Norman Holmes is a character I’ve developed for one of my Wizards War stories that I haven’t yet managed to include in one of my novels, but I love him, especially for the dynamic between him and his mom. He’s a character with mommy issues who calls his mother every night, and the shape of the call is always the same – she berates him for calling too late/too early/too infrequently, she complains about something going wrong because he’s not home, she complains about his school (away from home), and she threatens to “simplify his life” by killing herself in some graphic way.
I really enjoy writing these phone calls, especially coming up with imaginative ways for her to kill herself (because he doesn’t love her enough!)
I just heard this sketch on Prairie Home Companion (Mothers Day broadcast): Dwayne gets a call from his mother who gets on his case about forgetting tomorrow. Dwayne doesn’t know what’s significant about tomorrow. Then his mom goes on about getting a Double Hip Replacement on Monday (the day after tomorrow). She explains she’s had hip pain since giving birth to Dwayne.
She then gets into complaining about him being away, says she was thinking about going for a walk and speculated about being surprised by a raccoon, falling down and breaking her hip and being eaten by wolves. Possible headline: “Woman Breaks Hip, Eaten by Wolves Two Days Before Hip Replacement”.
There’s a side bit about Dad having a nail in his foot but refusing to go see a doctor to have it removed.
Mom finally reveals that tomorrow is Mothers Day and guilts Dwayne into getting a flight home to be with her.
I think this is a great idea (double hip replacement and/or being attacked by a raccoon, breaking her hip and being eaten by wolves) for one of Norman’s phone calls with his mother.
A big part of writing is capturing ideas and re-expressing them in new ways. I’m sure my version of this phone call will be much different from Garrison’s, just as my synopsis above is but a shadow of his sketch, but I look forward to writing it anyway.
Thank you Mr. Keillor for your inspiration!