There is a skittering in my pulse, its source the mental gnaw that my editor must think me quite odd. She, however, is a professional. If my two-word pitch, “Tammy Unplugged,” for the April blog caused her concern, she said nothing. Beyond my formidable accumulation of verbs and nouns, she knows my heart. And perhaps, after this series, you will as well.
While many writers seek solace in the development of a “persona,” I am of the “runs naked through the sprinkler” set. Few redactions and minimal edits. I am who I am. I have committed myself to paper, and I draw from both the heady ephemera and the toxic abyss of my personality when creating characters. I write “who” I know. If there isn’t some real element of my characters to me, how can I as writer expect my reader to believe any element of my story? This is my method.
Over the next few installments, you will meet my foundational personalities, the bits and pieces of me that make me whole and enable me to draw from them when building characters who will carry a bit of me through the stories I write. I hope you enjoy and are inspired to “unplug” those elemental people running through the sprinkler in your mind.
Week one: Girls and Boys
Bug is eleven years old and loves horses and fairies and is the keeper of all childhood memories. She sings out loud and splashes through puddles. She loves to read anything but her favorite is still the Wizard of Oz series. Sometimes she pretends she is Polychrome, the rainbow's daughter. She is playful, friendly, and smart. She loves her dog and her Barbies (her Barbies have superpowers of course—they can fly and communicate with animals). Bug talks too much but she has always been a "good" girl. She adores her daddy and her best friend Evonne. She never asks for control; she just wants to be heard, loved, and accepted. Bug believes in the happy ending. She lives in my heart, but lately she spends her time curled up, crying. I've become impatient and cruel with my inner child, and she suffers for it. Bug has always been with me, even though I tell people I left her in Jacksonville in 1979. Bug is terrified of death, so much so that she has to sing about butterflies to get to sleep. She is afraid she might die in her sleep. Sometimes she feels God's hand on her back so she stays very still so God won't leave her. She believes in God, but she doesn't think she's been good enough to go to Heaven, and I can't seem to convince her otherwise. She gives unconditional love—but she is incapable, I think of receiving it. Mom never loved us. And with Bug, I can't bring us past that reality.
**Bohemian - male. Bohemian has been around since fourth or fifth grade. Despite the name, Bohemian is the epitome of logic. For him, life is black and white and we would all do better if we got over ourselves and worked as one unit. He is the one who peers into the skull of the deer to show the boys how the wasps used the nasal cavity to make a paper nest. The concept of death and decay do not faze him. Bo would've made a great coroner. Since he's male, he is comfortable with things like body hair, farting in public, belching letters of the alphabet, and eating just about anything with his fingers. Grossing Bo out is next to impossible. Bo sings tenor and is proud of it. He also plays bagpipes and harmonica. Bo appreciates physicality and strength. He'd like to be a bodybuilder, but some of the other personalities are less agreeable to sweating and diets. Bo can stop a charging pit bull with the word NO. Bo loves diesel, leather, the sound of heavy machinery and was highly torqued when we developed "breasts." Once we got the heterosexual thing hammered out (sorry big guy; we are a girl. Always have been, always will be, only small girlie crushes on Cheryl Burke and Angelina Jolie allowed), we accepted Bo as he is quite useful in dealing with all the men we work with, picking up vinigaroons, and killing centipedes. Bo is probably why we birthed boys. Bohemian likes to use an English accent when he speaks. I only let Bo out when I'm alone and playing INXS or Billy Idol CD's. Because he's a guy, he's never allowed control of the brain. Bo has a thing for 80's big hair rock music and power rock bands like Journey, Kansas, Boston. He can totally relate to Jesus sitting around the campfire trading jokes with the disciples. Come on, thirteen guys traveling together on foot? Seriously. Bohemian is actually pretty cool, if only he were female—why is he male? I have no idea... he just is.
Next week, we'll unplug some more.