Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Odd memory resonance...

I used to watch this sit-com called "Good Times", about an African-American family living in a Chicago project. The father (John Amos) was a taxi driver. I think the mother (Esther Rolle) worked as maid. They had three kids -- the youngest was political and intense, the middle one a girl with common sense, and the oldest was JJ, an aspiring artist famous for saying "Dy-no-mite!" And they were just trying to make it from one day to the next.

They were like the "anti-Jeffersons", who'd moved on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky...until the idiot producers fired John Amos and had him killed at the beginning of Season 4. There wouldn't be another positive portrayal of a complete black family on TV until "The Cosby Show", years later.

Anyway, one episode had Esther worried about her best friend, Winona, who was a party girl well into her thirties. Esther tried to set her up with a guy to settle down with because she didn't want her to wind up alone and lonely. And at the end of the show, Winona said, "Honey, I may be alone, but I am never lonely."

It's funny that I'm remembering that, because I haven't seen it since it aired back in the middle Seventies. (Revealing my age, here.) But that line always stuck with me and I felt it was right...until I left LA, this last time. Suddenly I've had some serious attacks of loneliness.

I'm sure it's because I had time enough to see some people I hadn't seen in too long. And reminded myself of why I have them as friends. I don't let myself get very open with many people for a whole host of reasons, but once I have made friends with someone, I'm loathe to let go. Even when I get pissed off at them.

But living here in Buffalo...where I don't know anyone, really...I'm feeling the isolation. And it's shifting into CK. I just finished writing a bit between Zeke and Carli where it turns out his family disowned him because he went to prison. And he's attached himself to Max's group because he needs to belong to something. I don't remember ever having something like that in any of my books or scripts. I come close with Jake and Antony...but that's a love thing with Jake. Some creatures mate for life and he's one, no matter how hard Antony fights it.

But Zeke...he's been cast adrift. And it hurts him. He dreams about being on a boat in the middle of the ocean...with nothing but stars overhead and water all around. Even though he's proud of his Viking blood and he's strong enough to keep the peace between Max and others, he points out they roved in packs, like wolves, and never were alone until they were dead and set out on a burning boat as their funeral pyre.

This has shaken me up, a little. I think I've lost the drive to make this quick and cheap and easily sellable. I like Zeke and Carli. I want to do right by them.

Shit...why can't I just toss some crap off and be done with it?

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