Rocky Bluff and a Spare Bedroom
September 6, 2010
It was late afternoon, all my canines were lounging in their usual spots around the room—and there I was, in my favorite reading chair, a cup of tea with lemon at the ready, happily reading along and minding my own literary business of enjoying a good mystery book—when I heard myself say out loud, “I could get the guest room ready.” I think I was talking to Buster, the dog closest on the floor to me. He actually tries to listen, but usually doesn’t recognize any words besides his name and “biscuits.”
Yep, I was voicing my willingness to change linens, remove at least two-layers of dust from all surfaces, and relocate to homes outside all the spiders that had homesteaded since my last visit to that seldom used room. Then I asked Buster, “I wonder if Gordon could stand having five dogs around all the time?”
That’s when I dropped the book to my lap, and realized what had just happened. Talking to dogs wasn’t the big deal—I do that all the time. The “big deal” was, a character in the book I was reading—An Axe to Grind by F.M. (aka Marilyn) Meredith[i] —had become a real person. The conceit of fiction had evaporated.
I love to read, cherish good writing, and have been swept away many times, by many good authors—but I doubt I ever considered inviting one of their characters into my home. Maybe I slipped into an alternate universe? No. What I realized—yet again and on a different level—was what a darned good writer Marilyn is!
Okay, a lot of you already know that about Marilyn, and I did to—intellectually. Her dialog is snappy, her prose clean and concise, and all her characters immensely likable—except for the villains of course. But this read, whether based in logic, psychology, visceral intuition—or all combined—Gordon Butler became a real person, with a dilemma I wanted to solve! I must admit to a soft spot in my heart for Gordon (a back-story character) ever since I met him in No Sanctuary. But this time I actually wanted to give him a home!
My, my, Marilyn, what a good job you’ve done! I’m clearly hooked on the “Rocky Bluff Gang” (police department, actually). Can’t think of a better group of people (oops! I mean characters) to spend an afternoon with. And whatever writing sorcery you’re doing, keep on doing it.[ii]
[ii] Still have Kindred Spirits and Dispel the Mist in my stack of to-be-reads. Marilyn is also a very prolific writer!