Hiding from… what?

Ten days ago we celebrated my aunt’s 91st birthday with a small party… cake, presents, flowers and, of course, photos. There are other better ones, but I rather like this photo… a ‘peek-a-boo’ shot of her hiding behind her flowers, taken as a joke by her son.

20140508 - Mom behind Birthday Roses

(Photo credit: Ra McGuire)

Just a week before the birthday celebration there was a photo-taking situation of a different kind in my backyard — I posted about it along with a sampling of the photos here. But there were additional, less impressive photos that I wasn’t planning to display.

Bear Tree


Bear Bush

In each case, the subject was hiding, one willingly, the other unwittingly. The shots made for… um, interesting, but not terribly useful records of the event. None of them gives a very clear picture of the subject.

What they do, however, is get me thinking. (I know, that can be a dangerous thing!) People also hide more often than is acknowledged. Not too long ago I attended a social gathering where I spent a good portion of the time hiding behind my camera. I’m not great in social situations… often at a loss for words to engage in meaningful conversations. I’m better at putting them on paper.

I think authors hide among their pages, peeking out via their characters. We’re asked if we put ourselves or our friends (or maybe our enemies) into our stories, and the answer is almost always ‘no’. But glimpses…? Ah, yes, I think some of our characters say things we wouldn’t dare say but might like to, wear the clothes we wish we looked good in, live in homes we can only dream of in settings that appeal to us.  Would we admit to it? Maybe not. We like to hide.

Do you agree? If you’re a writer, do you model any of your characters after yourself or people you know?

~  ~  ~

12 thoughts on “Hiding from… what?

  1. hisfirefly says:

    allowing our characters to do what we may not be brave enough to do
    yes, this!

  2. Judith Robl says:

    Glad you had a good time with Norma. I’m delighted with the peek-a-boo photo. – Er, photos… Love the bear, but would prefer them at a distance. You are so brave.

    • Carol says:

      No bravado here, Judith. I was securely inside the house watching through the windows during the bear’s entire visit. Yay for zoom lenses. 🙂

  3. pastordt says:

    I hide behind my camera all the time, Carol. I SO get that.

  4. Darlene says:

    There are bits of everyone I know in my stories, including me. Our characters get to do things we wish we could do! Your aunt looks wonderful amongst the roses.

    • Carol says:

      I don’t consciously incorporate characteristics of people I know, but I do like to people watch and I’m sure my writing is influenced by my exposure to interesting ones.

  5. i find myself doing the opposite. I work hard at not modelling my characters after any part of me. Except maybe my age. I like women of this age group. Probably because I understand them. I love the photo of your aunt. I hope she’s having fun being 91.

    • Carol says:

      There are days when she’d admit to not having fun… those days when the body refuses to cooperate… but she likes to keep busy. She’s a wonderful inspiration and a genuine family treasure.

  6. elderfox says:

    Good morning m’friend…I hope (if it happens) I’m enjoying a 91st with the gusto of your Aunt. (Loved her book by the way.) Been having “not fun” actions with our PC (again) so have been writing longhand which isn’t going well either…then suddenly “we’re back” via PC and I’ve a long list of e-mails to go thru. One is from my cousin (in Hawaii) about the rawhide and other products for dogs from China being sold here in the U S. Lots of dogs have died from the products and a warning has been issued. Don’t know if they are available in Canada, so be sure to read labels and the fine print.
    Like Darlene I like to build characters (but not always) from parts of me into my stories as well as people-watching & overhearing. But I am aware that my thoughts, feelings and actions (both mental & physical) can be those of my story people caused by their circumstances past and present.

    • Carol says:

      Sorry to hear your PC was giving you trouble but I’m glad to see you’re back online again. Technology is challenging sometimes! I imagine now you’re busy transcribing those handwritten notes back into your computer.

      I saw a news item online about duck, sweet potato and chicken-based jerky treats made in China being linked to pet deaths and illnesses, and that PetCo and PetSmart have agreed to stop carrying them, although not for several months yet. Fortunately we don’t use any of those kinds of treats, but it’s scary to know they’re still on shelves for unsuspecting people to buy.

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