Monday, August 21, 2006
The Warped Mind of a Writer
Although I live in it, New Jersey is not the state I was born and raised in so I haven’t been to all the usual civic and historic places on school trips. I’ve been forced to remedy my lack of basic Garden State education because my current work-in-progress, a romantic suspense novel, is set in the world of Jersey politics.
My most recent trip was to Drumthwacket, the governor’s official residence, a lovely old mansion just outside Princeton. Don’t you love the name? It’s Scottish and means “wooded hill”.
The walls are covered with gorgeous hand painted wallpaper and New Jersey themed landscapes and portraits. The dining room holds magnificent antique silver pieces as well as the governor’s official china (some of it made in Trenton which once had a thriving china business). Outside are beautifully terraced gardens with statues and fountains and walkways, all making for a lovely afternoon stroll. It’s well worth a visit.
Instead of savoring the aesthetics, however, I was madly taking notes because photography isn’t allowed inside the house. Our guide was a lovely lady in a snazzy navy blazer who was entertaining the children on the tour with stories of the owner’s private zoo. Every now and then I’d interrupt and ask a question such as, “Which entrance would the governor use when he’s here?” or “What rooms are on the second floor where the governor lives?” or “Does this door lead to the kitchen?” (I had to ask because I’d tried to open it and discovered that it was locked.)
People were starting to look at me strangely.
Outside I whipped out my camera and shot every nook and cranny of the gardens. Then I started on photos of the service entrance, the parking lots, the security booth and even the trash receptacles. As I clicked away, I’m muttering to myself, “Okay, the kidnappers come in through this door, climb up to that porch, go in through the window over there….”
My daughter (who had been bribed to accompany me by the promise of a shopping spree at the Princeton U-Store) finally walked far, far away from me, saying over her shoulder, “Mom, if I were a guard worried about terrorists, I’d arrest you.”
I’ve included one of my more artistic photos so you can see how lovely Drumthwacket is. Now if you can picture the guys in black masks crouching amongst the foundation shrubs or scaling the white columns, you have the warped mind of a writer.
Anyone else have an occupation that makes you appear a bit strange to the general public? Tell us about it!
Posted by Nancy Herkness at 7:56 AM