Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Want Money ...


By Kelli

... that's what I want. At least it was what the Flying Lizards (and pretty much everyone else around in the '80s) wanted. (And yes, they were really called the Flying Lizards, and yes, I have too many brain cells devoted to odd New Wave 80s bands. The song is actually from the late '50s, and has been covered by a lot of artists).

Just click here to watch it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=insVgcOVVDQ.

OK, you back now? The 80s was a time of rampant greed and materialism (cue to Madonna singing "Material Girl" and Robin Leech announcing Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous). Me, I was only a poor student, so other than leaving me with a life-long craving for truffles, I emerged unscathed.

I like money--who doesn't?--but only for what it can do in terms of making life easier. And in that regard, my attitude reflects that of my protagonists.

Take Arcturus. He's a doctor, and currently very well-off by Roman standards, since his patron is the governor of Britannia. However, his patron is about to be recalled to Rome, and Arcturus himself has made enemies of some very important (and wealthy) people. He's going to have to economize--and that'll be OK with him, since he was poor for a good part of his life. But if Fortuna smiles again and he wins a mammoth bet on a chariot race--without getting knocked off before he collects--you can bet he'll go back to spending money on what's important to him: his wife, his house, and helping people. And animals, of course. In The Curse-Maker, he finds a broken down donkey to add to his menagerie. He might buy an expensive bottle of wine ... but ale is fine, too.

Arcturus is not really good with money, and if he has it he spends it. If he doesn't, he eats cabbage.

Miranda's attitude toward money is more problematic. She distrusts people who have a lot of it, and despises those who seem to worship it. She doesn't trust it--she's seen too much of what it can do to people--and teaching farm workers in the Valley during the early days of the Depression left her bitter about the exploitation of the poorest people in our country. Nothing she's seen since has really changed her opinions about banks, corporations and businessmen.

Finding herself thrust into the class of people she despises would rock her already fragile sense of identity. So ... she'd more than likely set some money aside, keeping it in the bank and living on the interest. And then she'd go on working, but not chained to the cases she would rather not accept. She'd use the money, a little at a time, to help people she felt needed help. She'd probably bankroll a refugee operation, maybe even smuggle them over herself, if necessary. Miranda would use the money to go on fighting her war ... because that is who she is, regardless of how much money is in the office safe. In her line of work, it's usually boom or bust, and she finds herself in financial jeopardy at the opening of City of Spiders (soon to be changed to a different title).

So there you go. As for what I'd do if I won the lottery ... I'd pay off all my debts, remodel our house, and take a trip with my family to Europe for a few months. Possibly buy a little cottage outside Dorchester in England. And of course, I'd write ... all the time! :)

10 comments:

Meredith Cole said...

Oooh... I like that little cottage. Can we all come visit? It could be the criminal minds writer retreat... We could all meet up and drink and talk and... Hmmm. Doesn't sound like we'd get much writing done (or let you complete your next book--all your fans would get very upset!), so maybe we'll have to invest in our own retreats...

Kelli Stanley said...

CMS are welcome anytime, Meredith--in fact, I think we should just take over a village. Think of the fun Shane could have serving pints of bitter! :)

We all need retreats, even if it's just a closed door ... in my dream, mine's just your typical English cottage in Dorset! ;)

xoxo

Rebecca Cantrell said...

I want to come on the retreat too and drink clotted cream and grumble because I can't find a good wheat-free scone! It would be fun and all the other CMers are so funny we'd barely notice that we didn't get any writing done. Plus, if it's in England we could write on the plane.

Arcturus the spendthrift and Miranda the careful. How people spend money tells us so much about them, doesn't it?

Rebecca Cantrell said...

I want to come on the retreat too and drink clotted cream and grumble because I can't find a good wheat-free scone! It would be fun and all the other CMers are so funny we'd barely notice that we didn't get any writing done. Plus, if it's in England we could write on the plane.

Arcturus the spendthrift and Miranda the careful. How people spend money tells us so much about them, doesn't it?

Kelli Stanley said...

Becks, I'm sure we can find you a good wheat-free scone, or we'll just whip you up one in our cottage oven!

We'll stock the larder with gooseberry jam, orange marmalade and fresh lemon curd, too ... Fortnum & Mason, of course. Then there's the steak and mushroom pie for dinner, with a pint of Porter!

And you're right, money is a great window into character. Especially what people will do in order to get it ... and the bar seems to get lower every day.

Kelli Stanley said...

Becks, I'm sure we can find you a good wheat-free scone, or we'll just whip you up one in our cottage oven!

We'll stock the larder with gooseberry jam, orange marmalade and fresh lemon curd, too ... Fortnum & Mason, of course. Then there's the steak and mushroom pie for dinner, with a pint of Porter!

And you're right, money is a great window into character. Especially what people will do in order to get it ... and the bar seems to

Graham Brown said...

Count me in for CM rtreat at Kelli's cottage. Banger's and Mash for me and I will bring a few pints of Guiness to share with me friends'

Gabi said...

Miranda and I have a lot in common.

I'm loving the idea of a arrange it ourselves CM retreat especially since I haven't met everyone yet.

Kelli Stanley said...

Graham, you totally know the right ingredients for a party!

Bangers and mash, with maybe some fish and chips and mushy peas, and plenty of Guinness to go around!!

OK, that does it. I've got to win the lottery ...

Kelli Stanley said...

Gabs, you and Miranda have the same moral underpinning. :) I hope you both get ahead in the $$ game, too ... because one of us needs to buy this damn cottage!!! :)

And I'm also hoping that we can ALL get together at an upcoming conference!!

xoxo