Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday's Children--Inspired by Boston

Thursday's Children is a meme where writers join together to blog about the things that inspire them. Click here to find out more and join the blog hop!

I had another post planned for this week but it's just going to have to wait because a real life villain hurt people I love on Monday afternoon. Physically everyone I know is okay. And their families are okay. But my city is wounded. People are dead. A child is dead, his family injured. And my heart goes with them.

I spent most of Monday night angry. And scared. Because that's what anger always is at its worn and broken heart. But I refuse to spend another week on the couch, staring at the news like I did on September 11, 2001. Or December 14, 2012. Not to say that I'm not horrified and scared and angry and indescribably sad. I am all of those things. But Boston, my city, is a city that fights back. We are, as a dear friend said earlier this week, the city of

There is so much about Boston that inspires me.

Its Unified Spirit. There are lots of jokes about Boston culture. My family pahks our cah in Havahd Yahd. But the jokes stem from the fact that there is an undeniable feel and flavor to the city and its boroughs. We're just a little bit scrappy. Like my mother always says we, "tell it like it is." There is pride in our rich history, spirit fueled by kick-ass sports teams, and fierce loyalty to the artists, athletes, etc who call themselves Bostonian. It's a wicked awesome thing to be a part of, even from a distance. Even when my characters aren't from Boston, they are sprinkled with that spirit, that strength and solidarity. The feistiness and fearlessness. The city itself is my absolute favorite character to write.

On the field at Fenway with dear friend and CP, Dawn
Those Kick-ass Sports Teams I Mentioned. I've been a Red Sox fan since before I started Kindergarten. My grandfather took me to every spring training game growing up, since the Sox trained near my family's home outside Orlando. (We left New England when I was really little.) The first time I saw a game at Fenway Park (against the Yankees no less) I cried. The first time I saw a concert at Fenway...there are no words. I picked up the Celtics while serving as a Ball Girl for the Orlando Magic in elementary school. And once I learned to like football in high school, it was pretty convenient that my school's mascot happened to be the Patriots, also. There's little opportunity to fully appreciate hockey down here in the Dirty South, but I cheer the Bruins on every year. You can take the girl out of Boston, but you can't take the Boston out of the girl. The L.I.'s in my manuscripts are almost always Boston sports fans, and as often as possible the heroines are, too.

The Music that Books Are Made Of. I make soundtracks for each of my characters as I'm brainstorming and pre-writing manuscripts, so that when I dive into the sea of drafting I can use the music to guide me back to shore, to keep me focused on the story and emotions I'm trying to convey. The anti-hero of the manuscript I'm querying is a big Dropkick Murphys fan while my protag is more of an Aerosmith kind of gal. And yes, those boys I mentioned in my first Thursday's Children post do find their way into my playlists every once in a while. But there's so much good ish on the Boston music scene.

Oh the Places We Go. People probably think of a lot of places when someone mentions Boston: The Old North Church, Harvard Yard, the Back Bay, Fenway Park. These are the famous, history-rich places to love about Boston, but there's so much more to be found in the little local spots, too. Mike's Pastry in the North End--home of the best cannolis you will find in America--is one of my favorite places to write sensory details about. The quiet, tree-adorned shops of Newbury Street inspired an entire manuscript. The Frog Pond at Boston Common is a great place to do your writing in the summer, and in the winter it is a wonderland; the stuff all things romantical are made of.
Me and my homegirl Roxi--Boston Public Garden, August 2011

It's been too long since I've been home now. Almost two years. I want to take my family there this summer, and if Jet Blue keeps harassing me by email, I just might cave in and book the flight. Until then, I'm going to write about all the things in Boston that inspire me. I'll let the wonderful, brave, heroic things about my city serve as inspiration because there is so much good there, even in the midst of one of the city's bleakest moments.

If you'd like to help those most affected by Monday's events, please visit The One Fund. This is the charity that has been set up by Boston officials to directly benefit the families who need our support. 

To the monster responsible: May you find yourself in Roxbury in a broken down convertible with the top down at two in the morning. And in the immortal words of Will Hunting and the entire cast of The Departed, "Go Fuck Yourself."

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  1. I grew up in Mass (and yes, I hide that up here in Maine because Maineahs would then enjoy calling me a Masshole). For over ten years I lived in Boston's student ghettos. It IS a great city and I love that you can walk from one Quincy Market to Coolidge Corner in a day - a long day, but still... Love that dirty water.

  2. I was born in western MA and grew up there until high school. I have tons of fond memories of Boston from all parts of my life--especially the historical aspects of Boston. Boston is a birthplace of heroes and it inspires me too.

  3. I had the privilege of visiting Boston in junior high, and I definitely understand why you love it! There's an energy there, a force, that I've never experienced anywhere else.

    "But I refuse to spend another week on the couch, staring at the news..." I know just how you feel. Sometimes, going out and living is the greatest act of defiance against anyone who would perpetrate something like this. Freedom, joy, and community are more powerful than hate and fear. Thank you for reminding us what makes us all strong!

  4. Good Will Hunting is one of my all time favorite movies (and introduced me to the lyrical genuis that was :( Elliott Smith)!!! Great post and so nice to learn more about the city - thanks for sharing :)

  5. @Rhiann--Native Charlotteans calls me a "damn yankee" and say they "can't understand my accent." I have a hard time keeping a straight face. I have not made the Quincy-Coolidge trek but I might have to add that to my to-do list for a future trip!

    @Pat--it definitely is! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    @Laura you're absolutely right. The best way to fight back is to get back to normal!

    @Jessika I was going to put the "how do you like them apples" clip in here, too but I felt like I had enough "stuff" in this post! Thanks for stopping by! :)

  6. Has been a really distressing time for both Boston and now Waco - my heart really goes out to everyone touched by the tragedies. Sounds like your city has a great heart!

  7. Thanks for this touching post. The people of Boston are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope this tragedy brings us closer to one another.

  8. I admire your fighting spirit, and you make me want to live in Boston. Almost. I am more of a country girl at heart, but I definitely want to visit now. My prayers are with your city and all the people involved. Keep that fighting spirit and may time heal all quickly.

    Oh and I make soundtracks for my characters too! It is a device that sets the mood so easily and flawlessly, and helps my characters talk to me. :) I am fortunate enough to have a musician for a husband who likes to take requests when I ask him to compose special soundtrack music for my characters.

  9. We do, Raewyn! And we're all sending good thoughts to West, TX, too!

    @Mia I agree. Divisiveness would be the worst outcome of all.

    @Shanah, you should definitely visit! And how cool is it that your husband can support your writing that way. Amazing!

  10. *hands over platter of bacon* You might be a Yank, but with a love of bacon and your hometown? You are forgiven *wink* Not to mention the beautiful purple colors and love of baseball.

    A friend and I want to do a The Great Baseball Stadium Tour, hopefully soon. She is a huge Boston Fan (her father moved from Boston in the early 50's to the south) and we planned in our early teen years (*ahem* 20+ years ago) to visit. Now it's on :)

    I'm always amazed at how people see, and their emotional responses, to places. I can't do big cities for long. After two days I have to get out, but I see why they can be so loved. I have to have my Rockies, my natural fortresses.

    I have LOVED the response by Boston, and the country, to the tragedy. Most have run TOWARD the carnage, not away. I'm especially proud of that.

    Great blog!

  11. I've never been, but from your post and the response to the events, it feels like people from Boston are so full of spirit and pride.

    Thanks for sharing this :)

  12. Thanks, T.J! Last night was a great testament, too. Watching everyone celebrate after a long, tense day. Hoping now the healing can begin.

  13. Thank you, John! You're absolutely right. And there's a lot to be proud of today!

  14. I'm so glad that your family and friends are safe. And I love this post - your love and pride are wonderful. Not to mention inspiring. :)

    Boston is on my top ten list of places to visit - I've always been intrigued by the city and the people. I hope to get there sometime soon.

  15. Chris, you must! It is a place of magic! Thanks for reading. :)