Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Conjuring up a little Mr. Rogers for today's post. I often joke (o.k. it isn't always joking) about my neighborhood and my crazy neighbors. I'm sure you all have the neighbor who is insanely obsessive about mowing the lawn? Maybe some of you ARE that neighbor. I drive that neighbor nuts. I mow my lawn, mind you, just not...unnecessarily.

I also have the neighbors who have regular visits from the police because of domestic disturbances, the neighbors that burn trash on their tree lawn...in the winter, the neighbors whose half-dressed children hang out their second story windows screaming profanities at friends in the street, and the neighbor who totes a little trolley behind his bike with a huge boom box blaring mariachi music. If you told me there were 20 people living in the house directly across the street from me, I wouldn't be surprised in the least.

Me? I've turned into the anti-social neighbor, mostly because these people scare me! My dream is to live in a rural area with about 2 acres of land--yes, I realize that requires more mowing--and not be able to look into my neighbor's dining room from my own. I want to have to ASK my nearest neighbors what music they like instead of knowing because I can hear it all the time. And most importantly, I want to have a burning desire to be friends with my neighbors.

Which brings me to my blog post topic. Yeah, you thought I was just going to gripe the whole post, didn't you? No, when I read, I often find myself wishing I could be neighbors with characters. Makes me wonder if it's something everyone does or a direct response to my less than neighborly neighborhood. Do you ever wish that?

So I decided to come up with my dream neighborhood. A block of fictional characters surrounding me in an ideal world. Well, maybe not "ideal" in the true sense of the word, after all, the books I read deal with some atrocious crimes! But give the change to fall down that rabbit hole, the 10 people I'd love to have living on my block would be:

1. Stella Hardesty - you know she'd be a blast to have at block parties. And I think it would just be fun to sit on the front porch in summer and listen to her talk. I know she'd keep me in stitches. And speaking of stitches, maybe she could finally teach me to get along with the sewing machine!

2. Ellie Hatcher - in a lot of ways I feel like Ellie is my kindred spirit. And I know the perfect "welcome to the neighborhood" gift for her: a supersize jar of Nutella and a spoon.

3. Izzy Spellman - who would not want to live around Izzy Spellman? I live around scary crazy now. I'd much prefer fun crazy and Izzy would definitely provide that. If she needed someone to type up the notes for her documents, I'd gladly offer my services. And maybe instead of half-dressed kids screaming profanities we'd hear more "sentence enhancers."

4. Elvis Cole - come on, you knew he'd be on the list. I'd have an A-frame house in the neighborhood just for him! And I'm completely convinced Cat and I would bond.

5. Shake Bouchon - I figure if Shake lives in my neighborhood with all these law enforcement types, the mob-like folks will leave him alone. Then I can offer to be his official taste-tester for all the great food he cooks up! I might never have to cook for myself again.

6. John Rebus - yes, a big part of the reason I want Rebus to live in my neighborhood is so I can listen to him talk. But I also think I'd appreciate his music far more than what I'm subjected to now.

7. John Ceepak - we might have to go by last names in the neighborhood...no biggie, I did it growing up since every other girl born in 1974 was named Jennifer. I'll hang out with the Ceepaks and watch documentaries on criminology and forensics.

8. Carter Ross - our crime fiction neighborhood would be so incomplete without a journalist of some kind. Although Deadline might want to stay indoors. I have a feeling he'd run into some problems with Cat.

9. Paula Holliday - I want to play in the dirt with Paula. I have absolutely no talent when it comes to landscaping but maybe she can help me. I can't help but like Paula. We could have a heck of a girls night with all the ladies in this neighborhood.

10. Walt Longmire (and Vic) - I figure ultimately they need to end up living in the same house, right? So they'll just buy that house in my neighborhood. Walt and Ceepak would make a great law enforcement pair and Rebus could be their maverick. They'd be out of luck if they wanted borrow a cup of sugar from me, but I have plenty of post-it notes!

There were so many contenders for this list. Reading, especially in a series, is like visiting friends, isn't it? And I've made many friends through this blog, the crime fiction community, the social media community...I could easily make a list like this of REAL people, too.  But sometimes real life leaves you with a less than stellar neighborhood. If you could design your fictional neighborhood, who would you include?


SuziQoregon May 7, 2013 at 10:07 AM  

Armand Gamache would have to be on my list.

Susan Brown May 8, 2013 at 9:38 AM  

Jen, you have hit a nerve here, I do this constantly. I disappear into the "community" of a book to escape my what passes for a neighbourhood. My neighbours are more of the type who have regular visits from the police; I could not ever call on them for help or to offer a cuppa and a chat. However, I am caught on the hop and cannot think of who I would put in my neighbourhood except of course for Harry Bosch, simply because I think he is wonderful! Because of your post I am going to think about this and make a list as I read - it will be fun! Thanks for a most interesting post. Oh I just remembered - Major Pettigrew and Mrs Ali from Major Pettigrew's Last Stand!

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