Thursday, June 5, 2008

Promise to a Gun-Toting Matriarch

I called my mother's house last night so I could bitch about my room mate drama (which by the way is solved...all is well) but instead got my Grandmother. The matriarch of our family's infrastructure. The icing on our cake, so to speak. The first chapter of our book. I was pleased to catch her especially since she sounded a lot better than she had the last time I'd spoken to her. She sounded cheery and upbeat, and I could hear in the back ground the rattling and banging of pots which indicated she was also cooking; another good sign. "Hey babe!" She said in her high pitched soft voice. I smiled at the sound of it, my Grandmother's voice has the potential to be very annoying (when she's mad) but very comforting at the same time.

"Hey Grams." I replied and asked where my mother was. "Not here, babe. I think she's still at work." Duh, I thought to myself, time difference...

So instead of bitching, I chatted with my Grandmother and gave her the update on my life. Starting back to school July 7th; No D and I are not back together yet; but yes we're still considering it; work is fine; my room mates are fine (lie); yes I'm being careful....

She complained about not getting the respect she deserved, but said it jokingly, so I ran with it. "Well, beat some ass, Grandma!" She convulsed into chuckles at the idea. My Grandmother was not only the eldest of our family but the smallest. At barely 5 feet tall, there was pretty much no one she could whop these days. "Forget that," She said, catching her breath, "Grandma still has her gun, and you know I finally found those bullets the other day!" I laughed until my sides hurt at the idea of my 71 year old Grandmother still toting the same gun she used to keep under the front seat of her Ford Probe and threaten to bring out when people cut her off in traffic. Oakland girls don't play.

Before we hung up Grams asked me a few more questions about school. "Yea, I just need to get a laptop within the next few weeks at least for school. I'm excited about it too, because I can also use it to finally finish my manuscript." My Grandmother's voice lit up as she gasped. "Oh, babe, your finally gonna do that?" My Grandmother has been pushing me to pursue writing since she read my first short story when I was 11. It was about a girl who lived next door to an elderly woman and developed a friendship with her; based on my own relationship with my Great Grandmother Ann (my Grams mother, may she rest in peace). "Honey, you should definitely get going on that. You have so much inspiration, what with your life being so crappy when you were coming up and all." "Thanks Gram" I said sarcastically. But she was right, my life up until a few years ago was riddled with constant drama, divorce, moving from one place to another, sexual and physical abuse, depression and emotional uproar. I had plenty to write about; and being that I've kept a journal for 18 years I also have plenty of notes.

"Well you make me a promise." My Grandmother said, putting all jokes aside. "You get started on that thing asap. And when your done you submit it to publishers like you said. I'm going to give you three years, maximum. I wanna read that thing before I'm gone!" Three years was more than enough time to finish a manuscript. I already had in my mind the concept I was going to use. My life broken down into 10 or 15 short stories featuring anonymous characters. All I had to do was start writing. It's not as if writing has ever been work to me. It's what makes me tick really. Imagining characters and bringing them to life with detail and care is something I'm not only driven by, but also comes very naturally to me.

I listened to my Grandmother's inspirational words about how I should 'write a little a day' and make it a habit and 'throw any idea down and just play with it'. She knew what she was talking about. Whether or not anyone knew, my Grandmother was a pretty damn good writer herself. I'm sure the diligence to write came from my father, but the style, the detail, the color....that was all from Grams.

"I promise" I said before we hung up, and suddenly I felt energized and light headed all at the same time. First order of business is to get buy a laptop this week. After that, no more excuses. I'm getting this thing done and soon. So look out for my first book....cause you might be in it.