Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Characters by Theresa Shadrix

I’ve been doing an awful lot of thinking lately and that can be dangerous. Cause the mind has a way of tossing around thoughts that you would never allow near your tongue. Some of my thoughts have been on the character of Southern writers and I can’t help but notice a thing or two.

You see, I spend my work days reading the words of others, offering my advice and arranging every sentence so that readers are left with something meaningful and insightful. Or at least entertaining.

I also communicate with a lot of writers, mainly of the Southern lot, both for work as the Managing Editor of Longleaf Style magazine and in personal friendships. When I’m not editing, I also try my hand at writing and thus, talk to myself at these times. So, I think with these conversations through the years, I have a great opportunity to an insight into the mind of a few writers.

I’ve not had moments in which I pull out my dusty copy of the DSM, but I must say that we sure are an interesting bunch of characters that seem to be fit for the perfect novel. And, there seems to be quite a few of us that missed the boat when self-esteem was floating down the river. We are no doubt colorful and sometimes we struggle with the ups and downs of the writer's life. But, God love us. We are authentic characters, who just happen to bring characters to life.

Sometimes you don’t have to look very far for inspiration. So, on the topic of characters this month, just pay close attention to the personality traits of some of your most treasured friends, who happen to be writers. You are either gonna laugh or cry, but there is no doubt you will be inspired.

And, if that doesn't help, then try giving a monkey a laptop and see what happens.

Theresa Shadrix is Managing Editor of Longleaf Style magazine and has written on everything from the Negro Baseball League to the Southern fascination of Bigfoot. She is currently researching outhouses in the South and thanks the Lord above for indoor plumbing.


Anonymous said...

What's a DSM? You've gotten my curiosity up.

Karin Gillespie said...

Great post, Theresa. Love the monkey.

Speaking of characters, this week Entertainment Weekly has an edition of the 100 best characters in the last 20 years (movies, TV and even a few books. Worth checking out to see what, if anything all those characters have in common.

Theresa Shadrix said...

Hi Anon,

Sorry about that! It's The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)! I'm a former social worker and really do own a dusty copy of the DSM....I pull it out sometimes just for fun reading. :)


Theresa Shadrix said...


We should come up with our own Top 100 literary characters of all time! Santiago, Elizabeth Bennet, Henry Stuart, even Huck...it would not take long to come up with 100!


Susan Cushman said...

Nice post, Theresa. And I think a copy of the DSM might have to be added to my writer's toolbox:-)

Karin Gillespie said...

That's a good idea, Theresa. It would be easy.That could be a great optional topic next time around.

Here's a few of mine:

Bridget Jones

Malcolm Leary of Accidental Tourist

Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird

Scarlett O'Hara

c.a. Marks said...

Love it.

Anonymous said...

Love it too. Yes, we are some bunch of characters and I never thought of that before! Thanx.

Peggy Webb said...

I love this post about characters, real and fictional. Add Prissy (Gone With the Wind) who "don't know nothin 'bout birthin babies"; Hannibal Lecter, Thomas Harris' amazingly complex serial killer; and who can forget Winston Groom's fabulous Forrest Gump!

River Jordan said...

My grandparents had an outhouse. Such a special place to visit as a child. They didn't get 'indoor plumbing' till I was about eight. Thanks for reminding me that I live in luxury. Indoor plumbing AND hot water!
(oh, and I think I have family members that fill up that DSM book and spill over some.)
Thanks for the post.

Theresa Shadrix said...


So, you read my tagline and caught one of my latest topics of research! Ha! Ha! My grandmother used to tell me that I had nothing to complain about cause I had indoor plumbing...she was a Mississippi girl from the country and I never really understood what she was talking about until I was older! She was a character...Southern belle who never worked outside of the home in all of her days and even had a pink casket!