Where book characters are born or ♪ ♫ “Who’s that girl?” ♫ ♪

THIS...is one person!

THIS…is one person!

Regardless of genré, all fictional book characters are born in the writer’s mind. Whether historical fiction, scifi, metaphysical, visionary fiction or any other genré, the character is either a faithfully reproduced version or a conglomerate of individuals the author has known or seen. How many times have friends, acquaintances, family members…or anyone who reads a book…quoted, in essence, the old song – “Who’s that girl?” – when they find that they can relate to the protagonist. Or antagonist?

My sister was (and still is) one of my heroes, as are my mother, father (may they rest in peace) and children, in some way or another. They are, or were, not perfect. Everyone has their bad sides, no matter how easy it is to forget when they are such awesome and admirable human beings 98% of the time! It is worth it to bear in mind, however, that there are two or more sides to every single person who has been born on this planet, and any writer worth his salt will be able to objectively access these when creating a book’s characters. Of course, this is only my opinion.

Let’s be perfectly honest; how do we define certain adjectives or adverbs as they might apply to a protagonist or antagonist – if only to ourselves? As for me, all of you who follow this blog or have corresponded with me have often heard or seen me say, “Mama always said…”, usually followed by some tidbit of wisdom. Elsewhere, I also relate stories and memories of my childhood, experiences with my own children, strangers, hospitals, employers and even my own attitudes and beliefs as an adult when describing something.

For example: “That character is like one of the people I used to work for; he has a good heart, but unlike my granny, he lacks the strength of character to do the right thing.” The character in question is built on memories of my boss and my granny, and probably with a few other character traits from others I have known.

Now read my books. You will find all of the above in the personalities and experiences of the characters I have given birth to. Sometimes those characters are patched together as though I was the long lost great-great-granddaughter of Frankenstein, only not so evil…usually!

The human mind is like a computer: data is never completely lost no matter how many times you delete and “Empty Recycle Bin”. It is from all the data that has ever been entered into the writer’s brain that the characters in their books, short stories or poetry and prose are born. Experience is how we learn and experience is what fuels our imaginations.

“Who’s that girl?” Well, that’s my sister and her compassion, my mother and her wisdom, my granny and her strength of faith, and my father and his boardroom persona. When I state in the Disclaimer at the beginning of my books, that “the characters in this book are fictional and created strictly from the mind and imagination of the author”, it is true. Mostly. But then, so it goes with other authors.

Just sayin’.

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It’s ‘frost on the pumpkin’ season! Time to prepare…

"Frost on the Pumpkin season"

“Frost on the Pumpkin season” (see link at the bottom!)

Many, many years ago, my very best friend in the world took my children and me camping at a place called ‘Jellystone Park’, in Massachusettes. She had a little, tiny travel trailer, complete with miniature propane stove and heater, which slept six, if you included the available floor space! It was only a week past the end of summer, but you could tell by the quality of the sunlight and the changes in wildlife – both the flora and the fauna – that autumn was about to burst forth.

That first night, we all gathered around a campfire, just like all the other campers, and roasted our hotdogs and marshmellows, whilst “oooh’ing” and “ahhhh’ing” about the vast array of stars showing the path of the Milky Way in the velvety night sky. We all went to bed, replete with our typical campers fare of food, and a peace that can only be had in the realization that God is in His heaven and that, for now at least, all is right with the world. The lot of us slept deeply and well.

Susan was the first to arise the next morning, before the sun even had the chance to begin to blanch the sky and extinguish the stars. I awoke to the scent of “cowboy coffee” as the vapours followed her into the camper when she, ever so quietly, tiptoed in to wake me. She was raising her nephew and, of course, I was always surrounded by children, so we took advantage of the opportunity to just be two adults, having a grown-up conversation, with nothing but the peaceful, near silence, of nature to keep us company.

When I stepped out of the trailer, I was greeted with a fairyland sight. During the night, the temperature had dropped considerably, and apparently quickly, and the last vestiges of last night’s moon shone on a sparkly landcape. The tiniest of ice crystals clung to everything, from the needles on the pine tree behind our temporary home, to the bark of the birch stand, just there to the right…and even the vapour of our exhaled breath twinkled in that soft moonglow, spreading out and disappearing somewhere beyond, like stars winking out.

I stood like a statue, taking in the beauty around me, from the softness of the grass at my feet, still apparent through the crunchy frost, to the glittering moisture released from our noses and mouths and those trees, looking like a colony of fairies had taken flight amongst the branches – and then on upward, to the breathtaking diamonds in the midnight blue sky – some of those diamonds flashing across the heavens in the brilliant display of a meteor shower.

It was breathtaking. Awe inspiring. Humbling.

And freaking cold!!

We built up the fire from the slumbering coals we had banked the night before, and soon a cheerful blaze joined the sun in lighting up our little campsite. As I inched closer to the flames to warm myself, I caught Susan grinning at me.

“What?” I asked her, already responding to her contagious glee with a smile of my own.

“Today’s language lesson,” she replied, her voice vibrating with humour (because we were both aware that I constantly speak in flowers; so what could she have to teach me about language?!).

“Ummm…okay. So what will you be teaching me on this fine, cold morning?”

“Do you know what today is?” she asked, then grinned a bit bigger as I scrunched up my face, trying to read the calendar that I keep in my mind’s eye.

“I got nuthin’,” I replied. “Enlighten me.”

Susan stood up, stretched and gestured expansively around us, then pointed to something on the ground. It was a pumpkin that the campground staff gives every camper to carve as a jack-o-lantern during their autumnal vacations. This, too, glinted with a thin sheen of ice crystals in the dawn light. She turned back to me, the joviality on her face replaced with that peaceful look we all wore the night before.

“Today is the first day of “Frost on the Pumpkin” season…the first sign that winter is just around the corner. It’s time to take a deep breath and prepare for the end of another year.”

This time I not only gazed about me at the fairytale landscape, I also took a moment to close my eyes, breathe deeply through nose and mouth and make a memory. “Frost on the Pumpkin season.” I opened my eyes to find Susan in the same meditative pose. She opened her eyes a moment later and we shared a smile. My best friend – the sister of my heart – and we both breathed the same thing, in an identical instant:

“I can taste winter on my tongue.”

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[† “Cowboy coffee” is made by heating coarse grounds with water in a pot, letting the grounds settle and pouring off the liquid to drink]

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With “Frost on the Pumpkin” season upon us (and as a Pier 1 Affiliate) I thought I’d share a couple of the beautiful decorations for which Pier 1 Imports has specials going on for the next few days.

[see: Affiliate Disclosure]

 

5% Off Regular Priced Purchases This Weekend Only with Code 15OFF or 20% Off When You Apply for the Pier 1 Rewards Credit Card with Code 20FORME, valid 9/29 – 10/2

20% off Wreaths, Wreath Hangers & Garlands at Pier 1 Imports, valid 8/28 – 10/1



Going Home…

...gathering up the courage to plop your fanny down into the icy water...pushing off, knowing that the next icy cold plunge would take your breath away. Then climbing back up to the top and doing it all over again...

…gathering up the courage to plop your fanny down into the icy water…pushing off, knowing that the next icy cold plunge would take your breath away.
Then climbing back up to the top and doing it all over again…

 

Just a thought…”

One may not be able to turn back time, but “going home” always brings back memories. Hopefully good, sometimes bittersweet…but always worth the effort.

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