Friday, October 14, 2011

MASKS Commentary Track: Chapter 13

I don’t have a huge amount to say about this chapter, what with having a book to finish and all, but I’ll make a few passing remarks:

1. I’m rather proud of filling an entire chapter with girl talk. I sort of missed the formative years of female friendships—didn’t have any friends without Y chromosomes between the ages of, oh, 9 and 15. So I approach dialogue between girls and women from a slightly antiseptic, anthropological perspective, and it doesn’t always work. But it works here, and I’m improving, and I’m proud of that.

2. I’ve mentioned before that Tammy Hoffman is based on a real person (so is Soleil, but I’ll bet the real Soleil won’t recognize herself, so I’m probably safe). So it’s with great and dubious pride that I state that all of Tammy’s lewd remarks came from the real Tammy. All of them. I texted her late at night, asking for dirty jokes about Trevor, and this is what I got. This isn’t even all of it; she made me cut some of the really strange ones. Try to envision someone with my imagination being friends with someone who can, at the drop of a hat, become a bottomless fount of dirty jokes. It’s amazing I don’t write scenes like this more often. And yes, we’ve had conversations pretty much like this, although I like to think I’m better than Rae at changing the subject.

3. The big shadow behind Soleil in the illustration: This is a venerable institution in mainstream comics and I'm rather pleased that Nicole managed to include it. I have honestly lost track of the number of times I've seen a webbed shadow looming up behind Peter Parker, or a pointy-eared shadow looming up behind Bruce Wayne. It just seems to be a visual trope of the genre, and it's nice to see it show up in a story that is very much about that genre. Also, on a side note, Nicole stole Soleil's bunk bed from the actual bunk bed where my actual college roommate actually slept. My roomie, however, looked nothing like Soleil.

4. Music! This week’s song was stuck in my head most of the time I was working on this chapter. It’s a piece I learned to sing while I was taking voice lessons in college; it comes from the musical She Loves Me. The plot of the musical has been made into movies oh, about a million times, most recently as the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan rom-com You’ve Got Mail. The story is that a young woman and a young man, both employees of a large store, are secretly carrying on a romantic relationship via pen-pal letters. Neither knows the other’s real name, and they’ve never exchanged photos, so neither one realizes at first that the coworker he/she most despises is the same person he/she is pouring his/her heart out to on paper. This song comes from early in the show, after one of the young woman’s coworkers asks her how she can be in love with someone she’s never seen, whose name she doesn’t even know. The woman insists that she doesn’t need to know her lover’s name or face, because she knows all about who he is inside. This turns out about as well for her as it will for Rae … and the young man in the musical comes out well ahead of Trevor. But now I’m dropping spoilers, aren’t I?

I give you “I Don’t Know His Name,” from She Loves Me, performed by (I think) Barbara Cook: 

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