Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Novel Idea

This idea for a story hit me just a couple of weeks ago. Given the topic, it should have occurred to me around 4 years ago due to the unusual circumstances of my 3rd daughter’s birth. Anyway the idea: A woman is pregnant, not just pregnant but due in a week or two. Normally a woman in this condition will not travel, least of all fly, but this one has little choice. She has received word that her father (or it could be her mother or anyone really close to her) is on their deathbed in a distant city. I was thinking of the woman living in Seattle and her dad living in New York. So, she goes off to NYC and sees her dad before he dies—it is all emotional and there is plenty of room for flashbacks and back story in general etc. On the flight home she delivers the baby on the plane. There is a retired obstetrician on the plane who is glad to help and it is this woman’s 2nd or third child so everything goes smoothly. There could even be a side story on how this delivery effects the doctor, makes him change his views, reevaluate what he is doing with the rest of his life etc. Or even, since he is on a flight to Seattle too, it is because he is also on his way home and the mother and he become friends or confide in one another etc. The key point here is the location of the birth: We found out from when our daughter was born at home that the hospital (in another town) could not issue a birth certificate. It had to come from our own town—which does not have any hospitals. It turns out that accidental births at home happen a couple of times per year, so our town officials had no problems issuing a birth certificate for us. What about a kid born while whizzing over the countryside at 500 mph? Luckily, the real doctor, a professional to the end, wrote down the time of birth on a pad. That and computerized navigation made it easy to ascertain just what county in Nebraska they were over when the baby was born. Here is where events sort of propel themselves: The mom writes to the county seat asking for a birth certificate and so, after a few certified and notarized letters are exchanged, she gets a birth certificate for her new born son. (Maybe the son is named after the recently departed grandfather. The daughter can honor her dad with an easy spirit now that he won’t be around to gloat and make her regret the decision.) The local paper for this Nebraska county seat regularly checks with the town officials for any matters which could go into their announcements section—births within the county always qualify. A reader brings this happening to the attention of her ladies club and they decide to, as a gift, send a permanent subscription of the local weekly paper to the mom who had her son in the air over their county. The boy grows up knowing this story and seeing the local paper laying around his home. Maybe he decides to go to Nebraska for college. Things could take any turn then: He could meet a girl in college or end up founding a business while in college etc. Something which ties him to the area would happen and he would end up living there. I think a story could be made out of it. I have certainly read stories hung on less plot than that. dbp