I admit–I’ve been stuck on Book Three, trying to figure out what’s wrong with it, and why I
couldn’t move forward with the darn thing and I was at the Magnolia Cafe, wracking my brain (never a pretty sight) when it came to me…
I was having main character Cauley meet a confidential informant at an Austin area park. I wanted the park to be ultra-Austin, ie, wild, weird and completely unconventional, but, most of Austin’s parks could be described that way. Originally, I set the scene in historically significant and slightly wacky Waterloo Park, but as I nibbled on Magnolia’s extra yummy Voodoo Chicken, it hit me.
Hippie Hollow. What’s more Austin than the only county-run nude beach in Texas?
And while the park was originally named Hippie Hollow in the 60s because co-eds from the University of Texas, it is now largely a hangout (literally) for gay guys and old hippie, redneck bikers. Having covered events there for the paper back in the day (not naked btw) I discovered fairly quickly that the people who want to let it all hang out are expressly the people you wish would put it all back in.
I called my critique partner, an FBI agent who up and moved away because of a bunch of stupid terrorists, and floated the idea past him.
Turns out he was sitting in a courthouse during a break in proceedings, so he was limited on what he could say, and he listened as I explained how I thought the scene would go.
After a long silence, he finally said, “Sounds like you need to do some research.”
I snorted in a delicate southern manner, but still managed to get iced tea on my monitor.
“I’m still traumatized from the time I had to interview a hairy naked guy, who, I’m not kidding, was grilling wienies for an event called ‘Splash Day,’ which has people coming to Lake Travis in general and Hippie Hollow in particular, from all over the world,” I said. “I’m looking for inspiration not traumatization.”
“You sure? I’m due for some time in Dallas,” he said.
Visions of Chap having to be peeled off the ceiling rumbled through my brain.
“No thanks,” I said. “I think I got this one covered.”
So to speak.