Saturday, March 15, 2008

Character, Characters, and a Clement Day

I have had too many demi posts swirling in my mind. A blogpal (Curmudgeon of posited a kind of traffic jam of ideas as a better way of describing writer's block and that helped me find the courage to wade into my mind with my traffic gloves on, sort things out, and have a little conversation in blogosphere.

The title for this post came as my head was swirling with the fictional characters that had come to my attention: my own, my daughter's, and a friend from writing group. I am one of those people for whom the people in stories live in my head. I don't think I am certifiable, but if a character is real enough for a story to be credible, then that character is real enough to have existed before and after the frame of the story.

For many years now my sister in law and I have enjoyed the Tony Hillerman books and the character of Joe Leaphorn. When she announced that there was a new one, she said quietly to me, "You'll be pleased to know that he has gotten over the death of his wife," just as if we were discussing a neighbor or a work mate. She had spoken quietly, hopefully intended for my ears only, because my brother hoots outrageously whenever he hears us talk about fiction that way. He's my big brother, so most of my life has been spent subjected to his disapproval for such nonsense as the way I could not learn a proper box step or that I screamed and ran from a snake he was holding to show me the difference between a poisonous and a non-poisonous one. Thus I was not chagrined by his disapproval both for the long habit of his disapprovals and also because I would not want to close a book and leave the characters behind.

It can, however, be very distracting.

As I was wondering how I could get just one episode that would characterize my character's life, my great grandson was born. Although there is none of my genetic material in his little person, I take great joy in watching the discovery of such things as the fact that he appears to have a shape of ear that harkens back to his great great grandfather. What sort of things I wondered will shape his life, "the content of his character."

In the midst of all this thinking, I lay in bed for the golden thinking time of the morning and half listened to the weather forecast. Above the usual refrains there rose a lovely phrase, "a clement day." And today promises to be just such a day--a day of golden sunshine between storms, of gentle winds and domesticity ofr the hard working birds whose nests they have created in the face of the early March winds.


At 4:33 PM, Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

An interesting combination of thoughts.

But I read through that paragraph on great-grandchild being born a few times. Great-grandchild?

Hope it is still 'clement' today where you are.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Hi, Cur.
What I left unsaid was that we hope for a clement day for all our children and ourselves but it is really the inclement days that shape our character.
I married into a big family, so I get the benefits of a range of ages and sizes. Funny how loving them does not depend on birthing them.

At 4:20 PM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

I like very much the idea that loving them does not depend on birthing them. We love whom our loved ones love.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

"We love whom our loved ones love" is a lovely phrase and a good thought.

Back from an adventure today. I have a draft started in blog but will try to get photos and some of the adventure loaded tomorrow. We also heard tonight about archaeologists exploring a henge in Caithness. Lots of surprises in this County. Remember pulling down the model broch in the quarry?


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