Sunday, January 3, 2010

in this new year . . . Amelia's resurrection continues

I am now a third of the way through what I hope, pray is the final draft of this novel. I return to Amelia. She is seeing the world as we knew it in 1980, marveling at the changes.

When you're with someone on a daily basis you notice the sprouting of gray, the incremental changes, when you see them again after years, you're overwhelmed. How did that happen, you try to find what was in what is. And eventually you do. Amelia is trying to make sense of this new world, and finding echoes of her own in it. Of course she's smitten with all that progress has wrought. Cars speed by, planes crisscross the sky and they're jets, space is no longer the final frontier, even small things are hugely different. Radio is no longer the cheap entertainment of choice, it's a TV generation. And popular music which figures prominently in this novel is rock and roll, at least for the young, though there are proponents of disco too. My seventeen year old protagonist Sam has grown up on the Clash and Elvis Costello. Radio has changed course, it is a forum for popular music. There is so much to see, and so much to take in, eventually she'll find antecedents for all of it, but first, she'll have to marvel at it. Right now she's stepping into a van bound for New York, and she'll get a turn at the wheel. The need for speed, she always had it. I can't help but think it would have been marvelous for her to take over the wheel on a late night highway, pushing the speedometer up and up and up. She drove cross country with her Mother beside her when her parents finally called it quits, and in Boston she drove everywhere in a yellow Kissel car, Muriel describes it as a "low-slung sport model car, which was called affectionately the Yellow Peril."

What would she see first, and what would she love most? I ask myself this, and I think of her driving down that long stretch of I-95 at the wheel of a van, pushing it to see just what it could do, loving every single second.

1 comment:

  1. She might have enjoyed the speed, but I wonder if she would have been saddened or felt some nostalgia for the old days when she saw how fast people could cross the oceans by plane.