character - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
Character is not a set thing, yet can morph and change as we mature, as we learn to keep the 'good wolf' version of ourselves in command and the cold hearted 'evil wolf' self at bay. We are, after all, as the elder said, "Two Wolves."
Lisa threw her head back and laughed. "Hypocrite? Ha! Yes, of course I'm a hypocrite, but then there are two of me. There's my subconscious mind with its high ideals and my conscious that just wants to ensure the survival of me and you. So yes, I want to fight global warming and I drive a car, I want animal rights and I buy meat, I abhor slave labor and I wear clothes. I pity those who aren't hypocrites, because all they hear is the screaming of their conscious minds day and night, survive, eat, fear, danger. They have no range of morals to be hypocritical about." James looked at her for a few seconds, hands in pockets, it wasn't the response he'd been hoping for. He wanted her to walk her talk and instead she was set on carrying on just the same as those without her insights. One more sheep in the paddock. Or maybe she just saw too much, and how can anyone fix all that?
Quincy lived in his head. I know we all do to a degree, but it was most pronounced with him. It was like his body was no more than a vessel to take him to interesting things to read and knowledgeable people to talk to. He didn't want to exercise or be "cool." Emotions were something alien to him, he barely understood his own let alone anyone else's. I once saw Nancy start to cry next to him and he patted her head gently like she was a dog, his face as scared as I would be confronting a knife-wielding maniac. He could never follow a conversation either, whatever I said he'd reply with a sort of educational statement about whatever he was working on. It wasn't that he didn't care, just that he wasn't born with the faculties to understand how to relate to people. Once I didn't talk to him for a month and he just showed up at my door with a kitten, figuring he'd done something wrong but he didn't know what. That's when I realized I was part of his life, not just part of the scenery...
Last April Sarah was there every time I turned around or flicked on my social media. Everything I said had been funny, intelligent, witty. She had courted my opinions and never challenged my assertions. She was the echo my ego wanted but didn't need- like eating cake every day. My head swelled. I ditched my less fashionable friends and in not too long she was coming over for homework help. I re-did her science assignments and correct her punctuation, brought her work up a whole grade or more. We hung out at the mall, I recall her buying me frozen yoghurt while we laughed about the fat the untrendy. Once we had sat the exams she never returned a call or a text, she blocked me on social media and took up with her old crew again. There is nothing vying for my attention now but the wind in the trees and the steady heat of summer that is building by the day.
Gordon could read her faster than a tweet. The smile - anxious - she was eager to please him. The clothes quite provocative but her body posture was awkward, she'd do whatever he asked and then be embarrassed. He'd be her best friend for as long as it took to drain her bank account, then he'd do all the things to her that she'd hate and he'd love. Then either she'd walk or stick around to be his servant, he really didn't care which. But once he found his next mark she wouldn't even get a goodbye, he'd just be gone with her cash in his own private accounts. She wasn't bad to look at really, a bit dumpy around the stomach perhaps but a more enjoyable "job" than working in some office or on a building site.
The last picked in sports and always the only one without a friend at lunch, Tianna had been crumbling inside. Every time a snub had come, no matter how expected it was, it had felt like an invisible blade being run around her skull. The cuts weren't deep, not really, but like anything scored over and over, a weakness had developed. Her issues had gone on since first grade; there was something in the way that she walked and talked that marked her out as different, a liability, not an asset. But inside she was the most beautiful person and I wish they could have seen that, I wish they could have cared. She wanted so powerfully to end the suffering in the world, to people and to animals, that it put her head in a clamp. All that pressure on a mind already weakened - we should have seen her problems coming. But she was always so quiet. I should have told her what Mother Theresa said "We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love..."
Greg was the life of any room he was in. I heard him tell the same stories over and over, though in each rendition they became just a little bit more sensational. These tales of ordinary deeds and everyday humour became so tall that the truth became buried by his fiction. I could have called him out many times, taken him down so hard he'd have gotten a nosebleed on the floor, but his ego would have shattered. Under that extroverted exterior, beneath the mask of a clown, he didn't know where he belonged or who he was. At his core he felt only a void and so constantly layered a new identity around himself. I think he was simply frightened, scared that if he wasn't perceived as interesting he'd be abandoned by his "friends." The stupid thing was he wasn't empty at all, not when we talked about stuff that mattered. He was kind in a very honest sort of way and gentle in his nature. But somehow he couldn't rate those qualities in himself, couldn't hang his self esteem on them...
Jerome was the kind of guy you got bored of even before he opened his mouth, as in frequent as that was. He was more like a piece of furniture in the precinct than part of the team, no-one even bothered trying to hide their eye-rolls when they got paired with him. It wasn't that he was bad at his job, he was quite thorough, and a good shot too. He just didn't watch the same shows we did, laugh at the same jokes or like the same music. When he wasn't around we had fun at his expense. But that day in the down-town core when I got taken by surprise and held hostage, there wasn't exactly a line-up of officers to come rescue me. The old warehouse was a death-trap, too many places to hide, not much light. I'm told Jerome didn't even wait to be asked, he just togged up and came in alone - armed to the teeth, but alone. He didn't get out scot free either, he's got some new perforations in his right arm. When I thanked him he just nodded and said "You're welcome, Claire, anytime."
We had nothing in common, other than a will for the right result in the end. I was the one lead by emotion and him by cool logic. I wanted to run out and and heal the wounded, he knew it would take resources beyond what we had. He buried himself in work that would bring in the things we needed but I could never pull my head out of the small details. Every step I took had to tangibly take me closer to the over-all goal, to be helping, reducing pain, spreading understanding. He wasn't like that. He could walk in the opposite direction for as long as it took if it was more likely to succeed. We never played chess, we were always on the same side, but if we had been he would have won every time. That's just how we were all through our marriage, the idealist and the pragmatist. I'm not saying that we always agreed, but we never lost respect for the other. I'd never have achieved what I did alone, and neither would he. Neither would the journey have been so pleasant.
I never saw Leah lonely, not that she wasn't ever alone. When she was by herself she wasn't looking for company, like she was so much more comfortable in her own skin than the rest of us. She'd talk to anyone and everyone who approached her, she didn't care if they were in the "in crowd" or not. With all the crazy cliques going on at school she was something of an "independent" rather than a reject. She had intelligent things to say and an attitude that was somehow more mature than the rest of us. She knew who to trust and who to be casual with; but mostly she seemed to have decided that school was for work. It was for getting her grades and if she made friends along the way that was great, but not essential. It wasn't until we left school I found out she had a kid already, apparently she'd fallen for the worst boy in school, handsome, but lied more fluently than a mafia boss.
When Sami was born he contained more love than many worlds that share our spiral galaxy. In his chest beat a heart as noble as any fiction book hero, he was one who would take untold hardships to honour the keeper of his soul. As a baby and child he needed mother to be his keeper and father to be his steadfast guide and role model, but life just didn't unfold that way. His mother was too beaten down, too emotionally crippled to reflect even a fraction of the love he poured into her and needed to be mirrored back. His father kept strict discipline, never yielding, always in charge. The rules were the rules. Though his outside remained as beautiful as the day he first cried, his spirit struggled to survive in a world so cold, so bereft of love. One day he met a man who showed him the power of God's love, it was the miracle he didn't know he needed, he felt alive and whole, finally he could be the hero he was born to be. Come what may he'd be God's warrior, never questioning, fearless.
The love that had been inside Jimmy as a baby had been crushed. It's a lie that given enough pressure coal becomes diamonds and it's a lie that a child's love treated with disregard will self-repair. Each person Jimmy offered his God given love to left it to wither and die like a common garden weed. He hid behind a smile and reinvented himself, learning the keep his feelings inside. The hurt lodged in that sweet heart like a slow acting poison and before long he became a “problem child,” destined for a life behind bars. He hated the “parents,” hated the system, hated the government and the whole damn world. It burst forth in his speech, his actions, his attitude. He got close to people just to hurt them, power at last. Nothing pleased him more than to walk away from a new lover while she whimpered. To Jimmy people were “bad, dangerous, and they deserved what they got."
I love talking to Jen, she's more like me than anyone I know, but still she thinks inside similar walls to everyone else. I want at least one other person to jump right out of the idea "box" that is our "faux-culture" and imagine it totally different. I can't run my brain in nihilistic thought patterns, I need freedom to move in any direction in search of real solutions. In the eons of history a couple of hundred years of society is a blip, nothing more, and we don't have much culture left anymore anyway. We have the same powerful brains as the ancient Greeks but we let them rot with junk. Every conversation I ever have revolves around the topics of the day - fear, terrorism, money, petty disagreements - no-one ever focuses on the real puzzles of our age. I want to talk to someone who knows our intellectual walls are artificial, I want to converse with someone who can see the cages of the mind like I can. But I guess that's the point of talking, to get what's in your head out there, to start new lines of thought and hope they ripple out into our collective "pond." I want to have a conversation where I feel invigorated afterwards instead of disturbed by the lack of mental flexibility people have. If the brain is like a computer, then the way our minds work is an operating system built by family and environment. My operating system is very different to everyone else. I want to talk philosophy, I want to explore brand new concepts and new blends of old ones. I want to be optimistic about the human mind and soul, optimistic about the future of the earth. How can I have conversations about hair styles, nail jobs and foreign vacations? How can they be anything compared to the simple beauty of a tree?
From the mass of loose copper wires in her hand to the wiry black hair on top, there was no escaping her fate. Jayla was wired inside and out. We'd all read the same electronics books, the same chemistry books - hell, we'd even been to most of the same universities and got similar grades. It was just that somehow she remembered everything with photographic recall and so long as we kept her supplied with chocolate, nice boots and alcohol she was all ours. We just had to pray she got to like us before someone else made her a better offer.