A week or so ago, I came up with something really pertinent I wanted to say this month about writing, possibly something I thought of because of July CampNaNo. Whatever it was, I forgot it almost immediately, and I never have remembered it. Soooooo…posting something else instead.
I thought I could share a plot idea — or maybe it’s only a situation — that might make a really nice story in the right hands, but those certainly aren’t my hands. (It’s not the kind of thing I write. It’s not even the kind of thing I usually read.)
The way I came up with this idea is as follows: I work at a museum, and I’ve been cataloging some old documents that have been in the collection for ages, but haven’t been properly scanned and transcribed until now. Some of the ones I’ve done lately have been letters from 1904 and 1905, from a man attached to the Japanese Pavilion at the St. Louis World’s Fair to the widow of one of the two men to whom the museum is dedicated. There’s nothing even the slightest bit suggestive about these letters; he’s just being polite and friendly to a woman who was friendly to him, and whose late husband was an author whose works he admires.
But the fact that he wrote to her repeatedly (and that she kept the letters) always sets my writer’s soul twitching. So the plot I’m releasing to the world is something like this:
An older man from Japan (say late 50s, early 60s, either single or a widower) comes to America for the World’s Fair, where he meets a woman some five to ten years younger than himself, a society widow, and she works in one of the ladies’ committees associated with the fair, so they end up seeing a lot of each other. Slowly, they fall in love, but there are all sorts of social obstacles from both cultures, so it’s not just about their love, but also about whether or not they can bring themselves to defy the rigorous social conventions among which they were raised. (St. Louis’s 1904 fair or Chicago’s 1893 fair would both work equally well for this, though I don’t know off-hand if there was any Japanese presence at the Chicago fair.) Depending on the genre, they might well prefer society to love.