Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Red Thread

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know I’ve written a novel called THE INK OF TIME. Many of the smaller details that help tell the story are things that I’ve actually witnessed or experienced.

For example, I have friends who are scuba divers and they’ve talked about getting their certification in very dirty, murky water. This happens in my novel. 

My Grandma Hill had a dog named Duke. In my novel there is a dog named Duke. 

Some of my nephews are in and Irish band and one of them plays the bodhran, which is an Irish drum. I would have never known of this instrument without these young men in my life. A bodhran is a key component in the first part of my story. 

Also, my in-laws, at one time, drank prune juice mixed with vinegar to flush their digestive systems. One of my characters does this too.

These things help tell the story and give the characters life. I’m always on the look-out for ideas. I pay attention to the quirky or unusual.

Like the time Tim and I stopped at a truck stop to eat and the table next to us ordered steak. Who orders steak at a truck stop? This is a priceless bit of information. But it gets even better. When the steaks came out, the patron complained about the steak and proceeded to tell the waitress how to grill a good steak.

I think I laughed about that for five miles after we got back in the car. I’m going to use that snippet of life someday in one of my novels.

Anyway, couple of years ago I happened to notice a UPS calendar in a friend’s office. It was June 2014 and the quote was a Chinese proverb about an invisible red thread that connects those who are destined to meet. That quote gave me the fuel to keep my novel moving. 

Here is an excerpt from my novel that grew from that proverb.

No answer from Otto prompted Hazel to take a red marker and small pad of paper from her backpack. She always carried something to doodle on- inspiration for a new tattoo design could hit at any time. Also, drawing helped her relax. She closed her eyes and started to draw. She started making zigzags across the page. After a bit her hand took control and she relaxed a little more. She only used the red marker, and never picked it up off the page. She drew and drew. Finally, she slept.
My idea of Hazel's doodle.
When she awoke, and as the fog of sleep lifted, she realized that Otto was frowning at the notepad still in her hand. She looked at it to see why. At first glance the page looked like a red scribble, like an angry knot of red yarn. But when she looked into the white negative space of the red doodle, the shape of the state of Alaska appeared. Attached by a crimson line across the paper, floating in the white space of the page, was a scribbled bundle of an infant swaddled in red. It looked as if a baby, floating in a vacuum, was tethered to Alaska.
“Well, this is interesting,” Otto said. “What’s it all about, Hazel?”
“I couldn’t relax. I tried to talk to you, but you fell asleep, so I had to do something,” Hazel explained. “Drawing always makes me feel better. I fell asleep while I was doodling.”
“It looks like Alaska…” Otto said.
“…with a baby tied to it,” Hazel finished in a whisper.
They looked at it a moment longer then Hazel closed her notepad and stowed it as they prepared to land at the Fairbanks International Airport…

Then, this weekend I went to a library used book sale and found a book that kind of shocked me. The title is The Red Thread and it’s by Ann Hood. This book was written six years ago in 2010.

The blurb on the inside cover says it’s about a lady who opens an adoption agency that finds homes for Chinese baby girls in American homes. My book, without giving a spoiler, touches on this subject as well. I hope this story is not my story!!  

After I read The Red Thread, I’ll write a review for it.
I also looked on line and found that the “red thread idea  is somewhat synonymous with adoption. It's strange that I was drawn to that quote,  along with having never heard it before, adapted it to that very concept in my book.

Life is always full of 

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself.