After many creative writing classes. Teachings of what it takes to create a protagonist, antagonist, climatic approach, genre,etc., etc., etc. After way too many years of in house schooling…the most difficult persona to capture, in words and in thought, the ‘character’! Little had I know…IT/SHE/HIM had been right in front of my nose the whole forty odd years of searching.
My father, bless his soul, spoke often of ‘characters’ he would encounter during his daily chores as a manager of linemen. A middle of the road, boss, to men who painted those lines we see in the, you guessed it, the middle of the road!
He spoke of Norm, who at the the time, gave up his day job and decided to chuck life’s little responsibilities..he became homeless. Pushing a Market Basket cart around Concord that came topped with a very ragged sleeping bag from the Army. Perhaps, WWI or WWII!
There had been Igor. Igor, I now realize, had been a hippie. All day long in the cab of a very small truck sat two full sized men and Igor, who did not bath out of respect for Woodstock!
As a child, I sat with mouth open searching for the meaning to his daily statement:
‘Igor thinks he can sue the state for chronic hemorrhoid syndrome. He’s claiming the only relief he gets is when he goes Commando. What a fuckin’ character that one is!’
Currently, in my en devour to find as many ‘characters’ as possible, before I loose my writer’s imagination, I understand what my father’s meaning was.
Though, my current hit list of characters are set apart by demographics, sexual orientation, age and color, they are very much twins with unique hearts.
These artists of life, say more than what sounds right. Alone but never lonely in thought. They say what they mean. Their singleness of purpose is simple truth and the pleasure derived from that pursuit. These are the people who grab your attention through action…though they may say very little. They change with the morning light for to a ‘character’, each day holds new promise.
New definition of ‘he/she is a character’?
They are bolts of thunder, rainbows, fireflies and the lump in your throat while soaring down a wooden roller coaster. They are all these memorable things stuffed into a greasy paperbag filled with a dozen homemade old fashion donuts.
The poets say, one must experience the anxiety, the ecstasy, the losses, the delights in life, to appreciate it’s purpose.
I suppose that is good enough reason to grow old. At least, to those of us who embrace living outside the box.
I have so many elusive and delicious entertainers in my life. And, as always, they are blissfully unaware of their status such is their grace and their speed..
My father, bless his soul, again, and again, eventually, left his line of work due to a life threatening injury…on the job. Yet, as many characters are known to do, he turned to his vibrant imagination. A flickering inferno of brilliant colors that encompass all our minds. He made something infinite and beautiful from a sad sack situation…he became a professional photographer. His work and works have inspired me to search deep into my creative side.
‘So what of these artists…entertainers…? Character is what you have when the well has run dry and you are thirsty! And, with that, I ask,…if the whole world were blind…how many people would impress you?’
EARL'S PLACE: "AN OPEN & RESPECTFUL ONLINE SPACE TO DEBATE OPPORTUNITIES & CHALLENGES FACING THE GLOBE," CURATED BY AWARD-WINNING COLUMNIST, EARL PLANTE, AN UNFLINCHING ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL & ECONOMIC JUSTICE