Tuesday Thoughts – Dunkirk

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This movie is about Operation Dynamo which was the evacuation of Allied (before the USA were involved) troops from Dunkirk France after a horrific defeat. The movie focuses on the English evacuation where hundreds of their civilians sailed the less than 25 miles to the shore to get their men. They lost 68,000 men on that beach.  Let that sink in… 68,000.  This movie takes you to that beach and experience the desperation to get off the sea in front of you the enemy solidly at your back and you are getting mowed down from the air with no shelter to take from the enemy’s planes.  This movie lets you know what that looks like.

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Why Superman Isn’t My Hero

I’ve never liked goody-goody heroes. I don’t find it interesting to see a perfect person do perfect things saving schmoes like me from the problems and troubles we find ourselves.

I prefer my heroes to be relatable. I want them to have dents, bangs and scratches from real life. I want them to be tempted to do what’s easy, to go for revenge, or to be self-serving. Sometimes I want a hero to act not necessarily from noble motivation but do what’s expedient. C’mon the rest of us do that would a hero at least be tempted? at least dismiss those thoughts?

I’m a fan of the reluctant hero. The one that rises to the occasion because there is no one else to do so. The one that doesn’t want to be there and if Superman or Captain America swooped in to take over my hero would gladly let them. Yet since the goody-goodies aren’t there and my hero is, they do the best they can to do the right thing even if they regret it the whole time. The old “why did I get involved” or in Die Hard John McClane’s “come to the west coast…” line.

I can relate to a hero like that. I can’t relate to a hero that doesn’t have a devil on their shoulder. One that isn’t always doing the right thing. I guess that’s why I loved Batman first. Yep my first word in this life was Batman. Tell me I wasn’t destined for the darker heroes and to read comics. I still like Bruce Wayne but I’ve fallen hard for James “Logan” Howlett aka Wolverine. Heck I like Josey Wales, ” I ain’t got nothin’ better to do.”

As a writer I know good characters aren’t one dimensional but multidimensional. I strive to make my villains be antagonists not purely evil but the one my lead character is struggling against. I want the reader to sympathize with both characters but their loyalties ultimately fall with my lead character, the hero, the protagonist. Now my lead won’t always do the right thing he’ll have flaws because those are challenges to his growth in the piece as is the confrontation with the antagonist. He has to deal with himself to deal with his opponent and that to me is not only interesting but more realistic. In the end neither my protagonist or antagonist are the same people they were at the beginning. If they were confronted with the same situation again they’d act differently because of the experiences in my story. To me those are good characters, they grow, they change. A story is getting a big change in their lives but if I read another story later down the timeline I can see they are changed from their experiences. That keeps me reading. Goody-goodies don’t change they just go about doing good for good sake.

Perfection bores me. I won’t read it very long. It’s predictable. It’s something I’ll never be. BUT I’d like to think if I was forced into the right situation despite my wishes to be rescued I’d do the right thing until someone more qualified or better at it came along. Then like John McClane I’d kiss their dalmatian for saving me. I can relate to having to rise to the circumstances, or doing what’s right despite the desire not to do it. I’m just human and that’s what I want my heroes to be at heart- human.

You are going to get tired of reading this but as always I’d love to chat with you. Tell me what you think and you are welcome to disagree (politely). You can comment here, it’ll show up when I get it. You can reach out to me on Google+, Flickr, or Twitter (@marylouiseklund). You can e-mail me at marylouiseelund @ (with two e’s unlike Twitter) gmail.com or yahoo.com.

Until next time!

The Characters I’ve been

BoneheadsI have found how to live more than one life in this life.  Really.  I’ve had many lives since I was born, even carrying into adulthood.  I’ll admit I enjoyed some more than others.  None do I want to do again.  That’s going backwards and as I like to say “Been there, done that, got (or didn’t want) a tee-shirt.”  Things that weren’t fun aren’t worth getting a tee-shirt to remember.

I guess my first change in life was when I was in pre-school.  My parents moved from Chattanooga, Tennessee where I was born to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  I LOVED it.  We lived in an apartment building which I thought it was constant vacation living like a hotel.  We had a winking burger sign out our kitchen window that lit up not only did he wink at night but he waved too!  Dad had a yellow car that belonged to his company it was neat looking but I didn’t get to ride in it.  We lived near where Flipper was filmed.  The beach was grand and there was lots of sun.  Once we found a police phone receiver in a parking lot.  We went trick or treating without leaving the apartment building.  I mean really how can you beat living in a place like that?  On a visit back to Granny’s (my paternal grandmother) I informed her “I am a FLORIDA girl now.”  Yes  I remember saying it and holding out my brown dress with big yellow sunflowers print to prove the veracity of my statement.  Little did I know I was on the odyssey of my second life in this one.

Apparently a winking waving burger sign out the kitchen window at night wasn’t what Mom and Dad were looking for in a place to raise a their daughter.  We didn’t live there long before we moved back to Tennessee.  I didn’t know it but Florida would be home at least two more of my lives later down the road.

I was a city kid that moved to the country.  Then I was the country kid that went to the big college.  I was a photographer in there for a bit. Then I was and still am a military wife. I worked for a nonprofit organizations as an office manager.  Then I was an administrative assistant for one of the first in-house HMOs in upstate New York.  Then I was a fine jewelry salesperson.  Then I was a submariner officer’s wife who was looking for work.  Then I was an insurance agent, followed by marketing researcher, followed by Health Club manager, followed by: a Weight Watcher’s lecturer,  grad student,  receptionist, office manager, real estate agent, temp worker, administrative assistant, Mary Kay Salesperson, Regulatory Compliance Specialist for management of hazardous and radioactive waste,  stay at home mom, and now a

Those were just the job lives so far.   We all go through changes and honestly if the order was shifted a bit I’d be a different person today.  Each experience dovetailed into the previous and the next one to weave me.  I look back at myself at any of those stages and the me of today would have handled them differently.  That’s why they seem more like different lives than chapters of a life.

I always remember when writing that characters that are well done grow over chapters and aren’t the same person at the end of the tale as they were in the beginning or middle.  That’s what makes a good story.  I like to think the same thing applies to life. At the end of each chapter I’m not the same. That means I’m living a good life.  I’m a great character because I change over the arc of my life story.  Okay I’m not a literary character in that my growth isn’t mostly internal like say my ancestor that lived in the same house all her life.  I’ve changed physically and moved to various settings.  So I’m a dynamic character formed not just by internal dialogue (though I do talk to myself ALL the time so much so that sometimes I wish I’d shut up in my head) but by external challenges too.

In the end the thing that makes life interesting for me is trying new things.  I guess some would say I’m a jack of all trades master of none.  Maybe I am but at least I’m entertained by my life.  I’ve always got an interesting story to tell from all of it be it mine or a person I met along the way.  I guess that’s why I ended up a writer for now at least.