• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

Characters on Cannery Row

CANNERY rowI am currently reading Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. I’m a fan of Steinbeck, but I have to admit I struggled with the beginning of this book. It was full of description: describing places, houses, people and even a couple pages on the Model T truck. By page 34, I still wasn’t sure what the plot was. But as I am now halfway through the novel, I realize how this Nobel Peace Prize Winning Author continues to draw me in—characters.

There are over two handfuls of unique, interesting characters in this book. While writing, I often want to reach for clique or average person, especially in secondary characters. But I want to challenge myself to dig deeper for those unique personalities that we want to read about.

Here’s an example of a secondary character, Gay, in Cannery Row that only participates for thirty five pages. And while, I don’t remember the color of his hair or body type, but I won’t forget this story anytime soon.

Doc asked, “How are things going up at the Palace?”

Hazel ran his fingers through his dark hair and he peered into the clutter of his mind. “Pretty good,” he said. “That fellow Gay is moving in with us I guess. His wife hits him pretty bad. He don’t mind that when he’s awake but she waits ‘til he gets to sleep and then hits him. He hates that. He has to wake up and beat her up and then when he goes back to sleep she hits him again. He don’t get any rest so he’s moving in with us.”

“That’s a new one,” said Doc. “She used to swear out a warrant and put him in jail.”

“Yeah!” said Hazel. “But that was before they built the new jail in Salinas. Used to be thirty days and Gay was pretty hot to get out, but this new jail—radio in the tank and good bunks and the sheriff’s a nice fellow. Gay gets in there and he don’t want to come out. He likes it so much his wife won’t get him arrested any more. So she figured out this hitting him while he’s asleep. It’s nerve racking, he says. And you know as good as me—Gay never did take any pleasure beating her up. He only done it to keep his self-respect. But he gets tired of it. I guess he’ll be with us now.”

 I laughed out loud when I first read that. Steinbeck paints gritty characters that stick with us. Two dimensional characters are easy, like neighbors that we wave to while our garage shuts. There is more out there, let’s tip over their trash and see who they really are. Let’s keep digging.

Resolutions

darkchocolateWe are day eleven into the new year, and I’m wondering how everyone is doing with their resolutions. Granted my goal to eat healthy may be sunk as I have already eaten my second piece of dark chocolate today—so worth it by the way. But gratefully, I’m hanging onto my more realistic goals that involve writing and exercise. Here are a couple tips for all of us to make it another month or so with our goals.

    1. Write them down. Make the goal concrete and tangible by writing it down. Then place it where you can read it frequently. I like the electronic sticky pad on my computer desktop or the front of my writing binder.
    2. Get back up. I’m constantly watching my ten month old stumble, fall, and bash his head as he is learning to walk. It is painful, no doubt. He has the bruises to show for it. When working towards our goals, falling down is part of the process. Just get back up.
    3. Be held accountable. Tell your goals to a friend, a co-worker, instructor, or you can even post them here in the comment section. Make sure someone knows, and it is even better if they will want a report of how you fared. For writers, I recommend starting or joining a writing community. Find others with similar goals that will hold you accountable and push you to progress.

One of my goals was to create a personal blog and online presence. So please feel free to me on this journey at www.deannabrowne.com, on twitter @BrowneBooks, or on Facebook. My first blog is on joining this great online community. Thanks for the support, and I wish you the best in this new year!

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