Every week I am blown away by the well thought out answers to my questions, but also by the vast array of approaches that the writers have undergone to create these Tributes. This is a really emotional tribute from Liz Taylor who has provided some great insight into her story here.
1. I love how you paint the picture of Marcie. Was she based on anyone or you just had a clear picture of the character in your head?
She was loosely based on a friend of mine - a very warm and vibrant, lively character who I've shared many milestones and happy times with. We had our children around about the same time and we had a falling out. I remember drafting her an email full of love and regret, telling her how wonderful she was - very much in the spirit of the email in the tribute. I liked the idea that you could write something for someone with a certain intention, like that email, and it could then end up being used for a tribute.
2. This Tribute focuses on regret a lot more than the others. There an obvious finality to death that means regret cannot be righted. Was that the start point for the story or was the heartbreaking story of a mother losing their child the first aspect to come when developing this?
I initially had two ideas - the email that should have been read out at the 40th and the loss of a child. I couldn’t decide which to focus on and then I realised that I could fuse them and give the tribute a back story with a big reveal. The simple tragedy of the story lies in the fact that it’s the wrong person reading out the tribute. No mother should have to bury their child and Marcie’s own life is a life abruptly cut short. The natural order should have allowed for Marcie’s son to read the tribute to his mother and that should have occurred many years down the line.
3. Do you think the choice to hold back the reveal of why they had a falling out adds to the emotion of that moment, or is that an emotional punch to the guts no matter where it occurs in the story?
The reveal for me is that Marcie’s son died some weeks earlier and that she has taken her own life after burying him. I wanted to keep the reveal to the end so that Marcie’s life could be celebrated and that the relationship between the reader and the deceased could be properly addressed. The reader very much wants Marcie’s life to be considered away from the tragedy and for her to be remembered fondly. Her final weeks - the events surrounding her son’s death and her own death - have obviously been extremely shocking and her friend doesn’t want those last days to get in the way of celebrating a life well-lived.
4. This Tribute is heartbreakingly sad, how difficult is it writing about such events, and do you see any positive moments of light within the Tribute that help you through the writing process of it?
I found it quite cathartic in some ways as I’ve suffered a lot of losses and my greatest fear is that something might happen to my own child. There’s some relief in putting it out there and giving voice to that fear. When you speak the unspeakable then it’s not quite so scary and unspeakable any more. I hope that the light comes in the celebration of the friendship. Marcie’s friend absolutely does not want to read that tribute but she is determined to celebrate her friend.
5. It's a short, tight and concise Tribute that is deceptively simple, I say deceptive because it manages to achieve such depth of emotion within a small space of time. Do you think keeping it straight forward aids the depth of feeling in the Tribute?
I’m glad that it comes across as straight forward as I was concerned that the reading of the email is a tribute within a tribute, which could make the time frame a bit confusing.
6. What other projects are you working on, and how does Marcie Lane compare to your other writing?
I would love to write for a continuing drama series in order to hone my skills and really get to grips with the whole discipline of juggling various story arcs. That’s the goal at the moment. To this end, I’ve written the first episode / pilot for a drama serial about two childless couples whose paths cross at an adoption event, setting into motion a string of events that wreaks havoc for all parties concerned. I’m hoping this will showcase what I can do with various characters and lives interwoven etc. My previous writing has been quite dark but I try to tell very human stories of the ‘it could happen to anyone’ variety. There has been a sense of loss and the fear of loss in a lot of my recent work.
7. Have you had chance to listen to the other Tribute episodes? Which ones have stuck out if so.
I’ve listened to all of them and I like them all. It’s pretty humbling to be included in the mix in all honesty as they are so beautifully written. For the way the words paint a picture, I really enjoyed ‘Eulogy for Tricia Slater’ and ‘An Irresistible Force’. I
thought they were very rich and poetic. I was also very moved by ‘Valediction Forbidding Mourning’, because of the subject matter, and ‘Turning’.
8. Why do you think it's important to write about and discuss death?
Because we’re afraid of it and it’s the only way to turn the heat down a little on that fear.