Character Motivation

What makes you do the things that you do? What makes you reach for that cookie when you are on a diet? Or play that game when you should be sleeping? What really motivates us to act?

What motivates someone to murder?

Recently, I finished watching the Netflix docuseries “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” which doesn’t come to a definite conclusion as to the motivation for committing the crimes of which Hernandez is accused or as to the reason behind his suicide. It begs the question of what does motivate someone to commit the heinous act of murder.

FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 10: Aaron Hernandez #81 of the New England Patriots smiles from the sidelines in the fourth quarter during a game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on December 10, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Acts of passion are some how understandable if murder can ever understood. The idea of loosing control and taking a life has been used a character’s motivation over and over again. A typically upright and thereby good being is over taken by passion or it’s darker sister rage. When they come back to their senses with blood on their hands, what do they do? If we are dealing with fiction, the story doesn’t go forward unless they try and hide their crime. In real life, do they call the police or hide the crime? All of which circles back to fictional scenario?

Revenge is another popular motive. Along with greed. These are text book motivations. Understandable to the point that the reader doesn’t give them a second thought.

In watching the docuseries about Aaron Hernández, we see the life of an American athlete on the cusp of greatness fall apart. First with his arrest for the murder of a friend and then more cracks in the foundation of this perfect life appeared. It turned out that there more cracks than anything else in the life of Aaron Hernandez.

He was a young man with a good heart and a bad brain. After his death in 2017, he was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopath, which may have effected his behavior in life. If you haven’t hear of the condition commonly referred to as CTE, it is sometimes called fistfighter’s dementia. A number of former football players have been diagnosed with it following their early deaths.

Watching the life of Aaron Hernandez unfold in three episodes. I see how the series unfolds his character artfully, sympathetically. You feel him and yet you never forget what he is accused of doing. You see how in attempting to avoid the consequence of one crime, he provide the police with all the evidence they would need to convict him of the another crime. It is somewhat like what happens in mythology when the hero tries to avoid his fate and only ends up running directly towards it.

Real life is often stranger than fiction. It is always more complex. When authors water down motivation they water down their plots. I think about this as I write. Am I dumbing down my own plots by not considering the bad guy’s motivation? My current bad guy or gal has killed at least two people and as I work on rewriting the current draft, I wonder about their motivation.

I wonder about the complexities of my villain’s life. What has led them to this point where the death of another is the preferred option? Maybe it is just the easier option?

Death as the easier option is somehow more unsettling? Yet if we look around us there are tons of examples of people choosing that option.

These are the thoughts rattling round my brain.

What’s bouncing round your head?

Sick

We’ve all been there.  Runny noses, stuffed up head so stopped up you are sure you are going deaf in one ear and a cough intense enough to give you a six-pack.

A day or two and you are better, right?

Three weeks in and I am tired of working on my abs and ready to move through to the next level of healing.  The almost well, but a little tired.  The normal day to day moving back into view.

Sickness.  We never give ourselves enough time to heal.  We never let ourselves just be in the moment.  We seek wellness like it is the key.  When we are well, we can do anything. When we are…

Well.

It is a trap.

We wait for the perfect time to start working on our dreams.

And that perfect time was yesterday.

Begin today.

Start now.

Do the thing.

Seriously, do it.

Do it.

 

 

So I am back!!

The work on the new website has been delayed as I work on making it what you need and I want.

But I missed this forum.

I’ve missed you, dear readers.

I need a place to vent, to work out ideas and communicate.

So I am back.

Working on my second book, learning from other writers and editing a bunch of short stories.

Networking and other fun things that you need to do to be successful as a writer that don’t actually involve you writing.

I am also working on some photography projects and learning French.

Why?

Because I am a stubborn person and I need to create and learn new things to keep my sanity.

See you, soon.

Lu

 

Back from outer space! (They have coffee!!)

Well, really I am just out of the writing cave for a bit.  I’ll be back in it soon enough working on Blood Ties.

Today, I left the comforts and coolness of the cave to venture into the wilds of Florida to a little town with a spooky coffee job.

The Coffee Job of Horrors in Montverde hosted a coffee tasting along with book signings from local authors, John Catapano and Tyson Hanks.  The authors were fabulous gents who were welcoming and the setting made it easy to talk with them. I picked up some great new books which Styx  thinks should be his as well as some coffee, which was out of this world good.

Normally, I don’t go for favored coffees but these were phenomenal.  So now I have coffee and new books to enjoy.  Thank to my friend Squeaker and her husband for busting me out of the cafe and into the light.

Where all the writing go?

Hey Gang,

So I am working on moving to a new format for the blog at the same time I am working on my next book. I have a lot of work to do. A lot of work.  School is starting a week earlier than last year, so the time that I will have unlimited free time is getting short.

Rest assured that I’ve forgotten everyone here or the awesome support you have given me. It is just time to move on to something new and better.

In the meantime, I am going to continue personal blogs here when the fancy strikes, but will be holding new poetry and short stories for the new forum.

Love,

Lu

 

 

The Good with the Bad

The day began with insomnia

drifted into lateness

and fell into despair

One found dead, the news feed reads

the reaper’s  prize

at last

sorrows grips friends

still other silent cheer the end of the road

two kids in a doctor’s office sick with the flu

 

two strangers cling to life

victims of happenstance

attended by the best

No news is good news or so the fellows say

No news is bad news worries the friends

beloved ones

Victory arrives late

lesson learned, acceptance obtained

a child born

new shoes,  credit extended ,

then end of an abusive relationship

 

No clever words need

or cliques expressed

Just another day

the good with the bad

the bad with good

perspective the only means of definition

 

 

An Old Friend Returns…Anxiety

Out of the Frying Pan and into the Lion's Mouth.. wait a second???
Out of the Frying Pan and into the Lion’s Mouth.. wait a second???

It would be nice to think that when things are going well that Captain A  would have no cause to come visiting.  The Fraud Police would stay in their precinct and every thing would be hunky dory.

But, Anxiety is an A-hole and doesn’t care about failure the way that it does about success.  Success provides it with so much fuel for doubt.

My fellow writers and creative friends know this to be true.  We are afraid to do what is most authentic at time because we are afraid of how people will react.  How they will see us? Will we face harassment ? For our art, personal appearance or both? Will be reject wholesale for sharing?

Captain A also doesn’t play the same game every time. Sometimes it speaks in whispers. Sometimes it brings us panic attacks.  More than one friend of mine, it has brought on the horrors of agoraphobia.   For the past couple of months, I have been afraid to see how my book sales have been going convinced that looking would just confirm that my book was a failure.   I have advertised here or there, but no plan of attack.   I just kept hoping that someone would see it and buy it.  Once or twice a month some did.

And slowly but surely, reviews came in. All good.  Friends told me how much they liked. One sweet lady who was brought to my book signing by friends has passed the book on to all of her friends who equally loved it.  Her words of encouragement have brighten more than one sad day for me.

But, still I thought I was a failure.  Or the next book will be and I will be found out.  When my new bossed bragged about all of his Amazon offerings, I thought of Blood Child as a sad little book. Nothing to brag about.

Then Bowie died and  I made the decision to work more on my writing, my art. Life is too short to wait for the right time. So on a whim, I offered my book, Blood Child for free on Amazon.  I didn’t expect much as a result of this as I done this before with mediocre results.  Mr. Anxiety predicted that I would get the same results.

Screenshot (2)

Then I checked the unit numbers and over a hundred and fifty people had downloaded my book.   Overnight, Blood Child   made the top ten on Amazon’s list of Short Reads for Mystery Thrillers.  And it stayed there for three days.  Over 503 people downloaded it.

For three days,  I was a Best Selling Author on Amazon.  On day two, Mr. A and his companions, the Fraud Police stopped in.  They stayed most of Sunday and only really departed today around noon.  I did very little promoting on Saturday. My mind was set on cleaning up my grandmother’s thread case.  Sunday, things happened, but I don’t remember working much. There was an attempt at work.  Some posts here and there. Monday was spent in the doctor’s off and a last minute push to get my book into more people’s hands.  More hands means more reviews and eventually more sales in theory.

I could have done more.  A dear friend of mine gave me so advice to help Blood Child stay on top and I didn’t do it. I hear it and didn’t act on it. I was too much in my head.  Everything seemed like it was too much.  There was a weight on my mind.  I felt like I was swimming through my own day.  I spend hours not working just watching TV and feeling like I messing up. And I was.  Sunday night, I tried to sleep in my new bed and ended up fleeing to the sofa.

My dogs came with me, which was awkward since they out weigh me.  Laying there in the chilly winter air being half smothered by dogs I felt ok. Not great, but ok. The kind of ok that you get after you have been crying. I hadn’t been crying.  Just beating myself up mentally for all my mistakes.

new photos 012

Like waiting to long to pay my traffic ticket and incurring another fine.  For not doing more to promote my book and work on other projects.  Not speaking up enough at work and not holding my tongue when it counts.

I could have done so much that weekend and I didn’t.   And Captain A and his friends would have me believe that it wasn’t a success that it wasn’t a big deal and in the grand scheme of things it might not be, but you know what I did something. I said “Hey, Universe, here is my book. Check it out.” And it did.

It doesn’t matter what Mr. A and the fraud police think.  Seeing my book climb in the ratings even for a couple of days made me feel good.  Thinking about it now, I am smiling. I am ready to brag, no, because I still have a long way to go in my writing career.

A long, long way, but I did something this weekend it was a success.

This latest brush with Captain  A  and his Fraud Police was a light one. I didn’t descent into a full panic attack or depression.

When I wrote “Anxiety and the Writer”, I was a little afraid to put myself out there. Things were going good so why ruin it by talking about good days.  Especially when you know that bad ones are coming.

I think the answer is in what author and poet, Cecilia Rodriguez Millanes, has said over and over to her students and readers, “If you are afraid to something, that is what you need to write about.”

When you do that you are finding your voice that authentic voice that all writers and author dream out. The voice that will pull readers into your stories, into the worlds that you have created for them and you create space for others to express themselves.

Thanks for listening.

Much love and best of luck,

Lu Lu, just Lu

 

Aftermath

 

Professional and fun.
Thank goodness, I wasn’t wearing this.

Friday, seventh period, screams ring out and I go running into a classroom.  Not my own.

Not a minute later, it is over and it is time to clean up the chaos.

There are lots of things to say about the forty-five seconds or so of fighting that took place that it is hard to describe the aftermath.  Shoes, earrings and weave scattered about the classroom, way too many people looking at us like were were exhibits at the zoo and the expectation that I automatically knew what to do next. I wanted to stay and comfort the senior who might have tossed her education out the door.

Instead, I gave my seventh period a quiz.

The two combatants were largely unhurt. I came out of Room 130 with a few scratches and a kick to the stomach.  One of the student’s who intervened ended up dealing with the aftereffects of a punch to the face. It was  a turbulent end to a largely uneventfully week.

IMG_0770
A peaceful classroom

The weekend was beginning to look like I needed a stiff drink and some quality time with my friend, Jim Bean. I ended up getting a nice long shower, an hour and a half drive to Lake Wales and a down home Southern dinner. There my problems didn’t have any traction and I was forced just to relax and let myself experience the here and now.

Bad things happen everyday.  Friday, two students had their emotions erupted and the lava flow took over the science classroom.  It could have been the start to a very bad weekend.  I had already burnt my hand; the fight at the end of the day just seemed like the icing on a very dry cake.

Then I was given the gift of time. Time to decompress and not think. Not think about the papers that need to be graded or the repercussions for the students involved. There was time for me to take a deep breath. There was nothing I could do for the students after I gave my statement.  Their fate is in the hands of administration.

I could be still recounting the fight, instead I am living my life.

I think I made the right choice.