Friday 30 March 2012


I love when I meet true characters. Not that we’re not all in possession of our own unique character, cause we are, but those people where you walk away from them and think that either they should be put on film – unlike most of the bland monotonous types that are on celluloid – or are sure to be found in the pages of an Elmore Leonard novel.

I met two people like this recently. For anonymity’s sake, they are brothers that operate a small jewelry business in London. And from the moment I met them in their small office tucked away in the jewelry district, my writer's brain perked to attention. They were both East End boys – for those of you that are not English – think no nonsense, salt of the earth types; a bit rougher in the accent (in American speak that just means you will understand them even less) and work hard for what they have in life and are perfectly happy telling you that. Within five minutes, I could ascertain that one was the creative brains of the operation and the other more business minded; although something tells me that Mr. Business spends most of his time looking for things around the office that's he's misplaced and taking smoke breaks.

Mr. Creative Brother was like me; he had the gift of the gab and was not afraid to use it. Ten minutes in, I knew he was married, had kids, where he lived, what his wife’s comportment was like, and that we both had a fondness for Formula One (he’s a lexicon when it comes to F1 trivia, which I find utterly fascinating). From there on out it was 1000 questions - but oddly, not in a prying way, his demeanor somehow made you happy to volunteer the information -  followed by story after story that left me contentedly in the position of the watcher as he used a variety of different machines to make the piece he was working on. [I love watching people perform skills I have no contemplation of, especially if gold and diamonds are involved].

But the best bit was watching how these two individuals interacted. Being one of five girls with a strong family dynamic, I’m profoundly curious how other families operate. Again, within minutes you could tell where the balance of power, envy and personality resided between these two brothers. Partly because Mr. Creative was so apt to share when it came to his feelings about his family, the dynamic between them, and how they call came to be in the jewelry business. There is also something to be said for professions that are handed down, crafts if you will that the father teaches the sons and how that carries on. As Mr. Creative amusingly pointed out, then again, you can certainly try to teach your kids the craft, but not all of them are going to take to it. Hence, why his brother spends most of his time shifting paper and smoking cigarettes while he designs rings. 

The funniest thing is that I actually look forward to going there as each time I visit (I’ve gone a few times now as they are redesigning a piece of jewelry of mine), I pick up some new tidbit of information that I log into the character conceit book within my brain – you have no idea how full this book is. I end up sitting in this little office for up to an hour, watching, listening and taking mental notes, as time just ticks on by. I suppose it’s partly the joy of soaking in the many characters there are in the world, and partly that when I’m not with the King I’ll sit just about anywhere if it means I don’t have to wipe anyone’s nose or change a diaper. 

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