As a writer, you always use something from your life, whether it is a story a friend told you or something from your life. Using something from my life helps me to connect to the characters and that creates a better story. Not every character I create comes from someone I know. There have been some characters that came out of nowhere. In Letters From England, I am loosely basing characters on my own family. This is a daunting task as you want to do your family justice.
MEET THE INSPIRATION BEHIND DARCY LIVINGSTON MY SISTER.
Growing up my sister Nancy probably wondered why I kept pestering her and following her around all the time. I did it because I admired her. As we grew up together, the bickering and fighting became less and less and we found a way to respect each other and get along. I think it is true, that the younger sibling always looks up to the older one. That was the case in my house. The younger sibling wants to learn from them so they don’t make the same mistakes. My sister has not always had it easy, she has had to fight hard for the life she has now. There were times when my parents worried about her and the direction she was going in. I never wavered. Privately, I was rooting for this woman. You see Nancy has a lot of my mother’s strength in her. She’s a horse lover and has been all her life. My mother never understood that and it was a constant battle in our family. I remember that changed when my sister’s horse passed away. She called to tell us. My mother spent a good forty-five minutes on the phone consoling her. For the first time, my mother found that Nancy’s sense of loss was hers too. It’s that mother-child bond that never dies. That day, my mother came to grips with the issue and supported my sister’s obsession with horses. I took that lesson and applied a few years later in my own life.
In Episode six I finally have a chance to give Darcy Livingston her own stage to croon on and she does in so many ways. The episode is called The First Date and concerns her first date with Noah Dorset, which does not go according to plan. I start the episode with a new wrinkle. Originally Ned was going to be the main Narrator for the episodes, but I decided to let Darcy speak for herself and write her own letter to her friend Eliza. (My real sister wouldn’t have it any other way.) From the offset, the idea of this letter was hysterically funny. I played with an aspect of my sister’s personality that is spot-on. First, the idea that my sister would write a letter to anyone is laughable. I can’t even get her to write an email to me let alone a letter. There may be a reason for that. You see my sister is a horrible speller. I took the terrible speller aspect and played with it in this narration. First, she spells Eliza’s name wrong and she crosses it out several times before going back to the correct spelling. She does the same with Noah’s name. Then she mixes up the name of the town she went to the night of the date. She calls Bogner Regis, Bugner Regis.
From the beginning her date with Noah gets off to an ominous start. Noah takes her to a dance club in Bogner called Damianos. Noah wants her to hear his friends band called Rippled Water. Wel,l Rippled Water is more like comatose water. As Noah introduces Darcy to his misfit mates, his ex-girlfriend Lucy Swan appears and is not too happy with the way Noah broke up with her. She takes him outside the club so she can have her say on the breakup, which becomes melodramatic and we discover that Lucy is as the British say Starkers. The interesting thing is Lucy was not based on anyone I knew, but for some strange reason, this girl came into my head that I went to school with in England. She had long dark hair. I remembered her personality as extremely hyper and she was loud. I imagined what that girl would have been like if she were 17. The ideas began to flow. So I guess I did base her on an image of someone I knew, but older.
While Lucy has ruined the date for Darcy and Ned, Darcy is forced to deal with Noah’s misfit friends. She isn’t too happy with Noah and not sure she should continue the date. She tries to find out through Noah’s friends how many girls Noah has dated. This creates all sorts of confusion between the friends and they finally admit that they don’t know. This leaves Darcy with nothing to talk about. Rippled Water has now gone from comatose to ruptured water. Darcy can’t take it anymore, and in the true fashion of my real sister, Darcy takes the bull by the horns and takes over as lead singer. She has the band start off with Brown Sugar by the Stones. The minute she belts out the first note, she has floored the crowd. A dead dance floor now becomes a packed dance floor. Then she takes on the Dusty Springfield hit “Take Another Piece of my Heart” which was classically covered by Janis. We discover that Darcy is a huge Janis Joplin fan and she croons it just like Janis Joplin would. She finishes off the evening with the Animals “House of The Rising Sun.” and brings the house down. By this point, Noah has returned to the club and is floored by Darcy’s singing. He does nothing but talk about this in the car on the way home. When he reaches the house, he apologizes for not telling her about Lucy and asks for another date. She readily accepts. I have yet to move into act four and five yet. The first three acts of the episode have been a blast to write and is why I write. There is one true aspect to this story, my sister did sing in a band for a brief period down in Massachusetts. The night she told me she sang Barracuda I was floored. Having seen my sister in a musical when she was in high school(My sister rarely did any acting, but she did do some.), I knew her voice was pretty darned good. Her taking over the entertainment hit me on the fly. It seemed to fit. Here’s to Darcy Livingston, loosely based on Lowell N. Murray. There will be more from Darcy in future episodes, she’s too much fun to ignore.