Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Much of the inspiration for the characters and settings in On a Twisted Tree comes from "you can't make this shit up" experiences, either my own or my mother's. You see, my mom, who was born and raised in upstate New York and southern California, was once the Yankeeist Yankee ever to Yank. She's where I got most of my Yankee, I'm sure. But little bits of redneck have started to creep in over the 17 years she's lived in Arkansas. A couple years ago, she married the biggest redneck ever to walk the earth (and I say this with all affection, because I really do love the guy), and it's just gotten more pronounced.

Case in point: today we had a conversation that consisted of the following:

  • The state of the flooded creeks in town
  • Selling the purebred purse dogs they breed
  • My stepdad's professional fishing activities
  • The woodland squatter under their house
    • We think it's a skunk.
    • Cat food is better for trapping skunks than dog food (don't ask me how I know this)
    • She needs to call the neighbor to shoot it if she traps it while my stepdad is gone.
At least she hasn't gone feral enough to pull out the shotgun and shoot it herself.

Her mix of redneck and Yankee is kind of adorable. She's sent me phone pictures of the cows in the back yard, for example, as if they are something novel, and a few weeks ago she sent me a picture of the fiberglass owl (pictured--normally used to scare off birds who might nest in inopportune places) that my stepdad pulled from the lake the previous day while fishing. Which they put in the back yard, of course.

You can't make this shit up. And you see why I have to write about rednecks.

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