Then I took a trip to Georgia for a writing class. After class I met a lovely gal that lived local. We discussed our reading interests, and our current writing interests. It seemed we both loved stories set in the South; southern towns reminiscent of our current locations.
Her: But wait, do you consider Virginia the South?
Her: Isn't it more of the line separating the North from the South?
Me: *blinks* I don't think so... Is it?
Please don't get offended if you're from the deep South, but whether you consider VA the South or not, I'm naming it the South. Out of love, I promise.
I've grown too accustomed with big oaks, small town secrets, sun-brewed sweetened tea on a sprawling porch in summer, folks calling the Sheriff by his nickname, cicadas whirring at dusk, and lightning bugs circling a half-lit fire from a left-over barbecue.
These things make up my current WIP. A story smack dab in the middle of my part of the South.
Today I worked on the beginning of a new scene. Something that's pretty big for Southerners: a funeral.
It's not the death itself that makes it a bigger deal than other areas. It's the ritual. Or at least, I've been told we in the South make quite a ritual out of the ordeal.
It starts with the wake, or viewing: one to three days of gathering around the deceased. Then there is the funeral: more viewing, a service inside (religious or not), followed by an outside service at the gravesite. Finally another gathering for the grieving family, usually at the home of the deceased's nearest next of kin.
This is at least 2-4 days worth of ritual. Even longer in some areas.
(I myself am not fond of these events in real life. They creep me out.)
Of course this isn't how everyone does it, but for most of my area, and for my story, it happens this way.
If you haven't noticed already - that much time spent in close quarters with family and family friends (some that you like and some you despise) is built-in tension**.
Wired tension. Grieving tension. Romantic tension. Passive-polite tension.
I love the South, y'all.
How about your area? Any over-the-top rituals?
If you haven't watched Death at a Funeral, do so. Right now!
Great, great story telling.
Word Count: 359
*It's day 15! And because I find writing the word day redundant, it will henceforth be # in the title line.
** My opinion comes from a writers stand point. So, I'm issuing a blanket apology for anyone who may misconstrue my opinions as insensitive in relation to their own experiences with death.