Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

Inspiration behind Margarita’s character

Posted 31 Mar 2010 — by admin
Category Our Jewish Robot Future

When considering writing about the Garden of Eden, I thought the book would be an in depth study of the sacred grounds and story characters. I believed, in the end, it would be a worthwhile book and a crowning achievement. I quickly realized, the research to support my ideas would not help to prove anything. Knowledgeable people in biblical studies would dismiss my work, as flippant and prove personally embarrassing. Questions, I imagined, as to why I was awarded a graduate degree, would surface. I imagined it would be a reflection on the University. They had a point. In graduate school, I read subpar works thought by authors to be tomes. I hadn’t planned to join that infamous group. I had self-respect.

I changed my approach and wrote fiction, in biographical form, about a bon vivant discovering the true essence of the Garden of Eden story. The storyteller was Leopold Rabbit, who in time proved to be a character too close to home. Leopold and Leonard sounded similar and Rabbit coincided with my powers of procreation. A first draft was completed and it was awful. In addition, I lacked the mechanics to write a good story. I used the finished draft as scrap paper for my printer.

I revisited a teacher at the University of Michigan. His advice was clear: write a story in first person, in the form of a memoir. He was right. Even so, writing it was not problem free. Oh, words flowed off my fingertips into the computer. Defining the lead character at every turn proved difficult. At every turn, the novel sounded like my autobiography.

After thought, I decided the novel’s main character would be, as close as possible, the most improbable person I knew on the planet. The criteria refined my thinking questioning, who from my world is 180 degrees. Where would I find such a person? Walk around town. Maybe I’d find ample selections. Immediately, ideas sprouted. The lead character had to be a woman. Other traits flowed: a foreign born character, someone who we knew that lived in a different society, flamboyant, attractive but not magnetizing. Some parts of the character needed to be close to home: believable, able to live in conservative Birmingham, Michigan. Someone outgoing who would be an unreliable narrator fit my mold.

Sometimes writers know such a person. A real person they’ve met, a friend or lifelong relation. Even if they’re a figment in your mind, authors change names and the person becomes fictionalized. Margarita was different. Even though I brought her to life, I have never met or seen such a person. I’ve traveled to Italy, and I’ve met men who married Italian born women living here in Michigan. There has never been a match. I can’t say that about all the other characters in my novel.