Sunday, December 30, 2007

Le Mot Juste

Christmas day was our last as the historic New Orleans characters. I came to really like John James Audubon by the end. He was passionately devoted to his artistic goal, at the expense of his safety, his personal fortune, and even his family's comfort. You could say Audubon was a neglectful husband and father, but his diaries and letters to his wife reveal how deeply he loved them. Regardless, he finished his epic project, "The Birds of America" and the companion book, "The Ornithological Biographies".

In front of Preservation Hall, I met an entire family descended from Audubon's business partner. Rozier is a significant character in the Audubon story, and of course his family knows the story well. It was magical to TELL the story to them, to see their nods of recognition, the occasional sparkle in the eye when I happened to say the mot juste: "So which of you will pay the money Rozier still owes me?"

Currently I'm at the Sound Cafe in the Bywater neighborhood, where I live, to work on my own writing. The novel calls. I'm in another rough spot, the beginning of a new chapter. I jab, perry, thrust with my pen, but have not yet gained any mastery. It's always this way. I have the goals in sight. I know what I need to portray. It's the "doing" that's challenging, at least until things pick up. In this chapter, my protagonist must ACT. He cannot be a victim of circumstance, but must choose and act, with the consequences evident to the reader.

I'm distracted by a new crush.

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