I like staring at a blank computer screen. Yup. Blank. I let each chapter unfold inside my head before typing a single word. At times, the imaginary film production crew makes too much racket, discombobulating my thoughts, and it becomes necessary to let them break early for lunch.
Gertrude Stein sat in her car and wrote on scraps of paper. Thomas Wolf composed his masterpieces standing up. John Cheever, master of short stories, wrote in his underwear. Flannery O’Connor created her greatest novels facing a wooden dresser to avoid distractions. I concur with Flannery O’Connor’s method of writing. Three windows surround my roll-top desk. I keep the shutters closed and type with my eyes shut. Occasionally, Ralph, a male resident of the nursing home down the hill interrupts me. He knocks on the door, says I have a lovely house, and asks to rest in my parlor.
“Is that why my friend,Gail, in The Taste of Orange had Alzheimer’s?” Clancy asks.
“I was wondering when you’d enter my thoughts.”
“You need more real friends,” Clancy says.
“I need more coffee,” I say, opening my eyes. “No, I wasn’t thinking about Ralph when I created, Gail. I needed a character to befriend you that would accept your quirks. Someone you would be yourself with.”
“You mean someone that wouldn’t judge me? You act as if I embarrass you. You’re the one that made me up inside your head,” Clancy says.
“I fell in love with you the minute you told me your name.”
“And you think I have quirks.”
“It was surreal how everything came together. I knew that the main character in The Taste of Orange was a thirty-two-year-old female of Irish descent, employed as a housekeeper, lived on a farm, and viewed life from the eyes of an outsider. What she didn’t have was a name.”
“Oh, so that’s why you acted like a crazy person, screaming at the blank computer screen. What’s your name? What’s your name?”
“It worked didn’t it? You whispered the name, Clancy, inside my head.”
“Tada,” Clancy says. “And then you googled my name.”
“That’s when the chills came. Clancy is an Irish surname and forty-two percent are farmers. The name was perfect.”
“What’d you expect? I chose my name.”