melancholia in 1987 (that’s one work work workin title)
Who’s doing NaNoWriMo this year? It’s me sweety! I’m thinking I’ll try to do daily updates here (crossposting to tumblr, ofc) and reveal a bit on the story/set-up as time progresses. Be prepared for aesthetics, art, excerpts, background, and more from these posts!!
Post-nuclear fallout Jersey City. Dead starlets, neon lights, turf wars, radiation experiments, well-buried secrets, and a woman on a mission. There’s a lot more to the story than a dropped a-bomb, and Holly is about to find out.
This is the first year I’ll be working on an entirely new project since 2013. That… is WILD to me, but there we go. This book is inspired by a lot of things. My love for Nancy Drew, Marilyn Monroe, Fallout 4, and an upbringing surrounded by old movies and 50s music are just a few, but the biggest one was this old house I visited as a child. Now, it’s the basis for Mrs. Kim’s house.
When I was around four or five, my parents went house hunting. My mom grew up in Riverside, just outside downtown Jacksonville, and she wanted to move back there. Sadly for us, the houses had inflated exponentially since she’d moved to the beach. Basically, we were window shopping.
All the houses down there are beaaaautiful. My mom grew up in this gorgeous two-story brick house with a lovely yard and hydrangea bushes, dappled with magnolia trees and a huge live oak. We drive by it every time we’re down there, but as beautiful as her house is, the rest of the neighborhood is even nicer. We’re talkin houses in the millions, because they’re basically mansions sitting on the river.
One of the houses we were being shown was sold by owner–this odd little lady, really, but I don’t remember much else about her. But her house was gorgeous. It was plantation-style, on the corner, with tall columns on the porch, all painted white. The yard was empty, the grass dead from the summer heat, and the paint peeling. Basically, it was your typical fare for old houses in Florida.
The lady took us inside. If you’ve ever pictured a luxurious saloon modernized with some 1930’s features, imagine that. The walls were emerald and the curtains were burgundy and plum. The carpet was red. I don’t think this lady had ever seen a light fixture from later than the Great Depression, and it was dusty enough in there to think I’d been transported back to the dust bowl, Roosevelt era.
We went up the stairs, and honestly they’re what imprinted this place on my memory. On the steps were just junk, like the rest of the house. Papers and potted plants. At the landing there was a window, and it was one of the only windows not covered, so the sun shone down into the living room. I don’t know what it was about that house–it’s not so different from any other, looking back. But there was something about it I remember so vividly. I’m sure some of the finer details engraved in my mind are fabricated. I was so young, and my idea of decorating and architecture was… not the best. But I knew weird when I saw it, and the feeling it evoked has left me picturing it in my mind’s eye for over fifteen years. I’ve always wanted something about that house, and now I’ve decided I’ll make it up myself.
Mrs. Kim, elderly ex-showgirl Korean immigrant, is MC Holly’s neighborhood friend who she visits every week. She lives in, you guessed it, a plantation-style two-story, cluttered with junk and plants and deep colors. Every wall is papered and every carpet is lined. The rooms have that inherent old smell, when the heat gets bad and the window unit is busted. But it’s cozy–Mrs. Kim makes it that way.
Most of the time, she and Holly sit around eating bibimbap, reading dime romance novels out loud, and listening to hits from the 40s. Mrs. Kim, despite her suffix, has never married, and her only daughter is long gone. She raised her daughter’s child, her only grandson, but he’s just like his mother. He never stays still.
It’s only natural Mrs. Kim would be lonesome after he hopped the fence three years ago and never came back. But Mrs. Kim and Holly’s friendly afternoons are soon going to be disrupted when he returns, and everything in the city has gone to pot.