I’m Rabbit Holing this morning and cannot stop. A story set in Savannah Georgia has to have landmarks and street names, and even real places, so I do a search for Savannah and then start mapping. But then I need Civil War dates, and I need historical figures, and battle names and it is on.
I grew up one hundred years after the Civil War was fought, and the south not only lost the war, but was left in a state of economic ruin, which is what you get when five percent of a region holds ninety-five percent of the wealth. There’s a lot to unpack in that last sentence, but that’s another discussion for another day. That’s a very large, and very deep, Rabbit Hole.
There’s no real reason for this story to be historically accurate. The part that occurs in Savannah is a chapter or two. There is no reason for this sort of detail, except I want it. I want to put the scene in a bar where a band is playing to feel like it is in Savannah, no not way back when, but today, yet with the past hanging over the older people there, like it does me sometimes.
I was a kid when George Wallace was shot, and some people thought it was a sign of the Apocalypse. Yeah, but they thought that about bar codes, too, small group of people, so there is that.
But now I’m wondering if I ought to take a trip, or three, to Savannah, and find a local bar somewhere, meet some strange people, and set the story right there. I know people in that town, and perhaps that the way to do this, truly, but at the same time, something suggests that going solo would be better.
There is danger, real danger, is having even a chapter set in a place that is a floating island of history. If you get there, you might have to stay there, write more about it, and then suddenly the scene is the story, and all is lost, or all is found, it all depends on how it’s written.
Better, now that I think of it, to write a little, leave something dangling for one of the characters to return to, years later, or perhaps the daughter of one of the characters, returning to find the path her mother made into music.
See? See how easily one hole opens and none of the others close?
There’s a feeling I get sometimes, all of this is necessary, essential even, a story has to have more that wasn’t written than was. A reader who is really into the tale will feel it, will see the Rabbit Hole open, want to follow it, seek out my desires to go elsewhere, but return to the path, sensing the depths of the story untold.