Character Reveal: Irene

The character reveal is a new feature on my website. Characters from my books (in print or works in progress) will answer questions from a standard personality assessment test.

Who?

Today’s character reveal character is Irene.

Image of a person holding a card with a question mark in front of their face. who will Irene show herself to be in this character reveal.

Lady Irene Susan Earnshaw nee Clarke was twenty-two when she appeared in My Soul to Keep. Now, twenty-six, she plays a major role in If I Should Die.  Daughter of Donald and Kara Clarke. Younger sister to Miranda Clarke.

1. Who is your role model?

Image of Carrie A. Nation with axe and Bible, who Irene says is a person she admires in her character reveal

Carrie A Nation. By Philipp Kester (German photojournalist, 1873-1958) – The New York Times photo archive, via their online store, Public Domain

The good Christian, Carrie Nation. She had the strength to act upon her faith. Had she lived long enough, she would have been a good Fellowship member. 

2. Who knows you the best?

My mother. She’s gone now, so I suppose the person who knows me best now is my husband, Felix. But, you know men; he doesn’t really understand women.

3. What would your friends say about you?

I hope they would say that I am a good mother, a good wife, and a good Fellowship member.

4. What is the question people ask you most often?

People ask many things. They ask what it was like seeing my husband perform his first miracle. They also ask what it’s like living with, being the wife of the Prophet. 

5. What is the thing you’d never say to another person?

I would never say something that would lead another person astray. 

6. What is your greatest achievement?

My daughters, Sandra and Annabelle. 

7. What is your greatest failure?

Being a lackluster Fellowship member earlier in my life.

8. What did you learn from your greatest failure?

I learned that God is all-powerful. Miracles can and do happen. Miracles like my daughter, Annabelle.

9. What is the thing you are most proud of?

One thing? I can’t choose one. I’m proud of my husband and my daughters. 

10. What would you like to change about yourself?

If I am totally honest, I wish I knew God’s purpose for me. I know that sounds vain. I should be grateful for the role he’s given me—to be the Prophet’s wife. But I have the sense that there is more that he wants me to do—some greater purpose. I pray each night that I will learn that purpose so I can better serve my husband and the Lord.

11. If something in your house breaks, what is the first thing you do?

I used to tell my husband. Now, I tell his secretary and she arranges a repairman to come out.

12. What is the greatest obstacle you’re facing right now?

If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have said adjusting to life in America again. It’s so different from life in Buenos Aires. But right now, my loneliness is my biggest obstacle. God forgive me, but I miss having my husband to myself. I miss keeping house and walking the girls to school and visiting the market. 

13. How do you like to “waste” your time?

I don’t waste time. I invest it in my daughters, my husband, and my faith.

14. What is the ritual that helps you calm down?

Prayer. 

15. What is your favorite place in town?

Here? In the District? I don’t have one in town. Here in the states? Before, I would have said the beach house. Now, I don’t know—I haven’t found one yet.

16. What do you prefer–a book, a movie or a theater play?

The Bible. Most books, movies, and plays are morally corrupt.

17. What was the happiest period of your life?

I’d have to say in Buenos Aires—before my husband’s first miracle. I would not go against God’s will. And I adore Annabelle. But I was happy being the wife of an unknown man, the mother of their daughter. We were poor but happy.

18. What is your most treasured memory from childhood?

The Christmas I was five. Mother and Father were both home. And Santa brought me a baby doll that could drink from a bottle. 

19. What was your favorite game when you were a child?

Image of old fashioned doll at tea table--a favorite game Irene played as related in her character reveal

I loved giving my dolls a tea party. 

20. What is the greatest injustice you’ve lived through?

The exile of my family. My Father and Mother did nothing but serve the Fellowship. They didn’t deserve—especially not from their own—I’m sorry, I can’t. I pray every night that the Lord give me the strength to overcome my anger and forgive her but I’m only human.


An Invitation

I invite you to take part in this an all future character reveals. If you are an artist or doodler and have drawn an image of Irene or any other character in one of my books, send me a digital copy. With your permission, I’ll post it on the character’s page on this website and share it on social media. 

Did you enjoy this character reveal? Based on Irene’s answers above, what question would you ask of Irene? Is there a character from My Soul to Keep you’d like to see answer these questions in the next character reveal?

What Do You Remember and How?

What do you remember and how do you remember one thing and your sibling remembers something else? Human memory is complex. We try to replicate it with computers and A.I. Technology. But we barely understand how human memory works. Or where we store our memories. Or how and what corrupts our memory. Scientific examination and study of memory only began in recent history. 

Image of a brain with lightning coming out of it illustrates memory retrieval but do you understand what you do remember and how

The Study of Memory

The scientific study of memory didn’t begin until fairly late in human history. Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850–1909), a German psychologist, pioneered the study of memory. The “father of experimental psychology of memory” began his first experiment in late 1878. He published his study, Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology (Über das Gedächtnis in the original German), in 1885. They published the English version in 1913.

His study had many limitations. The major one being that his only subject was himself. But he made many discoveries: the forgetting curve, spacing effect, and the learning curve. You can read more about his discoveries on Wikipedia or on Flash Card Learner.

What is Memory?

Even our everyday definition of memory is complex. Memory is—

1a: the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained especially through associative mechanisms–began to lose his memory as he grew older

b: the store of things learned and retained from an organism’s activity or experience as evidenced by modification of structure or behavior or by recall and recognition–has a good memory for faces

2a: commemorative remembrance–erected a statue in memory of the hero

b: the fact or condition of being remembered–days of recent memory

3a: a particular act of recall or recollection–has no memory of the event

b: an image or impression of one that is remembered–fond memories of her youth

c: the time within which past events can be or are remembered–within the memory of living men

4a: a device (such as a chip) or a component of an electronic device (such as a computer or smartphone) in which information can be inserted and stored and from which it may be extracted when wanted–especially: RAM

b: capacity for storing information–512 megabytes of memory

5: a capacity for showing effects as the result of past treatment or for returning to a former condition—used especially of a material (such as metal or plastic)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

According to Boundless Psychology there is a simpler definition. Memory is “the ability of an organism to record information about things or events with the facility of recalling them later at will.”

Stages of Memory

The three stages of memory are encoding, storage, and retrieval.

Encoding is the process of receiving, processing, and combining information. 

Storage is the process by which we keep memory for a time. 

The third stage of memory, retrieval, is also called recall or recognition. Something triggers us to recall a memory and use it in a process or activity.

Types of Memory

Scientists have identified three major types of memory: Sensory, Short Term, and Long Term. 

Sensory memory is a detailed representation of an entire sensory experience. It is not a conscious process. There are many types of sensory memories. The most frequently studied include iconic (visual) memories, echoic (auditory) memories, and haptic (tactile) memories.

Short Term Memory, also known as working memory, lasts for about twenty seconds. We can only store about five to nine “items” in short term memory. However, we can move these items to long-term memory via what scientists call rehearsal. Rehearsal or repetition is the act of repeating the memory over and over. 

Long Term memory includes anything we hold in memory for longer than twenty seconds. Scientists have identified many types of long-term memory, too many to discuss in a brief, introductory blog post. 

More to Come

This blog post is a brief introduction into what you remember and how. Over the next few months we’ll look deeper into the mystery and complexities of memories retained and lost.

I find human memory fascinating. The lack of and haunting presence of memory plays a part in my series, My Soul to Keep. In the next few posts, we’ll touch on diseases of memory. Diseases you may be interested in like Alzheimer’s and dementia and White Matter disease. And if you’re interested, we’ll discuss trauma-induced memory loss. Do you have other questions or topics regarding memory that you’d like me to discuss?

A New Year and New Intentions

It’s the new year, time for…goals? Resolutions? I have missed many goals and broken many resolutions. But I have become a great fan of intentions. For the new year, make new intentions. What the heck do I mean?

Image of the word Start at the beginning of a road to the mountains, Make your new intentions for the new year.

Intentions

As a writer, I first came across the term creative intentions as explained by Orna Ross in her eleven-part blog series, The Power of Creative Intention for Creativepreneurs.

It is my belief that everyone is creative. See my post, You Don’t Have to Be an Artist. But I know not all of you believe that. So drop the word creative and just use intentions. 

Anyone and everyone can set intentions. About now you’re getting impatient for a definition. (I know I was when I started learning about this mindset). To get to a definition, we need to look at the root word, intend.

According to Merriam-Webster, intend means “to have in mind as a purpose or goalPLAN” or “to direct the mind on” or (archaic) to proceed on a course.

Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving Source – a Sower of Dreams – just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true.

Sarah Ban Breathnach

To have in mind as a purpose seems a much better way to think about what my plans are for the new year. In my mind, a goal and a resolution have more permanence and allow little flexibility. An intention seems a more flexible way to plan despite the interruptions and disruptions we all face in life. 

close up of dart board, Keep your eye on the target with new intentions

We can miss a goal. We break most resolutions. But an intention is a focus. When life gets in the way of your plan, take care of that event or disturbance intending to return to your primary plan. Every morning begins with a renewed intention.

It’s a wise man who understands that every day is a new beginning, because boy, how many mistakes do you make in a day? I don’t know about you, but I make plenty. You can’t turn the clock back, so you have to look ahead.

Mel Gibson

More than One

Heck, you might have more than role and therefore more than one area of intentions. I am a writer which means I’m also a marketer and a website manager. Another of my roles is as a caregiver. Therefore, I have intentions for Making (writing stories), Managing (website and blog), Marketing (my books), and Home (caregiving and household duties).

When I decide upon my intention for a new year, I make one broad intention for each area.

My intentions this year are to finish If I Should Die (Make), Improve my website (manage), run ads for my books (Market), and be a compassionate caregiver and manage our household duties (Home). I also choose two or three secondary actions for each.

Going Forward

Once I know what my year’s plan looks like, then I break up those intentions into quarterly and monthly steps. No matter what life interruptions I have, I keep my focus because of my intentions. 

Do you make goals or resolutions? Or do you prefer setting intentions? What new intentions have you set for 2020?