My daughter cruised through a garage sale last weekend, bringing home a case that looked like it could carry dolls, instead all the seasons of that wonder filled series, The Gilmore Girls filled it. My youngest daughter's friend first lent us her series, season by season,a few years ago and we fell in love with the witty writing and beautiful visions of a make believe small town in Connecticut. Coffee brewing, bagels and jammies led to us being 'Gilmored.' A phrase we made up for watching disc after disc, a sucked in phenomena of a fantasy land, a Connecticut strangely reminiscent of California, where the sun shines bright at five thirty in the morning on an early winter day.
The first suspension of belief to me, is how much the older Lorelai can eat, while still being tall and willowy. Every woman's dream materialized by hardly ever seeing her eat a salad. Most of us are more like the chef, Sookie. The second thing in the script depicts that they live in a dirty house. Yeah, my house isn't that clean on a good day. We are slobs. Maybe it is their lack of animals.
I believe another part of the charm is the eccentric characters that populate the town of Stars Hallow. I think of the book I'm reading by Maeve Binchy, a collection of stories about people around a small town in Ireland. Jan Karon's Mitford introduced many characters Father Tim learned to deal with. The book I finished recently, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil written about real people in Savannah also created community. We crave community, whether small town or as in the movie, You've Got Mail, a neighborhood in New York City. Think of novels you have enjoyed lately and maybe you find the same thing, a group of people and animals on the periphery of story that make up the book.
I miss that in my life at times. Living in a suburbia city and working seems to have kept me from knowing quirky people that interact. Working, now, in a nursing home gives me a micro community. Actions to be counted on happening every time I'm there. The lady asks me about dancing on New Year's Eve. The Queen rolls into the dining room. The husband wheels his wife around the square all day. Another man smiles as I call him "Sweetheart" and admonishing him to not tell the other men. Getting called Jessica by a daughter. All this makes up an evening. I look at it as background for a novel.
Community creates fullness for a story. Even loners in books have a cat or a neighbor, brother, sister , someone who cares. The newspaper stand owner or waitress the protagonist encounters regularly.
We, as readers, want those recurring characters. We crave community in our isolated world. We suspend belief to fall in love with a Miss Patti, Babbette, or even the nameless singer who fills in background song. They don't have strong stories on their own, or at least they are not given them, but the whole wouldn't be complete without them.
A picture of "Stove Hounds," men who hung around the pot belly stove in a general store in New England at the turn of last century makes me think I want to write about that someday. Yet a central story around it all must emerge. I'm feeling the urge to hang out at the diner. How about you?