Oregon Tavern Age: Story Development

Two military vets discussed military matters inside a tiny OTA joint. I wanted a dark beer to match my somber mood generated by falling rain, gray skies and indifferent human beings.

No dice on the dark beer said the elderly female bartender, so I settled for something lighter.

I perused the joint’s liquor offerings: desultory. Something caught my eye: a pink lemonade-flavored Smirnoff. I cringed and tried imagining who would order such a repulsive concoction. I failed.

A ridiculous talk show played on a monitor. The hostess of the show had a face disfigured by plastic surgery and injections of chemical compounds. An obnoxious celebrity chef was her guest. They began bantering. I couldn’t take it. I asked the bartender for a change of programming and she switched to a repeat of college football game broadcast a week ago.

I sat an ancient Formica bar and penned notes for an upcoming Oregon Coast Christmas tale I’m writing for the holiday season. I knew where I wanted to set the story: Coos Bay, the Millicoma River, Allegheny and two waterfalls in the area that I’d never seen. It felt important to visit the falls either prior to or during the writing of the tale to enhance the accuracy of the setting. Is it necessary to see the falls to write about it? Is that necessary for fiction? No. I could imagine how it looked and see photographs on the Internet. I could save myself a long drive.

But I won’t use the Internet. I want to make that long drive to a remote place on the Oregon Coast. I want to see the only river valley on the Oregon Coast I haven’t explored. I know there will be magic up the Millicoma River. For some reason, I am drawn to this place. I know when I see it something is going to happen that will prove pivotal later on in my life. In fact, writing this story about a homeless vet who gets a job at a Christmas tree lot is all part of my own personal story and also connecting to the homeless issue I am writing about.