My Hero — My Heroine — My Characters

Every story has a main character or two. A villain, a hero, a heroine. Good guys, bad guys, and gals. Even your short stories have girls and guys in various stages of love, hate, and madness. You have every nuance of their character figured out — their personality, their hair, their habits.

All of our characters are based on people we know: characters in movies, old paramours, cousins, those who have done us harm. Our characters — good and evil — all come from somewhere inside of us.

So tell me — who are your characters based on? How many famous people resemble your purely self-created stars? Sometimes I have exactly someone in mind. Other times, I find a weird resemblance to someone I’ve come across in my life.

My first novel. Heroine — some version of  me. But not visually. Characters based on some weird, maniacal version of me always are the hardest to visualize. The closest match is kinda like Susan Sarandon but 30 pounds heavier. In her mid-40s. The hero — he’s got to have dark hair and dark eyes, and a slight rough beard. Maybe Doctor Connor Rhodes from Chicago Med. Just the right amount of fuzz on the chin. The matriarch — definitely Maggie Smith. And the pompous ass son — Frank Kennedy from Gone With the Wind. Second novel –same main characters. Add a doctor — Michael Douglas with beard and glasses, and a snotty girlfriend — the latest Carol Markus of Star Trek — and you’ve got some attitude.

Second set of novels — heroine — again, some wacky, astral version of myself. This time with shorter red hair in the first novel and spikey purple hair in the second. I did see a pic of Susan Sarandon with both the red hair and glasses, so she’ll do. The hero — more of Derek Jacobi in Gladiator. The king, definitely Aragon from Lord of the Rings. Consul Tresarrio — definitely Jafar from Aladdin, and Consul Corvenius — Ian Holm, Father Vito Cornelius from the Fifth Element.

There you go. Barred my soul, gave away my secrets.

There’s not always an identifiable face in your stories, but there’s nothing wrong with it, either. Gives you something to focus on, if only briefly. The characters then take over, flowering and winding their vines into their own version of reality.

I’d love to hear if any of your characters resemble anyone real or pretend. It doesn’t matter if you’re published or if you write poetry or haikus — I’d just love to hear your interpretation of your people.

Tell me Tell me Tell me! Do you have a Rhett or an Angelina in your world?

 

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Pokin’ Fun on a Friday

theMy good friend Andra Watkins (www.andrawatkins.com) just wrote a blog that cracked me up. Entitled “How to Have an Easy Career Like Taylor Swift,” her sentiments reflect the sentiments of anyone who’s had to work hard to make a living.

I dunno — maybe it’s just my snickety, granny personality clouding my “universal love and understanding” vision. Or maybe it’s just that it’s Friday. Go take a peek yourself, and see if you’re not smiling at the end…

 

How to Have an Easy Career Like Taylor Swift 

Dear Taylor Swift:
Congratulations! You’re in style, at the top of the charts and sold-out everywhere. I mean, you needed to be an octopus to carry your haul of gongs from the BMAs. There’s no blank space to your trajectory. I like nothing better than seeing a woman shake off the haters and live her wildest dreams.
Heaven forbid I’d ever be mean enough to attack a woman.
Especially one as powerful as you.
But Sweetie, I’m concerned. Power does strange things to people. It slants a world view. Removes natural filters. Causes bad blood. Makes some say unfortunate things
like their high-powered careers aren’t hard.

Read the rest:

http://andrawatkins.com/2015/05/27/how-to-have-an-easy-career-like-taylor-swift/

 

Thanks, Andra, for sayin’ it like it is!

The Connection

phantomThere is something about a live experience — a concert, a reading, a play — that, when done correctly, vibrates you to your very core. There is an energy, a connection, with the artist that can move mountains. And when your mountain is moved…well, you can well imagine.

Through the loving generosity of family, I attended a performance of Phantom of the Opera last night. A chance to dress up, sparkle a little. A chance to elevate myself up from the everyday grind of cleaning and cooking and sitting in front of a computer screen for 8 hours a day.  The lights dimmed, the orchestra swelled, and the doomed relationship between the Phantom and Christine began.

I am not necessarily an opera affectionado; I’ve seen maybe two in my life. But this encounter was more than listening to singing and dancing and orchestral surges. It was becoming a part of the interplay between actors telling a story. It was as if the Phantom and Christine and Raoul were living their sad, melodic lives just for me.

I tend to get a little choky and teary at episodes of soulful interactions. I used to be embarrassed about shedding tears, especially in public. Crybaby comes to mind…hormonal as well. But the tears I shed at live performances come from a different well — a well that has no faucet, no hot and cold handles. They just appear — slowly, silently, swiftly.

I don’t even know what the trigger is. This time it was the beautiful song  Music of the Night. Sometimes it’s a sappy song like Wonderful World by the one and only Louie. Sometimes it’s the crescendo at the end of an orchestral piece, like the 1812 Overture. Sometimes it’s the words. A poetry reading, or a blog that just sends lightning bolts to the heart.  I’ve cried during TV shows like Chicago Fire or endings of movies like Passion of Mind.

The triggers are always different, but the overwhelmingness is the same. It is like the meeting of souls. Someone’s words, someone’s music, someone’s painting, reaches out and strums your heartstrings like a Stradivarius. You don’t always know which way it’s coming, but you know you will always be right in its path when it comes.

I think that’s why live performances are so fascinating. So magical. When you experience what the creator wants you to experience, there is a meeting of the minds, meeting of the souls, that cannot be explained. A beautiful painting. A well-written book. A love song. An actor so perfected in his craft that you can literally see a phantom in love or a warrior before battle. You see them, you feel them. Your heart bursts with emotion with their loves and hates and the choices they have to make. Even if they’re not real.

This energy exchange crosses over into other avenues as well. There is nothing more exciting than sitting on the sidelines of a football or basketball game. The players can’t hear you or see your collection of expressions, but  there is something about screaming in tandem with thousands sitting right next to you that keeps your spirit soaring.

I don’t know Cooper Grodin (the Phantom) or Ben Jacoby (Raoul) or Julia Udine (Christine). I don’t know what their favorite junk food is or if they have a mortgage payment. What I do know about them — and other artists — is the love they have for their craft. The pride they have in having honed this love into something that others can enjoy as well. And, for the brief moment we connect, them on stage or in a movie or writing that pivotal scene in their book, our hearts are seeing the same thing. It is me on the stage; it is me dancing the ballet. It is me bursting out in song or craft and showing the world what I can do.

Make an effort to see something live this summer. A band at a local bar; a poet reading from their chapbook; an orchestra in the park  or a play or a rock concert. It doesn’t matter what avenue you take — just go and take a chance on connecting with someone who understands you. Who can instantly turn on your water faucets with a word, a note, a sketch. They will never know who you are, never know what your favorite food is or what you take for a headache.

But they will certainly feel your energy. And you theirs.

 

Flirtin’ With Disaster

star_trek59Hubba Hubba! I’m in the mood for flirting!

Now, before you get your panties in a pretzel twist, it’s not a real flirt. That I still do with my husband. But I’m talking about the 4th or 5th dimensional me. The young, hot girl I never was. The one who was so confident from the get-go that I could have anyone I wanted. Anyone. I have no idea who I would have picked years ago if I were she, but now and then I wonder who I would pick if then was now. Which personas from the movies would I scoop up and flirt with in this day and drive?

When I was young there was no one more charming than Paul McCartney. A little older, Davy Jones. Those floppy mops, those sweet smiles…I would have hit on them in a second and made them mine.  I don’t remember what sort of maleness made me a mad hatter in my 20s or 30s…I was pretty busy changing diapers or running to soccer games back then.

But now — now that I’m sassy sixty, I seem to be attracted to icons that were nothing like my clean-cut boyish dreams of yesteryear. But who is appealing? I just watched “Thor, The Dark World” for the second time, and I clearly am more attracted to the suave, sexy, slightly naughty Loki than his caveman brother Thor. Yeah, Thor’s got muscles and that boyish roguishness, but Loki has a quick wit and great smile. I think Henry Cavall in “Superman” is dashingly good looking, but he doesn’t look like he’d be much fun at bowling or a Superbowl party.

Other studlies that I should have a thing for — but don’t — Bradley Cooper. Leonardo DiCaprio. Brad Pitt.  All woofies, but at this age I’m think I’m more for the off-center boys-to-men. You know — the kinda bad boys. Robert Downey Jr. Russell Crowe. Kiefer Sutherland. Even sweet-southern-talking Walter Goggin (Boyd Crowder to Justified fans) seems to hold my interest a lot more these days than smoothies trying to be naughty. I mean, Tom Cruise never came across as a bad boy, no matter how many roles he attempted.

Maybe it’s a bit of voyeurism in this old soul. I never hung around with the bad boys. I was too insecure to even look at them. But that’s just fine — I grew up and married the fun boy that always danced at the edge of naughty.

But sometimes when I watch a movie I don’t always want to see the sweet boy win. Let the naughty-but-nice guy win once in a while. How bout you? Different flirts at different ages? Or do the same heart throbs from your youth throb your heart now? I’d love to hear your flirts —

And this includes you, boys —