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Friday, August 14, 2015

Why Syon's Realistic But Terrible Life: Character Origin

In “The Owl from Oblivion”, I broach a number of difficult subjects that may make a few “polishers” of gifted students wonder why I would want to put such details into a book potentially read by gifted tweens and teens. One instance, in which the highly gifted character, Syon, is repeatedly brutalized by alcoholic parents, might shock some sensitive individuals. So why include it?

I took a journey discovering giftedness, specifically 2e giftedness, a few years ago. As part of that journey, I spent a few months as guest on an underground bulletin board for gifted teens. One thing I immediately noticed was how terrible life was for these gifted teens who were totally unknown in terms of giftedness by any school or gifted organization. Their life was bad not because of the stereotypical “not having enough challenging work”. They had that bit of trivia (for them) covered by loading a challenging problem into their minds before school to mentally work on during the school day. 

The problems they had ranged from parents who didn’t want to acknowledge giftedness (even their own) and thus tried to persuade them that they were not gifted to more dire situations, such as a divorced dad telling his son that his son’s “weirdness” was chasing away the dad’s girlfriends. After a few months, I decided to move away from that bulletin board, because the problems were too intense for me. One thing I did gain was an appreciation of gifted teens coming together to help fellow gifted teens who were suffering under more severe problems. In many ways, this formed the core of the narrative that I used with the character Syon in that though Syon was abused, his friends and some of their adult friends joined to help him escape his situation. Though Syon is a fictionalized rendering of a life that is hopefully more extreme than anyone really experiences, even through the science fiction tale and setting, some bits of his life ring true with reality. In a sense, Syon is the speaker for the gifted tween and teen who is undiscovered, living below the radar in a terrible situation.

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