Friday Fiction Project X : Inspiration

by , under Project X, writing

So this week I’ve been working on characters. Names, rough backgrounds, personalities. But I’m not going to share that yet. Sorry. But you know, there’s a lot of other stuff that I’ve worked on already that I thought needed documentation.

Inspiration comes from a lot of places for me. For the projects that I have notebooks for (and there are several) I have been inspired by television programs, dreams, movies, and even collaborations that fell through.

But this project? This one takes the cake. My inspiration came from a character that I’d worked up for a performance. And not just any performance… an ongoing performance that I did 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for almost 3 years.

Confused? Once upon a time, I worked at Disneyland. Sure, I started off at Autopia, then learned Monorail. But I quit to try my hand at freelance web design, and when I came back, I asked to work on the opposite side of the park. I learned Jungle Cruise.

For those who didn’t work Jungle, I bet you didn’t know that there’s an actual backstory to the Jungle Cruise. Adventureland is set in a remote outpost in South East Asia in the 1930s. The Jungle Cruise (the Navigation Company, at least) was based out of what had been a Victorian house and took tours and cargo through the various rivers. Granted, it’s impossible to conceivably take a tour up the Irrawaddy that ends after a jaunt through the Amazon, but it’s still fun.

A long time ago, one used to be encouraged to play a character. Adventurers, photographers, archaeologists- any of those types of characters you see pop up in those classed adventure serial type movies. Since I’m not much of a comedienne, I figured I’d make a character. One I could pull out if I got bored with the spiel, something to spice up the day.

Which is where I came up with the wide-eyed scholar who had come out to study something, only to wind up stranded out in the Jungle. She was book-smart, not street-smart in the least, prone to accidental innuendo (I got away with murder out there- it’s amazing how much of the spiel sounds unintentionally dirty. When delivered by a fresh-faced, wide-eyed girl, nobody ever thinks you mean it), bouncy and completely unable to deliver a tour without tying herself up in the microphone cord.

Near the end of my tenure at Jungle, I was working on a different sort of project, and decided to use her as an example. In trying to remove the specifics of Jungle (she had a wicked crush on Indiana Jones), I started to discover a more serious side to her.

So there you have it, that’s where the inspiration came from this. The plot itself came from a random thought I had while watching something on the History Channel. Then it grew from there. Bits and pieces come to me over time and I just keep writing them down.