Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Captain Jacob Taylor, Emily's Father

As I have worked with character development, the personalities of the characters have changed little; but in thinking about how they look through the lense of a child - they have.

As children, our parents are infallible.  This likely accounts for why it takes so long for severly abused children to be recognized, and often removed from their dismal environment.  If you add charm and charisma to the mix, the child sees the person through the lense of how he interacts with others as well as how they view him.  Unfortunately, the end result in the mind of a child is the belief that there is something wrong with them.

If I take this out of the family circle, and broaden this hypothesis to other important figures in a child's life, the same rule applies.  I'm thinking of all the victims at Penn State.  It must have been confusing to see a renowned and charismatic figure in the realm of heightened authority, and wonder why this well-respected person picked him to abuse. 

The abuser is not always the boogie man waiting in the bushes.  If he was, "telling" would be so much easier.  When the abuser is an elevated figure, a person in authority and an admired person - it compounds the confusion and the damage digs deeper into the child's psyche.  This is the situation in Pages in the Wind.  Emily's father is a dynamic figure, admired and respected by many, and his attributes are outwardly apparent.  Emily is always in the audience, seeing his charismatic behavior in action. 

Growing up in that house, no one told Emily that her father was anything but righteous. He was a tall, handsome man with hazel eyes, dark wavy hair, and an infectious grin. His hazel eyes were set off by his tanned skin, which he never allowed to fade. His features were masculine and rugged with high cheekbones, an angular nose, and a square and prominent jaw. He had a style that attracted both men and women. Men were drawn to him, for he enjoyed the camaraderie of other men, and he sought a large audience of men as much as women. Men made him feel important and envied, while women made him feel desirable and sexual. He was comfortable in both large and small gatherings, and moved around the room with an ease and demeanor that would catch the eye of everyone in the room.

He was gregarious and always the first one invited to a party, for his quick wit and engaging presence. An officer in the navy, Captain Jacob Taylor was often called to serve as master of ceremonies at naval functions. Captain Taylor was never hindered by inhibitions, and reveled at being the center of attention without looking foolish or self-serving. His co-workers admired him for his intelligence and imposing demeanor, and his friends gravitated to him for his outgoing personality. It was readily apparent that women found him wildly attractive. He filled up every room that he walked into. His stride was confident, and in his presence you knew that you were with a man that could accomplish whatever he set his mind to do. He had that certain charisma that is hard to explain, but you know it when you see it. It was the way he laughed with his eyes, the way he exuded confidence in every step he took, the way he seasoned his conversation with interesting anecdotes.

I wonder if you have known people in similar environments, or if you relate to the "pull" that charismatic people have in dragging in their prey.  Does it, in fact, even reach beyond our childhood and follow us into adulthood? If we witnessed a child being abused by a nameless person, wouldn't we drag them to the nearest cop, after we did our own damage? Would we even have to think about it? Would we go through the proper chain of command, and consider damage control in terms of the abuser?

What do your feelings about it?


  1. intriguing beginning. gorgeous paintings! do share more. i anticipate seeing you add detail to the visuals you create through words.

  2. Beautiful writing, it makes me want to read more. I want to read more about Emily and her story.

  3. Fantastic and intriguing start. Looking forward to reading more. The paintings are a perfect fit. Keep going can't wait for more.

  4. I think that Claire is very cold and a terrible mother. I think that she only cares about herself and Emily is just a reflection of her own upbrighing. I love the story so keep going!!!

  5. Sally more beautiful everyday, I know Claire and I know Emily. I hold them both so dear to my heart. Amazing metaphores .. write Sal write.

  6. WOW! you have me hooked already! Web site is amazing. Your poem about your mom made my eyes tear up. Keep writing....this is what you were meant to do.

  7. Wow, love the characters. Give me more on the father. He sounds like he'll be a vile character. I like the way you're bringing out the characters.


I would love your input on this work-in-progress. I thank you for your opinion.