I woke up and said to myself, “I’m going to be a fabulous old lady.”
I’m planning my old age? Not really—although the ambition of becoming a fabulous old lady is not so bad. It’s definitely worth exploring as a later in life aspiration. No, I’m contemplating one of the more amusing characters in my latest work-in-progress. She’d a classic grande-dame, the rock solid matriarch of her family and the wise & witty counterpoint to the protagonist.
I don’t have to BECOME my characters, but I do have to crawl around inside their heads. It’s the best way to get a handle on their motivations and to figure out how and when they express themselves. This particular fabulous old lady needs to be strong and determined, with a soft spot for her equally strong and determined granddaughter.
She is not Maggie Smith’s dowager from Downton Abbey. Although I love Maggie Smith, I’m not a big fan of the TV show. (I tend to follow the clothes and décor more closely than the upstairs/downstairs sagas.) No, my fabulous old lady is naturally kind, generous and gentle. Her strength and even her disapproval and disdain of her granddaughter’s friends, is tempered by this positive nature. It undermines the prejudice of her period.
She’s fabulous in her self-assurance, ability to sway people and in the network of connections that she has cultivated over her lifetime. She wields power with a subtle touch, appearing to push her granddaughter toward old-fashioned choices, while really challenging the young woman to defend why she defies convention.
She also has lovely taste in clothes, food, music and home décor. Why not? She’s earned her sense of style over many decades. It’s bound to be fabulous!