I was cleaning up my computer the other day, discarding old stuff, etc., when I came across a note I had been keeping when I was in that glimmer-of-an-idea stage of my next novel (due out in 2010)
Now, keep in mind, this was REALLY a glimmer. Maybe not even a glimmer. Maybe just half a glimmer. Quarter of a glimmer?
I had sorta-kinda-hazy ideas that didn't really mean anything or even relate to each other in any meaningful way.
They were just random ideas. (And I mean Random with a capital R.)
Some of them are potential titles (and I often have a title before a story - so a title is pretty much meaningless at this early stage.)
Some of them are potential character names.
Some of them are concepts for potential first lines.
And some of them are just random things.
Most of them were not used.
Some of them were used in my next novel.
Some of them were used in my most recent novel: The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis.
I have no idea what many of them even mean anymore.
Sometimes these random glimmers grow and grow and become a book.
And sometimes they go right down the old literary toilet, thru the pipes, and into the sewer of bad, stupid and worthless ideas (that stink a lot).
Here they are, exactly as I wrote them:
Short But Happy Life
The Short Sad Life of Tooley Graham
Owen Jester's Guidebook to Love, Life and the Waffle House
Owen Jester's Guidebook to ___
First Left After the Waffle House
Turn Left at the Waffle House
Seven Reasons to Tell a Lie
Thirteen Reasons to .... [note: these notes were written BEFORE Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why. I swear!]
superman lives at the waffle house
Viola's dad was the Peanut Man.
Omens: Knock knock appearing on web page; kid named Owen being reprimanded in Trader Joe's about saying something inappropriate, etc. [These were things that happened to me that I saw as signs that I should use those ideas. Sheesh.]
The Knock Knock Club
It had never snowed in Carter, Georgia. Not once.
dumb as a bucket of rocks
The interstate ran above it.Route 14 ran around it.And the Georgia Northeastern Railroad ran right through it.
OWEN Jester Stella Edsel Catfish [I was actually in the Waffle House in South Carolina and there were two grown men in there named Catfish and Squirrel. I couldn't make this stuff up.] Squirrel Odelia Jiggs Travis[I ended up using him in Popeye and Elvis] Luther
Itchy and Scratchy [I now know these are the dogs on The Simpsons. I guess I thought I made them up. Ha!] Stumpy[Used him in Popeye and Elvis] Tollie Icey Levi Joleen Berkus [Used her in Popeye and Elvis] Tooley Graham
Tapped on the wall. 3 short. 2 long. Beach Bum Blvd tiki torches
a mountain to north,an ocean to south,in the middle was a one-whistle town (train)
Mom still wore the same flowing skirts she'd had as a teenager - and perfectly good sneakers from the thrift store. everything from the thrift store was perfectly good
parrot who says shut up
Live over dry cleaners
Owen Jester tiptoed across the gleaming linoleum floor and slipped the frog into the soup. [Note: See! This is that first line that I told you about.] It swam gracefully under the potatoes, pushing its froggy back legs through the pale yellow broth. It circled the carrots and bumped into the celery and finally settled beside a parsnip, its bulging eyes staring unblinkingly up at Owen.Then he hunkered down in the floor of the pantry, down among the sacks of potatoes and jars of pickled okra, and waited for _____.
ViolaTyrone Wilbanks - big belly hugging laugh 3 strikes: fat; glasses; nice; eats baby carrots; wipes her nose with palm of her hand - pushing upward; her name was Viola knock knock - eye rolls; disgusting looks like smelling something bad
finds crate of novelty items
"I have a wagon"...then a knock knock joke
2 brothers one sistermoved in with Mimaw: got it made until got sick and Essie came and used up all the money
Starred Review: The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis Barbara O'Connor. FSG/Foster, $16.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-374-37055-8
With humor and authenticity, this beguiling tale of summer friendship mines the small, jewellike adventures of a rural childhood. Popeye (so named after a fateful BB gun accident) is utterly bored in rainy Fayette, S.C. But when a passing motor home gets stuck in the mud, he befriends one of its unruly inhabitants, a devil-may-care boy named Elvis. In the creek, the boys discover boats made from Yoo-hoo cartons that carry cryptic messages––a mystery that launches the “small adventure” of tracking down the boats' creator as well as Popeye's struggle between obeying his overprotective grandmother, Velma, and venturing out with his new friend.
O'Connor's (How to Steal a Dog) easygoing, Southern storytelling crafts an endearing protagonist and irresistibly quirky cast. Velma recites the names of English monarchy to avoid “cracking up” and teaches Popeye new vocabulary words, which surface comically in his observations (“Velma's appearance at the edge of the cemetery, arms crossed, face red, was definitely not serendipity. It was much closer to vicissitude”). Undercurrents of poverty and dysfunction are handled with gentle humor as Popeye discovers the magic of a little adventure. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
A while back I was hatin' on Gwyneth Paltrow. (And if you watch this, you'll understand. I dare you to put on your purple animal print workout pants, pulled waaaay down low, and do this routine in your living room.)
And then, I saw this and took it back. (I mean, the woman can cut a chicken with scissors, so, well, that's a talent I don't have - and she looks so cute and all, standing there in the kitchen.)
And then, I saw this, and....oh come on, Gwynnie.... room temperature lemon water?
Super Greens Juice made with "one cup tightly packed kale"?