All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go
I'm standing here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breaking, it's early morn
The taxi's waiting, he's blowing his horn
Already I'm so lonesome I could die...
- Leaving On a Jet Plane, John Denver (covered by Jewel)
It's over! It's finally over! I've been writing this story since May... of last year. Yes, it has taken that long to finish. I have written stories almost twice as long and not taken nearly as long to finish them (The Family in the Tree comes to mind). I don't know what the hold up was on this one, I guess I've just been a lot busier with my real life than I ever have been before. Actually, that's not a guess, it's a fact. I have a real, legitimate, time-consuming job, a full course load, and what feels like a dozen (and in reality is about half as many) clubs and other volunteer obligations and internships that I take part in. So in short, not much time for fic-writing, or any other kind of writing for that matter. Or breathing.
Speaking of other kinds of writing, I am hoping to take a break from fic for a while and start working on my own original novel. I've been sketching out scenes and trying (emphasis on trying) to plot out a major story arc for the past few weeks, and I'm really feeling good about where it's going. I may be posting it, or at least parts of it, to my FictionPress account, if anyone is interested in reading something that isn't Bones related. I have the same pen name on FictionPress as I do here.
Anyway, back to this story. What did you end up thinking of the overall thing? I know you have to wrack your brain to even remember the beginning of the story... again, my apologies. I feel like my entire aim with this story really changed as the supporting OCs began to take form. My original intent was to make the fic a sort of expose on the lives of the white-collar elite, and many of the characters I had in mind were painted as snobby, exclusionist conservative xenophobes. I also wanted to take a look at the exploitation of Florida's natural resources, a real and urgent problem that our state is facing.
Of course, as soon as I began writing, the characters took on a life of their own and all of that changed. Lori Wilder, in particular, came to life in a way that I was not expecting, and she sort of became my tour guide for this story. She made me re-evaluate my character list in a much more honest, human way, and made me strive to turn these into real people and less into caricatures of the rich and well-to-do. Of course some people did end up as caricatures of the well-off, but I'd like to think that most of them were more real than that.
I never intended to include a set of characters like the Melendez family, they just sort of... showed up. Because there are people in your life who stay in your life no matter what kinds of twists and turns your personal path takes. Melly and John go all the way back to high school, and even though one is an unemployed Hispanic and the other is a wealthy white professor, they're still the best of friends. Why? I don't know, some people are just like that, they just stay in your life that way. (Also, I would like to note that Pedro Menendez High School is actually a real school, and it is really, really big. If you drive past it, it looks like a state prison because it is a huge doughnut-shaped building with barbed wire fencing all around the property.)
I didn't intend to make this a racial story, either, but race definitely played its part, particularly with Maria in the interrogation. In the past I have been accused of being racist, or using racial stereotypes. I like to think that I make my point by utilizing race in certain stories, but maybe some people don't understand that point. If not, oh well. If you got it, then great. Ditto goes for the portrayal of a child with Down syndrome. If you liked it, awesome. If you hated it... oh well. I don't always write to make you happy, I write to make a point.
And one of the big points here is that money does to you what you let it do to you. Money is means, means to do good or means to harm yourself and others. To quote Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility." Dave and Lori came into a large sum of money, and they stayed very down to earth and sensible. John Christiansen had money, and so did his wife - the alcoholic pill-popper, better known as Elizabeth, who I hope you learned to see not as a stereotyped addict or as a terrible mother but also as a real, genuine person, with good and bad, just like all the rest of us.
And then there were the Abbotts. Hank Abbott, who in my sketches I originally planned to be the murderer, ended up not being such a bad guy. Sure, he's a capitalist pig who has no qualms about destroying the environment and squashing the little people in his way so that he can make big bucks... but that isn't necessarily a criminal offense (unless you ask Dave). He's just doing what he knows how, by his moral code, and his moral code doesn't necessarily involve the birds and the fishes. We all know a Hank Abbott, in one way or another.
But Lenore... she was different. My originally sketched red herring ended up actually being a killer, though not as cold-blooded as one might have guessed. There is something real and human about Lenore too, as well as she may have kept it hidden. And there was something primal about her, too. Something wild and savage that grows in you when you live with nothing, something that is hidden but kept well fed when you finally do come upon means and power, something that will grasp onto those things like they are life itself and never, ever let them go. Going back to the kind of life she lived in Florahome (which is also a real place) was not an option for her, not after she had finally escaped to a life she felt she deserved. Sweets was right - her new identity was so deeply rooted in the things she had built up around her, that if she were to lose them... it would simply be too much. So she snapped.
I'm really just rambling now. I have such a love-hate relationship with money. We all want to be rich, or at least well off, comfortable. But nobody wants to be that rich person. So how does anyone become that rich person? Where did that rich person come from, how did they get their start, and how do they feel about their own personal wealth? I personally grew up poor, as did most of my friends. I earned a large amount of scholarship money and federal aid, and have also worked my way through school. But college exposed me to a lot of really, really wealthy people. Some of them I am good friends with; others you couldn't get me to touch with a ten-foot pole. Is money really the root of all evil, or is money simply the spark that ignites the evil naturally underlying? I personally believe that poverty is the root of all evil, but poverty is brought upon us by an unequal distribution of wealth, so there you go.
Now I really, really am just rambling. I'm done, I promise. Here is a list of songs used at the beginnings of each chapter and in their titles, just to repeatedly give credit where credit is due. All of these songs are awesome and if you're looking for something new to listen to, give them a shot.
1. Jaded - Aerosmith
2. Your Ex-Lover is Dead - Stars
3. In the Sun - Coldplay ft. Michael Stipe
4. Winter Song - Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson
5. The Only Exception - Paramore
6. Your Heart is an Empty Room - Death Cab for Cutie
7. Broadway - The Goo Goo Dolls
8. Family Portrait - P!nk
9. With You - Jessica Simpson
10. Note to Self - From First to Last
11. The Policy of Truth - Depeche Mode
12. Alone - Heart
13. Can't Be Saved - Senses Fail
14. Song Beneath the Song - Maria Taylor
15. Love is a Place - Metric
16. Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears
17. Whirring - The Joy Formidable
So that's all for now. Maybe there will be some one-shots in the future, but for now I don't foresee any chaptered fics for a while. I hope you have enjoyed the conclusion of this one, and that maybe it gave you something to think about along the way. If it did, I would love to know. That is my favorite part of writing, is hearing what it makes you think about. In the meantime, think hard, and when you get the chance, be still. It will always end up being good for you.