Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Authors Notes - A Choreographed Life

Do we choreograph love? There is nothing as intoxicating as those first weeks of emerging love with the rush of adrenaline, fantasies, and anticipation. With time, the adrenaline rush wanes, and we adjust to the day-to-day reality of the relationship. Some of us will continue to chase the all-consuming passion of those first days. For Emily, in Pages in the Wind, she takes this a step further by holding tight to the fantasy in the face of opposition.

In this passage from Pages in the Wind, Emily considers Reid’s father, a notorious womanizer. She thinks about the relationship between Reid and his father, and even considers a vague connection. The connection will affect her view of Reid, and will certainly be in opposition to what she needs him to be in order to sustain her fantasy.

Emily admired Reid as he played football with the other boys. He seemed to hold his teammates in his sphere with his warm grin and whispered quips as he pointed directions at them. Reid moved effortlessly around the field, his body was strong and yet fluid. The afternoon sun was beginning to hurt her eyes which made it hard to watch her friend. She put her head down and closed her eyes, and thought about Tyrone, Reid’s father. Ty, as he was called, was over 6’5, with wavy blonde hair, and rugged skin that was always tanned. His deep blue eyes seemed to penetrate right through you, and hold you in his presence until he was ready to release you. His mannerisms were deliberate and his intensity made Emily feel slightly uneasy. It was common knowledge that his father had numerous affairs with other women. He was indiscreet in his sexual wanderings, and you could find his car parked at a woman’s house in clear view and without fear of being discovered by his wife. He was a relentless patron of strip clubs, openly flirtatious, and aggressive in his hunger for a variety of women. Emily drew a wide berth around him, avoiding him when she was in Reid’s presence. Reid had a warm relationship with his father, and she assumed that he was unaware of the rumors about his father. Father and son talked with ease, and his father encouraged Reid to push the limits of what most kids were allowed to do. He encouraged Reid to be clever and not get caught, and warned him not to bring shame on the family.

As the sun strengthened, it obscured her vision and Emily rubbed her tired eyes. As she repositioned to get a better view, it seemed that Reid was progressing forward as the other boys were receding into the background. She covered her eyes again to block the punitive sun, and reflected on Reid’s father. Reid was nothing like his father, she thought. At least she didn’t think so.

Emily needs a hero in her life to rescue her from her wicked father. Her vivid imagination has choreographed a beautiful fairytale with Reid at the center of her world. Emily is gifted with creativity, but she is also intelligent. The reality standing in front of her when thinking of Reid’s father does not fit with the role that she has created for him. As a young girl, she uses her fertile imagination to choreograph the scenes that she plays with her friend, Reid. She needs a larger-than-life hero to counteract what she faces when she leaves him and opens the door to her dreadful reality. There is a sweet innocence to young Emily’s idealism and her imagination is a welcome exodus from her father’s cruelty. As Emily develops into a young woman, will she dismiss the traits that are in opposition of her perfect man? Will she continue to choreograph her life?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Charm and Evil

I am posting this in light of what is going on in our world right now.  Charisma can be a destructive force when in the wrong hands...

It is an interesting oxymoron, that charm and evil often exist together. It takes only a short analysis of the notorious villains in history to see that their charismatic skills of persuasion were paramount in victimizing their prey. Bernie Madoff would not have been able to pillage billions from clients without a charming persona and the ability to manipulate investors with a carefully orchestrated image designed to deceive his victims. In Pages in the Wind, Captain Jacob Taylor is able to commit horrendous acts of violence against Emily free of active intervention from anyone.

His charm is illustrated in this passage from Pages in the Wind:

Her father was gregarious and the first one invited to a party, for his quick wit and engaging presence. He was often called on to be the master of ceremonies at naval functions. He was not 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 women found him attractive and seductive. He filled up every room that he walked into. His stride was confident, and in his company you knew that you were in the presence of a man that could have whatever he desired. It was the way he laughed with his eyes, the way he exuded confidence with every step he took, the way he seasoned his conversation with interesting anecdotes.

It must be confusing to young Emily to watch the father that purposefully hurts her to be celebrated by family and friends. She is far too young to discern the difference between the private and public man. She longs for her father's charm to be directed at her. This reinforces the perception that she is hopelessly flawed and unworthy. What will be the long term effect of seeking this approval? Will Emily be drawn to men that are similar to her father? Perhaps more disastrous, will she be prey to men that give her the love and affection that she so desperately needs?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Author's Notes: The Allure of Reid

Have you met a person that has an allure that is hard to explain, and even harder to resist?  Some people call it charisma, while others call it “magic.”  Either way, it is a powerful force that draws people into their aura.  The force in Emily’s life is Reid.  Emily does not need to use her vivid imagination to construct him – he is very real to her.  At a young age, Emily is attracted to him and drawn to his personality.  It is a friendship she feels she does not deserve, but she revels in the friendship as something that she cannot resist.  In this passage from Pages in the Wind, Emily watches Reid and describes how she sees him:

Emily found Reid playing dodge ball in the street with his friends, and sat on the curb to wait for him.  Her eyes were drawn to him, watching him control the game with his athletic skill.  She followed his movements, and the way he moved with ease to avoid the ball.  He was much taller than the other boys, but his movements were fluid and strong.  He had a slight sway to his walk, and his jawline was strong and conveyed a confidence that exuded a youthful arrogance.  As she continued to watch him, she smiled as she noticed that Reid was at the center of every scene.  She imagined that Reid was the star of the show, and everyone else was his backdrop.  She thought about how incredible he was, and how lucky she was to be his best friend.

Will Emily’s vivid imagination and her glorification of Reid blur her vision of him? Where will the irresistible force of his personality lead her?  Will she lose herself by focusing on him?  She sees him as her hero, rescuing her from a life of torment.  Will the force of his personality eclipse any chance of her developing her own will to resolve the conflict within her life?

Have you ever met someone that had an allure that is hard to explain, and even harder to resist? Where will this lead Emily? Is a charismatic personality coupled with a weak self-esteem a formula for tragedy?