Was just talking to the janitor who works on my floor here at the Evil Day Job. He’s a nice fellow, spoils us rotten here in the office, and is fun to talk to. His granddaughter works at a local restaurant so we were chatting about it.
Now this is not a place I frequent often, simply because it is a little out of the way and, frankly, pricey. I have five people to feed, for Pete’s sake. But they do have the best ice cream in town. And, more to the point, banana shakes.
I love bananas. They are my favorite fruit by far, and the fact that they go with ice cream so well is just hot fudge on the sundae. But shakes are normally vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. If you’re lucky and hit the right place, you can get a coffee one, too, and those are pretty darned good. But banana? That is pretty unique to this place. And I tell you what, they don’t use powder, either. None of this banana pudding in the mix crap. They use real bananas. Nectar of the gods.
So why am I going on about banana milkshakes at 9:30 in the morning. It’s the power of words. As I told the janitor about this banana milkshake, I suddenly had a huge craving for one. I need to go get one over lunch, I decided. Have to. And that is what just talking about something can do to you. Let alone reading about something.
When I was a kid, I read ANNE OF GREEN GABLES over and over again. Never in my life had I enjoyed bread with preserves on it, but since Anne Shirley enjoyed it, I had to try it. Was sold on it and have been ever since. When I read SCARLETT as a teenager, every other scene involved food. It was obvious the parallel the author was drawing between Scarlett as the starving heroine of the war and how she was starving for affection after Rhett leaves her. But the food was amazing. I think I gained ten pounds reading that book, because I’d get so blooming hungry!
Words can have incredible power of suggestion. I illustrate that here with food because, face it, I know food. I love food. But words can cause wars, words can bring peace, and words can make us crave. Food. Love. Power. You name it, words can make us want it.
I was chatting with a friend the other night, and another this morning, about my last book LET’S DISH. I need to get my head back into the characters and plot, and I’m at the point I have forgotten the hero’s name.
“Kevin,” my friend informs me. “And the best friend is Lilah.” The friend with whom I was chatting the other night remembered plot points I’d long ago forgotten, and drew parallels and inferences I hadn’t even known I’d made. Now these are lovely women who maybe put a little more stock into my writing ability than is actually fair. If they didn’t know me, would they remember Kevin and Lilah? would they think about what Maggie, my hero, always wanted is now what her carefree, commitment free best friend has? I have no idea.
What I want to do with my writing is make people crave, be it love or the white chocolate mousse wedding cake Maggie concocts. I want people to hunger for my characters and their troubles. I want to make people laugh, cry, and want more. So do I do that? I don’t know. I hope so. For now, it’s good to know that the people I love know my characters and can remember things I can’t. Draw conclusions I didn’t. Hell, maybe one of them would even bring me a banana shake!