Sunday, May 4, 2008

Characters In All Shapes and Sizes

In the course of eleven books, I've created a lot of characters. With a few exceptions, most of them are good looking, pleasant people that I hope you'll want to spend a few hours getting to know better. Characterization is key to compelling fiction writing, and it's something I've worked very hard at over the course of my writing career. But what I want to talk about here is the REAL character I gave birth to nine and a half years ago. 

I've been blessed with two whip-smart, social kids who are full of self confidence. They both have a sharp wit and can carry on intelligent, well-thought-out conversations with people of all ages. But my son is a true character. Tonight my sister-in-law said, "You have to write some of this stuff down." So, I thought, why not here where he won't discover it for decades? Here are a few Jake-isms from the annals:
  • At four years old, he said to a bald man in Applebees: "You must be very sad that all your hair blew out." Did I mention that Jake is loud? So loud it's like a megaphone was surgically attached to his face at birth? Fortunately, the man laughed—as did everyone in a 10-table radius.
  • At five years old, he said to his kindergarten teacher: "You wore that same dress to orientation." Later that same day, he said to another teacher, "You're pretty. Want to marry me?"
  • At seven, he was singing "The Star Spangled Banner" at the top of his lungs, including this line: "Babe Ruth through the night, that our flag was still there." It's a baseball song, he said, because it ends with the words "Play ball!"
  • A few weeks ago, we saw a woman breast feeding her baby at a hotel pool. She had him tucked up under a towel. Jake wanted to know what was going on, and I did my best to explain it to him in terms a nine-year-old could understand. I said it every way I could think of until he wore me down and I was forced to say, "The baby sucks the milk out of the mom's boobs." I wish you could've seen his face. Later, on our way to dinner, he says, "Mom, I'd really like to know more about this whole chest feeding thing." Chest feeding. I almost fell out of the car laughing.
I could go on all night with funny Jake stories. I will post a few more here from time to time. I've created lots of characters, but none can compare to the little man I live with who makes me laugh out loud every day of my life. I just clicked "Save" on this post and noted the time: 10:18, which is Jake's birthday.


purplehearts said...

Hey Marie,
I loved your little man stories, and look forward to reading more Jake-isms in the future! Creativity runs in your family . . .

Marie Force said...

Thanks for coming by Jessica. Jake is even better in person, hope you get to meet him and his sister someday!