On this blog, author Leanne (Willetts) Dyck reviews books, shares her short stories, offers online author readings, and comments on her author journey. Leanne writes for adults and children. Her long-term goal (five years) is to be published by a large, established publishing house. Her short goal (one year) is to earn one million page views for this blog. Please help nurture this blog by visiting and sharing.
Guest Post: Sweaters for my characters by Kenneth Weene
(written on December 31st)
It’s a chilly day here in Phoenix, at least
chilly by Arizona standards. I’m not one for being cold; that’s a major reason
I live in “The Valley of the Sun.” But I do like chilly. That’s when I get to
wear a sweater, and I love my sweaters.
Strangely I seldom dress a character in one
– not in my short stories and not in my novels. I frequently describe their
clothes, but they don’t wear sweaters.
For me sweaters are personal, preferably
knitted for me by somebody who wants me to be warm and comfortable. A good
sweater gives me the happy fuzzies. Wearing one is comparable to eating
macaroni and cheese or a big piece of chocolate cake; it is comfort food
without the calories.
It isn’t that I don’t want my characters to
be comfortable. Of course, I need them to be uncomfortable and stressed enough
to create a story, but I do want them to have the happy, comfy times, too. It’s
just that I can’t figure out who knitted that sweater for them. Who in their
back-story loves them that much?
Sure, people buy sweaters in stores. I have
to admit that I have a couple of store-bought sweaters. One I had to buy when,
while we were on vacation, the weather turned unexpectedly cool and I needed
something warmer to wear. Another was a gift, and I didn’t want to refuse it;
besides it really is comfortable and warm even if t lacks personal connection.
Mostly, however, I wear the sweaters my mother-in-law knitted for me.
I know she didn’t love me that much. She
did love to knit, and I was a willing recipient. So there are lots of sweaters
in my closet, especially considering the few times I wear one each year.
She knitted those sweaters for me, and I
have that back-story, but who would have knitted them for my characters. Since I
write primarily about people who are trying to survive, people who are lonely
and hurting, it is unlikely that they would have a hand-made sweater. Perhaps
they picked one up at Goodwill or the Salvation Army, one that was donated.
Then the sweater would have its tale to tell, but that’s something else.
Funny thing, I spend more time obsessing about
how to dress a character than I do dressing myself. I throw on a pair of kakis,
a tee shirt, and sometimes one of those sweaters, and I’m ready to take on the
world. It is seldom that easy for the people in my stories; picking out their
clothes is no simple task. About the Author
Sometimes Ken Weene writes to exorcise
demons. Sometimes he writes because the characters in his head demand to be
heard. Sometimes he writes because he thinks what he have to say might amuse or
even on occasion inform. Mostly, however, he writes because it is a cheaper
addiction than drugs, an easier exercise than going to the gym, and a more
sociable outlet than sitting at McDonald's drinking coffee with other old farts:
in brief because it keeps him just a bit younger and more
Ken’s short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous
publications including Sol,Spirits, Palo Verde
Pages,Vox Poetica,Clutching at Straws, The Word Place, Legendary,Sex and Murder Magazine, The New Flesh Magazine,The Santa Fe Literary Review, Daily Flashes of Erotica
Quarterly, Bewildering Stories, A
Word With You Press, Mirror Dance, The Aurorean, Stymie, Empirical and ConNotations.
Three of Ken’s novels, Widow’s Walk, Memoirs From the Asylum,
and Tales From the Dew Drop
Inne, are published by All Things That Matter Press.