I should be working on the novel, the one I'm excited about, that has accumulated chapters and files of research and a story line and characters like Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph who sometimes peer out at me from crowds, demanding that I return. My narrator, Maggie, has a strong voice.
But this other voice has been demanding its say.
The Leopard Lady began talking in a patois of Appalachian, Shakespearean, African-American, King James Bible, and carny lingo. She had a story to tell, and the initial burst of her appearance included the seeds of 8-10 poems. Others come along as the moment strikes, such as the morning I was watching a couple of young cowbirds in the azaleas by the front porch.
I do love her, though I am puzzled by her arrival. She is as mysterious to me as she is to the people in her story.
I read once that Toni Morrison saw characters, saw people in a moment and then had to return to tell their stories. As visual as I tend to be, lately it seems that it is the voices that lead me into writing.
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