author C.C.Cole's blog

Friday, October 26, 2012

On the Poison Pot of Gold

"Murder in the Hamptons"

With my never-ending film to book obsession in addition to fascination of true crimes, I decided to check out the book behind the Lifetime film favorite of mine “Murder in the Hamptons”  (Almost Paradise:  The East Hampton Murder of Ted Ammon by Kieran Crowley) As usual, the book defines the story on a much deeper, disturbing level.

Pretty California girl Generosa Rand moves to New York City in the 1980s and meets a most eligible bachelor and dreamboat millionaire Ted Ammon.  Their mutual attraction leads to marriage, adoption of lovely children, fantastic homes, and the “perfect life” to people that apparently have everything.  Generosa was denied nothing, from her own art studio to her masterpiece home in the Hamptons in which she designed down to the last blade of grass in the landscaping.  Her exquisite taste made her complimentary; her flaring temper made her dreadful to those that worked with her.

As the years wore on, the natural consequences opened to a difficult marriage, stressed out children, and a horrific divorce.  The philandering husband was spared nothing from his vengeful, spiteful wife, who accused him of cheating on taxes, wearing her underwear, and incestuous behavior, with everything in between.  After a couple of hellish years, she found a boy toy friend in handyman Danny Pelosi while living the “tough life” in an upscale hotel on almost $100,000 dollars a month.  Four days before the divorce was to be signed, Ted Ammon was found bludgeoned viciously to death in the house in the Hamptons, a property she was determined to never give up.  During the investigation, she is diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, which she ignored for two years, and dies before the case is closed.  Pelosi was found guilty and sent to prison. 

As I think about this story, I’m reminded of the wealthy socialite Barbara Baekeland, as chronicled in “Savage Grace.”  People find strength, power, and freedom by means of money, leading to devastating results.  While these two women have similar traits, the absolute hostility in Generosa was beyond anything the Lifetime film could reach, though I liked the lead actress.  The question remains, “Was the money really worth it?  Will hundreds of millions of dollars buy happiness?” 

Some of the most important things in life simply cannot be bought.  When I reflect upon these true tragic stories, I try to remember the potential poison the pot of gold can bring.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

On the Value of Virtual Friends

Virtual friend Author William Butler

As we move along with the evolution of social networking, we continue to make “friends” or “followers” in mostly Facebook and Twitter.  The negativity seems endless by the media, how it wastes time, how it perpetuates shallow social unreal interaction, the either illegal, tragic, or large-scale violent consequences when used amongst large populations.  But we still use social media, and interact with our virtual friends.  Does that matter to us?

As an adult, I think about the real friendships I’ve made through the years, and the ones still lasting today.  My close real time circle of friends is quite small; probably a combination of being an introvert, a non-conformist, and a married professional, beholding to the bare truth that a wife’s friends link to the husband’s more than vice-versa.  That may not be true in every relationship, and in my marriage I don’t consider it a negative, only a truth.  Men marry and continue their lives with families, sports, and talk about old times over beer.  Women marry with their lives encompassed with their children, and for the childless married woman, like myself, in the closest friendship there’s not much in common in everyday life. 

I’ve written before about how a few wonderful ladies introduced me to social networking.  From the beginning, I’m still meeting great people virtually.  Of course in virtual friendship, we see whatever the person wants us to see.  But that’s part of the deal, taking the good with the bad.  As a new author, I’ve found some of my virtual friends to be my biggest cheerleaders in my writing journey, and they give me encouragement during the tough times.  I’m happy to do the same for them.  Why not?  That’s what’s good about technology; maybe we can make someone smile sometimes.  In reality, that level of giving is wonderful, so why should it not apply virtually?  Sure, there is the negative spin, ugly book reviews, and political arguments, but that’s where we can shut out the virtual part.  Virtual enemies wearing a mask of friendship aren’t family bullies we have to endure because our parents force us.  We have a choice.

In the big scheme of things, I like my virtual friends.  Technology has a double edge, but there’s more good than bad.  Like others, of course my real life friends and family take precedence, as they should.  To me, that’s another definition entirely; virtual friendships are exactly that…virtual.  I’m glad to have them.

On Knocking the Chip Off My Shoulder

Princess Diana

Back in the 1990s, I was in the latter days of what I’ve referred to in past articles as my “vast hard science educational background.”  The 90s pulled every bit of strength I had every day, with difficult training, the loss of my sister, my family split apart, my husband in graduate school while working, financial difficulties, and I worked a demanding job while in school that encompassed nights and entire weekends.   In general, the 1990s were a lost decade for me. 

While working on a weekend, I tried to get an hour or two of sleep and just before I turned the television off, the news alert said, “Princess Diana had been severely injured in a automobile accident.”  I switched it off, struggling to get a bit of rest before the next day started with an unforgiving amount of workload and testing.  Failure was not in my rulebook when it came to my education and job.

I didn’t sleep well, but never did in those days.  I thought about Diana. During my one trip overseas to England was when she gave birth to Prince William, and did she look great the next day, after a night of labor!  She was always in the tabloids, with her failed marriage, her stunning dresses, I mean, how many crowns did she have?  She always looked so perfect.  Sometimes I’d see news clips or magazine covers of her visiting the poor or abused.  She seemed nice.  I thought if I met her, I would have liked her. 

Then my mind took a dark turn.  Would she have liked me?  Hmm…An American wearing the same clothes for three days.  Aristocracy isn’t a concept easy for Americans to take in, though it’s generally respected.  In America, many have to work hard to crash through the glass of poverty, and at that time, I was building my hammer.  Then I thought, the truth is, Diana is a Princess, and I am a nobody.  To her, I’m a nobody and my recently deceased sister is a nobody.  But she’s been in a car accident.  Who’s in the worst position?  I thought, “Nothing will happen to her.  She’s rich and the whole world will bend over backwards to help her.”  I fell asleep.

Morning came, and the person coming on to take my place exchanged the usual hellos.  Before I picked up my bag to leave she said, “And Princess Diana died.”  A cold chill swept through me.  What a fool I was!  A shallow, stupid idiot, low class, imbecile taking for granted that money shelters people from something as common and deadly as automobile accidents.  As a worker in the health care industry, I know all too well how many lives are claimed.  Angry with myself, I watched all of the televised features about Princess Diana, and my favorite was Elizabeth Taylor’s interview when she said, “They killed the world’s Princess.” 

On August 31, 1997, we did lose the world’s Princess.  She was classy, beautiful, compassionate, and yes, wealthy.  And after that day I grew up and knocked the class chip off my shoulder.  Everyone is a person, and life is fragile.  Bless the Princess.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Monster on the Roof

Hurricane Camille

Myself as five-year-old child:

We had a bad storm last week.  I was playing outside with my older brother and sister when it got cloudy and looked like it was going to rain.  Momma made us come in the house, and said we couldn’t go back outside for a while.  So we sat and watched TV until the lights went out.  Everything got so dark!  I knew it wasn’t night yet, because a game show was on.  I went to look out the window, but Momma made us go in the bathroom and sit on the floor. Daddy wasn’t there, but he’s not home much.

My sister lit a candle and somehow some paper got set on fire.  My brother said we did it, but I think he did it.  Momma told us to shut up and be quiet or get a spanking.  Then it got really loud outside, like a storm only a whole lot worse.  Something was hitting the house outside on the walls and on the roof.  A couple of times we heard some really loud bangs on the roof, and I got scared.  I said, “Momma, what is it?”
She said, “It’s a hurricane.”
I said, “What’s a hurricane?”
She said, “A monster.  It’s on the roof.  But it can’t get in.”
I said, “OK” and went to sleep some time later, though it was so loud! Our dogs were let inside too and I was glad about that. 

The next morning was quiet.  We got up and asked Momma if we could go outside.  She said yes, but to stay with my brother.  When we opened the door, it was weird.  The yard was all tumbled.  The swing set was upside down.  Tree limbs were everywhere.  A tree was down on a power line.  A lot of trees lost the tops, so I could climb them for a change!  That was fun.  Pieces of our roof were on the ground.  That was from the monster.  My grandfather came over later to see how we were doing.  He said he saw his wheelbarrow move around the yard in the storm by itself!  We thought that was funny. 

Now I’ve got to start school.  I’ll be in the first grade.  My brother and sister say I’ll get spankings because they did.  Momma told me not to talk in class.  I can read my Bible stories, so I hope I do OK.  I sure hope that monster stays off our roof from now on.

On August 17, 1969, category 5 Hurricane Camille slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast with winds over 200 mph and spread destruction into the Applachians.  In my mind these extremely dangerous natural events are “monsters.”

Saturday, August 25, 2012

On Political Bestsellers

As I continue to move out of “Fifty Shades” and continue with my out-of-genre reading journey, I’ve hit what I call the “Political genre.”  During the American Presidential election season, with 24/7 news, Internet, old school broadcast and word of mouth, I’m reminded of how glad I am that this happens every four years.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong supporter of our Republic, but if there is ever a season of over stimulation, it’s a hotly contested Presidential election year.

While reading an article by one of the smart people in the media, I ran upon one of the “hit-books” of our President, “The Amateur” by Edward Klein.  I don’t usually read these books, but I thought, since this is a bestseller, and part of being a writer is to know what people are reading, I downloaded it and gave it a chance.

The questions I asked myself:  Can a political book be balanced?  Many of these books are written by reporters, and give some vivid detail with actual dialogue of famous political figures and family members.  As we know, they cannot reveal their sources.  Are these tapes?  Or did this dialogue come from a steel-trap memory of a witness to the conversation?  Or is there a disclaimer somewhere that I missed?  (Likely).  Biggest question:  Can a political book be reviewed with balance?

In “The Amateur” the writer gives a political summary of the President’s first term from the standpoint mostly from the executive branch of the US Government. The appearance of games to us as we see it in the news is a serious game in reality.  Decisions that affect billions of people worldwide isn’t reality TV or WarCraft.  The book gives the reader an unflattering hefty detailed account of one Presidential blunder after another, with aggressive legislation, executive orders, and controversial meetings with longtime allies; “hit piece” stuff to fans and truths to non-fans.

On the other hand, I found a few points in “The Amateur” where “bashing” was subject to interpretation.  If the President didn’t feel obligated to socially host certain high profile celebrities or wealthy political families, to me that is up to him and his family.  What obligation does a President have to help others make money off of him?  Why does he have to please famous people because they are famous?  In a sense, being “Amateur” is being independent in his own way, though not the way of “the establishment.”  I think the point was potential donor alienation, which is another serious part of the “game.”

Overall, I didn’t hate this book, and didn’t put it on the highest tier because so much of it is regurgitation of what is already seen in the media.  The President’s policies are hardly a secret. One either agrees with them or not.  Lots of people read these books. I’ve written before how politics is a “hot button” topic, and it’s because politics affects us all.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

On Giving From The Heart

The ace writers at the Plum Tree Group are increasing awareness for the great need in Africa.  Many voices in this world fade before they get a chance to make sound.  This effort, one of many, reminds us of how bad life can really be, and furthermore, how short it really is for so many.


Traveling to Africa was a dream of mine since the 1980s.  Though it never came to pass, to me it’s a place of extreme natural beauty and tragedy.  Like other readers, I read and reviewed the prototype novella about the humanitarian disaster of the Congo Free State, “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad.  While this book is as disturbing and a difficult read, something always bothered me:  The part of madman Kurtz’s life while he was in Africa.  When he said “The horror, the horror,” what exactly did he mean?  What happened to him that made him change?  I think Conrad made the point with exclusion over exposition.

The history in Africa’s interior is shrouded in mystery.  One needn’t Google very far to find endless articles on colonization going back to the 1500s, (maybe earlier).  But what was it like before then?  Were there oppression, hunger, and death on a massive scale?  Experts in this area can give more light to this question.  Africa remains filled with one controversy after another, and while faults are attached over centuries, what can be done now?

To me, that’s the strongest point for Africa.  Now.  The issues in Africa run deep and are as variable as the countries between the northern and southern part of the continent. Nobody can walk in and make all of the problems go away in a day.  But with consistent awareness, we can strive and give more voice to the people. 

Friends who have made the journey to Africa tell me it’s a “spiritual experience.”  Beyond the tragedy, the wonder is there.  Giving from the heart is not only worthwhile but brings us back to the baseline of humanity:  Caring.

Check out the Plum Tree at: http://ontheplumtree.wordpress.com/

Sunday, August 12, 2012

On Free of Fifty Shades

I admit I’ve taken a couple of weeks to write the review of the final of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, the current favorite naughty books, not because I needed to ponder over what I think, because there’s not much to add.  Now I’m happy to be free of Fifty Shades.

For “Fifty Shades Freed,” the sexaholic-wealthy couple Ana and pervert Christian are now happily married newlyweds continuing their BDSM (or whatever it is) lifestyle from the South of France back to the US.  There’s a lot of eyes darkening, “Oh my!”  (Cured me of that statement unless I reference these books now), and there’s something about Ana forgetting her birth control and her Le Femme Nikita moment at the book’s end.  When all is said and done, Ana and new-nice-guy Christian is a happy couple watching their kids and still having over-the-top…never mind.

I think two elements are the main criticisms:  1) The sexual content, especially the methods used 2) The absolutely silly story.

The story, I’m sorry is stupid.  But, so what?  This is fantasy romance, handsome billionaire, lust at first sight, admitted pervert, what’s not to like?  Sigh.  Unfortunately, there’s not enough substance to the story to create much opinion either way.  It’s just empty.  The author throws in some topics at the end that are really “thrown in,” like when Ana realizes rich hubby Christian ships jobs overseas.  Gee, “Holy Cow!”  So after all of this hanky-panky, the writer is teaching us political talking points? 

The plot to me is just to bridge the erotic content.  So what’s so bad about that?  Erotic books are out there, why is this one considered so offensive to some?  I’ll admit I don’t read much (any) erotic novels, so I have nothing to compare. But regarding the sexual content, I’ll make a comparison with the very-R-rated “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin (just the adult stuff, Martin fans), “Fifty Shades” sex is couple, adult, consensual, and married (by the end).  As over-the-top as their activities may be, there’s no prostitution, rape (but there is permissive assault), and no underage sex, except Christian’s learning of the BDSM lifestyle from an older woman when he was fifteen.  The scenes to me run together, but it clearly works for many readers. 

Overall the final rating to me is two stars, being generous.  I don’t like giving writers low ratings, but I’m hardly in a small club.  For the curious, I still suggest to adults to check this out on your own.  And I don’t deny Ms. James:  Her work, her books, her success.  Good for her.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Music Update: Ernie’s Denial

I’ve been following the career of these hard working rocker musicians as they continue to strive for excellence in music with upbeat lyrics, great passion such as anti-bullying, and last, but not least, great rock.  Here’s an update from the band, with links to some new songs.  I’m going to hand over my blog space to these guys who work night and day, reminding us all, that nothing is easy in our creative endeavors, and the sure way to failure is giving up.  Not these fellas, they keep on rocking, in the true spirit of rock and roll!

"Ernie's Denial"
I myself do not long for the rock n roll lifestyle, the glitz, the fame, the popularity, the image, the glamor, and all the perks. All I really want are the simple things in life. BUT since I do have this talent of playing loud guitar, I can sing nice, and come up with melodies, then i want to do it for a good reason.

I always make it a point to write positive lyrics, and to be human. Everyone in the world has been already taking so much shet and negative things. Why add to it?

Fer plays really loud and strong drums and I play loud and evil guitar. A powerful sound will always be attractive and interesting. Always. That thing is what empowers the positive and human lyrics that I write. To me, I know, our songs are powerful. They pack a punch, and I always make it a point, because I want to, to write positive lyrics, to have good words in our songs, and words that can stay in people's hearts and minds.

Words are weapons. Ideas can make changes. Since I have the good grasp of wielding words, then I’ll use it to bring something good out of anything, everything, anyone, and everyone.

For me, it's REALLY NOT about popularity, fame, fortune, and as I mentioned, the glitz and lifestyle. I’m doing this not only because I enjoy it but I can make something out of it; something that's bigger than myself; something that can spark even if it's the tiniest light. I know that it takes just a spark to start a fire.

i want to get these songs of ours out and affect people positively. i want to spark a good fire in people. We want more people to lend us their ears and listen to our songs. Download them for free, no cost at all, at our website www.ErniesDenial.com because we have good songs.

Thanks again guys, for taking the time to update us on your progress.  We new authors can relate to the hard work new musicians put into their work and certainly the amount of their inner heart and soul involved.  Check out their music some time, and rock on with Ernie’s Denial!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review of “Fifty Shades Darker: Book Two of the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James

In round two of the bestseller erotic series, the favorite pervert of today Christian Grey reunites with main character Ana only a few days after she left him for abusive intimate behavior.  They make a new start, trying to have a more normal courtship than a dominant/submissive pairing.  As they continue the usual sexcapades, a jealous ex-girlfriend shows up, the older woman who taught Christian his over-the-top sex-ed gets told off by a jealous Ana, and Christian reveals to Ana his darkest secret:  That he is a sadist.  While reeling from this “surprising” news, he reveals a secret about his deceased mother and says wants to solidify their relationship because of their mutual love.

The second book in this series to me re-creates the character Christian to now be a “nice guy” pervert.  Instead of some transcendence, to me it reads more like a re-writing of the character.  For this kind of story, I can deal with that, as progressing this relationship with such a sadistic man would be difficult for readers.

Now that we have a “nice” Christian, his confession to Ana about his sadism is quite ridiculous given her surprised response.  That was difficult to read.   The “mean” Christian unfortunately was stronger characterization.

But the worst part to me is Christian’s revelation of his background.  Apparently, the troubled sadist’s deceased mother was a prostitute with an abusive pimp.  Christian’s submissive ex-girlfriends look like her. So Ana now feels sorry and protective of her man like a good co-dependent should and as a reader I feel nauseated by a cliché “explaining” the controlling behavior.

So the second book of “Fifty Shades” leaves the reader with for entertainment is the over-the-top, fantasy, repetitive sex and nothing else.  Regarding the sexual content, at least it’s consensual couple adult intimacy.  One review on amazon stated that Ana should have a urinary tract infection by now I found hilarious.  Otherwise, I dislike negative reviews, but here is one.  1 ½ stars.  But for the curious and “Shades” fans, don’t let me stop you.  Give Christian another chance and decide for yourself.

On Crashing the Clichés

"Brokeback Mountain"

While I’m on my adult bestseller reading drive of the “Fifty Shades” series, last week I watched the past controversial film “Brokeback Mountain,” for the first time in a few years.  When this movie debuted, I remember the media frenzy, not just movie news, but also on news opinion.  As I look back, I wonder why the excessive hype, besides the obvious non-cliché story of gay cowboys.

As usual, the best place to go with interest in a film is where it originated, in this case, the short story by Annie Proulx.  I downloaded it on my kindle and read it in about an hour.  This Pulitzer Prize winning writer to me earned her acclaim; this is a very well written story.   For the film, ace writer Larry McMurtry had a reported role in the adaptation of the screenplay, which extrapolates extremely well by developing Jack’s wife’s character and softening up the gay guys, who in the original story are not only failures as husbands but are also indifferent, disconnected fathers.

Now that this film is in memory, the clarity of familiarity can puncture through the gloss of indignity.  What Annie Proulx did is take a cliché of cowboys being macho men womanizers and created the same macho men womanizers with a private gay relationship.  (The guys still liked the ladies).  While it may have irked some people, as a writer, doing what she did by turning the expected into the unexpected, is what made the story.   If Ennis and Jack chased women in the 1960’s for twenty years, it may have made a nice story, but doubtfully had the same impact on the audience.

I’m glad the controversy over “Brokeback Mountain” has passed over.  Now that it has, sometimes writers can learn from other writers who dared to crash a cliché, and do it well.  We lost a great talent in Heath Ledger.  When we’re left with a down note, what we can do is appreciate the work of storytellers, both writers and actors.

Review of “Nimpentoad” by Josh Herz, Henry Herz Sean Eddingfield (illustrator)

“Nimpentoad” is a charming little story for children about a variety of little critters finding a way to combine friendships with others and to realize badfellas are out there.  The writing uses a lot of “squirmy” words that I remember liking in stories told to me as a child.  Though the illustration doesn’t show up as well on kindle, from the cover on line, I suspect the actual book’s art is great, and for purchases, I recommend that version.  All around wonderful, five stars!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

On Fifty Shades of Book Reviews

Bestseller reviews tend to have a wide range of opinions, but this naughty novel has a polarizing collection of reviews on amazon.  Readers either love it or hate it, with a deep breath or a sharp spanking (pun intended).

The story goes:  Twenty-one year old Anastasia (Ana), an unworldly college graduate and virginal girl meets the handsome (don’t know what he looks like, but he’s hot, she says so!) Christian Grey, a multibillionaire in which she interviews him, becomes immediately attracted, and asks him if he’s gay.  Finding her a turn-on, he cures her virginity with maddening pleasurable sex.  He presents her with what he wants of their relationship; he wants to be dominant and her submissive, included with an itemized list of supposedly pleasurable games for his room of pain.  Like any normal girl that can’t resist a good-looking billionaire sex god, she goes for it, but unofficially.  After several sexual encounters each with explosive endings and repeats, Christian finally, by Ana’s request, pushes her beyond the physical limits she’s willing to tolerate in the relationship, so she leaves him.  For an erotic novel with so many climaxes the ending completely anti-climactic. 

For the criticisms, I see them all, from the teenage immaturity of the main character to the repeated writing of the sex badly in need of a thesaurus.  For those that dislike the demanding and sadistic man, I have no argument.  My biggest criticism is, this is not my genre of first choice.  I write and read action, but not that kind of action.

But criticisms aside, let’s be fair to the author.  After all, this is a bestseller.  People are reading it in droves. Women are reading it, any fellas read this yet?  First, the lead character, Ana:  What is so terrible about her?  She’s young, naïve, and has the kind of insecurity that a predatory man would want.  Of course, she is beautiful and thin, but in erotic reading, this is fantasy.  If the reader is to fantasize such acts, what should they look like?  Thought so.

Second, the bad boy Christian:  Is he so terrible?  It’s not every day a pervert shows up with an itemized list of his perversions.  He’s not a rapist, is monogamous, and presented himself to her exactly how he turned out to be.  Honesty in sexual perversion, in rational thinking, is honesty in itself.  He reminds me of Patrick in “American Psycho” without the body parts  (thank goodness).

If this novel has a message, and I think it does (barely) is that relationships based upon sex have a deleterious effect on the personal lives of the partners. Sex is not love.  She wants love.  He does not.  Another point is one of dominance.  When one in a relationship is dominated, she/he tends to believe they control the situation when they don’t.  It’s domestic violence wearing a different mask:  The mask of permission. 

Does this erotic novel give me a fantasy?  Yes.  This poor couple is mismatched.  Ana needs Edward Cullen.  Christian needs Lisbeth Salander (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).  She could definitely teach him something.

Overall, is this bestseller that bad?  No.  Is it that good?  No.  Like most things, it’s somewhere in between.  It stands in its genre and leaves enough story open to finish the series.   2 ½ stars to me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On the Genuine Richard Sanders

I met Richard virtually several months ago, and have recently read a couple of his books.  Reviews below:

“Dead Heat” is a story about a gubernatorial election gone awry with the murder of a candidate’s wife.  The twists and turns the story takes challenges the reader to a dark but intriguing ride as it unfolds into unpredictable outcomes.  This book is well titled, to say the least.  I found the end surprising, the read entertaining, and overall highly recommend at four stars!

“Dead Time Story” is a fractured account of historic events and stories told in a way that only Richard Sanders can.  He tells his stories with humorous dark cynicism, which is well done and a nice take from self-righteousness.  I really enjoyed this read, seeing the world and reading a love story done with fun but classy “Richard Sanders fashion.”  Entertaining and great, five stars!

author Richard Sanders
Richard is not a newbie writer, with a resume of writing for high-profile journals.  After recovery from substance abuse and jail time, he doesn’t present himself to be perfect.  To me, his genuine take on the world reflects upon his writing style, which is fast paced, dialogue-driven, and as unpretentious as he is.   He has written a number of books, is devoted to his wife, and is a supporter of other writers.  I say Good for Richard.  And Good for us as readers.  May his many days be blessed!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

On Powerful Patriarchs

"The Kennedys"

I’ve written before how family structure can impact fictional writing.  As I think more about famous historical families, one can hardly overlook the famous fathers that gave us sons and daughters to become either as or more famous.  No powerful person can truly know their legacy in full while alive, but for many of them it’s a driving motivator as well as wanting the children to reach great heights in history also.

Sometimes patriarchs are referred to as “the Old Man,” or just “Father,” as the all-knowing, or if not, the all approving of family members.  Nothing happens without the nod of Father.  Work for the family company?  Ask Father.  Join the military?  Ask Father.  Marry a man?  Ask Father.  Run for political office?  Ask Father.  Going to which college?  Ask Father.  So, come the clichés:  Want to be in the family Will?  Don’t tick off Father.  Marry a man that’s the wrong religion?  Father never speaks to you again!  You played at college?  Father cuts you off!

Can powerful fathers be an inspiration for fictional writers?  Yes.  Fathers can exert their own powerful will onto their children in a way no other person can in their lives.  A wimp can become a tough guy.  An anti-hero will become a hero.  A shy girl becomes a smart business executive.  Or a nice kid becomes a bully.  A popular girl becomes promiscuous.  Children become runaways.  Mothers wise up, often taking the children with her. 

Do powerful fathers need to be “good” or “bad?”  No.   To me, it depends on the story, and simplicity brings forth clichés.  That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, because some simpler story concepts give room for a more complex inner message.  But when we think of the real men, the powerful family patriarchs, we usually find not simple good or evil but controversy.  Very few people lead simple lives, and the powerful are able to accomplish deeds that affect the world historically; therefore it’s easier to scrutinize the lives of the famous.  Several powerful people tend to get there because they want power, and if we could ask, they would say they would also want privacy.

Powerful patriarchs give us historic realities and fantasy inspirations.  Joe Kennedy was real and Tywin Lannister was fictional.  Were they perfect?  No.  Were they rich?  Yes.  Were they stupid?  No.  Were they worthy of remembrance?  Definitely.