For a while now my children had been teasing me over the fact that I had zero Instagram followers. The reason I signed up for the mobile photo-sharing service was to keep tabs on them: I didn’t need followers, I was a follower. I refused to call Instagram anything other than “Iggy,” which only led to more eye rolling over how I didn’t understand how cool the app was.
Part of my reluctance to get on board with Iggy was the apparent narcissism required to have a personal account. It seemed to me that each account holder’s page was little more than a big brag about the beautiful people and the wonderful places in said account holder’s life, not the least of which was the account holder him/herself who took daily selfies with humorous or snarky self assessments in the comment area. While my kids–in fact, anyone under twenty-two or so–can get away with that sort of self-promotion and conceit, it just doesn’t look so awesome (read: forgivable) on a woman in her mid-forties in my opinion.
There are lots of older-than-twenty-two-year-old folks who have hobbies (the drinking and enjoyment of bourbon/see “steveakley”) or skills (the ability to craft and style/see “kimberlystoney”) that they share on their pages. I like this approach. I can get behind the notion of using Iggy in that vein.
For months I’ve been wondering about the value of using my page for more than just checking in on, aka lurking and/or spying, on my children. I don’t drink bourbon, and I can’t make chicks out of pompoms and felt. My creative outlet is writing, and I do that here on this blog.
Then it dawned on me: why not take photos to illustrate what life looks like in my novels?
As all of my stories are set in the same general area, i.e., the fictional town of Ledbury and the surrounding towns, Iggy could serve as a visual portrayal of the characters in my novels.
For instance, Lara Jenson, the main character in Ginned Up drank a good deal of this. Yes, that is gin on ice.
No tonic. No lime.
And that’s Lara’s favorite vehicle for getting the juniper-based beverage into her system: a heavy, cut lead crystal double Old Fashioned glass with a slight chip on the lip (visible at about ten o’clock in the photo) that had been her maternal grandfather’s glass for his nightly scotch and sodas.
In Ginned Up, the reader doesn’t learn the backstory on the glass because not every detail of every character gets fleshed out in a novel. Who really wants to know where Lara’s gin-drinking glass came from when the reader is more concerned about whether she is going to get seriously burned playing in the fire she’s found? (Note: she is neither a firefighter nor an arsonist.)
I was advised by my Iggy consultants (my teen-aged children who use the app) that I needed to “hash tag” everything. To that end, each novel is “#TheTitleOfTheNovel” and this project to illustrate what my characters see and do is hashtagged with “#The LedburyChronicles.”
If you’re interested in peeking behind the curtain of the words, you can find The Ledbury Chronicles under “jennabrownson” where I’ll be focusing on #MyPlusOne for the next little while.
Thanks for reading and thanks for your continued encouragement and engagement.