When Fiction Becomes More Fictional

My boyfriend sent me a news story from the Star-Ledger titled “Light at the end: Garden State Parkway says goodbye to dangerous traffic signals in Southern N.J.,” and I immediately thought about my story “Fireworks.”

Much of the story takes place while Veda and Madsy are driving south on the Garden State Parkway, and when they get to Cape May County, Veda thinks, “Finally, we reached the beginning of the Parkway.” In an earlier draft of this story, I described the Parkways suddenly changes from freeway to a local road with traffic lights but decided all the description was too wordy. Perhaps I made the right decision.

“People are traveling down the Garden State Parkway for 120 miles and then all of a sudden — traffic light!” said Vicki Clark, president of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce, which has an office right next to a light at mile marker 11.1 in Middle Township.

I was actually surprised by how much controversy surrounded those lights, which I always thought were more of a quick rather than an annoyance. They always signaled that the long journey to one of my favorite places in the whole world had come to an end, that I had entered a magical land. However, I can understand why many people want the traffic lights removed. As it stands, my story already pretends they don’t exist.

(Photo – not of aforementioned traffic light but still in Cape May – by wfyurasko)

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