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More about the old couple July 3, 2006

Posted by jeanne in Backstory, Characters, construction news.

The magic seed. Seed in a little bottle of oil. Dug up in the back many years ago. Never been able to open it. Grows every year, old man thinks there’s a message or pattern like crop circles

Digging in the old coal box out back. finding stuff

Cold spots around the place. Casual ghosts and spirits. Fairies and relationships.

Seances and spirit of woman in kitchen, man and kid downstairs

Everything not feng shui but golden mean. Old lady does astrology, numbers, herbs

Old man does drumming. Douses, summonses, crop circles, shamanism, dreams

He’s got T’s enthusiasm while she has D’s sensitivity. They have an active sex life in their late 60s.

Lived in the house for almost 50 years, since ’68 when the first kid was born. Moved in just in time for the birth, and was the house a mess. It had been a rooming house after the war, and before that it had been the Depression, and before that it had had some work done on it. Thank god it was a well-made house. They slowly renovated it when the kids were older, and except for some roof and porch work, and a coat of paint, it’s been no trouble since the ,mid ’90s. Maybe it needs another coat of paint. Maybe a landscape renovation. But the old lady has no use for curb appeal, and uses every square inch to grow medicinal plants.

Everything in the house is sturdy and unique, much stumbled upon by the side of the road, the rest made by the old man and his kids as they grew up. The house is all neat and arranged precisely, uncluttered except for the desk in her computer room. On the other hand, knicknacks lie everywhere, dreamcatchers, crystals, altars, candles, incense burners, gongs and bells,statues and pictures. There are books everywhere, in stacks on the floor and double stacks on the shelves. It looks like a medium’s booth set up in a bookstore coffee shop. The kitchen is from the ’60s, the cookie jar, the tea towels. But it turns into a lab and farm operation in a matter of minutes.

The old man stays downstairs during the day, tinkering and tending to his animals. The old woman works in the yard and sits in her computer room, watching what’s going on in the world and becoming outraged.

No, do we have to pay attention again? I don’t want to, it makes me angry. Who wants to read about things that just make you mad? Who wants to read an angry character?

Can I have a show of hands, please as to who wants to get inside someone’s mind who’s full of hate?

The old lady sits at her desk and looks at the star crossed lovers’ back porch, hears conversations, partying, shouting thru old walls. Hearing is not perfect because of air conditioner, overheard bits are fuzzy. She sits and thinks about what the college students are up to, and about the family next door, and keeps an eye on who’s going by on the street, and listens for accidents on the corner and birds and the return of that cat-killing dog, and stares out at her old trees, her shady green oasis in the middle of scorched back yards and barren earth.

So, back to the old lady’s problem. The girl does a header, the mom does a header, what’s the old lady’s header? Does the death of the mom make enough of an impression on the old lady to change her life? No. I think what does it for the old lady is when she realizes that her anger, her interference, her intolerance and fear and combativeness is at the bottom of all the bad things that have happened to them. And perhaps this will have to be driven home by a close call with the old man. I’m not sure. How hard do you have to torture your characters to get them to give their all, anybody know? Comments, please.

The old lady fails at something bigger. She’s been working on her Cosmic University masters dissertation, and yet she’s been using her magic for vindictive angry purposes. And that’s bad, and could result in her expulsion.

True, she turned her powers to good trying to heal the mom, but then when the mom dies, this precipitates her dark night. Stupid old lady mind your own business. So she barely avoids failing her cosmic finals, and will be set back for a remedial period. Is this enough to change her?  Is this enough to flounder her so the guys have to come to everybody’s rescue?

She’s paralyzed with guilt when the real danger hits, which is danger to their house from the developer, which the old man deals with alone. And is wounded. Both he and Thing Two are burned and in the hospital. Or he follows suspicious characters in truck and gets shot or accident but has information.

She suffers his injury knowing it’s her fault, faces her flaws and sins, appologizes, all 12 steps. He’ll have a limp, and she’ll always feell it in her bones. Forced to ignore her guilt and take care of old man. And yet she’s strangely happy.




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