A week ago, I sat in my agent's office. Above her desk, a row of books towered like a shrine. I spotted my pastel-tinted hardcover, tucked in the corner. We chatted about a couple new projects in the works. It felt a little surreal, hearing someone else talk about the people in my head. I held my breath. She told me two things. Although I'm working on something a bit different from my first novel, it's still a "Crissa book." I busted out a grin when she said my "girl characters" have their own thing going on. That's so important. I refuse to write a hot pink novel (though dreamy pastels are cool with me).
I think back to last weekend, when my boyfriend and I visited the Maritime Building next to the Whitehall Ferry. Talking Heads frontman, David Byrne, had transformed the cavernous second floor into a "sound sculpture." People stood in line, waiting for a chance to play the bulding...or rather, hunch over an antique organ connected to a spiderweb of "metal beams, plumbing, electrical conduits, and heating and water pipes" (according to the Creative Time website).
The Maritime Building hummed like a living thing. I stood near a clanking radiator and shot a video of a girl tickling the keyboard. Behind her, sunlight spilled down on another girl, who trotted around with a red umbrella. An old man with a mustache chased her with his enormous camera (He told us that she was the subject of his photo project. Yeah. Whatever).
That night, I slipped into a sparkly dress (which made me look like a mirror ball) and we slipped into a 1920s costume party called Shanghai Mermaid at a dusty factory in Red Hook. Everybody was decked out in sequins and sipping absinthe. I noticed a chick dressed like the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy--not to mention, a few fabulous drag queens. At midnight, a woman dropped out of the ceiling and performed a sash dance (similar to the booty-shaking fan dance she had performed earlier, only this time, suspended in mid air). I clapped so hard, my hands burned.
On the way out, a retro band strummed banjos and ukuleles. I recorded a few seconds of bleary footage on my digital camera.
Now I've got an avalanche of finals to grade and revisions to tackle. In the basement of my mind, plotlines simmer. New characters speak to me. I dream about them and sketch them with Pigma pens in my notepad.
For the moment, they are all mine.