They Don’t Like How I’m Writing This!
If you recall, in the continuing narrative of Chapter 4, “The Potluck,” Renee has met Ada Greenway, Joe Kerr and Reese Archer in casual conversation. Then after everyone had been seated Ada has stood at the head of the table and moving around to the long side to her left introduced Sir John, Rita Kulos, Fuller Banks and Dee Lyla:
“Finishing off that side of the table, Judge Case, one of the greatest criminal lawyers in the city and recently elected to the bench.”
“In this circle of friends I’m simply known as Justin. Please call me by my first name.” There was a rich texture to his voice. Commanding, yet soothing at the same time. Like one would imagine the Voice of Reason to be?
“At the opposite end of the table to me, sitting next to our beloved Monty is The Very Reverend Gilda Temple. Gilda is a carpenter who has recently built her own church.” Gilda had honey-colored curls, large doe-like eyes and a short plump figure. Dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt, she looked more L.L. Bean than clerical.
“And now, next to Monty on the other side of the table….”
I’m reading this aloud to my “Writing My Future” group. but they have a dazed look about them. “Stop!” one yells. “Too many characters! I can’t keep them all straight.” The others nod in agreement.
Another advises, “Develop one before you introduce another one.”
“But…” I protest, “no one gets to do that when they attend a real-life potluck.” To placate them,however, I review all the characters so far and then add, “How about next time I bring a seating chart for you to have in front of you while I read? You know, to give you the same advantage a reader has over a listener–to go back and reread.”
They say OK, but there’s one more complaint before we continue. “Aren’t the character’s names a bit contrived?”
I laugh but feel uncertain, “I’m trusting there is a good reason for that, but we will have to wait and see. I don’t know anything more than you do right now.” Then I pick up where I left off with Ada acknowledging Monty and suddenly stopping to apologize,
“I’m so sorry, my phone is ringing! Ima, would you please introduce yourself? I have to take this call, but I will be right back.”
Ada made a hasty exit into the kitchen as a tall slender woman who looked to be in her thirties rose from her chair. Her hair was short, red and springy. “Ima is my name. Ima Potter. My interest is art in all forms, but my specialty is ceramics.” Renee’s eyes wandered to her hands which were as rough as her voice.
Returning, Ada added, “The mugs on the table are hers. You will note that each one is distinct. Next to Ima is Philip Ossifer, Ph.D. With degrees in philosophy, psychology, theology and literature, we consider Phil to be our resident thinker.”
“Just call me Dr. Phil,” he grunted without indicating in any way that he was making a joke.
Ada skipped over Renee. “Mr. Abel Alderman has just celebrated his 95th birthday. With his lifetime of experiences, we look to Abel for Wisdom. And next to Abel, Reese Archer. Reese is a physicist, presently researching the God particle.”