Monday, February 16, 2009

Got Your Attention?

by Barbara D'Amato

The child in this picture is seven years old. His name is Adam. What in the world has he been doing?

It is often said that lead characters in books must grow. I’m not so sure. But they certainly need to present the reader with some kind of mystery. Like --who are they, really? Not quite what they seem? Is the character as bad as he is first painted or not? Much more complicated? Is that wonderful old gentleman next door really wonderful? Is the sweet motherly lady with the chocolate chip cookies really—rather different underneath? If a character need not grow exactly, he or she should at least unfold. And what will the character do in the challenging situation set up by the author? By the end of the book, a central character should be more than she was at the beginning, or less, or different.

What has this child been doing? What was he up to? The photo isn’t just a cute picture of a cute kid. It’s interesting because it raises questions. See the brightly satisfied eyes. Where’s he been?

Will some of you be brave enough to speculate? Go out on a limb and tell us what you think he’s been doing. After you do, I will tell you in “comments” what really was going on.

And for all you suspicious souls out there—yes, this was also a way to put up a really great picture I’ve always wanted to use one way or another.


Janet Reid said...

He's been sneaking into the cabin next door where nefarious art forgers are preparing a new Pollock look-alike canvas.

His feet will become the only evidence, and better yet provide an ironclad excuse to not take a bath all summer.

Corey Wilde said...

Ambidextrously re-enacting 'My Left Foot?'

jnantz said...

It's hard to take a noir approach when the kid is smiling like that...

There was a fingerpaint-fight in his elementary class, and he decided to dish out some kung-fu justice on the colorful offenders. He is currently (and proudly) displaying the results to his father who is also his sensei.

Dana King said...

They're not his feet. His evil smile--easily misconstrued as childlike innocence--is over the misfortune suffering of the poor unfortunate this demon child has injected with the rare chromataformae bacillis bacteria, which causes the sufferer's extremeties to change to random colors before dissolving the entire body from the hands and feet inward.

This is a very disturbing picture; you should have warned us.

Barbara D'Amato said...

Great stuff Janet, Corey, jnantz, and Dana, and really all more creative than the facts. Adam's uncle had decided on a good present for Adam's parents. The uncle got an unfinished end table and gave Adam and his sister all the paint colors they wanted to finish it as they pleased. The result is quite--well, there's no other table like it in the world.

Adam walked in the drippings.