Click the link below to view a spotlight I did on Southern Charm’s, Landon Clements! A big thanks to Landon for the interview!
It’s no secret at all that I like to write period pieces. I’ll dabble a bit in the high 1800s, but it’s the twentieth century I like to tap dance all over. The dash between 1900 and 2000 fascinates me, and I never thought about why until last night when I had one of my famous random thoughts.
I’ve been watching Cold Case reruns religiously for about a month now. Each show focuses on a crime that’s gone cold, and they touch on about every decade from the last century. I find it scintillating. I’ve gotten to watch a timeline of how these decades developed and eras came to be…and it isn’t just a collection of random fads. There’s something scientific behind poodle skirts, or big hair, or peace signs, or air Jordans.
Each era is not only distinct because of the clothes worn or music played…those things are just a product of mindsets. They reflect what human beings were ready for at the time. They reflect new ideas being formed into things we listen to or put on our body. A war, an athlete, or a beverage could have sparked it…it could have been anything that caused a reaction. A lot of times it was many things, and revolutions started without people knowing they were starting them. However, they could not be rushed.
Time came about organically, and I’ve realized is just an illustration of a growing human being. Seeing as how I always write character-driven pieces, with the era as much as character as people, I’ve had a “eureka” kind of moment. We are the times…I just focus on a different part of the human psyche depending on which era I’m engrossed in. I’m just now realizing why. Different decades represent newness, naivety, rebellion, discovery, and rebirth. We go through all of these emotions in our lifetimes, but we tend to live in an age focused on one of them, and the crazy part is we really have no way of knowing which until we’re just a memory.
Almost everyone could have been considered liberal or conservative at what time or another considering what the mind and body was ready for in relation to what experience was available at the time. Society grew as naturally as it could, and looking back, resembled two teenagers groping around at each other in the dark (I also often write about adolescence…go figure). The reason? We are always that person we were when we asked the question “why” for the first time, discovering our egos. We are always in the age of enlightenment or confusion. One man’s light is another’s dark. That’s why there is a liberal out there for every conservative, and a no for every yes. We aren’t all necessarily on the same path, but we’re on the same timeline. We’re on the earth when we’re on the earth. We’re discovering the same things from different views and trying to figure out how to do it together in a common time…and just like that, a culture is born. It has a heartbeat, a personality, and a tone, that in later years will define it. People will sing about it, and write about it, and draw about it for years to come. A few of us have that stir to document it, and I thank God I’m one of them.
By writing what I write, I’m reflecting on what’s happened, and paving the way, for myself at least, for what’s to come. When I reflect upon it, when I am confused, and when I’m flailing…that’s when I’m writing about today. Maybe there are other writers out there doing the same, and we will one day be the anthems of our own generations. However, there’s no way to know that yet. That’s for someone after my time to look back on and unveil. It’s delicious to me to think what age is it? The one I don’t even know I’m a part of…
I love watching The Golden Girls. I have seen every re-run approximately 473 times. Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, Sophia, and I go way back. They’ve gotten me through many sleepless nights and boring Saturdays when I couldn’t muster the strength to get out of my pajamas. They’ve nursed me back to health just about anytime I’ve ever been sick, and have never forsaken me when I’m hanging on the edge lunacy on my fourth day snowed in the house. They each have the distinctive personalities that almost any woman can identify with. Every female of any age in America knows which Golden Girl she is. Here is where my recent revelation rears its ugly head…
I thought I was Sophia. She’s short and sassy with witt sharper than a butcher knife. She has a wisdom so evident that no one can help but ask for her advice. She’s a bit quirky in the most un-annoying ways possible and owns whatever room she is in. She’s in charge by default, and can argue anyone into a corner by simple nature of the way things roll off her tongue. A master of dry humor, and uncharted charm, she cannot be denied. She’s my inner golden girl…I thought once upon a time.
Lately, however I have noticed some things I’m not sure if I like about myself. It’s strange because I have certain qualities I know I need to let go of, but I’m just afraid to do it. I’m almost ashamed to publicly admit this particularly ugly part of my personality because I don’t want it to damage my credibility or motives as a writer. I don’t write to impress. My writing actually has little to do with this needy part of my personality….everything else just does.
So, the realization started sinking in when I was routinely watching an episode of my beloved show. Blanche came home early from a class reunion, obviously distressed to the point of madness. After some poking and prodding, the other girls coerced Blanche into telling them what was wrong. She then went on about how great all of her old girlfriend’s looked before declaring she was upset because quote, “I was not the center of attention and nobody said I was the prettiest.” Light bulb, Lorna!
I’ve never been terribly pleased with the way I look no matter how many compliments I get, and measure about 98% of my self-worth on my physical appearance. I want everyone to fuss over me wherever I go. I actually need (in order to avoid a Chernobyl-meltdown) to be a main attraction wherever I go. I want everyone to think I’m the smartest, most interesting, prettiest, most charismatic, near fatally alluring person they’ve ever met (I’m only slightly exaggerating for effect). I’m vain…and not just a little. Maybe the accolades shoot an unnatural amount of Dopamine to just the right spots in my brain…I don’t know, but when I know I’m at the top of my game, I dig it. When like Blanche, I happen not to be the center of attention and no one says I was the prettiest, things get rough. It’s bad….I like to charm and I live to captivate, and not an ounce of it is based on conceit…it’s just a drug of self-justification I cannot give up. That’s a freaking issue…
Now for the really sick part….I’m afraid if I start letting go of the vanity I will stop caring, and therefore will lose my abilities to be compelling. I’m not a Sophia…I’m a Blanche in a Sophia’s clothing!!! What will it take for me to be okay with the fact that there are rooms I will not own, conversations I can’t hang with, and people who will not be drawn to me? I wish I had the answer and could end with some profound statement of self, but I can’t do it. Even now as I write this, I’m terrified that being this candid will flush my blog following down the toilet. What I’m hoping, is that maybe someone else out there can identify and knows what it’s like to hold one’s self to impossible standards. It’s a strange thing really, how our own standards hold us hostage. Mine have me completely by the balls.
Really, writing is the only place I ever escape myself. When the words in my head shoot out of the ends of my fingers and onto the keys I lose the ability to lie, hide, or bullshit. Maybe this one place is where my sanity lives. Maybe that’s why I do it. I like what is poetic, and believe too much in happy endings. If I write, I know that eventually it will all get worked out, with all the grey areas becoming black and white. I suppose this tragic flaw of mine, I will one day figure out too…just not today. Alright, inner Sophia, come out, come out wherever you are….