First, let me apologize for being a bit late with this week’s Wednesday blog. As I was doing my 750 Words today, I thought, ‘Oh! It’s blog day, I need to write something.’ Before I could fully process that thought though, another quickly followed: “Oh, NO!!! That was yesterday!” So, you’re getting this a day late (and it IS still Thursday to me, I haven’t been to bed yet), but you are getting the beginning of YET ANOTHER blog series.
Since I’m sharing Roddy fan-fiction, I decided I ought to TRY to explain how and why, (the short-ISH version, at least), Roddy became my Muse in the first place. So here goes…
It started normally enough. I was a teenage girl, well pre-teenage actually, since I wasn’t yet thirteen. Anyway, I was going to the drive-in movie with my family, which was an activity we all enjoyed, and we often stretched it beyond the typical, summertime only, attendance. We were going to see The Poseidon Adventure, a movie I’d heard radio advertizements for every morning while getting ready for school, a movie I thought would be entertaining and exciting.
I wasn’t looking for anything beyond that.
We were all four in the car, since it was still only spring, and we couldn’t sit outside on our lawn chairs (or on top of the car, my own personal favorite spot!). I had my arms on the back of the front seat, resting my chin on them as I peered around my parents at the screen, carefully following the introductions of these characters who would undergo the promised ADVENTURE. A blonde-haired girl was singing the song I’d been hearing on the radio; “There’s got to be a morning after…” I might have been humming along, or maybe even singing softly, I don’t remember. The shot shifted to two men in uniforms preparing the ocean liner’s dining room as the band rehearsed, and I heard his soft, musical voice.
“They boarded at Gibralter…”
My full attention was captured.
He had dark hair and eyes.
“They’re on their way to Sicily…”
The character had a Scottish accent, but I didn’t know if he really did.
“A free trip for free music.”
I was a goner! Yet I had NO idea, and I could have NEVER imagined, the impact this man would have on the rest of my life.
“I rather fancy it,” he concluded, and the scene was over.
I had no idea then that Roddy McDowall would become an essential part of who I am, as a person, and as a writer. I knew that there was “something” though, that somehow this man spoke to a part of me I didn’t even know I had (I was only twelve, remember?).
I became obsessed. “WHO, JULIE???” you ask. “NEVER!!!”
Okay, some of you know me, and have read some of my writing, so you know I have a tendency toward obsessive behavior.
Okay, I’m prone to it.
Anyway, I became obsessed with Roddy. I’d always watched lots of movies and television, so I knew I’d seen him before, but he didn’t make a profound impression until that night in my dad’s red and black Dodge. I began scouring the movie and teen magazines for information, ANY information, and before long I knew some of the details about him, his work, his life. Oh, and I had PICTURES!!!
I, being how I was (am?), shared this information with anyone who would even halfway listen. It was “Roddy was born in London,” or “Roddy came to the US when he was a little boy,” (I didn’t stop to think that at the time, that “little boy” had been only slightly younger than I was in early 1973), or “Roddy was in the Lassie movie and My Friend Flicka,” and, OF COURSE!, “Roddy is just SO cute!!!” and on and on and on and… Well, you get the idea.
I felt like I was discovering someone no one had ever known before (odd, since Roddy had been making movies for over thirty years already). Even when I re-watched movies I knew I’d seen several times, they were new experiences for me, now that I was watching for him.
My family thought it was cute, at first, and my best friend even kind of joined in for the Roddy-love.
I’d sometimes written stories, or poetry, over the years, but now much of my writing somehow involved plot lines related to his roles, or even to his life (but I didn’t get into that much, THEN). I did create fantasy versions of him and I, but they were gushy teenage-girl innocent, fed by the diet of teen magazines and Top 40 radio. I began to reside more and more in this fantasy world of my design, and grew more distant to the junior high, suburban Midwestern USA world I lived in.
As I moved on to high school, reality wanted me back, but I was having none of it, and my family didn’t think it was so cure anymore.
About this time I started trying to keep track of any personal appearances Roddy made, like in plays. I began to formulate a plan to go somewhere to see him…
Sadly, I never did that, but that’s a story for another time. I’ll continue with this (and it WILL start to affect my writing more, I PROMISE, but I wasn’t writing that much then anyway, and NOTHING good).
See you again on Saturday!