The process of writing…

3/01/10
What I now know about Charley could fill a small swimming pool. What I know about Valdosta and its vulnerability to corruption during the time surrounding Charley’s death could fill an ocean. Still I am overjoyed that I have had privilege to speak with several individuals of integrity who recall the events leading up to and after that night. Individuals who spoke fondly of Charley and the sanctity of the friendship they shared. Men whose sober appraisals, paint for me a more balanced, yet defined portrait of the man with the moldy skin. These brave few who have questioned for over 40 years the implausibility of suicide. Men whose gut instincts told them the evidence didn’t add up. That they saw that night and that investigation in much the same light as me- a sham, a cover-up for something bigger. Men who have carried the gauntlet of honor for almost half a century, waiting patiently to throw it down and challenge the inconsistencies of history. I am grateful to these men who have shared memories of Charley’s public and private personas. Their revelations task me now to be truthful in my representation of the man. This book, while it will be a collage of moments- becomes not just moments of Charley’s death, but of Charley’s life and the people in it. Moments that may damn many and praise few. What this book will grant is a portrait that will show depth and margin- impression and intention- shadow and light. It will reflect the moments of his heartache and his loss, his joys and his triumphs. The moments he shared and the moments stolen from him. It is my gift to Julie. The gift to me is not only the story, but the lesson of this man’s life. His personal struggle between his head and his heart- right and wrong. I shall discover the merits of my own humanity through the discovery of his and rejoice that their is kinship in learning.
It is in this vein that I receive comfort. Through the process of writing I make this experience my own. I am certain each author has his own procedure of morphing. Mine is an unorthodox process. Unlike most that use working titles and then craft from the mass at the end; I design to create the perfect title before I can commit further pen to paper. Once selected, I must find the font that matches the flavor of the title. For me a title has a very specific voice, which speaks to me through the font. Each font says something different, so the choice must be made mindful of content. Words reflect different emotions in different fonts and sizes. Their precise placement upon a blank page becomes a road map for me to follow. Verdana, Times New Roman and Copperplate use heavy blocked letters that carry an air of authority and conviction. Heavy blocked letters with shadow effect such as, Engravers MT, speak of something distant and historical to me. Edwardian oozes flair, feminine mystique and mystery upon the moors. Matisse says something Mediterranean and exotic to me. The font Curltz, something whimsical, boundless and ethereal. The perfect font then sets the tone and mood for every word that comes after. It is my compass- my true North and cannot be compromised. Once that has been selected… the tag line must follow.

The Coffee Pot Conspiracy

What is the statute of limitations for murder in the state of Georgia?
Ironically, the same amount of time a victim remains dead.

An eternity…

(Unfortuenately this dashboard does not allow for different font. But experiment with copy/paste and see Copperplate bold for the title and Times New Roman for tag line.) Once titlte and tag are secured, I begin. I vomit in ink for 2 to 6 chapters until I think I have gotten the gist of my gut instinct about the book and then wait. The next few months are spent on research, never touching up my intial foray. Now at that place, I look back at what was written almost a year ago and marvel. Without knowing things, I knew them. Without research, I marginalized the correct characters and highlighted others. Without confirmation of fact, I trusted my gut and confirmed my own suspicions. My guestimations at the onset generally prove to be as close to the truth by the time I get to the well researched ending. How does this happen- especially when we are talking historical fiction where the event is factual and there is no room for error? Intuition is a fascinating thing, that while it begs to be acknowledged has little ego for being understood.

With many peripheral questions still waiting for answers, I will consult with the detective/medium before the week is out to get more answers. For the moment I have enough information to speculate how Charley was murdered- a good idea of who did it and what some of the possible motives may have been… what I need now is confirmation of these suspicions. Because motive gives only cause as to why a person might consider a criminal act—but not always as to what finally tipped it from thought to action. I think you can agree that many of us have had moments where we desperately wish a certain thing would go right for us- without being cognizant that sometimes the cost is that a certain thing then must go very wrong for someone else.

The night of October 9, 1966 went very wrong for Charley. I want to prove who it went right for!

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