Welcome to Week 19 of the Wise Not Withered character showcase! This week I’m excited to talk about the Blind Assassin character. Unfortunately she does not have a writer OR illustrator at the moment; both women dropped out, so I have some work to do to find new artists. The original writer for this character had suggested we leave her unnamed, to add some mystery and interest. Now that she is no longer the writer though, I am completely open to naming her. So for now, she is “Unnamed”.
I have a lot of ideas about where this story could go. The original idea was that there would be an elderly woman who wakes up in her house with no memory of where or even who she is. She would go around her house and look at various objects that would bring back bits and pieces of her memories. I had this idea a few years ago when I was going through my now-late mother’s house, looking at all our stuff she kept and thinking about how each little thing had a story, from the sea turtle sticky notes we got in Hawaii to the ribbon that wrapped around a bag of Ghirardelli chocolates from San Francisco.
While that seemed like an interesting idea at first, I realized that the main purpose of the Wise Not Withered project’s stories was to showcase the adventures that we as women can still have into our middle-age and old-age years. Simply recalling memories and looking into the past would defeat the purpose entirely. There were actually quite a few stories where I needed to remind the writers that flashbacks must be kept to a minimum, and be there if and ONLY if that particular memory was essential to recount because of a present-day event. Of course, creating a solid back story and knowing what happened in the past is crucial, but the focus of the story had to be on her life now as an older woman.
So instead of simply sorting through memories, I thought… What if she was blind? And she is going through her house smelling, feeling, hearing various things? But then, how would she have become blind? There was another idea of a World War III veteran that ended up being combined with the Real-Life Mother Nature story; instead of losing her legs in WWIII, the character from that story lost her legs from a plane crash. So I thought it would be interesting to bring back the idea of a war veteran and explore what her life may be like decades later.
The story would have two main points of focus: 1) her relationship with her step-daughter, who is also her caretaker, and 2) her connection to music and piano-playing. These two focal points are personal for me. I grew up with three parents; my mom and dad divorced when I was 2 years old, and my dad remarried when I was 6, so my step-mom played just as important a role in raising me as my mom and dad. I think it’s important to show a loving step-parent relationship in media, since a lot of stories talk about the “evil” step-mother. And then of course, the music and piano-playing is personal to me since my career and so much of my daily joy is based around music, and playing piano has always been one of the greatest sources of fulfillment and healing in my life.
With the addition of the character being blind, I thought it would be interesting if she was a former assassin. There could be one or two flashbacks that explain how she became blind through what would become her last mission. As with the other stories, I want to keep my own ideas flexible to leave lots of room for the writer and illustrator to incorporate their own cultures and interests into the story too. So maybe she won’t have been an assassin. But I do want her to 1) be blind, 2) have a strong relationship with her step-daughter, and 3) play piano as her main source of joy and grounding.
That’s it for this week! Hope you enjoyed reading or hearing my thoughts about this mysterious character. Stay tuned for the next six showcases of Wise Not Withered characters! Stay safe, and please take care of yourself :)