I don’t know why it is, but it seems I get some of my best ideas just as I’ve gotten into bed and my head hits the pillow. And I know… I know… that these ideas are so brilliant that there’s no way I could forget them.
Of course come the morning they’re long gone.
This happened so often that it became beyond frustrating. So, what to do? I hied me to the local Walgreens and picked up a “Fat Book” on sale.
That first one rested on my night table, along with a pen, and before long, it was filled with notes of all sorts, for Bless Us With Content, the first novel Dreamspinner published for me, as well as for fanfic, which I was still writing at that point. And of course there were snippets of dialogue. “You’re not very tall,” she said. “That’s not why they call me ‘Big,’” he replied.
That book was eventually replaced with book 2, and then book 3, and then… well, you get the idea.
There are times when I’ve left myself cryptic notes: Actions speak louder than words—it would be nice if I could remember what I’d been thinking the night before. But at least that was legible. I tend to jot these things down with the lights off and my eyes closed (in hopes I’ll be able to get back to sleep), and in the morning I’ll swear and kick things, trying to figure out what the heck those chicken scratches represented.
But it’s all worth it. In the sequel I have planned for my latest novella, Call Me Church, we learn that John Smith used to trade blowjobs for the opportunity to get warm and dry in various Broadway theaters. He couldn’t do this for Chetwood’s Kitty—there was a woman at the box office and a straight man at the stage door. It occurred to me at 11:15 p.m. that I had no clue which theater that would be (necessary, since it will be brought up in the sequel, which is as yet unnamed. Johnny and Church in the Search for the Treasure of the Hidden Temple?) so I made a note for myself to look it up.
And in the morning I could actually read what I had written!
Excerpt from Call Me Church:
We were trudging down Fourteenth Street. Despite the fact that I’d had the first nourishing meal in ages, I was freezing, and my teeth chattered so much I was afraid Mr. Chetwood would complain about the noise.
Instead, he suddenly dragged me into a stable.
“Hold on a second, kid!” He whistled through his teeth.
“That you, Mr. C?” A short, skinny man appeared from the rear of the stable.
“It is, Otto.”
“I ain’t got no papers on you tonight.”
“Thank God for that! Among other things, Otto’s a process server, Johnny. Otto, this is John Smith.”
“Hullo, John Smith.”
“How do you do?” I asked distractedly. “We have to get out of here!” I tugged on Mr. Chetwood’s sleeve.
Otto must have heard him, because he laughed. “It’s thanks to Mr. C. I been workin’ steady.”
“Yeah, ever since Kitty got gunned down.”
“God bless the soldiers of the United States of America!” Otto bowed his head and put his hand over his heart, then raised his head and grinned. “So, Mr. C. What can I do you for?”
“I’ve got to get back to Mrs. Eastman’s place.” He leaned down and whispered in my ear, “The last thing we need is for you to come down with pneumonia.”
“Sure you are. Otto?”
“Sure thing, Mr. C. I go harness Petunia. You and John Smith put these on.” He handed us a bundle of clothes and hurried to where his horse was dozing in her stall.
“Mr.Chetwood…. These are women’s clothes!”
“Not only is Otto a process server, but he deals in secondhand goods as well, including clothes.”
“Look, kid. Everyone knows I have a room at Mrs. Eastman’s boarding house. There are more rats and stoolies around there waiting to get their mitts on me than you can shake a stick at!”
“Then why go there?”
“Because right now…. Never mind. Just take my word for it.”
“Oke, Mr. Chetwood.” I owed him.
He stared at me for a long minute. “All right, kid, this is what the story is. Captain Johansen is waiting to sail on the tide, and as soon as it’s safe, he’ll send someone to let me know.”
“And you’ll be away.”
I nodded. “We’d better get changed.”
“That’s all you have to say?”
“I guess. I wish….”
I shook my head. There was no use telling him I wished I could go with him.
We rolled up our trouser legs and scrambled into the shabby dresses a serving woman must have discarded. They were probably a dozen years out of fashion, but that didn’t matter to someone who washed dishes and scrubbed windows and floors.
Mr. Chetwood stuffed his hat in the waistband of his long skirt. It was a good thing some of the poorer women had no choice but to wear men’s overcoats. We wouldn’t look tooout of place.
There were a couple of ladies’ hats as well, and if the darkness didn’t conceal our features, the broad brims of the hats would.
“Ready, boys?” Otto led a swaybacked mare pulling a ramshackle cart. “Mr. C., you get down in the back. John Smith, you’re prettier than Mr. C. You sit next to me. You don’t get upset if I put my arm around you?”
“As long as you don’t pinch me!”
“You’d better not get fresh, Otto!” Mr. Chetwood ordered.
Tinnean has been writing since the 3rd grade, where she was inspired to try her hand at epic poetry. Fortunately, that epic poem didn’t survive the passage of time; however, her love of writing not only survived but thrived, and in high school she became a member of the magazine staff, where she contributed a number of stories.
It was with the advent of the family’s second computer – the first intimidated everyone – that her writing took off, enhanced in part by fanfiction, but mostly by the wonder that is copy and paste.
While involved in fandom, she was nominated for both Rerun and Light My Fire Awards. Now she concentrates on her original characters.
A New Yorker at heart, she resides in SW Florida with her husband and two computers.
Ernest Hemingway’s words reflect Tinnean’s devotion to her craft: Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and can be found on
Live Journal: http://tinnean.livejournal.com/ and on
If you’d like to sample her earlier works, they can be found at http://www.angelfire.com/fl5/tinnssinns/Welcome1.html