An all-American girl


I liked this character creation:
“Meredith Zane, twenty-five-year-old pharmacology post-grad from California, was working her way around Europe between finishing her doctorate and taking up a junior teaching post at MIT. Meredith was a goal-oriented sort of girl who thrived on purposes and objectives. She always had a just-washed look about her and was a preppy, patriotic dresser – Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein mainly, a little Hilfiger. She never wore black clothes or red lipstick. her hair was pulled neatly back in a ponytail and she had travelled through her life so far in sensible flats and sneakers. She had been using both contraception and recreational drugs since she was sixteen but had never let either sex or mind-altering substances interfere with her progress. Untroubled by death or history or love, Meredith was, in short, an all-American girl.” (P.71, ‘Transparent Fiction’)

“Meredith had gone through life borrowing other people’s personalities rather than going to the trouble of developing her own. She found it was a good way of avoiding the anguished introspection that most people seemed prey to. Meredith’s own family provided a vast assortment of personae from which she could pick and mix. For example, if she had to lead a tricky seminar she adopted the calm, authoritative personality of her own mother, Anna, a renowned paediatrician.” (P.73)
“For her relationship with Fletcher, Meredith usually looked to the perky, cheerleading qualities of her cousin Baxter. Baxter, a beauty-pageant veteran by the age of seven, had, on turn, based her own character on that of her ‘Air Stewardess’ Barbie. Fletcher responded well to this purloined personality. Meredith knew that most men would rather have Air Stewardess Barbie in bed with them than a girl with a doctoral thesis entitled ‘The conservation of telomere length in the human myocardium: the role of telomerase reverse transcriptase.'” (Pp. 73-74)

Ref: ‘Transparent Fiction’ pp.67-92 in Kate Atkinson (2003) Not the End of the World. Black Swan: London

Without risk there is no story


Madeleine L’Engle writes that “without risk there is no story.” (p.106)

She continues: “The protagonist must always choose, and to choose is to risk. Failure often occurs. In The Once and Future King there is death and tragedy as well as heroism and chivalry. In The Lord of the Rings Frodo does not always make the right choice.” (106-107)

Ref: Madeleine L’Engle Childlike Wonder and the Truths of Science Fiction Children’s Literature, Volume 10, 1982, pp. 102-110