Posted by: penpatience | March 1, 2015

CHARACTER-WATCHING IN ‘NAWLINS’

DSCF1443                  NewOrleansStBand-2015

Note: My fiction story, “The Siberian Queen,” has recently been accepted for inclusion in the  Zimbell Publishing House, LLC’s “Puppy Love” anthology book scheduled for publication in late March 2015.

 

Writers Words: If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude about it.” –Maya Angelou

 

MARCH 2015 MONTHLY MUSING

 

CHARACTER-WATCHING IN ‘NAWLINS’

One early January weekend during an uncommon cold-snap, wrapped in a winter coat, sans a hat, a pair of winter gloves gratefully found in a front pocket, my companion and I walked down Bourbon Street in “Nawlins.”  Whether pronounced Noo-Orleeeens, New Orleans, or the native drawl “Nawlins,” New Orleans is a city that hums from morning to night. Still visible signs of hurricane Katrina’s impact and damage in 2005 have not deterred tourists and locals from swarming its popular streets. This writer became euphoric with so much human fodder available for study.

The Tour Guide, unusually knowledgeable in the city’s historical facts added well researched photographs to his entertaining dialogue while we moved about the famous streets and counties. When he drove through a well-known cemetery filled with celebrity (i.e.Louis Armstrong) million dollar mausoleums and tombs, my writer mind shifted into high gear. A vision of a down and out celebrity protagonist body flung on top of Louie’s expensive tomb in this wealthy arena of the dead took root.

Ah, the food! Jambalaya, no crawfish pie, but chicken gumbo and sweet, but messy beignets covered with confectioner sugar and derelict-looking but immensely talented street musicians had my mind reeling with creative possibilities. The best part was yet to come.

My companion, always accommodating to this writer, indulged me by sitting at a large window in a local coffee shop overlooking Canal Street. We warmed our frigid bodies with a cup of hot tea and a piece of New Orleans famous King cake. People-character watching at its best:

A homeless man lay stretched out under a bench at a tram stop in the middle of Canal Street dressed only in a shabby light-weight jacket and soiled jeans. I watched as a youngish looking man in a baseball cap, probably in his mid-thirties, walked over to him carrying a blanket. He draped the blanket over the man and walked away. I wondered. Was he just a compassionate man or had he once been homeless himself? What was the motivation? My mind whirled with budding probabilities.

A small group of young women walked by; I thought they might be on lunch break.  All wore high heeled shoes and were bare-legged.  Man it was cold out. I knew right away they were not New Englanders. Most working women in Northern states wear nylon hosiery with high heel shoes. At least I and many of my colleagues always did. Wearing leather high-heeled shoes without hosiery is common in hot Southern states. Perhaps my protagonist might have hailed from the great state of Maine and her stockings clung to her sweating legs on a hot, humid day in South Florida.

As this writer will attest, it’s difficult to keep creative juices flowing and inspiration often fails me when I need it the most. However, people enter our lives and pass by almost every day. Each individual is distinct and unique in some way and writers have license to mix and match variable characteristics to our hearts content.

A conscientious writer hardly ever takes a vacation from his/her craft. I enjoy taking vacations but when this writer travels the writing craft travels with me.

Badge-FFW-150x150[1]  Hope Clark – Fundsforwriters.com

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Responses

  1. I love your photo of those Slick Skillet Serenaders. And what is the third guy in the group playing – is it a washboard?

    Keep those creative juices flowing, Gaye!

    Like

    • Carole, it was some kind of “washboard.”
      There were two bands, both very talented musicians. I enjoyed them even while I had to stand in the cold. Thanks for responding.

      Like


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