Thursday, April 1, 2010


The more work I've done on my book, the more thinking I've done about the very real characters in my actual life. My next thought was: what if in my next book I take all of my larger than life family members and friends and make them into characters in a book? Woah. They wouldn't necessarily interact in the same way with the people that they do now... just take their essence and use it as a basis for a character.

Since you don't know the main players here, this isn't scrambling your brains. My grandpa on my mother's side was a big man who liked to boss people around and really wasn't all that likable. However, he really did love his family. He just had no clue about how to show it. He was a complex person. And there wasn't a surgery that he didn't love or a pill he didn't think he needed to take. His philosophy was: the more, the better. My grandma, his sweet wife, was the nicest person in the world and received most of the bossing. She was also very smart and witty and it's a real shame that her husband never knew it. However, the rest of the world recognized what a wonderful person she was. Her fatal flaw was her inability to leave the person determined to crush her spirit. Like I said, it was a complex dynamic. My other grandma would have crushed him like a bug. She didn't take crap from anybody and she had five divorces to prove it. She also worked lots of jobs, including tending bar, and liked to ride horses. She says that the only man she ever loved was my father's dad, but they got divorced when one or both of them cheated on the other. Yeah. It's complicated.

Moving down the family tree, my Aunt She was a lot like my grandma, the bug crusher. Stands to reason because it was her mother. She was divorced I don't know how many times, worked in the coal mines,had black hair, and an olive complexion. She reminded me a little bit of Cher, except her hair wasn't as long, and she wasn't as skinny. She'd tell stories about working in the coal mines and kicking butt. Aunt She was larger than life. She walked into a room and you felt all of the oxygen disappear. My mom's sister was a lot like my Aunt She, but less kick butt, and more funny. When we went to her house to visit, it was all hilarious stories of the wild and crazy things that she did as a teenager. Things like running through the house because she'd turned the hose on the boy who lived behind them, and he chased after her, and she couldn't stop and ran right through the front door screen. Stuff like that. She had some impulse control issues as a teenager. Again, another great book character!

My mother's brother is mellow. I don't know what I would do with that. But his wife is a totally different story. It is the women in our family who keep things interesting. The men just try to keep up. Well, there are some exceptions... but I haven't gotten there yet. My aunt has been a firecracker since birth, although I wasn't around then. But I grew up on tales like this one: she bought a case of Pepsi (when it was in bottles) and someone had put a cigarette butt in the full bottle and capped it. She called Pepsi and pitched a fit. She had free Pepsi for a year. She has had free products of all kinds of things for a year because if it isn't right, she calls and she lets them know. There are no free passes at her house!

I guess I have to include my dad on this family tree. He is a man of few interests. However, whatever these interests are, they are solid. And he is absorbed. He is knowledgeable on his subject matter. Every now and then he may discover something new, but he pretty much sticks with the same things, learning all he can. He is not high drama. So, all of these personalities are not easy for him to take. These are all high maintenance people. I guess that just makes it more interesting (in terms of my book) probably not so much for dad:-(.

My mom is tougher to pigeonhole. She is pretty level. She's not high drama. She's smart. She's funny. Most of the time she would be one of the people who looks normal next to these wacky other characters, but then she has her moments, so...

Moving down the tree again (we're now into siblings and cousins)... On my dad's side, are my Aunt She's kids. Lynne has also made a pretty normal life for herself. She has some unusual talents and gifts and she is a bit arty, but I think that is cool. My cousin Mike never was normal and never will be. He didn't stand a chance. He got the wacko gene all the down the line and then on his daddy's side, too. But, he is a laugh riot. There is no one funnier, no one more loyal, and no one I'd rather spend a night in jail with if that was how that it all went down. In fact, he'd make an excellent main character. He's been there, done that, and seen everything TWICE. And he does excellent impersonations.

The screwy gene seems to have dried up on my mother's side of the family. I think I'm the only still running with it like Don Quixote tilting at the windmill. Everyone has jobs, kids, and normal lives. What is that all about? Not one of them in the bunch makes for a good book character. Well, I do have a cousin who does float from job to job, but she stays employed. I think that says more about the economy than her, so I don't think that counts.

Now, shake the box and mix these people up. Far out. Especially if I throw in some wacky friends.

Gee this was fun. I hope that I didn't offend my entire family and get uninvited from all holiday functions for the rest of the year. Easter is just around the corner. I maybe should have waited a couple of weeks before publishing this blog. The next big holiday is 4Th of July and we don't do much for that anyway.... Then, it's Thanksgiving. Surely, they won't still be mad in November...


  1. Personally, I think family members make great characters, but it's best to do a composite, and definitely change the names!

  2. Lol my family is just as...colorful. I'll avoid discussing all their quirks openly since a lot of them DO read my blog...but your family reminds me a bit of my family! Only we have a lot more men in my family, and they are STRONG-willed. God only knows how I ended up with that trait too :)

  3. you know your grampa, 'the soul crusher'.
    I'll bet he was a bombastic ass...but I also bet he knew what he had in your gramma, and in their private moments she knew something about him and his spirit that no one else knew, and that is what she loved.
    there is a whole book right there.

  4. What is normal? The other day my daughter asked - "Are we the only normal family I know?" - and we aren't normal at all...

    I love the characters in your family and your understanding of them. I'd love to read about them...especially your fiesty soul-crushing grandpa and the really nice who everybody loved grandma - sounds like my relationship with my husband, only I'm not so nice ;)

    Hopefully you'll put a lot of yourself in the book...


  5. There is so much life in these characters! I'm looking forward to the stories built on them. Oh, and I have never met a "normal" family.


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