I recently watched Robert Altman's movie Popeye again, and from a movie standpoint it has good parts (Robin Williams, Shelly Duvall, Bill Irwin, Richard Libertini, the set design, some of the songs) and not so good parts (some of the other songs, the ending), but it also made me think of a couple of my characters.

One was Vicki. It was deliberate, especially in U-town, that she would be very much like Popeye. Stronger than anybody else, but not liking to use her strength unless she had no other choice ("I've had all I can stands, I can't stands no more!"). And also in how centered she is, how sure of who and what she is ("I yam what I am an' tha's all what I yam."). She comes to U-town, where she doesn't know anybody, and she is comfortable keeping a little distance between herself and most of the people she meets. She doesn't want to join a clique or a gang, she is quite comfortable on her own.

The other person I thought of was Daphne, for a very different reason. E.C. Segar originally created a strip called "Thimble Theater," centered around Olive Oyl, her brother Castor, and her boyfriend Ham Gravy. Then, for one sequence involving an ocean trip, a sailor character called Popeye was introduced. He wasn't intended to continue beyond that specific storyline, but he caught on with the audience, and eventually became the central character, to the extent that the strip is now mostly known as "Popeye."

When Daphne was first introduced here, she was supposed to be a walk-on character, an amusing indication of Carl's preferences and enthusiasms ("Think of the advantages," he says to Pete about having a dog in the apartment). But, of course, she lasted far beyond that sequence, and now I'm thinking she might be a (if not the) major character in the next book (if and when I ever finish this one, of course).

Well, even if I decide she will be the central character in the next book, it could go in a very different direction anyway. I thought this one was going to be about SarahBeth, and a lot of it was, but now in these chapters she's mostly offstage.

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