Carousel Revisited

I realized on the commute to work today that I have an opportunity to start something that was one of the intents of this journal – namely, to track an idea from its origin to the finished product.

Since starting the Foundry a year ago, I have documented the comings and goings of ideas – but as far as I recall, they were all ideas that have been with me since before the blog, riding in coach, unnoticed, while I deal with current projects.

One of these old passengers is The Mark of Cain, a dark thriller set after a domestic terrorist event a la the Oklahoma City bombing (it was, in fact, inspired by a comment made by a person who lost a loved one in the blast). I’ve been delaying doing anything with the idea because the plot requires that I explain in detail how a terrorist brought down an airliner in a new and frightening way, and I didn’t want anything that someone with a cause and a handful of household chemicals could do.

Well, during my shower yesterday, Cain showed up and brought a friend with it. This friend was just what I needed for the book; something plausible, frightening, but out of reach for someone wanting to try such a thing in real life.

So now Cain goes back to being a passenger – although its status has been upgraded. It’s probably in business class now.

Taking Cain’s place in coach is the rawest of notions – something I started to think about while watching the production of Carousel on Saturday.

My wife, always one to use a good object lesson when it presents itself, was talking to my daughter about the two girls in the play. One was flighty and giggly, but fell in love with a down-to-earth man who, while not handsome, would prove to be a good provider for a family. The more down-to-earth girl, Julie, falls in love with Billy, a handsome but staggeringly irresponsible man who propels Julie and their unborn child toward tragedy.

So my wife asked my daughter, “Which of the girls do you think made a better choice?” That got me to thinking about the idea of choice as a defining moment in someone’s life. That led me to another thought: wouldn’t it be interesting to write a novel about two friends, and how at a some point each makes a different choice – perhaps one that is seemingly minor – and how it changes their lives from that point on?

All I know about this notion is that I don’t want it to be like the old Lorne Greene song Ringo, where two friends part company, one becomes a sheriff and the other an outlaw, and they face off in a showdown.

But now this Choice is a notion. And I’ve logged it here, and will document whenever it returns to introduce me to a friend. It may be next week, or it may be years before something happens. Hopefully sooner than later, but you can’t really rush these things, can you?

Anyway, welcome to coach, Choice. Enjoy your trip.

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