May 17, 2012

Characters in My Life

by Kari Diane Pike

After typing and deleting numerous first sentences for this post, I let out an audible groan of defeat.

"Mom, are you okay?"

"I can't think of anything to post for the ANWA blog today!"

"Have you written about your grandkids?"

"Ummm, yeah -- multiple times."

End of conversation. Well, that was helpful. Now what do I do? Everyone is ignoring me now. Ha ha! I just realized that no one wants to say anything because they know they will become my next victim subject of discussion! What can I say? It's true! Just to be fair to all of them this week -- here's a peek at the characters in our home.

One daughter has pretty much memorized the dialogue of every episode of Gilmore Girls. She and her younger, but taller, sister have entire conversations using quotes from that show. She is also the daughter who has this crazy fear of cats. Not that it's unjustified. We had a cat who used to terrorize her when she was a toddler. Seriously, the cat would crouch on the back of the Lazy Boy rocker (like Snoopy on his dog house) until darling daughter wandered by -- whereupon the cat would pounce  onto her head (and only her) and then rocket down the hall. I also witnessed that cat run on her hind legs with her forelegs stretched high above her head and chase our little girl. To our daughter's credit, she has gone out of her way to get over that fear -- but she still despises cats.

Our current kitty is a bred and born hunter. Now that she has eliminated and/or scared away the mice, she thinks it is her duty to attack unsuspecting feet and everything flying thing -- including flies, hornets, dust motes and that fluffy stuff the cottonwood trees currently send floating out in the air. She loves to play hide and go seek. It's my job to "hide" around the corner, peeking out at her every few moments. It's her job to see how close she can get without being seen or heard and then jump out and "buzz" by me. My kids think it's funny that even though I know she is coming, she still manages to startle me more often than not. She is also very territorial and to my dismay, hisses and spits at the grandkids or any other unfamiliar person.

Some of the grandchildren were here for a couple of days this week. They came to help Grandma and Grandpa sort and pack and get ready for our move. I got in some much needed snuggle time and I loved having an excuse to use the fire pit and make s'mores and sing silly songs. Yesterday, baby Maesie slept in my arms while the family packed the car to return home. Three-year-old Kreed gave me a big hug and kiss goodbye. He started to walk out the door and since I still held Maesie, I asked if that meant I got to keep her at my house.

"No Grandma! She's our baby. You can't keep her!"

"Well then, can I keep you?"

"No! I'm an Anderson. I'm not a Pike! You're a Pike. I have to be with the Andersons!"

I love it that Kreed has such a strong sense of who he is. I hope and pray that he will always recognize who he is as a son of God and remain strong in his convictions.

Okay -- so there's not time or room enough to highlight everyone in one post. I have learned something though. Everyone is a character. We just need to look and listen and and pay attention to them. What makes them interesting? What is it about this person that makes me want to smile when I am around them? Why does the hair on my arms stand up when I stand next to that person? How can I create characters in my stories that create these kinds of emotions for my readers? What do you do? Do you base your characters on people you know?



  1. Okay, I'm still laughing about the attack cat! I am a "dog-person" myself (mostly because I'm horribly allergic to cats) but when I lived in California I had a neighbor who had an attack cat. I tell the story and people look at me like I'm making it up but your story just TOTALLY VINDICATED ME! The neighbor cat would hide around the corner and when I would round the corner to my apartment door it would leap out at me and then run away. Scared the dickens out of me! Then after a week of that I snuck up on the cat and jumped out screaming, "HAAA!" He flew straight up in the air and ran off. Never bugged me after that.

  2. Haha, Kami. You told that cat.

    Kari, thanks for introducing us. I like the questions you pose and I do base my characters on people I know. I also pick and choose which traits I like and then put the ones I don't like in my villains.(Te-hehe)

  3. We have a new kitten--well, she's six months old now. Polly is a polydactyl cat. That means she has more toes than a normal cat. They are also called Hemingway cats because Hemingway loved their special uniqueness. His house is a sanctuary for their kind, even now. Polly does all those things you described but with super speed. Basically she's got thumbs on all four of her feet (two extra on both front feet). She's adorable.

    I do base some of my characters on people I know, too, at least physically and some of their habits and traits. I don't think I've ever "mocked" someone's personality yet. And I probably won't either, just in case they read it and get insulted. I've done enough of that accidentally.

  4. I def base my characters on people I know...but a character based on my Chewbacca would be awesome.


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