Archive for May, 2012

Okay here’s another major character from Divas.  Enjoy.

Sonora Livingston-Bundt was born Wanda Bundt in Queens, New York City – her mother a seamstress, her father a fitter in a shipyard.  (She was never quite certain what a fitter was, however.)  She had an attractive, willowy frame and was seen as a ‘natural’ for ballet.  She was encouraged by her music teacher at school to enroll in a local dance academy that had an excellent reputation for turning out highly qualified dancers, who frequently turned professional.

Wanda thrived.  She was bright and enquiring at school, and she absolutely dazzled at the dance academy.  By the time she was in her late teens she had changed her name to Sonora, because “Wanda” just wouldn’t do as a stage name.  She had every intention of making it big in the dance world.  She had her heart set on making her professional debut with the corps de ballet at the New York City Ballet – and she did.

She rose with startling ease within the company, and was dancing minor roles within a year.  However, she had tastes and ambitions that were not being met on her lean, dancer’s salary.  She embarked on a sightseeing tour of the eligible New York City and adjacent area bachelors.  She knew better than to have any casual boy friends who might distract her, and she set her sights on the crème de la crème of society’s brightest.

She had her very own, up-to-date edition, of Who’s Who, and did her research with great earnestness.  She quickly weeded out the sickly, inept, poor and stupid, and had honed in on her ideal choice – Brandon Livingston, of the Westport Livingston’s.  Yale undergraduate, Harvard Law, and a comfortable berth in Daddy’s media empire in the city.  However, Brandon had a good sense of the zeitgeist, and was soon heading up a new branch in Daddy’s company, developing computer software.  Yes, he was just what she was looking for.

They were married, and she became Mrs. Sonora Livingston-Bundt.  And although she no longer danced, she kept the world of dance firmly in her sight.  She was determined to be a patroness of the arts – and of dance in particular.  She arranged lavish gala celebrations and fund raisers, and was soon the Queen of the New York arts society.

The years passed pleasantly enough. Brandon was wildly successful with the software division, but was hardly ever at home or available.  She was forty before she knew it – but still dancer trim.  It had been decidedly inconvenient for her to have children, so that family function had been passed along to Brandon’s siblings.  The in-laws seemed content with that.  She was still glamorous and involved, but was growing increasingly restless.  She wanted to travel.

Brandon could never get away, so off she went on her own – Europe, Asia, the Peruvian jungles; treks across Mongolia; archeology in the Southwest…  And that is how she discovered the glories of Santa Fe – fell in love with its magical charms, and bought a house at Chamisa Springs.

This was easily accomplished because, just the previous month, Brandon had run into a tree and died while skiing in Aspen with his boyfriend.  Of course, she inherited everything.

The grieving widow had managed to re-conceive the circumstances of Brandon’s death for his family and friends; and in her great sorrow, sold the penthouse in New York, and moved out west to her new Santa Fe home to grieve and heal.  At least that was the story.

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I thought I would introduce you to some of my characters from Divas Never Flinch.  Today you will get an introductin to Connye, one of the main protaganosts in my Santa Fe saga.  More will follow.

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Connye Andreatos was born Connie Thibodaux deep in the swampy bits of Vermillion Parish in southern Louisiana.  She could catch and skin a gater by the time she was eight.

She had an aunt on her mother’s side that had ‘the gift.’  It was whispered that she could talk with the dead, and read people’s minds; and that she would wander the swamps late at night doing who knows what all with charms and trinkets.  It was not talked about openly in the the immediate family, but Connie was fascinated with her, and hung around in the background when she visited, and gleaned a great deal about her from words that were dropped here and there.  When she was old enough to visit her auntie on her own, she would stay weekends, and they would talk long into the night about her gift.  Connie hoped that she, too, might be gifted that way, but she wasn’t.  In any case, she continued to have a deep and abiding interest in all things otherworldly and spiritual.

But she felt, as she grew older, the stultifying confines of the town of Dauvin, and as soon as she could put together a couple of hundred bucks from working at the bowling alley, she headed off to New Orleans, where she stayed with her cousin Beth.

She thrived in New Orleans.  She got a job at the perfume counter at the Bon Ton, and went to night school to better herself.  She was a clever, attractive, and ambitious young woman, and soon found herself engaged to Kostas Andreatos from Miami, who owned a chain of lobster restaurants around the country.  Their engagement was short, and they were married and settled in New Orleans, as it was a half way point in the country, and Kostas could better supervise his restaurants from there.  It was then that Connie changed the spelling of her name to Connye.  But it was just the beginning of her transformation.  Little Connie of Dauvin, Louisiana was now married to Mr. Lobster Pot, with a hundred and eighty restaurants across the United States and Canada.  She cultivated her native smarts, and soon became a doyenne of both the social and arts scenes of New Orleans.  Kostas could care less. He was away most of the time anyway, screwing a Tallahassee waitress or two in one of his Lobster Pots.

However, time and clotted arteries caught up with Kostas, and he left poor Connye a widow with the Lobster Pot business, and a measly one hundred and fifty million (well invested at eight percent) dollars.  There were no children.

Freed from the constraints of marriage, and more than a little done with Louisiana, Connye followed her natural bent towards both culture and the callings of Spirit, and settled herself in Santa Fe.

Connye had a certain Isadora Duncan quality.  Her massive mane of slightly graying brown hair (which she refused to dye, however much her hair dresser pleaded) was slightly Kabukiesque; but it was her badge of womanly independence, and she treasured her somewhat wild and frantic look.  She always dressed in loose fitting, flowing outfits – no fitted Channel for her.   Yes, she embodied the Santa Fe model to a T.  And she needs the looser outfits now, as she is a big girl.  It has been quite some time since she last wrestled a startled alligator.

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I don’t like the fact that plants sometimes don’t behave as they should.  Who gave permission for my tomato plant all nice and spiky and full of vim and vigor to just suddenly slump.  It’s not fair.  It’s not comprehensible in the perfect world of gardening.  All my other plants are just fine.  Living in an apartment I cannot have a real garden with rows of corn and stakes of climbing peas.  No, I have to garden in two Earth Boxes and an assortment of various pots.  Nice as they are, they are just itty-bitty micro gardens.  I can fit three tomato plants in each of my two Earth Boxes, and all the plants have been growing and flourishing for weeks now.  They have grown like weeds and are already putting out little yellow flowers with the promise of ripe juicy ham sized tomatoes in the height of summer.

But this one little fellow has suddenly decided to expire.  The other two plants in the box are just fine.  They are heroically holding up their part of the gardening bargain and are vibrant and sassy.  But this one guy – one of my favorites, a yellow pear – has suddenly decided to take a vacation.  Bummer.

Yesterday was my day to take my newly printed novel Divas Never Flinch out to the local bookstores to introduce myself, and show off as the NEW LOCAL AUTHOR, encouraging them to buy the book for their stores.  Sad how there are now only one bookstore chain and three independent book stores left in Santa Fe.  Ebooks rule I guess.

Anyway, when I came home I first saw my sad little tomato drooping like Oliver Twist, asking “More please.”  In my rush to take my hot little novel to show and tell I had forgotten to water that morning.  As I was leaving I realized I’d forgotten, but thought, “Ah it will be okay ’til I get back.”  Now here was the result of my rash forgetfulness – a dying plant.

I rushed to water everything.  I have my little water meter and checked all the pots.  Most were fine, but I extra watered my poor little soldier and waited.  Would it revive?  I kept checking every ten minutes but it just continued hanging its head.

Finally it began to revive and I thought if it gets through the night it might revive completely.

This morning I went out and it was almost okay.  Only one little bit was still droopy, but Yes! it was going to survive.  Then I did my morning watering and gave it an extra topping off, and when I checked back later it was drooping even worse.  Can you over water a tomato?  I didn’t think so – but there it was, and it looks like I will soon have to call the Plantville mortuary to take my poor baby away.

And so now I mourn.  Grief spilling out all over the place.  I will give it another day or so, but if the fellow doesn’t respond to the lovely sunshine out he goes.  Don’t want him infecting the other plants with his poor attitude.  And like I said – there is no room in my garden for plants who don’t behave as they should.

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Every morning I read the comics page in my local newspaper.  Occasionally I will see that a couple of the comic strips will have either the same theme or feature identical elements.  For example two of the comics today both were centered around toast or toasters.  I have seen this happen over and over.  Two writers seem to be channeling the same ideas at the same time when they are creating their strips.  I have witnessed this phenomena occur is other art forms as well – movies – plays – books will come out with similar themes or subjects.  I remember some years back several books and plays came out about Mary Lincoln all at about the same time.

What is at work here?  Is it zeitgeist – the spirit of the times?  I don’t want to get all woo woo but something does seem to be working behind the scenes.  Some overreaching thought that is struggling to manifest, and various artists pick that idea up at the same time.

This interests me because of the very nature of the creative process itself.  I have discussed on this blog how I feel that when I am writing, the characters are actually creating themselves through me.  They seem to be in charge and are manifesting themselves without any intellectual imput from me.  This process has always fascinated me, and here seems to be an other example of ideas or individuals coming from some place of collective unconscious which would explain how in something as simple and brief as a comic strip some deeper unconscious force is at work.

I am constantly amazed and amused at how the creative process works.  And I love that it remaines anchored in mystery.

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