Mississippi Gulf Coast

Today I am horrified by the images and video I’m seeing from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Besides the fact that one of our LJ friends lives there, and we are hoping he and his loved ones are okay, this is where Tim and I visited when researching THREE FORTUNES.

The residents were so gracious about answering our questions. They were frank about what was good and what was flawed about their state, but none of them talked about moving away. It’s home. In our acknowledgments, we specifically thank two Visitors’ Centers, two GLBT bars, and a cafe in Pass Christian. I don’t know if those places are even still there.

The houses that play an important role in the novel were inspired by the coast’s beautiful mansions, many of which survived Hurricane Camille. In fact, Camille has a part in shaping one of our characters, and some of our characters do what I did when I was there one morning–go to the Hurricane Camille Memorial in Biloxi. Tim and I made a video record of some of the places we saw so that when we came back to Houston, our writing would be accurate. It’s heartbreaking to think of all that beauty destroyed.

I can’t believe the devastation. I know there is a tremendous loss of property, but even worse, the loss of lives. I worry about the evacuees, the survivors, the displaced animals. I feel so helpless. I wish our book would sell a zillion copies or be optioned for a movie, so I could donate enough money to make a difference. I wish I could help people clean up and get their lives back.

All I can do for the moment is send good thoughts, good energy, to these coastal people who shared themselves and their beautiful surroundings with us for a time. It will be home again.

James wisdom

I love my friend James so much. Yesterday we exchanged e-mails most of the morning, and the subject of some of our shared memories came up. I mentioned the “bittersweet” feeling I had when looking at old photos and he said, “Bittersweet… yeah, I use that word a lot. It’s such a complicated feeling.. sort of a comfortably sad memory moment… an unexpected perspective and yielding to the inevitability of the loss of everything we have loved. Sometimes I really hate how it makes me feel, kind of like the way I hate surrendering the day to sleep.”

I just have to love a man who expresses himself so eloquently and ALSO understands my tendency to resist going to sleep at night. I wonder if this is why Tim finds it hard to say goodbye to the day, too.