Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Elvis, James Dean, and Family by Alicia Dean

I had trouble coming up with a post for this theme. Love and Hate, sure, lots of ways to go there, but my fellow Roses did such a great job of covering the theme, I was stumped. So, lazy as it may seem, I recycled/tweaked a few of my Facebook posts. They represent things I love (and something to hate), so I thought it fitting. If you’re my FB friend, they might sound familiar, so forgive me.

ELVIS: (LOVE him, HATE that he died so young)

A lot of people have given me the business (that’s a phrase from Leave it to Beaver, by the way, LOVE it! :)) over the years for being an Elvis fan. That's okay, I don't regret one second of loving Elvis. Being a fan has enriched my life in many, many ways. I've met a lot of awesome people and made a lot of good friends as a result of being an Elvis fan. There have been times when I've been feeling low and listening to Elvis music lifted my spirits. I saw him in concert three times, and those are experiences I will always treasure. For my fortieth birthday, my amazing sister  and my wonderful brother-in-law took me to Memphis. We went to Graceland and Beale Street and Sun Studios. That was the trip of a lifetime. Elvis was a true legend and an entertainer such as the world has never seen and will never see again. Even if you don't like him, you have to acknowledge that his popularity is mind-boggling. Graceland is the most visited house in the US, next to the White House (and that's not so much a home as it is a live-in office). When my kids and niece and I went to Graceland this past July, there were fans ranging in age from toddlers to grandparents. People come from all over the world to visit his home, just as they did to see him in concert. Elvis gave a fortune to charities, he adored and revered his mother, and he served in the armed forces, just when his career was taking off. As far as he knew, a two-year absence could have killed his chances at stardom. But of course, we all know that didn't happen. Can you imagine someone like Justin Beiber pausing in his career to serve two years in the army? Even if there wasn't a war going on? Neither can I. him or not, Elvis was, and will forever be, the most successful and revolutionary entertainer to ever live.


I settled in front of the tv with my  laptop and watched the Jailhouse Rock DVD. I was going it to help with inspiration and tone for my 50's story. I was so absorbed in the movie, I couldn't focus on writing. He was so 'Young and Beautiful' (A song from the movie). I was a tad emotional, for some reason. I guess because it was such a hopeful time, before he went into the army, before he lost his mother. And seeing them taking him away in an ambulance, so sad. This is one of my favorite clips from the movie. He was such a sexy beast. ;) Sigh... This only takes a moment to watch, so please check it out. (Ignore the Turkish or whatever language the subtitles are in)

JAMES DEAN: (LOVE him, too, and HATE that he died REALLY young)

I am once again fascinated with James Dean. So many interesting and tragic facts about his life and death. Did you know that he only starred in three movies and only lived to see ONE released? Crazy that he is such a huge legend. I think his untimely death and the mystery and drama surrounding him contributed greatly to his legendary status. Although, I also think he was a phenomenal actor, and extremely sexy and charismatic.  I watched Rebel Without a Cause the other night for research on my 50's story (I hadn't seen it in years). Then I bought all three of his movies in a boxed set. I always thought he was the only one involved/at fault in his accident, but the other driver turned in front of him. The driver survived, but wasn't charged as being at fault. Can you imagine living your life as the person who caused James Dean's death?

MOM: (I am so blessed to have her. LOVE her so much. HATE that she has to be in a nursing home instead of home with her family. HATE that we lost my dad in ’94. LOVE the memories I have of him)

I went to see Mom this evening and Christi and Madi arrived at the same time. We all three went in and were visiting with her, and Mom was telling us how surprised she was that we came, because she never gets any visitors. We assured her that she did, but she just forgets. We told her that her friend, Thedis was there to see her today, because she comes every Wednesday, plus, there was a Valentine card from her on Mom's table. Mom insisted that Thedis had NOT been there today. As we're talking, Madi leans against the nightstand, out of Mom's line of vision. In a few minutes, Mom says, "So, when is my Madi going to come see me?" Christi and I look at each other and kind of snicker, and Mom says, "What? I suppose you're going to tell me SHE already came to see me today too?" LOL. Poor thing.

This is a pic of my precious niece, Madison, and my mother.

MY KIDS: (LOVE them so, so much. Nothing to hate there, except that I don’t have the room to share all the amazing, funny, and dramatic stories of being their mother)

SO, I’ll just share a pick of me and my kiddos doing something we all LOVE – at a Vampire Diaries Convention.

Lana, Me, Presley (yes, I named him Presley, LOL), Lacey

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my entire family, and there are a ton of beautiful, lovable, sometimes crazy members, but the post can only be so long, right? 

WRITING: LOVE it, but I HATE that sometimes the stories don’t flow, and that I don’t have the time I would like to devote to it. One thing I have learned, if I keep at it, at some point, the story clicks, and I start to LOVE the process again.

Here is a brief and extremely rough excerpt of my current Work in Progress, End of Lonely Street, a short story set in the 1950’s:

Chapter One

Toby Lawson closed her eyes and shut out all sounds of the diner, except for Elvis Presley’s voice. He was crooning about how she was the only one for him…no matter where he went or what he did… he’d spend his whole life loving her…
Rough hands landed on her waist, and she snapped her eyes open. Wes Markham’s hateful face replaced the image of Elvis’ beautiful, crooked smile and smoldering blue eyes.
“Let me go.” She gritted her teeth, keeping her voice low. If her boss, Mr. Winstead, knew there was trouble on account of her, he’d go nutty. He’d barely let her have the job in the first place. Everyone in Mapleton knew the Lawson women were trouble.
“Come on, sugar. If you like that hip swivel, Presley ain’t the only one who’s got it. I got it too.” He took his left hand off her waist so he could run it over his slicked down hair and gave her a big-toothed, wolfish smile. “Only we’d be naked.”
Toby gripped his right wrist with one hand, tightening her hold on the utensils she held in the other. “I said let me go. Now!”
“Aw, come on.” He tugged until she was full against him, until his bulge pressed against her stomach.
She gasped in shock, and nausea tightened her throat. “Wes Markham, I’m warning you…”
He pulled her tighter.  “Your momma’s a whole lot friendlier than you are. They say the apple don’t fall far from the tree, so how’s about you cut the pretense and we go someplace quiet? Winstead won’t miss you for a few minutes.”
Her cheeks heated. She didn’t dare look around. No doubt the customers were watching, listening. Elvis had stopped singing and everyone in the place could hear what he’d said about her mother. It wasn’t like they didn’t all know, though. Constance Lawson hadn’t exactly kept her escapades a secret.
Toby clenched her teeth and brandished the utensils. She spoke loud enough for everyone to hear. “Release me this instant, or I swear, you’ll be pulling this steak knife out of your eyeball.”
He held her gaze for a split second, then gave a laugh that was somewhere between nervous and furious. “Sure, sure. Okay.” He released her and stepped back. “I was just foolin’ around anyway. I got better things to do with my time than waste it on a used up chick like you.”
Muffled laughter rose around her. Oh God, she could crawl into a hole right now.
“How about you apologize to the lady, then beat it?”
Toby whirled at the male voice. Noah Rivers stood behind her, looking handsome and sharp in his police uniform. She’d heard he was back, but hadn’t seen him until now. And what a time to have a reunion.
Wes licked his lips and darted a glance around the diner. He stuck his hands in his pants pockets and shrugged. “I didn’t mean no harm. Like I said, just funnin’.”
Noah narrowed his eyes. “Like I said, tell that to the lady.”
Wes frowned and glared at Toby. “Sorry, Toby. Didn’t mean nothin’ by it.”
Toby nodded but didn’t speak.
“Now get out of here.” Noah gestured with his head.
Wes tugged on the edges of his letterman jacket—three years out of high school and still couldn’t let go of the jock mentality--then stalked to the door, his two buddies following behind.
“Thank you.” Toby brushed her hands over her paper apron, self-conscious that she looked like this, when Noah looked like, well…that. “I was doing fine on my own though.”
“Yeah, sure you were. But he ticked me off, so that was just for me.” He crossed his arms and studied her with his hypnotic, golden brown eyes. “How have you been, Toby?”
“Good.” She tried to take a deep breath, but it got stuck somewhere between her stomach and her throat. “You? I heard you were back. A police officer. I never would have pictured that for you.”
“Why not?” He grinned. “Because I was hell on wheels?”
She smiled back. “Something like that.”
“A couple of years in the Marines will take the rebel right out of a guy.”
An uncomfortable silence settled between them. Toby searched for something to say, but failed. What more could be said?
I’ve missed you…
No other guy can make me feel the way you do…
Wish I hadn’t caught you kissing my mother…
In all fairness, her mother had kissed him, but since Toby could never erase that image from her mind, the blame didn’t matter.


Jannine Gallant said...

Oh good heavens, Toby has some issues to deal with. GREAT excerpt!Looking forward to this book.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Hurry up and get this one finished, Alicia. Can't wait to read it.

Alicia Dean said...

Thank you, ladies. I'm glad you like my excerpt. Maybe that will give me the boost I need to stop struggling with the story and finish it! :) Yes, she does have some issues!

MJ Schiller said...

Loved your post and the excerpt and am with the others in wanting you to finish it! Thanks for sharing!

Diane Burton said...

LOL, Alicia. When you don't know what to write, you really write! Love my family dearly but sometimes...

Patricia Kiyono said...

Wow. I'm with Diane - for not knowing what to write, there's a whole lot here! Loved the post, and I REALLY loved the excerpt.

Alicia Dean said...

LOL, yes, I guess it was rather lengthy, but the stuff was pretty much written. Most of it was rebroadcast from my FB post. I am SO relieved to hear good feedback on my excerpt. I'm still struggling with the story a bit, so this is very encouraging. Of course, I guess you wouldn't tell me if you hated it, would you? :-) Thanks for the support!

Calisa Rhose said...

How exciting this one sounds, Alicia! I love the period and her dilemma is different. lol

I have a childhood friend who married a guy named James Dean. I love to tease her about him. ;)

Leah St. James said...

My hubby is a huge Elvis fan, and up until the time we started dating, I never gave him (Elvis) much thought. I quickly began to see the light though! Tremendous talent, gone far too soon. Terrific excerpt! Like the others said, hurry up and write this one! Terrific chemistry!

Alicia Dean said...

LOL, Calisa. There ARE worse names out there. :) Thanks for stopping by. Yes, quite different!

Alicia Dean said...

I KNEW I liked your husband, Leah. :) He has good taste in singers and women. (Other than the Yankee thing, he picked a winner ;-) Yes, tremendous talent for sure. THANKS! I'm so glad you like the excerpt. I'm working hard to finish it, promise!

Lynn Crain said...

Wonderful post and fabulous excerpt. Love hearing all about your love/hate scenarios along with the hows and whys.

Kathy L Wheeler said...

excellent post! As usual.

Marilyn Baron said...

What a great post. I love Elvis too. I've been to Graceland, but unfortunately never got to see Elvis in person. I did write about a women in a retirement home who had an Elvis shrine in the second bedroom of her condo in my book, Significant Others. And she really did, so you're not alone. There are a lot of Elvis fans out there.

I loved your excerpt. Can't wait till you finish the book.

Marilyn Baron

Alicia Dean said...

Thank you, Lynn. I appreciate you stopping by! And thanks to you too, Kathy. As my critique partner, you will probably get this to critique. Can't believe I posted it without another set of eyes on it, :)

Alicia Dean said...

Oh wow, Marilyn. Too cool! I have Significant Others but haven't read it. Will definitely check it out. I was fortunate enough to have seen Elvis in concert 3 times. Memories I'll always treasure!