Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy 2012!

I took New Year’s Day off. We stayed up late New Year’s Eve, playing penny ante poker with some friends – I came out ahead, but not so much as to antagonize anyone. I was surprised at how many winning hands were three kings. I had two of them myself. We played mostly five card draw, a little seven card stud and seven card no peek. Went easy on the wild cards, too. That may be because one of our regulars was missing: Lawrence Henry. That guy knows more versions of poker than anyone else I know. We paused at midnight for champagne, and by then several folks had departed – one because she’d had a knee replaced two weeks ago and still couldn’t sit with her knee bent for very long. Plus the weather had turned bad and the streets were slippery. When there were no longer enough left to get a good game going, we brought up an Japanese anime movie called, “Laputa, Island in the Sky.” It was dubbed in English but since it was a cartoon, that was fine. I thought it was interesting. The characters didn’t look very Asian and the setting looked kind of old-time European: brick buildings with curved rooflines, castles, steam-powered railroads. The culture depicted was sort of steam punk, with elements of magic. A surreal movie, appropriate for very, very early in the morning after a glass of wine and two glasses of champagne.

A few more chapters of And Then You Dye, and it’s finished. I was working on a chapter last week and one of the characters surprised me, telling quite a different version of an event than the one another character had told. Who is telling the truth? I’m not sure myself, but it makes the story turn a different, more complicated, more interesting corner. Had to sit back and think about it for awhile. I’m going to let it stand, of course. I’ve learned that when a character does that, it’s generally for a good reason.

I’m learning some interesting things about coin collecting – and collectors – for this book. I wish I had time to do more in-depth research. That may come later, the character who collects coins in this novel is a recurring one, and I don’t think he’s going to give up on it readily. I’m not ready to get into it for real, it can be a very expensive hobby, and there are more than a few chances for a beginner to get into some serious difficulty by not knowing what she’s doing. I’m giving Rafael a lesson in that in this book.

Speaking of collections, I’ve become a fan of the History channel show, “American Pickers,” about these two men who drive a van all over the country looking for people who fill barns, sheds, warehouses, even their homes with junk. They bargain for various dusty, even rusty, items – an extremely wide variety of items – the pickers find buried under heaps of trash. There seems to be no end of folk who fill buildings with a mix of rubbish and treasure. I can see where their occupation would make a terrific mystery series. Because who knows what lies buried under all that stuff?

I wrote this yesterday, tucked it away and this morning was so focused on getting over to Saint Paul to retrieve the hats I loaned to the Textile Center for an exhibit I forgot to post this. Sorry.


Linda O. Johnston said...

I always love it when a character tells me how things should go in a story, Monica. Coin collecting should be fun, especially when you don't have the expense of doing it yourself!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I agree with Linda. Coin collecting sounds interesting. I bet you'll have fun with that, Monica!

Betty Hechtman said...

You're New Year's eve sounded great.

The manuscript I just turned in has something about coins in it, too. It's amazing what you can find out online.