this is one of my favorite pages in the book.
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i may have mentioned it before on my website or livejournal in the past, but Penny, not Cleo, was the main character in the story that would later transform into Wet Moon. Cleo predates Penny by a few years, in a form super different than what she ended up being (i should try to find some old pre-Wet Moon artwork of some of the characters. Cleo was a 4-armed magical warrior faerie originally created for a Changeling: The Dreaming tabletop gaming campaign i was running, but that's a whole other blog post! XD), but Penny was the first real Wet Moon-type character i had and she's remained pretty much unchanged.
anyway, while Cleo was off in my tabletop games and also an unrelated fantasy sci-fi story i was writing, Penny was busy in a short story i wrote for my comic scripting class at the Savannah College Of Art & Design in 1999, sowing the seeds for Wet Moon. i can't remember what the assignment was but the idea was Penny was an interior decorator who was tangled up with a bunch of weird Twin Peaks-y clients and she gets inadvertently sucked into their drama and in turn gossips about it to the other clients, creating a web of melodrama between them all (i believe Fern was even a character in that concept, but she was way more fantastical back then and had an underground palace made of bones). the story i wrote had Penny going on a blind date with a guy who was secretly a monkey or something like that, but i wanted to do more with the idea and Penny as a character so i romped her story together with the more fantastical stuff i was having Cleo do at the time. and even though the idea was still amorphous and a long ways from what Wet Moon would become, that's where it all began and where Penny being Fern's interior decorator comes from.
Penny's name also comes from that original interior-decorator-web-of-drama concept, Penny is short for Penelope which depending on where you look means "weaver" referring to the web of melodrama she weaves, and also named after, of course, Odysseus's wife in The Odyssey who keeps suitors away by continually weaving a burial shroud.
it's a coincidence, but it's cool that both Penny and Cleo (short for Cleopatra!) have names of not only Greek origin, but from larger-than-life Greek figures (one real and one fictional, but both kind of mythological).
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i recently saw the movie We Need To Talk About Kevin which was incredible and my mom says the book is amazing, too, i really have to read it, but i think i would've written this scene differently if i'd had seen this movie or read the book at the time (although i don't think the movie had been released yet when i wrote this, anyway). anyway, if you haven't seen it, it's about a reluctant mother dealing with a psychopathic child and how it affects her and the family, and it's SUPER INTENSE.
i would still have Penny say she wants to keep the baby, but it would've been cool to have her mention taking the possibility of having a psychopathic child into account, a child you can't reach emotionally because their brain is simply wired differently and there's not much you can do about it, i think Penny would be morose enough to consider that and it would've made for an interesting facet to the conversation and Penny as a character. We Need To Talk About Kevin does for having children/child-rearing what Jaws did for the water, which i don't think it would stop Penny (sure would stop me, though), but i like the idea of her researching all these unconventional or scary areas of child-rearing. maybe in volume 7!
coincidentally right before i saw We Need To Talk About Kevin, i had read this fascinating article about psychopathic children which made the whole thing even scarier. i could see Penny reading stuff like this late into the night, stressing herself out over it but also strengthening her resolve.
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