I brought my mother back to her apartment Sunday afternoon. The whole process took several hours, and in spite of her relaxing month in the nursing center, by the time she was settled back in, neither she nor I were any younger.
I was pondering the injustice of all this Monday morning, as I sat on my exercycle and peddled away to last week's episode of TCM's series, Moguls & Movie Stars: A History Of Hollywood .I was in Texas when it was on last week, and my goal is to not fall even an episode behind (I'll watch last night's episode later this week).
Episode 2 was about the transition to Hollywood and the rise of both the moguls and the movie stars. It didn't tell me anything I hadn't at one point or another in my life known, and it skipped some things I did know, like that Tom Mix's death rated a top of the fold front page New York Times obit (I used to have a trivia question where I asked people to name the stars that got top of the fold front page NY Times obits, and he was the one no one ever got). But these kinds of shows are always entertaining, and I was enjoying it when one of the names caught my attention.
That would be a good name for a character, I said to myself as I peddled away. Boy or girl, I asked. Boy, I decided (peddle, peddle, peddle*). So who is the boy with the great name? Well, he could be a...
That's as far as I'm taking you. But as I watched and peddled, and then as I meandered about the apartment and later took my mother to the doctor for her checkup, and did all those everyday sorts of things, my brain worked on this possible new idea for a novel.
Am I going to write it? I dunno. It's outside my comfort zone, so there'd be work involved. On the other hand, this morning before I got out of bed, I developed the plot some more. The characters are talking, and I've visited Popular Baby Names**, so the ones who didn't get named from Moguls & Movie Stars at least have temporary names to go by. I ran the idea by my friend Christy, and she didn't hang up, always a good sign. And I do have a long winter ahead of me with nothing scheduled except football and figure skating and taking care of my mother. No trips, no Olympics.
But whether I write the book or not, I did learn a lesson, and that is fiction exists to distract. That's why people read novels (Christy agreed to this). That's at least one reason why I write them. My woe is me mood vanished as soon as I began thinking about this character and that and where the story could go.
I have to spend the week cleaning the apartment because my cousin Fran is coming for a Thanksgiving visit and she's allergic to cats.*** But dusting and vacuuming aren't nearly so bad if you have an idea to play with!
*That's like a sound effect, which is a very classy thing to have in a blog, and is proof that I was a film major at NYU. The * is also pretty darn classy. In fact, this blog entry would get a higher grade than I ever got for any of my papers at NYU.
**The best website ever.