Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reading: Unbound Boxes Limping Gods: Heyem Merek

Unbound Boxes
Limping Gods:

Heyem Merek

By Cheryl Moore

Time Line: 4002, China

Right Now! Cheryl is on vacation in Ireland! Wow!

Best to click over to Cheryl's blog for easy reading of connected material...but come back for discussion!

Heyem Merek has run away from her former life. Her childhood, spent in poverty and her teenaged years in military correction. She is well educated and proud of her achievements. If only her identical twin sister, Alexand would allow her to forget about her past, completely. Things would be a lot less complicated and painful. (Artwork on the wall in drawing 2: by Frida Kahlo, “My Nurse and I.” 1937)

My Thoughts:

Although Heyem's backstory shows that she's selfish and somewhat narcisstic--and doesn't like kids, I find that her reaction to this situation might be somewhat justified?

If Alexand is well enough to have returned to to her military position, then she should have been capable of taking care of her children. Instead we find her drunk and a little crazy, wearing a tutu and trying to fly... 

This micro story is disturbing--it leads to many questions as to what has happened to Alexand since her serious withdrawal/illness. It seems she is not providing adequate parental control on a routine basis, while Heyem, though grudgingly, does recognize the responsibility.

I find I no longer have sympathy for Alexand... 

Question for Cheryl:

As the author, what made you merely reverse the same name in "birthing" these twins?

In creating your character personalities, readers form opinions based upon those personality characteristics, right? How closely do you then use those characteristics to create your novels? Or did you write your novels and form the personality fact sheets as you developed your micro-stories? This story is a good example of why I raise the question. When I read about Harem on her character data sheet, I got the picture of a selfish, jealous sister...yet I find myself, personally, very empathetic to Harem in this, naturally, LOL, I don't think of her as being selfish or jealous...more, I find her responsible in spite of her personal life preferences... Can we, then, even with characters, truly define the individual they really are?


  1. Although Alex and Heyem are very different people, their lives have certain common elements. Heyem is often upset to find her own life ending up on a similar path to Alex (Alex is older by half an hour) Their parents, Inajda and Eric were very young when they had them and reversed their names because they are identical. It wasn't anything very deep on their part, Although Eric's father was called Alexand. It's a family name, meaning 'Defender of the people'. Heyem means 'Home.' The twins seem to mirror and repel each other, but both have a common interest in protecting and providing stability for the people in their lives. Alex is a better soldier and Heyem is much more stable and reliable as she hasn't had the same traumas as her sister.

  2. Although the reader forms opinions just as we do when meeting real people for the first time, it's important to remember that these micro stories are merely glimpses into good and bad days, and behaviour. Alex is no angel, and has made some bad mistakes, she loves her children, and her husband, but on bad days isn't capable of being a wife and mother, or a soldier. Heyem has had to clear up on many occasions. This story is important as I wanted to show that there is much more to their relationship than just rivalry and jealousy. Heyem cares about the children's welfarem but isn't a natural mother. In a different life, Alexand could be a wonderful mother. Alexand is a very lovely but damaged woman. She and Jarad have a tempestuous relationship as they are both very emotional people. Alex has a drinking problem, and Jarad just doesn't have the tools to help her recover, and get the help she needs. She isn't a typical hero in that respect, but everyone has done things in their lives they aren't proud of. Just to give you some perspective, later on, a few micro stories down, after Ancille's story, Alexand promises her daughter she will not drink again. She goes on cold turkey, with the help of Heyem, her mother Inajda and Heyem's wife, Maria.

  3. Heyem is more complicated than the data sheet gives credit. This file is really basic and isn't a clear indicator in respect of the 'whole' character. It's simply a guide, which indicates basic characteristics. Heyem has narcissistic tendencies, but there is so much more to her.

  4. Actually, Alexand isn't well enough to be in the military, as you've gathered. After this story, Alexand and Jarad agree that it's best for their family if she retires. Jarad is a language lecturer and arranges a position in a University on the Island of Goa. Alexand plans to teach piano. Things don't go according to plan, but that's what was decided in order to attempt to mend their family.

  5. Cheryl...I'm so grateful that you are taking time from your vacation to come and share in response to my thoughts... I hope it is not too much a distraction from your FUN!

    I do recognize, again, the micro-story providing glimpses of the individual. What I find fascinating is that, because of these "intrusions" into a character's life, we automatically become more involved, more concerned about them. I have found this to be the case in novels--if the writer takes the time to develop their characters, then we as readers often claim that we found the book character-driven, that we "loved" the characters... In a book I'll review later this week, I found that the action, the trauma of what was happening was so all-consuming, that the characters were not as important... I'm wondering whether your novels will appeal to me as character-driven or as more story-driven...