Novel Inspiration (1):The Addict

Author Adrienne Morris

CHARACTER: Morphine addict Lieutenant John Weldon

INSPIRATION: Katherine McCullough needed a husband in the military. I was listening to a lot of Americana music and crushing on a young Robbie Robertson from The Band while collecting Civil War era prosthetic limbs and morphine kits. Having just recovered from a life threatening blood clot and feeling  wistful about the painkillers I was given in the hospital, I suddenly understood the draw of self-medicating.

A heroin addict friend told me a story about having to kill a bunch of puppies as a child living on a reservation.

JOHN WELDON WAS BORN:

“Doctor Dudley, you in?”

A sudden panic in the pit of Dudley’s stomach caused him to hesitate before opening the door to let Weldon in. They stood together uncomfortably in the center of the room.

Weldon scanned the room, searching for a place to rest his eyes. “Dudley…I have a problem…

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Novel Inspiration (2): The Enabler

Author Adrienne Morris

INSPIRATION: Years of the culture telling me men were monsters who would trample my timorous soul if I let them.

The character Katherine McCullough came from a dusty unfinished diary in a university library. While doing missionary work (which at the time I thought was savaging a culture) her young son died of lockjaw after stepping on a rusty nail on a barge while crossing the Mississippi to visit his mother. Served her right! I callously thought (btw Katherine’s son doesn’t die in the book).

The original intent of the novel was to trash missionaries and keep the myth of the noble savage alive and well. Then I did research. Turns out I had a lot to learn about human frailty on all sides.

My mother said the problem with me was that I didn’t respect my husband. I wondered what it would look like if I did respect a…

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Novel Inspiration (3): The Scapegoat

Author Adrienne Morris

INSPIRATION: Every addict needs a scapegoat.

Captain Simon McCullough’s motto: Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die. This gets John Weldon’s goat. How unfair it is that Simon coasts through life suffering nary a scratch while drinking, womanizing and joking all the way?

Weldon fails to note the fatalism in Simon’s motto. He underestimates the friend he tries to hate.

There’s a type of 19th century military memoir tremendously fun to read. The accent is on the antics of  soldiers in downtime that almost trick one into believing war is quite a great time. I’ve always admired the way boys and men conduct friendship and briefly considered running away to be an intelligence officer in the Navy (to escape that first marriage and possibly  meet a naval officer–a weird twist of fate had me meet and marry a Navy man years later).

I often hear about…

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Novel Inspiration: A Deserted Girl

Author Adrienne Morris

What if you’re the favorite child and grow up beautiful in a house of secrets? You’re a smart girl and learn quite young how to skirt your parents’ anger with a smile and outward compliance. Your rebellion comes late and turns in upon itself. Your admirers see a blue dress and a seductive impetuosity. Your brothers think you’re a fool.

It’s hard to protect an impetuous girl. Emotions can’t be bottled in a dress. Needing love trumps sticking to a plan. When the man you love loves something else another man will do. This other man will convince the first that you, Thankful Crenshaw, have worth beyond your curls and flirtatious giggle. You assumed William Weldon already knew that. You assumed he’d leave his new found badness in town and rescue you from your foolishness. You thought you’d eventually tell him  things about Buck and Fred and all you’ve kept…

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Novel Inspiration: Free Love

Author Adrienne Morris

Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away. Hosea 6:4

My daughter tells me a hook up is expected after three dates. A few years ago my son told me it was after three weeks and before that I’d heard three months.

Free love is more like free mating isn’t it? Like something that happens with my sheep. It’s mindless. It’s instinct (though sometimes I’ve seen my goat bucks treat their does with more tenderness than people do their hook ups).

In movies free love is the punchline of a joke or just something thrown in to titillate a constantly bored audience. Sex scenes are about as interesting to watch as watching rams mount their girls. I laugh when movies are advertised as “steamy.”

In the 19th century, experimental societies existed. Their aim: PERFECTION.

Perfection meant becoming so Christ-like, so filled with love, so…

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