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Thursday, November 3, 2011

No Villains Here

Since I usually prefer to write the sort of story where "everyone is in the right," I seldom employ villains. I do have one in a current Work-in-Progress, but since it's a mystery and since sharing the villain now would ruin the whole plot, I'm going to avoid the problem.

Instead I'm sharing a sequence from A SECRET FAMILY RECIPE. In this scene, Karen, a 40-something wife and mother, is musing about her husband's two aunts, in their 70s, who have come for the funeral of their mother:


For a moment I just thought about the two sisters. They seemed about as different as two women could be – Lenore petite and dainty, sophisticated and refined, a celebrity in a large and glittering world. Shirley was both taller and heavier, a solid Mormon mom little known outside her own small circle of family and friends. Each of them could have plenty of reason to be jealous of the other: Lenore had achieved remarkable and enviable successes, even being introduced to most of the world's remaining royalty. Yet it was Shirley who had borne and raised the family that Lenore had always wanted. In fact, she'd once confided to me, early in my acceptance into the family, that she'd give up the world of ballet in a moment if she could meet the right man and have a baby. It had never happened for her, despite her having so much to offer.

So the two of them could have been enemies, consumed by envy of one another. Instead they were the primary support for each other and, obviously, dear friends. I reflected they had much to teach the rest of us, and I hoped the pieced-together Burnett clan could benefit from the calm strength I felt in their bond, their mutual support.

If all of us who "could have been enemies" could instead become mutually supportive, it would be a better world. Hmmm... That sounds like a plot for the next book.

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