarce. There were few ways to travel. You did what you coud when time came to do it. And the time had come for Eudora to find Doc.
Love wasn’t on her mind.
I felt comfortable writing it this way.
EUDORA CRAWLED BACK into the interior of the boxcar and slumped against a bale of brittle hay. She was fighting to catch her breath and felt her stomach churn each time the freight train lurched forward as it bounced down the rails. She stared at the shotgun lying in her lap, its sawed-off barrels poking out the far end of a dirty brown blanket. Eudora had a man to catch. She would either bring him to justice or leave him in an unmarked grave. Shreveport was as good a place as any for Doc’s fraud to come to an end.
What would happen to her if she pulled the trigger? She didn’t know, and frankly, Eudora told herself, she didn’t care. It was a lie, but lies were as cheap and worthless as cattle dung and bull nettle juice. She had been wronged. Ashland had been wronged. Kenneth had been wronged. Doc had wronged them all. She was mad enough to chew shotgun shells and spit pellets against the wall.
Kenneth wormed his way alongside her, pressing his back against the hay bale. His eyes were closed. He wore the smile of a boy who believed he became a man as soon as he tumbled through the boxcar door.
“I’ve always dreamed about this,” he said.
“Traveling across the country with a beautiful woman.”
“I don’t feel so pretty today.” She ran a hand through her hair.
The way the sun struck his face, Eudora thought, he looked angelic.
“You’ll do just fine,” he said. Kenneth’s face grew serious. He squared his shoulders and sat as tall as he could. “I hear there are parts of Shreveport that can be mighty rough on a lady.”
“Plenty of drunks.”
“On every street corner.”
Kenneth grinned. “It’s got drunks and pajama girls. What do you think?”
“I think that’s where Doc will be?”
Kenneth slowly shook his head. “It’s the kind of place he always goes.”
Eudora tightened her grip on the shotgun. “Well, the underbelly of a town that’s proud of its sin won’t be half a rough on me as it’s gonna be for that bastard who ran out of me.”
“It don’t become you to cuss, Miss Eudora.”
She grunted and tucked the barrels of the shotgun under her chin. “Shooting a man may not become me either. But that won’t stop me.”
Kenneth sat in silence watching the countryside slide past the open door of the boxcar. Finally he reached over and touched Eudora’s arm.
“I only have one request, Kenneth,” she said
“You’re too nice a boy. Don’t be in the line of fire when I pull the trigger.”
He grimaced. “That shotgun will knock you down,” he said.
“There is a difference,” she told him.
“I’ll get up.” She sighed. “Doc won’t.”
She watched a spider weaving its web across the ceiling. A fly had been trapped. The fly wasn’t going anywhere.
The fly looked a lot like Doc Miller.
I would have loved to be in the boxcar with Eudora. Then again, for a time, maybe I was.
I may, of course, only be a lone voice crying in the wilderness.
So how about you?
Do you like to read or write about the familiar things in life, or do you prefer times, past or future, where you must venture into unfamiliar and unknown landscapes of the imagination?
Please click HERE to find Back Side of a Blue Moon on Amazon.