After finishing her novel, P.J. Edghill (aka Pat Jones) took the next logical step and searched for a publisher. She would try, get rejected, wait a bit, then the cycle would begin again, until one day she realized there was a different way she could get her story out in the world.
She could create a podcast.
“I just realized, wait a minute. I’m a writer, I’m a producer, I’m a director,” she said. “Podcasting is basically theater. I can do this myself.”
So she did. All eight episodes of “Ovid’s Flea” dropped last fall after help from a very successful Kickstarter campaign, where she received 200 percent of her original goal, and was therefore able to hire seven actors and get equipment. Jones said the podcast is her novel word-for-word.
Her desire to tell this story began in 2006, when she was living in New York and started writing a short story about a man struggling with himself and his self-identity. She was partly inspired by a friend who came out of the closet late in life and really struggled with this concept of self-homophobia.
“What if you’re in this situation where you have this chance to be your real self, or so you think – how do you navigate this?” Edghill said. “It was just a really fascinating thought and concept and just like a mind-meld for me. It was like, let’s play with this idea.”
This lead to the development of the six other characters who would complete Ovid’s Flea, which she still hopes to see in print one day. There’s also hope to turn it in to a limited TV series, a goal she’s had since the beginning.
Ovid’s Flea explores one of the seven deadly sins, pride, and how these characters wrestle with their own while trying not to destroy themselves or each other.
“I love the inner-workings of people,” Edghill said. “That’s what it basically comes down to.”
Jones has always been like that, even as a kid at Bloomfield Hills' Academy of the Sacred Heart, where she went for kindergarten through fourth grade.
She was the only African American in her classes at Sacred Heart, as well as the boarding school in England she later attended, which sometimes made her feel like a fish out of water.
“People just never quite knew what to do with me,” she said. “That means a lot of times people aren’t talking to you, so you observe a lot.”
Even though she felt like a fish out of water, Jones said that her time at Sacred Heart really played a big part in her life and identify. Its part of the foundation of who she is as a person and a Catholic.
“There was this – this is going to sound corny, but this is kind of who I am – there was just so much love at Sacred Heart,” she said.
Jones has also been feeling a lot of love lately from people who have listened to her podcast, which she said has felt lovely. It’s been great to have people get emotionally invested in these characters she spent so much time creating.
It’s also been some great vindication since Ovid’s Flea was something she felt she needed to write.
“You know in your soul what you’ve written and you feel like ‘I have this story I want to tell you, I really think you’re going to love it,’” she said. “When people come back and are like OMG…it's great.”
Photo: Jean Lannen