I can’t remember if I shared these photographs with you or not. It was the summer of 1984. My friends and I had the day off from our summer jobs and, as drama majors and creative types are wont to do, decided to conduct photoshoot around our hometown. We pulled out some of our hippest clothes, did up our make-up and posed using my father’s old 35 camera. Here’s the result:
That’s me in the minidress doing my best to be sultry. The person I really want you to see, though, is the woman with the bleach-blonde hair. She’s the one on the rock with her breasts pointing east. Back in the eighties, this girl was larger than life, very original and difficult to forget. We loved hanging around with her because she made everything fun.
I always thought my friend would make a terrific character in a story. I even had the germ of an idea: My friend achieves her dream of becoming famous, and a reporter returned to her hometown to learn how it all began. Sadly, the story never made it to paper.
Fast-forward 38 years. One of the men in the photos shared copies on Facebook. Suddenly that story idea I had at age 20 was talking to me again. Only this time it begged me to set the story in the 1960s and, while I was at it, throw in a dash of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgewick.
Before I knew it, I had a story about the rise and fall of a group of young artists and wannabes in the mid-sixties as recalled by two of the group’s members. It’s a story about growing up, discovering yourself, and becoming your own person. Central to everything is tragic It Girl who achieves her dream of fame only for only for it to turn sour and destroy her. I like to call the book City of Girls Meets the Silver Factory.
So, writers, let this be a lesson to you the next time an idea pops into your head. Don’t panic if you can’t write the story immediately. Ideas never go away. They may hibernate, but they never completely disappear.
PS: Special thanks to the subjects of these photos. I appreciate all the memories and inspiration.