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 Character Studies

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Ravenclaw
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Posts : 4574
Join date : 2010-02-21
Age : 25
Location : A hole in the bottom of the sea.
House : Ravenclaw and Burkenshire

PostSubject: Character Studies   Thu May 02, 2013 5:09 pm

17. Rachel and Jim

While Rachel and Jim are both incredibly important individuals in my life, I decided to cover them jointly, as opposed to as individuals, because I see their dynamic is so important to my life at home. I am the quintessential middle child because my siblings are the way they are around each other; I am the mediator, and always have been.

In my family, Rachel is called the absentminded professor, and the only exaggeration is the fact that she isn’t actually a professor quite yet (though next year, she will start on her doctorate). Rachel is one of the most intelligent people I know, but while you can count on her to be able to remember and describe in detail economic models or auditing regulations, expecting her to remember where she has put her keys or to bring an umbrella when it is going to rain would be a mistake. She isn’t known for her common sense, and she sometimes seems to be in her own little world. She is a decent writer, but pesky details such as punctuation and spelling don’t really seem to matter all that much to her. She is much messier than I am, because orderliness is low priority, as long as she can find the things she needs.

Rachel is loud and opinionated, but sweet and accepting. There isn’t a mean bone in her body, and she’s generally an honest, earnest person (though she does fall back on lying by omission on occasion, which is entirely unsurprising, with the parents we have). She is a little awkward, with a tendency to blurt things out and cram her foot in her mouth. It isn’t because she intends to be rude; it’s just that, like grammatical conventions, social conventions don’t always stick in her head. She’s not the best at walking in and reading a situation, and improvisation is not her strong suit. She can usually win over people who she’s around for a long time, but she finds interviews hard, because she isn’t always the best at first impressions. Rachel tends towards bluntness. However, Rachel is amazing at picking friends that are nonjudgmental, intelligent, and just generally awesome, and she enjoys introducing her friends to each other (and me. They all tell me that apparently, she brags about me a lot, because she’s an absolute sweetheart). She isn’t happy when she’s alone for too long. She tends to be very clingy, and she needs a lot of love and reassurance. She might or might not have mild depression or anxiety issues that she is working through now, though this is complicated by the fact that the parents are not very understanding and are unwilling to believe that there is any underlying issue beyond stress.

She grew up with a bit of an inferiority complex, which explains some of her loudness. She claims that the parents always knew I was the smart daughter and treated me accordingly, giving me more attention than her. She pushed herself to do well in school because she saw it as a way to get some of that attention back. She tends to be very hard on herself and very forgiving of my flaws. When she is stressed, she gets defensive and frustrated and emotional. She doesn’t handle rapid changes well, and half the time, when she cries, it’s because she’s tired and stressed and dealing with one of the parents.

Rachel has always been my best friend. She knows me better than anyone else, though she is willing to take some liberties in her perception of my personality because of her tendency to exaggerate my strengths. She is a voracious reader and loves talking about the things she reads. She was the one who dragged me into my foray into manga, because we would stay up late at night and she’d just talk about the characters and the plot, and her being excited about it made me excited about it. She always knows how to get me hooked onto a plotline (except with Bleach, because I was not touching that with a ten foot pole), knows that the best way to do it is to start through characters and relationships. She is one of the least judgmental people I know, so when I am having a problem or if something is stressing me out or I just want to talk about controversial issues, she is always up for it (as long as it isn’t too late at night; unlike me, she’s an early bird, and doesn’t do well with late nights). She is dark blue.

Jim, on the other hand, is a male from my family and acts like a male from my family. He is loud and temperamental and tends to overreact when you touch “his” food. He likes being left alone by the parents, but if you catch him at the right time, he’s more than happy to talk about whatever his interest at the time is. He tends to be a tad bit obsessive; when he went through his baseball phase, for example, he would get packs of 700 baseball cards for his birthday, I would alphabetize and sort them into binders, and he would read through them and memorize all the statistics for the players. He had a train phase and a baseball phase (which expanded to a sports phase that I don’t think will ever end) and a music phase (I would be sad if that one ended).

Music is a big thing for Jim in a way it definitely isn’t for Rachel. Both of them play piano and have for years (around 12 years, probably, for Jim, and around 17 years for Rachel; as of this month, I will have played violin for 15 years), but Jim just instinctively GETS music. He also plays the trumpet, and he picked up the flugelhorn this year for his jazz band. He is in the process of teaching himself guitar, and he’s just GOOD at it. He can listen to his favorite songs and pick out chords and melodies and learn them all, despite his lack of much technical knowledge. I introduced Jim to Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam one day on a whim, and I accidentally kick started his music phase. He listened to the STP album nonstop for a month and started researching grunge bands and then classic rock bands and before you knew it he was obsessed with Van Halen and spouting facts at me whenever I so much as breathed in his direction. I’d never admit it to him, but it was actually pretty cool, because I learned a lot from it. These days, he’s expanded a bit; he WILL listen to stations other than KSHE (the classic rock station back home), and he DOES listen to current music, but he tends to be a bit of a music snob. He still shuns a lot of my softer alternative and indie music, though he holds much less disdain for it than he does for Rachel’s musical tastes, and has almost entirely stopped poking fun of it out because he loves me and secretly misses me.

Jim does track at school. He throws discus and is very good at it, with his nice, long arms and years of doing sports. He (last time I saw him) was 6’5.5”, and Dad says he’s grown some since then. He enjoys being the tallest, taking up as much space as is humanly possible when we’re seated in a group.

He tends to get along pretty well with other people. He is more likely than me to say something stupid, but he also comes across as a pretty normal dude, and it’s funny watching him in public sometimes, because he still hasn’t got out of that age where he cares a lot about how other people perceive him. He dresses nicely for school, and he likes to fit in with the other guys. Girls notice him, though he hates it when we tease him about it. He doesn’t like to talk about girls.

People tend to be hard on Jim because of his sisters. We worked hard and did well in school. We were very academically focused. Jim, on the other hand, finds some parts of school interesting and most of it very boring. He has a short attention span if he isn’t interested, and his grades have never been as high as Rachel’s and mine (though he’s just as smart, and I’m pretty sure his memory is ten times better than mine). Sometimes, he doesn’t even try because he is used to feeling stupid, despite me telling him that he is way smarter than people give him credit for. He doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, and he hates people asking him. At this point, whenever the parents or grandparents have a suggestion about what he should do for college, he just goes along with it, as long as he doesn’t have to make the decision for himself.

Jim has always had the problem of not being able to tell when to stop. He tends to hole up in his room when he can get away with it, but when he is talking with people, he gets hung up on all the insignificant details and won’t let go. He has a habit of missing the point of a statement completely and refusing to give up on arguing minor points (because he has the family stubbornness). He repeats jokes until they are no longer funny, but he still finds them funny. He also has no concept of when to stop provoking the parents, saying stupid or argumentative things even when he’s completely screwed things up and gotten the parents very, very angry. He is actually a sweet boy, though. He can be immature and hormonal (between that and the fact that he takes forever in the bathrooms in the morning, we tease that he is more of a teenage girl than Rachel and I ever were), but he gives the best hugs, and when he’s excited about something, it’s the most adorable thing in the world. The things he finds funny are usually goofy, though he has a bit of a dry sense of humor, himself.

Jim and I get along incredibly well, because I know when to respect his space and when he is wants to chill out and talk. We have music in common, and he knows that even he really wants to talk about something I am not remotely interested in, I will still listen. We poke each other and hug each other and, when we were little, we used to play a lot together, because I was still young enough that it wasn’t weird if I helped make up Thomas the Tank Engine stories with him or if I ran around with him or if we play wrestled. He is red.

Rachel and Jim, however, don’t get along very well. Or, well, that’s a misstatement. Rachel loves Jim so much and tries so hard to get along with him. Jim, however, tends to be very critical of and sometimes downright mean to Rachel. He sees that Rachel is a little bit on the quirky side and he sees that she is a bit of a slob and it drives him nuts. There is a five-year age gap, and they don’t share much in common, so they don’t have much to really bond over. Jim goes crazy when Rachel leaves the toothpaste uncapped, and has taken to hiding her clothes whenever she leaves them on the bathroom counter. I have to play mediator a lot, getting Jim to be nicer and getting Rachel to stand up for herself (she can be a doormat, on occasion, and Jim knows this). The only time when they really get along is when one of them is mad at me, which happens alarmingly infrequently, considering.

They are both wonderful people, though, and I love being the middle child because it means I get to be close to both of them and help them both get along better.

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PostSubject: Re: Character Studies   Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:29 am

The Truck (shut up, it can be a character)




This is my baby. Or, well, actually, it’s my dad’s baby. My dad got our truck in 1995, when my mom was pregnant with my little brother, and it was his primary car until I was in seventh or eighth grade. When it was his, I spent years of my life climbing over the seats into the back (we were little and young and it was easy, and the lever that pulls the seat forward to let people through is finicky at best). Some of my fondest memories were driving to my grandparents’ house every Friday night, with the windows rolled down (it was an old car, and didn’t have automatic windows, so we had to roll them down ourselves) and the music blaring. My dad would always play the music way too loudly, and we would be obnoxious about holding our ears and complaining loudly until he turned the music down. Grandma and Grandpa’s house was the only place where we really ever had soda growing up, so we would all always take one for the road, finish the cans, and tuck them away into plastic storage bins in the side. Whoever got stuck sitting behind my dad was the unfortunate one; he was big, with long legs, so whoever was sitting behind him was always the most cramped. Near the end, when we all started getting tall, it was a game trying to fit our limbs in that car without kneeing each other in uncomfortable places.

We had a three-car garage, but the mowers were always stored in the third space, so whenever my dad was doing any work on the mowers in the garage, we would pull the truck out into the driveway to give him more space to work. We would blare U2’s Best of the 1990s album and take turns handing him screwdrivers and climbing around in the bed of the truck or sitting on the hatch.

I have memories of using the truck bed to cart an assortment of ladders and edgers and mowers around. We had land down in the Ozarks (though we didn’t know that was where it was, at the time. We just called it The Land and knew it was a long trip for us as kids), and every time we went down there, we would take the truck so we could carry equipment, because we didn’t visit often, and the grass always had grown so high that getting down to our little patch of lake was difficult. We took the truck whenever my slightly obsessive about his yard, (back then) 80-something-year-old grandfather wanted us to take care of something for him (whether it was hauling away bags of leaves or edging along the sidewalk).

Then, my dad got his current car, because my sister was finally at the age where she was headed off to high school and I was headed off to high school and Rachel could actually drive. So, for two years, she drove us to school in that truck, it having magical Truck powers to withstand her many collisions and accidents. The Grandpa Truck, our baby, always seemed to get out of everything unscathed, regardless of how badly the other car was dinged up. We always had to get to school very early, because my sister had issues parking such a large, wide, long car, and there were only a few spots she had no issues parking in. Naturally, these were end spots and filled up quickly. School was 45 minutes away, so we spent hours in that truck, many of them with me passed out or studying in only my gym shorts and my school polo (because I got in the truck, and my skirt and hoodie were coming off). On half days and nice days, we would roll the windows down and blare music from the college radio station, which we would always listen to for as long as the signal lasted (which was remarkably far).

Then, it became my turn to drive, and just like Rachel, I learned on the truck. I drove it around in my high school parking lot and braved our street (a long and windy road built around sinkholes and plagued with wild animals) for the first time and drove on the highway. The truck was a champ, even with its sometimes sketchy, squeaky brakes and its difficult steering (my dad always said that its favorite thing was going straight) and its protestations against driving over (or under) 45 mph. It survived when I ran the passenger side mirror into a trash can in the road the day before I got my driver’s license (though that wasn’t the first time it had had one of its mirrors broken). Despite its age, it kept me safe, just like it had kept my sister safe and my father safe.

My brother learned on the truck, as well, though he didn’t drive it nearly as often as my sister and I did. Still, the truck survived another new driver. Until, finally, it was time to let go.

I will never forget the itchy, blue seats and the floor mat that was dirty and worn away and the front, passenger side air vent that had busted because we played with it so much. I will never forget the headrests on the seats, which we derived a ridiculous amount of pleasure from clicking up and down. I will never forget the random jumper cables and pliers and ropes that were tucked away in odd places. I will never forget the way the plastic storage areas in the front were constantly filled with pens without caps and busted pencils and dental floss and mints.

After 18 years, I finally said goodbye to Grandpa Truck. It will be missed.

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PostSubject: Re: Character Studies   Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:00 am

24. William Devlin
William Devlin was supposed to be my own take on Sirius, since he was going to be the Gryffindor in a group of four friends from different houses. There was Will the Gryffindor, Izzy the Ravenclaw, Cal the Hufflepuff, and Renee the Slytherin.

Will started out as the opposite of the person I was at the time. He was brash and irresponsible and reckless. He cared little about what authority figures expected of him. He said what he meant and he meant what he said, even if that involved being overly blunt to the point of rudeness. He was attractive and confident. He was only a half-blood, but his family had money and stature that he cared little about. He didn’t have a cause he was fighting for and he didn’t care about politics. He was okay with being selfish. He was a serial dater and an insufferable flirt. He was a prankster good enough to rival the Marauders partly because he never feared negative consequences. He didn’t sweat the small stuff.

But who wants to write a stock character? If Will were just a stereotypical Gryffindor male, that’d be boring as hell. So, naturally, he developed. He wasn’t uncaring, though strong emotional connections were not something that developed easily or quickly for him. While he rushed into everything else, love was something that didn’t come naturally. His myriad of relationships weren’t just him having a laugh and getting good sex, though. Caring came easily, and he liked every single person he dated. He just didn’t love them, which is why none of them lasted long until Cal shot up.

Will is actually quite intelligent, and he has an overactive imagination. He’s such a good prankster because magic comes naturally to him and because he has the quick, inventive thinking it takes to successfully pull off plots. He’s quite good at dragging others along because he’s able to present his zany ideas as something somewhat coherent and logical. He’s able to get away with so much he shouldn’t purely because he’s convincing and charming and bright, though more than one professor mourns the fact that his intelligence is put to such impractical uses. Will has never had much use for practicality, though, and I doubt he ever really will. That’s what his friends are for.

Will didn’t care about politics and he didn’t care about what his socialite parents wanted largely because he didn’t want to deal with all of the bullshit there. Will has a very low tolerance for bullshit. It is a standard that he holds himself to just as much as he does anyone else. He genuinely prefers honesty as a policy, and he /is/ often far too honest with people. (His exception to his honesty policy, of course, is his and Cal’s running joke where Will comes up with a nonsensical reason for why he shows up late to places, which is a constant occurrence). Granted, that doesn’t mean what leaves his mouth will make much sense all of the time; he enjoys getting strange looks and whimsically spouting nonsense. There are two things you can always guarantee, though: the nonsense won’t be dishonest, and there won’t be an ounce of hesitation unless serious shit is going down.

Will treats other people how he wants to be treated; it just doesn’t always occur to him that other people might not have the confidence and self-assurance that he does.

Sex is fun for him, and he does what he thinks is fun. That’s really what Will is all about. From pranking to playing guitar to bumming around with his friends, the things that Will values and the things he enjoys are the things that get his heart rate up. He enjoys defying expectations (he doesn’t have any of his own, so why should other people shove their expectations onto him?) and he enjoys breaking rules (and getting himself out of trouble through liberal applications of his infamous Will Devlin charm).

A major dimension of who he is at school is his friendship with Izzy, Renee, and Cal. For all his tendency to run around and cause trouble and not stay in one place, Will was the one who brought their little group together.

Cal came to him for help dealing with bullies in their third year at Hogwarts because he had heard Will’s name get tossed around a lot as a prankster rivaling the Marauders. Will couldn’t understand why Cal chose him, of all people, since he was hardly known for being altruistic, but he agreed to help Cal in exchange for a favor to be cashed in sometime in the future. (Later on, when their friendship developed, Will regretted accepting payment at all, and he got uncomfortable when Cal mentioned it.) Somehow, Will and Cal fell into one of the easiest, most low-maintenance friendships Will had. For Will, Cal was one of the few constants he was willing to keep in his quest to keep moving, because Cal was steady and stable and trustworthy and much less of a killjoy than he had originally expected. Cal was a genuinely good person who seemed to genuinely care about Will, and Will valued that highly. When Cal sprouted up a bit, Will found himself stupidly in love with Cal, which pretty much scared the shit out of him, since it was hardly something he was used to feeling. For Will, Cal provided balance enough that he could develop those strong feelings. He just hadn’t noticed that they were there because his view of Cal hadn’t changed until his growth spurt forced him to reevaluate.

When Will met Renee, she was cheating on a test. Renee’s parents always put a ton of pressure on her to do well, and she had a moment of weakness. Afterwards, Will called her out on it, and she explained, and although he didn’t think it excused it, he didn’t rat her out. He became friends with her, even though they had a very back and forth kind of friendship. They were very different people, though they obviously cared about each other. Renee forced Will to think more about the consequences, and Will forced Renee to think less about them. Will forced Renee out into the sunlight and provided girl advice (often unwarranted) and, once she finally let her guard down and started to approach breaking point, acted as a confidant. Will and Renee’s families were acquainted, since Will’s mother and Renee’s parents were both members of high wizarding society, so they were able to visit each other sometimes over the summer, because Will’s parents viewed Renee as a good influence (not that Will really gave a fuck).

Will met Izzy when he hit on her. She was tall and pretty and so he started hitting on her. She turned him down, and the next time they ran into each other (or the time after that or the time after that), Izzy didn’t really want much to do with him. He quit trying to pick her up in earnest after the first time, but the two of them flirting and exchanging banter became a Thing. It wasn’t until Izzy started to catch onto the fact that Will was actually a decent human being, most of the time, that she started to become close to him, though. She saw how he treated his closest friends, Renee and Cal, and she softened on him some. Will and Izzy were probably the most alike, personality-wise, both strong-willed and quirky and outwardly confident, which also meant they had the tendency to go at it when Renee and Cal weren’t there to balance things out. However, in a different canon, Will and Cal break up, and afterwards, he and Izzy end up dating.

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