Do you ever google people from your past?
Well, okay. So.
I set my novel in 1985 because that’s when I was a teen and because I didn’t want to deal with cell phones and google.
I used my hometown as a starting point for my novel. But then my fictional town of Lake Belle became something more than where I grew up. The connections between the two are now almost nonexistent.
The novel isn’t autobiographical, but writing a particular scene did bring my former step-sister to mind. So, I googled her name. It was late and I haven’t seen her in 25 years. My dad ran into once while she was working as a cashier. He didn’t recognize her. My dad is like that.
Anyway. I google this girl of my past. She is forever that girl in my head. That young teenager who hit be with a baton and protected me from an aggressive boy. She’s the girl who when I found a way out of the crazy house we were living in said, “How can you leave me here?”
She was such a tough girl. She could fight and shout, while I just sat quietly with my head down. I thought–she is so strong. She’ll take care of herself.
Googling her, I found her mug shot. For battery. It was a random search and I didn’t expect to find anything. But there you go.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about learning this information. Seems wrong for people’s mug shots to be online, doesn’t it? Feels wrong to search for people too–but also tempting. I’m as curious as anyone else, especially when I’m putting off the really hard work of editing my novel.
She isn’t in my novel, but some of her spirit is in an odd roundabout way.
So. Have you/would you google someone form your past? I don’t know if I’d recommend it.