I Don’t Wear Red–A Character Sketch
It’s time to start revising Pretty Has A Price, a novel I wrote in 2015-16 about a writer who is doing a writing in residence in Montgomery, Alabama, around the corner from the last house lived in by F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald when he falls for a local married woman, Sterling James, who is neck-deep in the scratchy politics of the elaborate annual balls of the capital city.
From time-to-time I toy with ideas about the book, which I need to revise. Sometimes I do sketches. Here is one of them:
I Don’t Wear Red
Her lipstick smudged the page. Or was that the red of the typewriter ribbon? I could not tell, the red was so stark, and just the day before at the café she had been so defiant with me, so pronounced, so assuring. Almost indignant.
“I do not wear anything red. I don’t even own anything red,” she said as though I had offended her. Like I had said she were in an Auburn sorority.
But the incontrovertible facts were right there in front of me, as sure as the sounds of the typewriter had been. There was a smudge of red on the page.
What was I to make of it?
It’s Time To Revise–A Sketch Within A Sketch
I am ready to pry open the notes that I took of those painful days in Montgomery. Days that I have long put behind me; like those who escape from the city must all do once they are able to finally break free. When you are living there, you tell yourself you want to leave, but can’t, that you can never live anywhere else. Montgomery has you locked in its orbit. Bound by some mysterious gravity that restrains you and binds you in ways that are not easy to comprehend.
To escape you must tear yourself away. Make no mistake, getting free of that town is no simple task. There is something about Montgomery that seeps into your inner core like a resin leaking into every pore and cell of one’s body, permeating every fiber and staying with you long after you have left the city limits.