People often talk about a novel being plot-driven or character-driven. For me, that can be an artificial distinction. For my taste, the best novels -- those that capture me and make me feel sorry the read is coming to an end -- are those driven by both.
At some point we have fallen in love with the main character of a book or film. And while we fawn over these characters and paste them on our walls, we forget some of the most priceless characters of the films, the ones we really should be crushing on. The secondary characters.
Some of the best novels have very believable protagonists, so it almost seems sort of/kind of possible to meet them. One of the pleasures of reading is immersing ourselves in a fictional world to the point where we can imagine being part of that world -- at least as a fly-on-the-wall.
Today we meet in person for the first time in six years, on a bench by the Hudson River in Harlem. She brings sandwiches and coffee and we catch up, as the river flows. Her older son, the one I photographed, is now a college grad, and an up and coming independent filmmaker.
The power of art and creativity to illuminate the world for others is not simply a cultural benefit, but also a deeply important tool to help the authors themselves navigate their way through their own emotions, experiences and journeys.
The problem arose when I became more familiar with the Romanovs and the extent of their anti-Semitism. I faced a dilemma. Here was I, a Jewish writer, who had developed deep compassion and even love for my charges.
Choreographically, the ballet is devilish and the partnering is unbelievably hard! The biggest challenge though, is to master the choreography while transcending the difficulty of the steps to tell the story.