When I was in year 7 we had an author came to my school, Sue Bursztynski. She asked did anyone think they were a writer and to put up their hand. When no one did she said that anyone who writes no matter if they are published or not, is a writer. There were two thoughts that came to me 1. That was a cheap trick, inferring a professional nature (I was a bit of a smart ass) 2. That I want to be able to raise my hand, not just putting pen to paper but also to being a published author.
That day I also won a copy of her book Starwalkers Explorers of the Unknown, which I have to this day. It was my first signed book and it was an incredibly exciting thing. It was about then I read Dracula for the first time, and the two events really started my drive towards writing.
Have a look at the date:
I don’t know and doubt that Sue Bursztynski remembers that day but it is a memory that I have kept. She was the first person I met that made their living from writing. She was a real writer and that pipe dream developed a basis in reality.
My hand still sits by my side and I am working to raise it. Many years down the track and I continue to try. Last year I completed a novel, The Union, not my first but one that I am incredibly proud of. I’d like to share with you an excerpt.
In a past post I gave a summary of the book and the characters (read it here). In case you missed it here is an overview of the Character of Charles Terri:
Charles Terri is hate in the guise of patriotism. He hates the immigrants for taking resources from his people. He has allowed his warped sense of reality to infect his country. The virus is of his doing, its destruction his planning and its consequence his terror. A man who is proud of his country and all it means, hordes this and attacks the weak.
I wrote the character and had in mind Kelsey Grammer for the imagined movie version. His turn on the TV show Boss (trailer below) allowed me to appreciate the complexity of a “bad” character.
Although Charles Terri is a different kind of evil, I am thankful for the portrayal as it allowed me to write what I think is one of my best characters. It is the one that I had the most fun writing, not sure what that says about me. If anyone knows Kelsey Grammer give him my thanks.
Here is the trailer of Boss to give you an idea. I watched it back before including it here and it gave me goosebumps. I’m also watch Frasier again, it hurts my head to watch them at the same time. The characters so starkly different and if I didn’t know who Kelsey Grammer was I’d say you were lying that it was the same person.
Here is the first chapter and the introduction to Charles Terri:
“Mr Terri we’re live in five minutes,” the floor manager shrunk eye contact with the great man. All staff on set are quiet, showing the respect a man of influence deserves. The studio lights shone bright on him; he is the centre of this process. All around people move with a quiet yet busy mania, preparing for him to speak to the people. They are his people, the people who watch comfortably from their homes. In anticipation they wait to be told what to think.
Rose the makeup girl walks over to him, eyes on the floor. This is normal of the employees that surround him. They avoid his gaze out of fear and respect. His gaze seeks to the core of what you believe and who you are. His attention on the job at hand, he is unaware of her until she is in front of him, brush out. He nods allowing her to proceed.
As Rose walks around he allows himself the momentary glance. Her form is pleasing to him, young and supple. He would never use his influence to do something so pedestrian, his importance too demanding. She leaves him with an awkward smile, her existence so inconsequential. She exists within his tremendous demeanour and superior status.
He is alone once again with his thoughts. Sitting silently in his leather chair preparing for the rush that will come. He moves the glass of water to the right and looks into it reciting his mantra, “for the Union and her people”. The Union and her people, that is why he does it all, the purpose for his work and life.
The fame, fortune and influence is of no real consequence. This is all for the love of her people. He lifts the mirror from beneath his desk, looking at the makeup girls work. He thinks to himself, next time she is at his desk he will ask her name. The mirror reflects back a man of distinguished features.
Charles Terri is 53 years of age and thinks himself in good shape. He is a well fed man, a slight chubbiness in his cheeks. He is not a glutton but does enjoy some of the finer things in life. The surveys all say that this chubbiness gives him an approachable quality. The makeup girl did a good job covering the slight redness of his cheeks and nose brought on by many a bottle of wine. The makeup around his eyes bring out the striking green. They are piercing, a key feature of him. The surveys say that this feature rates well with his female audience, the mothers of the nation.
His influence is far reaching and weighs heavily, when he speaks millions listen and act. He takes their subservience as proof that what he does is for the good of the Union, for the good of all her people.
This influence given so graciously by the people is often sought by Politicians. They speak to him and ask for his opinions. Truthfully seeking his support. The subservience of his audience gives him the ability to elect or depose government; it is a responsibility that he holds with honour.
Charles Terri worked hard for this responsibility. He worked hard to become the leading social commentator in all the Union. His show is watched by 131 million of the 184 million registered viewers. He prides himself as a beacon of truth, showing the masses what has been hidden from them. For all his time on the air he has done much good. So much good that he has been touted as the next Union President. A position he would take if it held as much power as his current.
“Two minutes left” the floor manager chirps from in front of the great man’s desk. 120 seconds before he is with his people and they are with him. Butterflies are often there, but tonight unusually calm. There is a commotion behind the camera, Tony comes rushing through. The floor manager catches him before he is able to reach that almighty desk. It is not the first time the two have had a disagreement.
“Mr Terri he barged through, I told him we are nearly on the air.” The sweat was visible on the floor managers face.
Mr Terri lifts his hand towards the two men. “Thank you for your concern. I’ll make sure he is gone before we are on air.” The floor manager walks quickly back to his position; he is disillusioned every time Tony is in the studio. Mr Terri’s polite smile turns to a stern countenance, focusing on Tony, “what are you doing here?”
“There was a problem with the last shipment; the detonator didn’t go off until some of them were safely away from the ship”.
“How hard is it to blow up a ship?” Tony avoids Mr Terri’s gaze, Tony’s head hangs shamefully. “This is for the Union, if we do not stop the immigrants from coming she will crumble. There are three million in the slums, how many more would you like to let in?”
The floor manager runs over, “30 seconds”.
Mr Terri leans forward in his chair, “find a solution, I will not have them taking the Union as their own.”
The countdown from 10 started, Mr Terri straightens himself. Tony rightly chastised, exits the studio. Mr Terri questioned his resolve at times, whether he really wanted what was best for the Union. Three, two and:
“Good evening my fellow citizens, friends and family.” Mr Terri puts his hands on the desk palms down. He keeps a firm hold of the camera. The audience has a deep respect for him. Mr Terri is aware of this and holds them to it.
“It is with great disappointment that tonight I must tell you another boat load of immigrants has landed. Intending to make the Union their own. The government sits and waits hoping for a resolution while they pack the slums. Something must be done. We must not be afraid to say that this is OUR Union.” Mr Terri’s hands come off of the desk and into fists, he can feel his viewers gaze on him. “The latest boat load has shown what these people feel for our great land, contempt. Not only did they sneak in with the all characteristics of vermin, once here they destroyed the ship with which they came. They do this to make it impossible for our authorities to turn their ships around. If I was a less humane person I would say let them swim.”
Mr Terri’s hands go up to the camera halting the audience. “We mustn’t act as they do, we will not terrorise them as they have us. I want you all to think, what kind of people are we letting in?
“The kind of people who would endanger the lives of their own countrymen for their own selfish needs. What attitudes do they hold to our countrymen?
“I was once a man of great compassion, welcoming all. Then I saw the strain on the good people of our country. I travelled from town to town and saw the jobless. Their livelihoods taken because an immigrant would do it for much less. I saw the homes being repossessed. Most sadly I saw the despair on the faces of our great people. This will continue to be the fate for generations of Union citizens if we do nothing.
“My fellow citizens we must act to keep our country safe. I say to Madam President keep the boats out and we will keep you in office”.
Thank you for reading to the end. Even if I can’t put my hand up it means a lot that you would take the time to read this. Your attention helps me take one step closer to my dream. Please like and share, it may seem small but means the world to me.
Please let me know what you think, would you like to learn more about Charles Terri and the Union.
Follow the blog, next Sunday I will be starting a 9 part short story series The Clearing. I will also share more of The Union in the future. Hopefully one day you’ll be able to see it one bookshelf (real or digital) and know you helped.